For more than twenty years, Patricia Kakalec has represented employees, and the interests of employees, as a lawyer in both the private and public sectors. From representing migrant farmworkers in class actions to litigating labor cases on behalf of the State of New York, Tricia has dedicated her career to fighting for the rights of employees. Her practice is currently focused on representing employees in wage and hour and discrimination cases, and on advising employees about severance agreements, employment contracts, and other legal issues. She also serves, by appointment of the Governor, on the New York State Industrial Board of Appeals.
Before entering private practice, Tricia served as the Bureau Chief, Deputy Bureau Chief, and Special Counsel of the Labor Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office, and as Chair of that office’s statewide Equal Employment Opportunity Committee. Tricia has also been the co-founder and Executive Director of the Workers’ Rights Law Center of New York, and an attorney with Farmworker Legal Services of New York, in both offices representing farmworkers and other low-wage workers around New York State. Tricia began her legal career as an associate with LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae in New York City.
Tricia received her law degree from Harvard Law School, cum laude, and her undergraduate degree in history and religion from Duke University. She clerked for the Hon. Denis R. Hurley in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York and has been a Wasserstein Fellow at Harvard Law School (awarded to “outstanding public interest lawyers”) and an Echoing Green fellow. Tricia speaks Spanish and often represents Spanish-speaking clients.
Tricia regularly speaks and conducts trainings on employment law topics. Her most recent publication is an article about joint employment in the volume “Who is an Employee and Who is the Employer?: Proceedings of the New York University 68th Annual Conference on Labor” (Series editor: Samuel Estreicher; Volume editor: Kati L. Griffith) (with Annie Smith). She is on the Board of the National Employment Law Association – New York and is a member of the Legal Network for Gender Equality.
Tricia and her basketball-loving teenage son live in Brooklyn and cheer for the Duke Blue Devils.