C. Matthew Keen

Managing Shareholder Raleigh

Mr. Keen has practiced labor and employment law in the Raleigh office of Ogletree Deakins since 1987. His practice has included employment litigation in state and federal courts, representing clients before the National Labor Relations Board and advising clients on equal employment opportunity and wage and hour issues.  He has successfully litigated cases to defense verdicts in employment discrimination cases.  He has also litigated matters involving ERISA, non-competition and trade secrets, workplace injuries and other contract and tort claims.  He has successfully represented clients in dozens of labor and employment arbitrations.

Mr. Keen has been recognized as a leading labor and employment lawyer by The Best Lawyers in America*, and was named "Lawyer of the Year" in the area of Employment Law - Management in Raleigh by Best Lawyers for 2012. In 2014, Mr. Keen was named Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year" in the area of Labor - Law Management. He has been named in the top tier of the leading employment lawyers in North Carolina by Chambers USA America’s Leading Business Lawyers* since 2006.  He has also been recognized by North Carolina Legal Elite* and Super Lawyers*.

Mr. Keen has lectured on various employment law topics before business groups and has written articles for legal and employment journals. He contributed to and revises the North Carolina Employers' Desk Manual and also contributed to a treatise on the Americans With Disabilities Act. He is active in the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.


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Employment Litigation

Mr. Keen regularly represents employers in litigation matters in state and federal courts. He has tried numerous cases to defense verdicts, in addition to successful summary judgment motions in many other matters. Significant Verdicts & Decisions Include:

  • Jenkins v. Akzo Nobel Coatings. 4th Circuit affirmed summary judgment on breach of contract and fraud claims filed by expatriate employee.
  • Abdel-Rahman v. BASF.  Defense jury verdict in age and national origin discrimination case.
  • Howard v. Cape Industries. 4th Circuit upheld summary judgment on ERISA claims.
  • Holder-Blake v. Duke University. Defense jury verdict in age discrimination case.
  • Kearns v. Duke University. Defense verdict in race discrimination case.
  • Kranz v. Hendrick Automotive Group. North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment on wrongful discharge claim.
  • Chao v. IBM. 4th Circuit affirmed summary judgment on claims of age and national origin discrimination.
  • Allen v. IBM. 4th Circuit affirmed motion to dismiss “Woodson” intentional injury claim.
  • Coggins et al. v. PSNC Energy. Defense verdict in harassment and hostile work environment claims.


Mr. Keen has tried many employment arbitrations for leading North Carolina employers. He has litigated a wide variety of discrimination claims in the arbitration context.  He also has handled many labor arbitrations before AAA and FMCS.

Professional Activities and Speeches

Professional Activities:

  • American Bar Association (Committee on WARN Act)
  • North Carolina Bar Association (Labor and Employment Law Section, Litigation Section)
  • Wake County Bar Association
  • American Employment Law Council
  • Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce Board of Advisors
  • Raleigh Sports Council Steering Committee


  • Capital Associated Industries - 2014 Labor & Employment Law Update - ''Top 10 Tips for Avoiding (or Minimizing) Employment Litigation'' - Raleigh - May 15, 2014
  • Capital Associated Industries - 2014 Labor & Employment Law Update - ''Eye on Employment Law'' - Raleigh - May 14, 2014
  • RTAC-ACC Conference - ''Key Employment Law Issues for 2014: Expected Employment Legislation'' - Raleigh - January 15, 2014
  • Capital Associated Industries - 2013 Labor & Employment Law Update - ''Meeting the Reasonable Accommodation Challenges Under the ADA'' - Raleigh - May 23, 2013
  • NC SHRM Conference - ''The Role of HR in Significant Milestone Events'' - Raleigh - January 30, 2013
  • Capital Associated Industries - 2012 Labor & Employment Law Update - ''Disability Enforcement Trends After ADAAA'' - Raleigh - May 02, 2012
  • ACC Conference: Managing a Workforce in 2012 - ''Recent Employment Litigation Decisions Affecting NC Employers'' - Raleigh - March 21, 2012
  • North Carolina Society for Human Resources Management Conference - ''Eye On Employment Law'' - Raleigh
  • Capital Associated Industries - 2011 Labor & Employment Law Update - ''Test Your Employment Knowledge'' - Raleigh - May 18, 2011
  • Capital Associated Industries - 2011 Labor & Employment Law Update - ''ADAAA – The New Regulations & Slippery Slope of Reasonable Accommodation'' - Raleigh - May 17, 2011
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''Compensation Discrimination: What’s Next After the Lilly Ledbetter Act?'' - Chicago - May 12, 2011
  • Ogletree Deakins webinar - ''ADAAA: Will the Final Regulations Change How Employers Handle Disability Issues in the Workplace?'' - April 20, 2011
  • Alamance Society for Human Resources Management - Employment Law Trends - ''Developments Under the ADAAA, New DOL Enforcement Strategies, and Recent Supreme Court Decision Affecting Employee Privacy'' - Burlington - September 21, 2010
  • Capital Associated Industries - 2010 Labor & Employment Update - ''Disability Discrimination: The New Risks for Employers'' - Raleigh - May 12, 2010
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''Tackling Tough Wage & Hour Issues'' - Las Vegas - May 07, 2010
  • Associate of Corporate Counsel America, Research Triangle Chapter - ''The State of North Carolina Employment Law'' - Raleigh - November 18, 2009
  • Capital Associated Industries - 2009 Labor & Employment Law Update - ''Congressional Status Report'' - Raleigh - May 14, 2009
  • Capital Associated Industries - 2009 Labor & Employment Law Update - ''The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments of 2008: What Employers Should Expect in 2009 and Beyond'' - Raleigh - May 13, 2009
  • Employers' Association - CEO Conference - ''Legislative Landscape in the Obama Legislation'' - Fort Worth - April 01, 2009

Our Insights


Media Quotes

October 24, 2018 - Law360 - "Law Firm Leaders: Ogletree's C. Matthew Keen"
June 14, 2018 - Bloomberg Big Law Business - "Workflows: Ogletree Opens Office in Maine"