Kelly Holden


Kelly is chair of DBL Law’s Employment & Labor practice which represents private and public employers in all facets of employment law. Her practice includes advising clients on compliance with various employment matters and providing in-house training on such issues. Kelly has experience working with agencies such as EEOC, DOL, DOJ, Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, Kentucky Labor Cabinet, Ohio Civil Rights Commission, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana unemployment commissions, as well as litigating cases in federal and state courts.

She also drafts employment and non-compete agreements, with an emphasis on health care provider and physician agreements. Kelly advises companies on I-9 compliance, performs I-9 audits, conducts harassment investigations, drafts employee handbooks and employment policies. Although Kelly represents private and public entities across all industries, she particularly focuses on non-profit clients, educational institutions and healthcare entities. She is a certified Title IX Advisor for universities. She is also an arbitrator on the Cincinnati Bar Association panel of arbitrators.

Kelly represents families on adoptions, as well as advising on wills, trusts and estate planning. She also specializes in R-1 visas and permanent residence petitions for religious workers and marriage-based petitions.

She regularly speaks on employment law topics and professional development.

She is an author of a book chapter, “How to Thrive” in a book entitled Breaking Through Stories to Succeed as a Woman in a Man’s World.

She has successfully defended clients in the following:

  • Summary judgment in an age discrimination case and breach of contract by Ohio Federal Court, affirmed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and writ of certiorari denied by U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Represented companies in temporary injunctions on non-compete agreements in Ohio and Kentucky State Courts.
  • Prevailed before a jury trial on an age discrimination claim and retaliation claim in Ohio State Court.
  • Two summary judgment motions granted in cases involving disability discrimination in Federal Courts in Kentucky, both affirmed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and writ of certiorari denied by U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Summary judgment obtained in an age discrimination case in Kentucky Federal Court.
  • Summary judgment obtained in a sexual harassment, disability discrimination and retaliation case in Kentucky State Court.
  • Summary judgment obtained in a race discrimination case in Kentucky State Court.
  • Summary judgment in a sexual harassment claim in Federal Court.
  • Prevailed before a jury trial on a retaliation claim in Kentucky Federal Court.
  • Numerous successful mediations with the EEOC and private mediators.
  • Favorable defense verdict reached before a bench trial on a breach of contract and fraud claim, affirmed by the Kentucky Court of Appeals.
  • Obtained a temporary injunction on several non-compete cases.

Kelly is a life-long resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, where she lives with her husband and four children.

Honors & Distinctions
  • Kentucky Super Lawyer (2012 – 2016)
  • Women of Influence Award 2015
  • Outstanding Woman of Northern Kentucky, Toyota 2008
  • Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award, Chase Alumni Association 2006
  • Women to Watch, Cincinnati Enquirer 2006
  • Outstanding Attorney Award, Deters, Benzinger & LaVelle 2001
Professional Affiliations
  • Cincinnati Bar Association
  • Kentucky Bar Association
  • Northern Kentucky Bar Association
  • Northern Kentucky Society for Human Resource Management, President 2015; Legislative Chair 2002-2014
  • National Association of College & University Attorneys (NACUA)
  • National Society of Human Resources (SHRM)
Community Involvement
  • Cincinnati Bar Foundation Board of Trustees, 2023-Present
  • Member, Interparish Ministries Board of Trustees, 2021-Present
  • Chair, HR Collaborative Planning Committee, 2019 – 2021, Member, 2015 – 2022
  • Member, St. Veronica Finance Committee, 2015 – Present
  • Member, St. Charles Care Center Board of Directors, 2008-2017, 2018-2022
  • Member, St. Elizabeth Cancer Patient & Family Advisory Committee, 2018-2020
  • Member, CancerFree Kids Board of Directors, 2020-Present
  • Member, Irish Heritage Center, 2020-Present
  • GBA Grievance Committee, 2010-2020
  • Member, Fernside Summertime Classic Committee, 2014 – 2018
  • Member, KET, Northern Kentucky Regional Board, 2012 – 2015
  • Chair, Diocesan Catholic Children’s Home Board of Directors, 2005 – 2011
  • Member, Chase Alumni Association, 2010 – 2013
  • Participant, SOAR Program, 2008 – 2009
  • Secretary, St. Veronica Performing Arts Boosters, 2009 – 2012
  • Member, St. Veronica Capital Campaign Steering Committee, 2011 – 2012
  • Member, Cincinnati Bar Association Cincinnati Academy of Leadership for Lawyers, 2007 Class
  • Class President, Leadership Northern Kentucky 2005 and Member, Steering Committee, 2006
  • Former Focus Counselor, Our Lady of Visitation and St. Veronica Churches
  • Former Member, Franklin College Alumni Council
  • Former Member, Welcome House of Northern Kentucky Board of Directors,1999 – 2005
  • Youth soccer and volleyball coach
  • Book Smarts Business Podcast Interview” 
  • “Kindness and Civility in the Workplace”
  • “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace” – Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
  • “Liability of the Untrained Manager” – KYSHRM, NKYSHRM and HR Collaborative
  • “Drug Testing in the Workplace” – Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
  • “Update on FMLA, COBRA and EEOC Avoidance” – Greater Cincinnati Human Resource Association
  • “Ethics in Practice” – The Northern Kentucky Law Review Symposium
  • “Harassment Training”
  • Numerous legal updates for KYSHRM and NKYSHRM
  • State of Ohio
  • Commonwealth of Kentucky
  • State of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky
  • U.S. District Court, Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
11DBL Attorney Kelly Holden
(513) 357-5284


J.D., Northern Kentucky University, Salmon P. Chase College of Law, cum laude, 1996
B.A., Franklin College of Indiana, cum laude, 1990

Practice Areas

Employment & Labor
Estate Planning & Probate