Elaine L. Fitch is a fierce advocate for civil rights in the workplace. She has spent her career fighting for federal and private sector employees confronted with a variety of issues including security clearance matters, disability issues, including failure to accommodate, all types of discrimination and harassment, and federal disciplinary matters.
Elaine is part of KCNF’s security clearance practice, representing federal employees and contractors whose clearances have been threatened or suspended, or whose suitability for federal employment has been challenged. She is co-author of the firm’s long-running book, Security Clearance Law and Procedure, currently in its fifth edition (Dewey Publications, 2021).
Elaine’s commitment to and advocacy on behalf of individuals with disabilities has led to numerous successful outcomes for her clients. For example, Elaine represented an individual who suffered irreparable damage to her health solely because her employing federal agency refused to provide a reasonable accommodation. Following extensive litigation, in the midst of an EEOC hearing, the agency settled her claim for seven figures. In another case, a federal agency proposed an employee for removal. The employee then requested a reasonable accommodation, but the Agency refused to provide what she needed to continue working. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, of the U.S. District Court for D.C., rejected the Agency’s argument that the employee’s request for accommodation was untimely and held that because she was still at an employee at the time she made the request, the agency was still in a position to accommodate her.
Elaine was elected a member of The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, an honorary organization of attorneys, judges, law faculty, and legal scholars, who have demonstrated outstanding achievements and dedication to the welfare of their communities and to the highest principles of the legal profession. Membership in The Fellows is limited to one third of one percent of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction. In addition, Elaine was recognized by Best Lawyers® in 2022 and 2023 and is rated by Martindale-Hubbell® as an AV Preeminent® attorney. Since 2013, she has been selected to Super Lawyers® as one of Washington, DC’s top-rated attorneys in the areas of Employment Litigation and Employment & Labor law.
Elaine joined KCNF in 2002 and became a partner in January 2006; she has been the firm’s Managing Partner since approximately 2013.
Elaine received her education from the University of California at Berkeley (B.S., 1989) and Hastings College of the Law, University of California (J.D. 1996), where she was Executive Articles Editor for the Hastings Women’s Law Journal, was a Board Member for the Hastings Public Interest Law Foundation, received recognition for Outstanding Service and Achievement from the 1066 Foundation, and was awarded the George R. Moscone Scholarship based on academic standing and public service.
Bar and Court Admissions
- District of Columbia
- California (Inactive)
- Admitted to practice before multiple courts including: the U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit; U.S. Court of Federal Claims; U.S. District Court, District of Columbia; U.S. District Court, Northern District of California; U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California; U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Women’s Bar Association, District of Columbia, Board Member (WBA) (2012 – 2019), Member
- Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association (MWELA), Member
- National Employment Lawyers’ Association (NELA), Member
- American Bar Association (ABA), Member
- The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation
- Lowell School, Board of Trustees (2016–2021)
- Security Clearance Lawyers Association, Member
- ABA’s 15th Annual Section of Labor and Employment Law Conference, Speaker and Panel Moderator for “Will COVID-19 Permanently Change Federal Employee Accommodations?,” November 2021
- Georgetown Law Advocates Against Sexual Violence (AASV), Careers in Gender Violence Prevention Panel, October 2021
- Harvard Business Review’s Women at Work Podcast Guest, October 2021
- Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association (MWELA) Intake Seminar
- GW Law School, Speaker on Careers in Litigation, November 2016
- WBA Panel Speaker, March 2014
- Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association, Introduction to the Federal Sector Process Seminar, Speaker, January 2014
- DC Bar Speaker on Employment Law 101, January 2014
- Managing Partner Roundtable, Presenter and Discussion Leader, October 2013
Awards and Recognitions
- Included in Best Lawyers® The Best Lawyers in America® for Civil Rights Law, Employment Law – Individuals, and Litigation – Labor and Employment in 2022 and 2023
- Recognized by Super Lawyers since 2013
- Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent® Rating 2024 – Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence
- Federal News Network’s Federal Drive Podcast: There’s a lot of new you need to know about the security clearance scene
- GovExec Daily Podcast: What Feds Need to Know About Clearances
- Harvard Business Review: Leaders to Learn From