Elena DeFio Kean

Attorney and Counsellor at Law

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  • Certificate:
    Labor Relations-Collective Bargaining Studies, Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations
  • Law School:
    Albany Law School of Union University, J.D., 1993
  • Undergraduate:
    The College of St. Rose, B.A., cum laude, in History/Political Science, 1989, Dean’s List

Bar Admissions

  •  New York, 1994
  •  U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, 1994
  •  U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, 1994
  •  U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1997
  •  U.S. Court of Appeals, 2002
  •  Mediator, U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York, 2012
  •  U.S. Supreme Court, 2016

Professional Experience

Elena DeFio Kean focuses her practice on meeting the legal needs of small business clients and municipalities.

Ms. Kean represents municipal clients in labor and employment matters, including contract and union negotiations, grievance hearings and disciplinary matters, Section 72 matters, Article 78 proceedings, and GML 207-c claims. Ms. Kean has gone before the Public Employment Relations Board, and as such is well-versed with the Taylor Law, Civil Service and General Municipal Laws. She has developed and provided extensive training across the state in preventing discrimination and harassment in the workplace, how to conduct effective investigations of discrimination and harassment complaints in the workplace, preventing First Amendment retaliation claims, and workplace violence prevention.

In addition, Ms. Kean addresses and handles matters from First Amendment litigation, excessive force and wrongful arrest claims, FOIL issues and claims, training, Open Meetings Law issues, hiring committees, PILOT plans, sexual harassment and employment issues, Reduction in Force claims and general representation of municipalities of all sizes throughout the State of New York.

Ms. Kean represents small businesses in corporate and labor and employment matters. She drafts and reviews employment agreements, negotiates partnership and operating agreements, non-disclosure agreements

Ms. Kean has also represented banks, developers and other businesses in mortgage foreclosures, both commercial and residential. She has represented various developers in commercial litigation matters as well as lease negotiations of major national companies. Ms. Kean has trial experience as lead counsel in cases in Supreme Court, Albany County and civil rights cases litigated in U.S. District Court. She has dealt with such state and federal agencies as the New York State Division of Human Rights, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the U. S. Department of Justice. Ms. Kean has successfully argued matters before the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court, United States District Courts for the State of New York and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Ms. Kean is active in the New York State Bar Association, currently serving as a Member-at-Large on the Executive Committee, a member of the Solo and Small Practice Advisory Panel, and a member on the Task Force on Gun Violence, as well as the Chairperson of the Committee on Leadership Development. In the Albany County Bar Association, Ms. Kean is Chairperson of the Grants Committee for the Law Day Run. She has been Named to the Upstate New York Super Lawyers list (top 5% of attorneys based upon peer reviews and other criteria) as one of the top attorneys in Upstate New York by Super Lawyers Magazine, a Thomson Reuters publication since 2009, including appearances on the Top 25 Women Lawyers (2012-present) and the Top 25 Hudson Valley Lawyers (2009-2014).

Presentations and Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, Wage and Hour Laws, Employment Law for the General Practitioner CLE, NYS Bar Association, 2013
  • Speaker, Recent Changes in State and Federal Law, Tri-County CLE, Albany, Onondaga and Oneida County Bar Associations, 2013
  • Speaker, Impact of Social Media on Daily Operations and Litigation, NYS Association of Towns Training School and Annual Meeting, 2013
  • Speaker, Labor and Employment Matters, National Association of Dealer Counsel Annual Meeting, 2011
  • Speaker, Recent Changes in State and Federal Employment Law, Eastern New York Coalition of Automotive Retailers, 2011
  • Lecturer, Labor, Employment and Immigration Laws Affecting the Equine Industry, Saratoga Institute on Racing and Gaming Law, The Government Law Center of Albany Law School, 2008

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