Carolyn A. Knox

Shareholder || San Francisco

Carolyn Knox is a member of the International practice group, which provides our clients with labor and employment law support in more than 100 countries. Carolyn works with clients in a variety of jurisdictions across South America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Carolyn has broad experience in both US employment and benefits law, as well has cross-border employment issues. Over the course of her 20+-year career as an employment lawyer, she has practiced in the United States, Europe, and Brazil. In her practice, she regularly provides advice and counsel on cross-border human resources law issues to human resources professionals and in-house employment counsel managing workforces outside of their home country jurisdictions.

Her expertise includes development and roll-outs of global and regional handbooks, the localization and implementation of employment policies and procedures, codes of conduct, workplace audits, employment agreements, commercial representative agreements, workplace investigations, employee and non-employee benefit plans, hiring and termination issues, and M&A due diligence. In addition, her strong litigation background enables Carolyn to identify issues and assist clients in managing litigation outside the United States.

Learn more about Carolyn A. Knox

With more than 20 years of experience as a management-side labor, employment and benefits lawyer, Carolyn has had the opportunity to guide US and international employers through the ever-changing global employment law landscape. Her focus has always been on helping international companies find strategic and business-oriented solutions to their cross-border employment issues.

During her US-based legal career, Carolyn has worked with large employers on general day-to-day advice and counsel, workplace investigations, development of workplace training programs, workplace audits, and provided litigation strategy development and representation in litigation of workplace harassment and discrimination, FMLA and state leave issues, as well as representation of large pension and benefit plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

In Brazil, her practice included advice and counsel on the full range of employment issues faced by multi-national companies, as well as assisting with due diligence on labor issues associated with mergers and acquisitions.  In addition, working with her former firm’s corporate and M&A practice, Carolyn assisted foreign companies looking to establish operations in Brazil. She recently developed a keen interest in the development and implementation of Brazil’s new anti-corruption law and how to facilitate effective workplace investigations.

Carolyn has been a frequent speaker to human resources associations, in-house counsel associations and bar associations on local and cross-border employment and benefits issues. She is active in key international legal organizations. While practicing in San Francisco, Brussels and Brazil, she has worked and traveled throughout Europe, Asia/Pacific (with substantial time in China and India), and Latin America.

Languages: English, Portuguese and French


  • LL.M., Comparative Law, Tulane Law School, 1996
  • J.D., University of San Francisco School of Law, 1995
  • B.A., Political Science/International Relations, University of California, Los Angeles, 1979
  • Sciences Po, L’Institut d’Études Politiques, France, 

Admittance to Practice

  • California
  • U.S. District Court, Central, Eastern, Northern and Southern Districts of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • United States Supreme Court
  • Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil (OAB), Registered Foreign Legal Consultant, Rio de Janeiro State

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association, Section of Labor & Employment
  • American Bar Association, Section of International Law, U.S. Lawyers Abroad Committee cochair
  • International Bar Association (IBA), Employment and Industrial Relations Committee, Law Firm Management Committee, Latin America Regional Forum
  • Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA), Employment & Immigration Law Committee – vice-chair
  • XBHR (Global Forum for Cross-border Human Resources)
  • Bar Association of San Francisco, Section of International Law & Practice – chair


  • International Bar Association Annual Conference 2018 (Panelist) - "Competing against robots: Is there room for discrimination?" - Rome - October 11, 2018
  • Latin Lawyer Fifth Annual Labour and Employment Conference - "'The Great Divide: Unions versus the Gig Economy" - Miami - September 25, 2018
  • American Bar Association Section of International Law - "Welcome Home: Legal Ethics at the Border When Government Agents Pull You Aside and Ask for Your Laptop and Cellphone (Ethics)" - New York - April 18, 2018
  • American Bar Association Section of International Law - "Where Did All the People Go? Labor Issues in the New Global Political Environment" - New York - April 18, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins International Practice Group Seminar - "The Multijurisdictional Reduction in Force" - Washington - March 29, 2018
  • 28th IPBA Annual Meeting and Conference - "Preventing and Dealing with Workplace Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying in Companies Operating Across ASAN and Beyond" - Manila - March 14, 2018
  • XBHR Global Forum for Cross-Border Human Resources Experts 2018 Conference - "Uberisation / Crowdworking / Gig and Platform Economy" - Prague - March 1, 2018
  • Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - "One Problem, One Continent, Three Countries: Employment Solutions for North America" - Boca Raton - November 9, 2017
  • International Bar Association Annual Conference 2017 (Panelist) - "Impact of Technology on the Workplace" - Sydney - October 2017
  • Latin Lawyer - "Labor Developments and Reforms in the LatAm Region" - Miami - September 26, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Managing International Reductions in Force and Terminations" - San Diego - May 5, 2017
  • International Bar Association (IBA) Annual Employment and Discrimination Law Conference 2017 (Panelist) - "Clothing, tattoos, piercings and the like: The new workplace" - Lisbon - April 28, 2017
  • Inter-Pacific Bar Association Annual Conference 2017 (Panelist) - "Employment Relationships 2.0: Protection of Intellectual Property, Programs, Systems, and Documents" - Auckland - April 8, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins International Practice Group Seminar - "Emerging Globalism: Dealing with Change in Multi-National Organizations" - Washington - March 29, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Symposium - "Managing Employees in Latin America" - Austin - March 23, 2017
  • Bar Association of San Francisco - "Chaos in Brazil: Understanding the Ever-Evolving Scandals in the World's 9th Largest Economy" - San Francisco - November 10, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Social Media Horror Stories and How to Avoid Them" - San Francisco - October 25, 2016
  • Association of Corporate Counsel 2016 Annual Meeting - "Crisis Abroad: Protecting Your Global Workforce" - San Francisco - October 16 - 19, 2016
  • Latin Lawyer Annual Labour & Employment Conference (Moderator) - "Diversity and Inclusion in the 21st Century LatAm Workplace" - Miami - September 28, 2016
  • International Bar Association Annual Conference - "How Can We Contribute to the Innovation of the Legal Profession?" - Washington, DC - September 20, 2016
  • Inter-Pacific Bar Association Annual Conference (Panelist for LatAm/Brazil) - "Complying with Corruption and Bribery Regulations: Strategies for Multinational Employers" - Kuala Lumpur - April 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Advanced Workplace Investigations – Special Issues for International Investigations" - San Francisco - October 2015
  • ABA Section of International Law Spring Meeting (Panelist) - "Corporate, Employment, Immigration and Family Law Implications of Human Trafficking and Human Smuggling" - Washington - April 2015
  • 2nd Annual LatAm HR in Energy Conference (Panelist) - "HR Strategies in Mergers and Acquisitions in the Energy Domain" - Rio de Janeiro - September 2014
  • Inter-Pacific Bar Association Annual Conference - "Cutting Edge Corporate Employment and Immigration Issues" - Vancouver - May 2014
  • Inter-Pacific Bar Association Annual Conference (Moderator) - "Sustainability of Women in the Legal Profession" - Vancouver - May 2014
  • Global Employee Surveillance & Monitoring, XBHR Annual Conference (Panelist) - "Brazil & LatAm region" - London - March 2014
  • 3rd Annual Veirano /Ius Laboris Labor Conference (Moderator) - "Restrictive Covenants: Do they have teeth?" - Rio de Janeiro - October 2013
  • IBA Annual Conference (Panelist) - "A whirlwind tour around the globe: labour and employment law in 2013 and its impact on multinationals" - Boston - October 2013
  • Latin American Australia Investors Forum, LatinFinance (Panel Moderator) - "International Trade & Export Facilitation" - Sydney - July 2013
  • Minter Ellison/Veirano Advogados/BrazilTalk seminar - "Key Labor Challenges for Australian Investors Doing Business and Investing in Brazil" - Sydney - July 2013
  • 25th Annual International Law Institute, State Bar of Texas International Law section (Panelist) - "Managing an International Workforce" - Houston - March 2013
  • Blueprint for Brazil Conference (Panelist) - "The Finishing Details: Employment & Corporate Immigration Challenges in the Brazilian Oil & Gas Industry" - New Orleans - October 2011
  • Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Global Networking Lounge, SHRM Global Conference (Panelist) - "Global Employment Trends in a Worldwide Recession" - New Orleans - June 2009
  • Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) On-line Video - "EU Restructuring: considerations prior to lay-offs or workforce reductions" - June 2009
  • Employment Discrimination Conference, Convegno Nazionale, Avvocati Guislavoristi Italiani (AGI) - "Employment discrimination litigation in the USA" - Venice - June 2007
  • September 2017 - International Bar Association's Discrimination and Equality Law News - "A cautionary tale: the value of company culture in avoiding and addressing workplace harassment and discrimination"
  • 2013 - Outbound Investments: Strategies and Pitfalls - "Labor section, Brazil chapter"
  • October 2012 - The Lawyer - "Starting Blocks"
  • March 2012 - IPBA Bulletin (co-author) - "New Brazilian Labour Law: Providing Clarity to Remote Workers?"
  • 2011 - 2012 - ChinaGoAbroad website (editor) - "Managing Employees in Brazil"
  • April 16, 2016 - The Star Online - "Take Note of Strict Anti-Graft Laws"
  • March/April 2016 - Iberian Lawyer - "Advising on Compliance Requires Multidisciplinary Legal Teams"
  • Who’s Who Legal: Labour & Employment (2017-2019)

Insights by Carolyn A. Knox