I believe that to successfully represent your client you need to understand and take an interest in their organization.

Carmen Plaza de Jennings is a partner in the firm’s San Francisco office and is head of the firm’s Public Sector and Latin America Practice Groups. She has over 35 years of highly respected client contact and representation experience in the area of labor and employment law, with an emphasis on the representation of public sector employers, including cities, counties, institutions of higher education, and special districts. Carmen is known for her meticulous, successful, and collegial approach to even the most difficult and contentious legal issues and labor relations. As a “go-to” attorney for public and private sector clients seeking thoughtful and forward-thinking representation, Carmen has been able to forge lasting, trusting, and fulfilling relationships with clients.

Carmen has spent her entire career as a labor and employment lawyer, representing both public and private employers. “While in law school, I interned at the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, the California state agency modeled after the National Labor Relations Board that oversees labor matters for agricultural employees.” Carmen credits her work at the ALRB with sparking her interest in labor and employment law. “That was my introduction to labor and employment law. It was a great fit.” From 1978 to 1990, she worked as an attorney for the NLRB; from 1985 to 1990 she was a Supervisory Attorney in its San Francisco Regional Office where she handled complex trials and supervised all aspects of Board work, including the investigation and prosecution of unfair labor practice cases and representation matters.

Carmen’s current practice involves all areas of labor and employment law, including labor negotiations, advice and counseling, labor arbitration, training, investigations and litigation. Carmen provides ongoing advice to clients regarding labor and employment matters, including employee discipline and performance issues, sexual harassment, the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act. She also advises community colleges on instructional program issues and such matters as the hiring, retention, discipline and dismissal of faculty and staff, and on matters of student discipline and student rights.

As a litigator, she says, “You often get the best results when you earn the respect of the other side.” What she likes most about her work is “helping clients navigate through their difficulties and obtaining a result that meets their interests.”

Outside of work, Carmen is passionate about art and design. She was responsible for the build-out of the firm’s San Francisco office and was involved in its initial art acquisitions. She also worked on the complete restoration of her current house, which was built in 1927.

Carmen has been actively involved with La Raza Centro Legal, a non-profit organization in San Francisco that provides legal services to the Bay Area’s Hispanic population. In 2015, La Raza Centro Legal honored her with the Community Advocate for Justice Award.

Carmen is also involved in Princeton alumni activities. Both her son and her daughter are also Princeton alumni. She chairs the San Francisco Bay Area region of the Princeton Prize in Race Relations, which recognizes high school students committed to fostering positive race relations within their schools or communities. She’s also involved in Princeton’s Annual Giving Campaign and its Schools Committee.

Member of Advisory Board, California Public Employee Relations (CPER)

Member of Advisory Board, La Raza Centro Legal

Chair of Princeton University Prize in Race Relations Committee (Northern California); Member of Alumni Schools Committee

Member of California Bar Association

Member of American Bar Association, Labor & Employment Section

Member, National Hispanic Bar Association

HK Hosts Princeton Prize in Race Relations

Managing the College Bully

HK Partner Carmen Plaza de Jennings Hosts Princeton Prize on Race Relations Annual Awards Ceremony

Carmen Plaza de Jennings and Jayne Benz Chipman Give Hiring Update to County Counsels’ Association of California

Webinar: The Biggest Signs Union Activity is Afoot: What Should You Do About It?

Taking Charge: Preventing and Responding to Campus Violence

“Harassment and Discrimination Issues in Latin America” (English and Spanish presentations) – Employment Law Alliance Webinar – June 2013

“Administrators and Supervisors Training: A Review of Key Legal Developments for 2013” – Foothill De Anza College – May 2013

“Employers Beware: Major Changes in Mexican Labor and Employment Law” – Employment Law Alliance Webinar – December 2012

“Triage For Managers: Responding To Threats And Workplace Violence” at CALPELRA’s Annual Conference in Monterey ” December 2012

“California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Law: Mandated Reporters” – Foothill De Anza Community College District – September 2012

“Myspace or Workspace: Keeping Up With Electronic Technology Privacy in the Workplace” – ACBO 2012 Spring Conference – Sacramento – May 2012

“Quon and Beyond: Recent Case Developments as Courts Race to Keep Up with Electronic Technology in the Workplace” at the County Counsels’ Association of California’s Spring Employment Law Conference in Monterey – March 2012

“Triage For Administrators: Effective Responses To Threats And Complaints” at ACCCA’s Annual Conference in Long Beach – February 2012

“How To Win An Arbitration” – CALPELRA 2011 Annual Conference in Monterey – December 2011

Successful representation of municipality at union contract negotiations for fire and general unit

Successful representation of colleges in tenure and discipline proceedings

Served as neutral investigator for community college concerning discrimination/harassment complaints made against manager

Served as neutral investigator for major museum concerning discrimination complaints made against manager (Spanish language investigation)


J.D., University of San Francisco School of Law, 1978

B.A., Princeton University, 1975



U.S. District Court, Northern and Eastern Districts of California

U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit