Sarah Kelly-Kilgore is a litigation attorney in Holland & Knight's Newport Beach and Los Angeles offices and a member of the firm's Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice. Ms. Kilgore focuses her practice on a wide variety of litigation matters.

Ms. Kilgore has experience litigating cases in a broad range of practice areas, including employment litigation, fraud, business torts, defamation, securities and investments, real estate, contracts, federal agency enforcement actions, unfair competition, trade secrets, director and officer liability, fraudulent conveyance corporate governance disputes, and shareholder and consumer class action litigation. She has been lead counsel in a number of high-profile cases involving significant national and international public attention, including matters reported in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe.

In addition, Ms. Kilgore regularly advises business entities on matters of employment law, including sexual harassment, discrimination and wrongful termination. Her clients include public companies, private businesses, executives and celebrities.

Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Ms. Kilgore was the managing partner for the Los Angeles office of an elite boutique trial law firm.

While in law school, Ms. Kilgore was the editor-in-chief of the American Criminal Law Review and an associate editor of the Annual Survey of White Collar Crime. She was also a member of the Georgetown Moot Court Team.

Representative Experience

  • Lead counsel for a celebrity in a high-profile defamation action before the U.S. Supreme Court, resulting in a full dismissal of claims
  • Lead counsel for an Am Law 200 law firm in an action before the California Court of Appeal
  • Lead counsel for real estate investors in California Court of Appeal; obtained a writ of mandamus, reversing the trial court's order in a promissory fraud action
  • Lead counsel for an attorney whistleblower in ongoing financial services litigation before the U.S. Department of Labor
  • Co-lead counsel for a world-famous entertainer in an action before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, resulting in both his criminal conviction and sentence being vacated and retrial being prohibited

  • Lead counsel for a law firm in an action against an employee's sexual harassment and disability discrimination claims; obtained order compelling matter to confidential arbitration
  • Lead counsel for an attorney whistleblower in a wrongful termination action involving allegations that attorney's former employer improperly permitted Chinese investors to access protected satellite data
  • Advised a financial services institution about developments in California employment law, including providing in-house trainings to executives and middle management
  • Lead trial counsel for a former shareholder of an Am Law 100 law firm in a pay equity action involving claims under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA)
  • Lead counsel for a celebrity real estate agent in a trade secrets action against a former employee that included defense against the former employee's PAGA claims
  • Lead trial counsel for a credit union in a workplace violence and harassment action against a former accountholder; obtained restraining orders for at-risk executives and attorneys

  • Lead trial counsel representing a client in multiple actions, including one asserting more than $15 million for breach of fiduciary duty, defamation and interference with prospective economic advantage
  • Co-lead counsel for victims of Northern California wildfires in California state and federal courts; secured more than $400 million in settlements
  • Lead counsel for a financial services company in a class action defense matter arising from alleged improper overdraft charges
  • Co-lead trial counsel for an inventor in a $1 billion trade secrets theft case against a rideshare company; obtained a jury verdict in bifurcated trial
  • Lead trial counsel for an outdoor media company in several lawsuits involving highly valuable commercial real estate, including one lawsuit that resulted in obtaining a contempt order against the opposing parties
  • Counsel for former president and chief operating officer (COO) of a multinational casino and resorts company in a securities class action in Nevada federal court; obtained a summary judgment order that was subsequently affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

  • Advised a food and beverage company about a securities enforcement matter relating to a former employee's unauthorized conduct
  • Represented the former chief financial officer (CFO) of a software company in an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) involving the company's revenue recognition and accounting practices
  • Represented a satellite company's former director in an investigation by the U.S. Department of Commerce involving alleged violation of export prohibitions

  • Lead counsel for a regional dairy cooperative in a breach of contract action against a global corporation; obtained a multimillion-dollar arbitration award
  • Lead counsel for an engineering company in multiple arbitration proceedings against suppliers of defective parts intended for use in power plants; obtained award for consequential damages
  • Lead counsel in a confidential dispute involving allegations of breach of contract and professional malpractice
  • Lead counsel for a respondent in an employment dispute arising from allegations of gender discrimination and unequal pay
  • Counsel for a multinational software engineering company in a London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) proceeding involving a breach of contract claim based on an agreement to provide a bespoke software system


  • Georgetown University Law Center
  • San Diego State University, B.A., History
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • California
  • District of Columbia
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA), Board of Trustees, Executive Member, 2020-2022; Member, 2023-Present; Business Law Section, Executive Committee Member/Barristers Liaison, 2017-2019; Membership Benefits Committee/Membership Task Force, Executive Member, 2019-Present; Nominating Committee Member, 2018
  • LACBA, Barristers/Young Attorneys Section, President, 2021-2022; President-Elect, 2020-2021; Vice President, 2019-2020; Assistant Vice President of Special Events, 2017-2019; Continuing Legal Education Chair, 2016-2017; Executive Committee, 2015-2023
  • Los Angeles Superior Court, Bench and Bar Committee, Civil, 2019-2022
  • Institute for Corporate Counsel, Advisory Board Member, 2018-Present
  • American Bar Association
  • Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (WLALA)
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL), Board of Governors, 2023-Present
  • Mission Plasticos, Board Member, 2023-Present
  • Public Counsel, Leadership Council Board, 2015-Present
  • Aztec Mentor Program, San Diego State University, 2019-2022
Honors & Awards
  • Ones to Watch, The Best Lawyers in America guide, Southern California, 2023, 2024; Litigation – Securities, 2022
  • Women of Influence: Attorneys, Los Angeles Business Journal, 2022, 2023
  • Leaders of Influence: Litigators & Trial Attorneys, Los Angeles Business Journal, 2022, 2023
  • Top Women Lawyers, Daily Journal, 2022, 2023
  • The 40 and Under Hot List, Benchmark Litigation, 2021, 2023
  • Labor & Employment Star, Benchmark Litigation, 2021, 2023
  • Super Lawyer, Southern California Super Lawyers magazine, 2023
  • On the Rise – Top 40 Young Lawyers Award, American Bar Association, 2022
  • Rising Star, Southern California Super Lawyers magazine, 2020-2022
  • Top Women Attorneys, Los Angeles Business Journal, 2020
  • Top 40 Under 40 Lawyers, Daily Journal, 2019


Speaking Engagements