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California Central Coast Business Litigation Attorney


Kelly McCarthy Sutherland

Kelly McCarthy Sutherland

Contact Kelly McCarthy Sutherland

Kelly offers our clients a full spectrum of advice in the areas of land  use,employment, business and contract issues, as well as related  litigation. Her employment law expertise helps us guide our clients’  workplace policies and interests. She assists clients with a full range  of employment issues, including developing employee handbooks and  workplace policies. She counsels clients on job performance evaluations, job disability issues, overtime pay issues and employee exit issues.  When necessary, she is a powerful advocate in defending employers against claims made before the Labor Commissioner, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and in both state and federal courts.

Kelly guides our clients in negotiating business agreements, providing our clients with the information they need to accomplish their goals. Kelly performs real estate due diligence on properties that our clients are interested in purchasing to assist our clients in knowing as much as possible about the property before the deal closes. She also obtains certificates of compliance and lot line adjustments for our clients.  During her many years of experience in commercial and real estate litigation, she has represented a variety of clients, from individuals to large, publicly-traded corporations, in business litigation, real  estate matters, trade secrets, and closely held and family-owned business disputes.

Prior to moving back to the Salinas area where she grew up, Kelly worked at Berliner Cohen, where she sharpened her litigation skills by handling a wide range of  litigation topics, such as employment issues, real estate fraud, land use, landlord/tenant, eminent domain, and a myriad of business contract  disputes. Kelly has worked in Monterey County since 1997.

Kelly is a graduate of Notre Dame High School in Salinas and a graduate of  the University of California, Davis, where she received her Bachelor of  Arts Degree cum laude in Political Science in 1990. During her tenure at Davis, Kelly received the Award for Excellence in Political Science, was a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society and Pi Sigma Alpha,  and was recognized as an Outstanding Senior. Kelly received her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall), where she was an  associate editor of Ecology Law Quarterly.

Kelly has published numerous articles concerning business and employment matters and is an active member of the Salinas Rotary. In her spare time, Kelly  enjoys reading, researching genealogy and cooking.

Bar and Court  Admissions

  • California  – 1993
  • United States District Court, Northern District of California
  • United States District  Court,Central District of California

Practice areas


  • California, 1993
  • United States District Court, Northern District of California
  • United States District Court, Central District of California


  • Boalt Hall, University of California, Berkeley, JD, 1993
  • University of California, Davis, BA, 1990


  • “A Success Story Regarding Frogs & Habitat,” Coastal Grower Magazine, Spring 2006
  • Articles regarding employment law issues in the Salinas Californian, the Pinnacle, and the Salinas Valley Business Journal
  • “Social Media: What Employers Need to Know,” Coastal Grower Magazine, Fall 2010

Speeches and seminars


  • At-Will Programs
  • Employment Law from A to Z
  • Employee Discharge and Documentation in California
  • Prevailing Wages
  • Harassment Investigations
  • HIPAA and the Convergence of Medical Leave and Disability Laws
  • Wage and Hour Laws
  • Preventing Sexual Harassment
  • Social Media
  • Best Hiring Tactics

Civic Involvement

  • Salinas Rotary (2003 – present)
  • 2007 Outstanding Young Californian – one of 12 recognized by California Jaycees
  • 2006 Outstanding Young Citizen – Salinas Jaycees
  • 2010 Friend of Salinas High School
  • Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce, Co-Chair Salute to Ag Taste of the Valley (2006); Chair of Salute to Ag Program (2007)
  • Palma High School, Legal Committee (1998 – present), attorney coach, mock trial team (2011, 2018)
  • Girl Scouts of Monterey Bay, Troop Leader (2004 – 2007, 2009 – 2016)
  • Boy Scouts, previous Cub Scout Assistant Den Leader, previous co-chair Pack committee
  • Steinbeck Rotary (1998 – 2003), Youth Services Director for a year
  • Notre Dame High School, Board of Trustees (2007 – 2014), President (2013-2014)
  • Partners for Peace, Board of Directors (2010 – 2012)
  • Salinas Valley Literacy Foundation (previously served as Board Member)
  • UC Davis Alumni Association, Central Coast Chapter (1998 – 2012)
  • Monterey County Bar Association, (previously served as Member of Executive Committee)
  • Monterey County Hospitality Association Health and Welfare Trust, Founding Board Member (2017)
  • Salinas California Rodeo Association, Volunteer (2019-present)