William J. Kelly III

William J. Kelly III
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Bill is a founding member of Kelly & Walker LLC whose commercial and employment litigation practice focuses on national and regional litigation for business clients.  In response to a survey of Fortune 500 General Counsel, Bill has been awarded a “BTI Client Services All Star” for 4 consecutive years.  He is also the sole Colorado recipient of the “Lexology Client Choice Award in Litigation” for 2017, a national survey of in-house counsel.

Bill’s commercial litigation trial experience includes class actions, vicarious liability, professional liability, non-compete and trade secret litigation, breach of contract and indemnity litigation, multi-thousand member environmental and mass tort actions, ad valorem tax assessment litigation and mass-claim complex insurance coverage litigation. He acts as national class counsel to a national property and casualty insurer, as regional litigation counsel to an international wholesaler and retailer, as regional counsel to a REIT in connection with its commercial property operations, and as national litigation counsel to two international franchisors.

In employment litigation, Bill serves as national or regional employment counsel to several national employers.  He has served as national employment counsel to a Fortune 25 Global company, provided advice and consultation on federal and state pre-litigation matters inclusive of wage and hour, medical leave, discrimination and accommodation matters. He has been lead counsel in hearings before federal and state agencies and commissions nationwide. He litigates age, race, religious, national origin and retaliation claims, collective actions, infringement, trade secret and non-competes in federal and state courts around the country.

His technology practice has included litigation over technologies, trade secrets, trademarks, and litigating commercial cases surrounding licenses and technology.  He has also performed transactional work in drafting and negotiating software licenses, andBTI Client Service MVP professional service agreements.


  • Lead class counsel (Defense) to multiple statewide property and casualty class and multi-party actions in various state, federal and MDL jurisdictions (including CO, AZ, GA, AL, TX, LA, IL, FL, OR, and CT).
  • Lead class counsel (Defense) representing employers to defend FLSA collective actions in CO, UT and CA.
  • Lead class counsel (Defense) representing franchisor in statewide Illinois sales and promotion class action.
  • Representation of Global Fortune 25 Company in OSHA charge of retaliation and discrimination suit. Full defense verdict upheld on appeal.
  • Lead counsel (Defense) of FEMA/USACE federal contractor in multi-million dollar Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division dispute under Service Contract Act.
  • Representation of casino operator in pregnancy discrimination and ADA failure to accommodate claim in federal jury trial. Full defense verdict.
  • Lead class counsel (Defense) of Section 1981 and 1983 putative class action involving 3,800 putative class members in post-Katrina USACE workplace.
  • Lead class counsel (Defense) of WARN class action culminating in summary judgment on behalf of employer.
  • Representation of Fortune Global 20 international food manufacturer in various EEOC Charges of Discrimination across 37 states, resulting in 100% dismissal or “no cause” determinations.
  • Defense of employer in federal court action by three former employees claiming age discrimination. Defense verdict upheld on appeal and certiorari denied by the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Representation in federal court trial of sex discrimination and harassment claims asserted by existing employee. Complete defense verdict.
  • Defense verdict on breach of contract claims in traditional labor arbitration.
  • Prosecution of temporary restraining order and injunction on behalf of telecommunications company asserting theft of trade secrets and violation of non-compete agreements. Awarded damages and attorney fees in 2 day bench trial.
  • Litigated numerous multi-million dollar ad valorem tax assessment cases before various tax commissions on behalf of Class-A business management companies, REITs, national hotel chains, manufacturers, casinos and amusement park facilities.
  • Prosecuted multi-jurisdictional breach of lease dispute for REIT resulting in significant damages assessed against former tenant.
  • Invalidated a recall petition filed against elected officials under the Colorado State Constitution and Colorado Election Laws.
  • Defended national sporting goods retailer in direct and contributory infringement actions involving numerous NCAA licenses.
  • Trial of Phase One liability class action involving environmental mass-tort claims resulting in defense verdict and decertification of class.

Louisiana (1992) & Colorado (2007)
Supreme Court of the United States
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
United States District Court for the District of Colorado
United States District Court for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of Louisiana
United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois

International Association of Defense Counsel, Fellow (IADC) (2012-present)
Professional Liability Attorney Network (PLAN), Member (2013-present)
Children’s Hospital of Colorado, Volunteer (2011-2013)
Cottonwood Institute, Board Member (2012-present)
Board Member, Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans (2010-present)
Coral Place of Greenwood Village, CO HOA Board Member (2009-2012)
For the Bayou Foundation, Colorado Chapter President (2009-2013)
Tulane Alumni Association, Colorado Chapter President (2007-2009)
Sacred Heart House, Denver, CO, Volunteer (2008)
Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL), Leadership Forum (2006)
Good Shepherd School of New Orleans, Board Member and Chairman Elect (2005-2007)
Upper Audubon Association (UAA), Board Member (2005-2007)
Louisiana Civil Service League, Board of Governors (2003-2008)
Provost Council, Tulane University (2000-2007)
Fr. Junipero Serra Club of Downtown New Orleans, President & Board of Trustees (1998-2003)
Crescendo for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Board of Directors (1997-2002)
New Orleans / River Region Chamber of Commerce Capital Campaign (1997-2001)
Metropolitan Area Committee (MAC), Leadership Forum (1999)

BTI Client Service All-Star Attorney (2013-present)
BTI Client Service MVP (2014-present)
Lexology “Client Choice Award, Litigation” for State of Colorado (2017)
Denver’s Top AV- Rated Lawyers (2011-present)
Colorado Super Lawyers, Employment Litigation (all editions) (2008-present)
“AV Preeminent” Peer Review Rating by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell (all editions) (2005-present)
Chambers USA Leaders in Employment Law (2007 ed.)
Marquis’ Who’s Who in American Law, 11th Ed. et seq. (2001 – present)
Chambers USA “Leaders in their Field” in the area of Employment Law (Employment)(2007)
H.U.G.S. Excellence In Community Service (1997)
Alpha Sigma Nu International Jesuit Honor Society (1992)
International Junipero Serra Award, Programs (Glasgow, Scotland 1999)
Sigma Chi Fraternity Grand Consul Award, Chapter Advisor (1995)
Louisiana Bar Association Commitment to the Bar Award (2009)

Drafting Demand Letters (National Webinar)
Indemnities, Hold Harmless and Exculpatory Clauses (National Webinar)
Lost Profits in Commercial Litigation (National Webinar)
Jury Selection in Employment Litigation (IADC) (Colorado Springs, CO)
Business Torts: Looking Beyond Infringement to Protect IP (New York, NY)
Constructive Discharge Claims: How Bad Does it Have to Get? (National CLE Conference)
International Association of Defense Counsel Annual Meeting, Class Actions (Maui, HI)
Rocky Mountain Intellectual Property Conference, Non-compete and Trade Secret Update (Denver, CO)
Supreme Court Class Actions Update, Louisiana Assoc. of Defense Counsel (Beaver Creek, CO)
American Bar Association Annual Ski & CLE, Employment Law Update (Snowmass, CO)
Anti-Harassment Identification and Response (Bloomington, IL)
United States Supreme Court Update on Labor and Employment Cases (Aspen, CO)
Loyola Univ. School of Law, Appellate Advocacy Curriculum, w/Ret. Justice H. Lemmon (2003-2008)
University of Denver, Strum College of Law, Labor and Employment Law Basics
In-House Anti-Harassment Training (CO, IL, MO, GA, MN, OR, TX, LA, WA, CA)
ADA Amendments (Lorman) (Denver, CO)
Hey! Don’t Blog Around Here No More (CBA) (Denver, CO)
What In-House Want from Their Outhouse (LADC) (New Orleans, LA)
Software Police, The Rocky Mountain Intellectual Property Conference (Denver, CO)
American Conference Institute (ACI), E-Discovery Techniques and Trends (New York, NY)
Hospitality Lawyer, Representing Casinos in Commercial Litigation (Houston, TX)
Non-Compete Litigation: The Place Where Three Roads Meet (Las Vegas, NV)
Louisiana Technology Council, Avoiding Internet Liabilities (New Orleans, LA & Baton Rouge, LA)
State of Louisiana Lieutenant Governor, Business Development Conference (Baton Rouge, LA)
Mayor of New Orleans Office of Economic Development, Technology (New Orleans, LA)
RIAA Recording Academy’s Grammy’s, VooDoo EconoMixx Conference (Nashville, TN)
The University of New Orleans Business Series, Representing Entrepreneurs (New Orleans, LA)
Tulane University Music and Tech Conference, Digital Rights Management (New Orleans, LA)
State of Louisiana Music Commission South By Southwest (“SXSW”) Louisiana Delegation
Council on Education in Management, What to Do When the Gov’t Knocks (Baton Rouge, LA)
CLE International Music & Entertainment Seminar, Fairness in Music Licensing (Los Angeles, CA)
Anderson Consulting, Issues in Employment Law (St. Louis, MO)
It’s The Law: Who Owns It? – Intellectual Property and Internet (WDSU-TV, New Orleans, LA)
Loyola School of Business, The Labor Arbitration and Grievance Process (New Orleans, LA)
Clerks of Louisiana District Court, Performance Appraisals and Evaluations (Mandeville, LA)
Association of Beverage Alcohol Licensees, Avoiding Dram Shop Liability (Las Vegas, NV)

Employee Class Actions Four Years After Wal-Mart v. Dukes, Defense Research Institute Journal, (July 2015)
DRI Supreme Court Update on Class Certification, Defense Research Institute Journal, (Nov 2014)
Conning the IADC Newsletters: Fraud-on-the-Market Class Certification: Theory, Tolling and Materiality, Defense Counsel Journal, Vol. 80, No. 3 (July 2013), at 307-312
Labor Law Update: 5th Circuit Symposium, 44 Loy. L. Rev. 545
Labor Law Update: 5th Circuit Symposium, 40 Loy. L. Rev 753 (Kelly & Hess)
Monthly Employment Column in New Orleans Hospitality Magazine, (1992-2004)

Bachelor of Arts, English, Tulane University, 1989
Juris Doctorate, St. Louis University, 1992

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, 15 Minutes Music®, www.jpfmusic.com, promoting independent music and producing monthly music shows at House of Blues, New Orleans (2002-2008).

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