About Our Founder
EMPLOYERS’ LEGAL DEFENSE INSTITUTE’S FOUNDER KIMBERLY L. RUSSELL, ESQUIRE
Ms. Russell’s Philosophy and Approach
For more than 20 years, Ms. Russell has seen the havoc that employment problems can wreak upon an unsuspecting business.
From her first case dealing with gender discrimination to the present, Ms. Russell has focused on helping employers navigate the ever-increasing, always changing rules and regulations related to employer-employee relations. Ms. Russell is committed to eliminating illegal conduct in the workplace, but she has seen the punitive effects that overreaching regulations and an overworked judicial system have on employers, particularly small to midsized employers which create most of the jobs in the United States.
Ms. Russell founded the Employers’ Legal Defense InstituteSM to focus on training employers to protect themselves while maintaining legally compliant workplace policies and administrative programs. Ms. Russell frequently tells her clients that although discrimination still does occur and should not be tolerated, the “system” goes too far in allowing employees and their lawyers to bring baseless claims without consequence and allowing employees to manipulate that “system,” all at great cost to employers and the employees left behind. Ms. Russell believes strongly that “the best offense is a great defense” and works with her clients to comply with the law, treat all employees fairly, and be able to present a strong, aggressive defense when necessary. Employers often find themselves in emergencies (i.e. needing to terminate someone immediately, but not knowing whether it is “safe” to do so). Ms. Russell often describes much of her practice as an “Employment Law Hotline,” where Ms. Russell will help an employer navigate a specific urgent situation, plan a termination or discipline, and then help the employer avoid similar risks in the future. Employers never can prepare for everything, but strong workplace practices are the start of a more productive workplace.
Ms. Russell initially concentrated her practice on real estate and commercial litigation, representing developers, builders, and related companies in the defense of numerous real estate sale and development disputes, contract claims, construction defect claims, and commercial disputes. When one of those clients was sued for alleged sexual harassment by a perpetually unhappy and unproductive employee, Ms. Russell began her defense of employers and has worked for the last two decades to help employers navigate and mitigate risk in a system that is inherently biased against employers.
The Employers’ Legal Defense InstituteSM is the embodiment of Ms. Russell’s vision to empower employers through education, training, and awareness.
Ms. Russell’s Legal Practice
Ms. Russell is the Chairperson of the Employment Law Department at Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. Ms. Russell represents employers in a variety of matters including best management practices, workforce management for multistate and “virtual office” employers, avoiding employment claims, employee counseling (including discipline and termination), workforce training (including for insurance/contract compliance), management and executive training, workplace investigations, and dispute resolution. Ms. Russell handles a vast array of claims for employers including harassment and discrimination claims of all types, wage and hour claims (including overtime), Family and Medical Leave Act claims, management of disability issues and claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act, issues under the Affordable Care Act, HIPAA, unemployment compensation, employment contracts (including protection of confidential/trade secret information), and executive contracts. Ms. Russell handles claims for her clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Federal Courts, and before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, municipal human relations commissions, the Department of Labor (including the Wage and Hour Division), various unemployment compensation bureaus, and private arbitration and mediation.
- Pennsylvania, 1994
- New Jersey, 1994
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of PA, 1994
- U.S. District Court District of NJ, 1994
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, 2003
- Villanova University School of Law, Villanova, PA, J.D., 1994
- Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA, B.A., summa cum laude, 1990
Honors & Accolades
- Super Lawyers 2019
- Best Lawyers in Pennsylvania 2019
- Best Lawyers in America 2017, 2018, 2020
- Society for Human Resource Management
- American Bar Association
- Pennsylvania Bar Association
- Montgomery County Bar Association
- Counsel for local religious organization
- Created Child Safety Policy aimed at protecting children from abuse
- Spotlight on Employers’ Rights – Effective Protection from Harassment Claims Requires a Three Part Defense
- Another Hazard for Employers: Amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act Increase Employee Leave Entitlements
- New Amendments to Americans with Disabilities Act Create New Headaches for Employers
- The Latest Assault On Employers EEOC Strengthens Its Anti-Employer Policies
- “The Smell Test”: A Practical Solution for Dealing with Drug and Alcohol Abuse on the Job
- Employment Law meets Risk Management: Guide for Successful Employee Terminations
- Steps to Successful Termination
- Wild Year Ahead: Major Changes Possible for Employers
- Philadelphia Enacts Paid Sick Leave Law
- Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare Subsidies in Federal Exchanges
- Are They Crazy? Amazon Pays Unhappy Employees to Leave
- HR in the Crosshairs: Employer Hit with Huge Jury Verdict Due to HR’s Alleged Failure to Investigate Harassment Claims
- New Hiring Restrictions on Philadelphia Employers
- Employment Law from the Employer’s Chair training series
- Documentation for HR Professionals; The Key to Protecting Employers
- Human Resource Management Department Accommodations in the Workplace
- Pennsylvania Bar Association – Real Estate Update
- Pennsylvania Bar Association: Failure to Disclosure Seminar (Update on Real Estate Seller’s Disclosure Law)
Honors & Accolades
- Best Lawyer in America 2018
Kimberly often describes herself as a “recovering soccer mom.” After over fifteen years of running to soccer, soccer, and then soccer (fall soccer, indoor soccer, spring soccer, showcase soccer tournaments), and making it all the way through high school and college soccer with her two sons, she has retired her fold up chair, hand and toe warmers, and soccer blankets (for now, anyway).
To fill the “void” left by the absence of soccer tournaments, Kimberly and her husband decided to take on the world of running. She started training for races when her husband, a builder and developer who is “growing” the city of Hernando, Mississippi, started running charity races supporting select charities in Mississippi and Kimberly decided to join in. She was able to convince her husband to run their first half marathon in November 2016 by enticing him to run the Walt Disney World Wine and Dine Half Marathon, merging the challenge of running with their enjoyment of wine. The thought of finishing a half marathon in the midst of a wine and food festival was enough to get Kimberly and her husband across the finish line, and they have continued to train for races ever since.
Kimberly also is a hopeless, long suffering, and never-to-recover Philadelphia Eagles fan. Kimberly is a proud graduate of the Philadelphia Eagles’ Women’s Training Camp. She learned offensive line skills from Jon Runyan and ran routes with Brent Celek. Kimberly “bleeds green” but has lost a lot of blood and tears over the past decade with the Birds. Watching the Eagles win Super Bowl LII was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream and Kimberly will show anyone who asks the picture of her with the Lombardi trophy in her office. Calling Kimberly on a Monday morning after an Eagles loss is perilous, and if you are opposing counsel in a case on a bad Eagles Monday, look out. She also loves college football, and is one of those diehard fans who watches the NFL combine and the draft. Kimberly’s dream job is to be a college recruiter and scout for the Eagles but because they have not called her yet, she will continue to do the “lawyer thing.”