Katessa Charles Davis

Shareholder Los Angeles

Katessa Charles Davis – a shareholder in the Los Angeles office of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P. C., is a legal strategist, problem solver, and committed advocate. Ms. Davis is responsible for all aspects of employment litigation matters on behalf of employers and management, including trials and arbitrations. Ms. Davis has tried to verdict in state and federal court employment matters involving gender, race, and disability discrimination and harassment, as well as retaliation and wrongful termination. In 2018, Ms. Davis was recognized as one of the top female attorneys in California by the Los Angeles Daily Journal, which honors the achievements of female attorneys statewide.

Ms. Davis is a past President of the Los Angeles County Bar Foundation, a past Trustee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and a past President of the Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Inc. Ms. Davis is a member of the Labor and Employment Law Sections of the State Bar of California and the Los Angeles County Bar Association. She is also a past member of the Executive Committee of the Litigation Section of the State Bar of California.


Ms. Davis resolves commercial and employment disputes, including unfair competition, trade secret, contract, privacy, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims. She defends corporate clients against claims brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Family Medical Leave Act, California Fair Employment and Housing Act, California Wage Orders, as well as other related federal and state statutes and regulations. She has experience in a broad range of industries from manufacturing to entertainment, and has arbitration as well as jury trial experience in state and federal courts.

Ms. Davis counsels employers in all areas of employment law, including state and federal wage and hour, employee compensation, privacy, employee leaves of absence and performance, employment and service agreements, outside salespersons, independent contractors, unfair competition, and trade secret issues. Ms. Davis represents employers in administrative proceedings, including responding to charges filed with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, California Labor Commissioner, and U.S. Department of Labor.

Ms. Davis assists employers with reducing their workforce, developing personnel handbooks, and training supervisory employees on the prevention of sexual harassment.

Ms. Davis also speaks on a multitude of employment and management related topics, including hiring and firing; leaves of absence; disability accommodation; personnel policies; discrimination laws; trade secrets; unfair business practices; and privacy in the workplace.

Ms. Davis serves on the firm's Professional Development Committee, and is passionate about mentoring legal talent.

Recent Trials to Verdict

  • Melissa Ignat v. Yum! Brands, Inc. (Case No. 30-2008-00114748), Orange County Superior Court, 2015 [Lead Attorney/Defense Verdict]
  • Anthony Jackson v. Metal Improvement Co. (Case No. CV12-1755) MWF (CWx), United States District Court, Central District, 2013 [Second Chair/ Defense Verdict on the wrongful termination, race discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing to FAA; Plaintiff's verdict on whistleblowing to OSHA.  Total award to Plaintiff was $85,000 for back wages.  No award punitive damages and attorney fees]

Professional Activities and Speeches

Professional Activities:

  • Crystal Stairs, Inc. (Board of Directors, 2011 to present)
    • Childcare services and advocacy program for low-income families in the communities of South Los Angeles, Compton, Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood and Long Beach
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (Life Member; Board of Directors, International Parliamentarian, 2010-2014)
    • First Greek-lettered sorority established and incorporated by African-American college women
  • Jenesse Center, Inc. (Legal Advisory Board, 2007-2013)
    • Domestic violence intervention program located in South Central Los Angeles providing resources and advocacy for victims of domestic violence
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association (Finance Committee, 2007-2009; Trustee, 2003-2005)
    • Mock Trial Participant at Third Annual Trial Skills Academy, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section (June 4, 2016)
  • Los Angeles County Bar Foundation [Counsel for Justice] (President, 2007-2008)
  • American Bar Association (Presidential Advisory Council on Diversity in the Profession, 2004-2007)
  • State Bar of California (Executive Committee, Litigation Section, 1997-2000)
  • California Litigation Review, State Bar of California (Editor-in-Chief, 1999)
  • Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Inc. (Life Member; President, 1998-1999)
    • Panel Participant at Black Women Lawyers Annual Retreat, "You've Got a Deal! Perspectives on Successful Negotiation & Mediation Strategies" (2016)
  • Langston Bar Association (Life Member)
  • Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Inc. Board of Directors (1996-1998)
  • Member, The Links, Incorporated (2013 to present)


  • Ogletree Deakins Managing a Workforce in 2019 Seminar - ''Common California Leave of Absence Dilemmas and How to Solve Them'' - Los Angeles - November 01, 2018
  • Los Angeles Daily Journal - Women in Leadership Forum Panel Discussion - ''Women in the Courtroom'' - Beverly Hills - May 02, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Navigating California Employment Law Seminar - ''What's New in California Employment Law? As Always, Plenty!'' - Napa - March 01, 2018

Published Works



Media Quotes

February 2014 - Bloomberg BNA - "An Overview of New Laws Affecting California Employees"