333 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90071-3197 USA
Katherine Smith is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Ms. Smith serves as Co-Chair of the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Group.
Ms. Smith has extensive experience representing employers in individual, representative and class action litigation at both the trial court and appellate level. Her practice focuses on high stakes litigation matters such as large-scale class actions, actions brought under the California PAGA, whistleblower retaliation cases, and executive disputes. She also advises employers on government investigations, enforcement of non-solicitation and non-competition covenants, reductions in force and reorganizations, independent contractor/employee status, C-suite on-boarding and separations, and other employment-related issues. She has also been involved in multiple independent investigations of high profile #metoo complaints alleging systemic sexual harassment and gender discrimination.
Chambers USA ranked Ms. Smith as a top California attorney for her work in Labor and Employment in their 2022 publication. In 2019, Ms. Smith was ranked as a “Next Generation Lawyer” for labor and employment law by Legal 500. The honor recognizes “up-and-coming” partners who have demonstrated significant expertise handling challenging employment matters for clients. In 2019, she was also named a “Rising Star” by Law360. The list recognizes “attorneys under 40 whose legal accomplishments transcend their age.” Ms. Smith was also acknowledged as a “Labor & Employment Star” in Benchmark Litigation’s 2019 publication, as well as being named as an “American Rising Star” by Euromoney Legal Media Group in labor and employment.
Ms. Smith’s representative litigation matters include defending several employers in numerous putative wage and hour class and PAGA actions, including cases alleging misclassification of workers, failure to pay overtime, failure to provide meal and rest breaks, failure to provide accurate wage statements, and failure to reimburse business expenses; representing a major entertainment company in multiple forums in its actions against former employees for improper solicitation of employees and misappropriation of the company’s confidential information; and defending a major studio in a suit brought by the loan-out company for a television producer, alleging that he was owed net profits under the terms of his agreements with the studio.
In addition to litigation, Ms. Smith also dedicates a significant portion of her practice to advising employers with respect to employment-related issues. She has managed company-wide wage and hour compliance audits, involving hundreds of job positions and all aspects of wage and hour compliance. And she has negotiated and drafted numerous severance and separation agreements for executives, including several CEOs.
Ms. Smith has represented clients in the entertainment, media, retail, restaurant, accounting, insurance, transportation, and tech industries, among others.
Ms. Smith earned her law degree in 2006 from the University of Virginia, where she was a member of the editorial board for the Virginia Law Review. She graduated cum laude from Duke University in 2003, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She is admitted to practice in the State of California. Ms. Smith is also a member of the bar in the Seventh and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals, as well as numerous district courts. Ms. Smith also serves on the Firm’s Associate Compensation, Pro Bono, and Diversity Committees, as well as on the Executive Board and Board of Governors of the Boys & Girls’ Club of Santa Monica and the Board of the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (Southern California).
University of Virginia - 2006 Juris Doctor
Duke University - 2003 Bachelor of Arts