• Defense of employment claims
  • Training, investigation, audits
  • Creation and implementation of employment policies and human resources practices
  • Restrictive covenant litigation and counseling
  • Representation of executives
  • Employment Agreements
  • Arbitration and Mediation
  • Provision of Mediation Services


  • Business counseling
  • Complex commercial litigation
  • Products liability litigation


J.D., with Honors, George Washington University, The National Law Center, Washington, D.C., 1988

B.A., cum laude, Bucknell University, 1985


  • Rated AV-Preeminent Martindale Hubbell
  • Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
  • Top Legal Minds in New Jersey
  • Bar Register Preeminent Women Lawyers

Vanessa M. Kelly regularly counsels employers on employment issues, including terminations, leaves, workplace misconduct, protecting key personnel and proprietary information, contingent workers, reductions in force, and implementation of workplace policies designed to avoid disputes and comply with state and federal law.  She performs investigations of employment issues for employers and counsels her employer clients through the process of investigation and remedial measures.  Ms. Kelly has significant experience in drafting employment agreements, restrictive covenants, separation agreements, independent contractor and contingent worker agreements.  She has created human resource functions and processes, and their implementing forms and policies for new or growing businesses; employee handbooks, operating manuals and other important employment policies.

Ms. Kelly has substantial experience defending employment claims in state and federal courts across the country and in prosecuting and defending enforcement of restrictive covenants, both here in New Jersey and in other jurisdictions.  She has worked with employer practices liability carriers in defense of claims asserted against their policyholders.  She is an experienced trial lawyer having conducted jury and bench trials and arbitration.  She also has experience defending employers against claims raised in state and federal administrative agencies, especially human rights agencies and wage and hour forums.

Ms. Kelly writes and speaks on employment law issues.  She is a frequent speaker for the American Bar Association’s Section of Labor and Employment.  She was recently appointed as a Management Co-Chairman of the Executive Contracts and Compensation Subcommittee and spoke at the ABA’s Employee Rights and Responsibilities Subcommittee Meeting in March 2013. She has addressed members of the Employers Association of New Jersey on protecting proprietary information and the Society of Human Resource Professionals on Discrimination issues.  She has been a contributing editor to the American Bar Association, Employment Section and BNA’s jointly prepared State-by-State compendiums, including Covenants Not to CompeteDefining Proprietary InformationEmployee Duty of Loyalty, and Employment At Will.

Ms. Kelly is also a member of the New Jersey Bar Association where she was formerly chair of the Women in the Profession Section and serves on the Appellate Practice and Legal Education Committees.  She is a member of the Hunterdon County Bar Association.

Before forming her own practice in Hunterdon County, Ms. Kelly was Of Counsel to the Morristown, New Jersey office of Jackson Lewis, LLP, a national law firm specializing in the representation of employers in employment related matters, an associate of the Sills Cummis Epstein & Gross Employment and Labor practice group and began her practice as a litigation associate at Morristown’s Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, P.C.

Bar Admissions

New Jersey, 1988

District of New Jersey, 1988

New York, 1989

Eastern District of New York, 1993

Southern District of New York, 1993

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit 1999