Kara M. Ariail is an attorney in Holland & Knight's Tysons office in northern Virginia. She practices in the area of employment law counseling and litigation. Ms. Ariail works closely with employers in a range of industries to provide ongoing counseling, training and investigations designed to minimize the risk of litigation and maximize employee retention and productivity. Ms. Ariail recognizes that legal compliance is one of many competing business considerations when advising clients on employment law matters.

Clients rely on Ms. Ariail because she carefully evaluates the priorities and underlying circumstances at issue for each client to ensure the advice and recommendations she provides are both comprehensive and practical. She regularly advises clients on a wide range of employment issues, including successful hiring, employee performance management and termination strategies; development and implementation of anti-harassment and other personnel policies; evaluating and resolving employee complaints and workplace conflicts; evaluating reasonable accommodation obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and state disability laws; achieving compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA); and wage and hour compliance. Ms. Ariail also advises clients on the employment law aspects of corporate transactions at all stages of the acquisition and sale process.

When litigation cannot be avoided, Ms. Ariail represents employers before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and both federal and state courts and agencies. Ms. Ariail has defended claims of discrimination and harassment, wage and hour violations, breach of contract, defamation, negligence and wrongful termination, as well as claimed violations of both the ADA and FMLA.

Ms. Ariail also works with clients to prepare, interpret and enforce employment, retention and termination agreements, including confidentiality and restrictive covenant agreements.

Representative Experience


  • William & Mary Law School, J.D.
  • American University, B.A., Political Science, cum laude
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
  • American Bar Association 
  • National Association of Women Business Owners, Greater DC Chapter, Board Member
Honors & Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Employment Law - Management, 2024
  • Holland & Knight Pro Bono All-Star, 2021
  • Rising Star, Virginia Super Lawyers magazine, 2010-2015
  • Rising Star, Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers magazine, 2015


Speaking Engagements