Katherine Dudley Helms

Katherine Dudley Helms

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

Recognized since 2001

Columbia, South Carolina

Practice Areas

Employment Law - Management

Labor Law - Management

Litigation - Labor and Employment

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2021 - Employment Law - Management Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2020 - Litigation - Labor and Employment Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2019 - Labor Law - Management
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Ms. Helms has extensive experience representing clients in employment matters as varied as the practice offers. She has represented companies and individuals in both the private and public sectors ranging from production line supervisors to company executives. Having represented clients in forums from mediation to the United State Supreme Court allows Ms. Helms the perspective and knowledge to work closely with her clients to offer creative solutions to age old problems. Ms. Helms frequently guides clients to take what is learned through administrative complaints and/litigation to address and correct systemic problems that may have resulted in the allegations. Her intent is to use the experience to better help the client avoid repeated problems. Partnering with her clients to understand their business better enables Ms. Helms to address their legal needs, keeping in mind the realities of the client’s business demands. Ms. Helms represents her clients not only in litigation but in active preventative maintenance, interaction, and intervention designed to create a workplace in which litigation is the exception, rather than the rule.Although Ms. Helms represents a wide spectrum of employers, she has a particular emphasis in the health care industry including employment matters involving medical residents, physicians, and the range of health care and particularly hospital employees.Ms. Helms is also a frequent speaker and provides training on a wide range of employment related issues including FMLA, Title VII, ADA, ADEA, Social Media, retaliation, discipline, and hiring and firing.Ms. Helms had the honor of serving as an intern to the late Justice Charles Weltner of the Georgia Supreme Court. She is active in her community and a co-founder of Children’s Chance—a non-profit organization that supports children with cancer and their families.


  • First Base Building, Suite 401
    2142 Boyce Street
    Columbia, SC 29201


  • University of Arkansas, BA, graduated 1979

Bar Admissions

  • Georgia, State Bar of Georgia
  • South Carolina, South Carolina Bar
  • Arkansas, Arkansas Bar Association


  • American Bar Association - Member
  • Arkansas Bar Association - Member
  • ASHHRA/SHRM - National Education Committee
  • Georgia Bar Association - Member
  • Georgia State Law Review - Notes & Comments Editor
  • Graduate of Leadership America - Member
  • Graduate of Leadership Columbia - Member
  • Litigation Counsel of America - Fellow
  • National Association of Women Lawyers - Member
  • Richland County Bar Association - Member
  • South Carolina Bar Association - Member
  • Women Lawyers Alliance - Member

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2021 - Employment Law - Management Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2020 - Litigation - Labor and Employment Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2019 - Labor Law - Management

Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers® for:

  • Employment Law - Management, Columbia-SC (2021)
  • Litigation - Labor and Employment, Columbia-SC (2020)
  • Labor Law - Management, Columbia-SC (2019)

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2022 for work in:

  • Employment Law - Management
  • Labor Law - Management
  • Litigation - Labor and Employment

Special Focus

  • COVID-19
  • Management


  • South Carolina Super Lawyers (2008 to present)
  • AV rated in Martindale Hubbell
  • Chambers USA (2009 to present)

Other Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • A complex claim of religious discrimination in which a professor claimed that he was not hired into a tenure track position at a university because he was a Christian. The plaintiff appealed this case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Defendant was awarded fees and costs
  • A claim against a major retailer in which the plaintiff alleged gender and age bias
  • Defended allegations of discrimination in physician residency programs with a large teaching hospital
  • Helped structure a major reduction in force in a multi-facility hospital group
  • Handled a claim of discrimination complicated by a contractual relationship between a university and a health care facility
  • Claims of gender discrimination and assault and battery against a manufacturing entity
  • Mediating cases to settlement to obtain the optimal resolution for the client
  • Actively partnering with clients – counseling on employment matters and advising clients in administrative disputes in order to minimize the likelihood of litigation

Part 2

  • A claim of disability discrimination in which the manufacturing entity had an excellent legal position of facts that could have resulted in very bad public relations
  • Represented a small employer in both the Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division and OSHA audits based on complaints filed by a disgruntled employee
  • Pro active internal Wage and Hour audits as well as state and federal wage and hour investigation and defending wage and hour issues with the Department of Labor and/or the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation

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