Kay Kyungsun Yu, Esquire


"Restoring relationships, repairing harm, and building community." - Kay Kyungsun Yu



Kay Kyungsun Yu, Esquire


Kay Kyungsun Yu is an award-winning legal scholar. In 2018, the Philadelphia Bar Association recognized Kay as a recipient of its acclaimed Justice Sonia Sotomayor Diversity Award and was named Attorney of the Year by the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania.

At Ahmad Zaffarese LLC, Kay leads the firm’s Litigation and Labor & Employment Groups. Her practice focuses on complex civil litigation, employment matters, including ERISA claims, general commercial actions, and representation of governmental entities. Understanding that people are at their best when they feel empowered, valued, and connected, Kay helps employers navigate civil rights, employment discrimination, and constitutional law to foster positive workplace relationships to efficiently resolve conflict and increase productivity. She has represented clients in matters involving Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Civil Rights Act, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, the Pennsylvania Criminal History Record Information Act, and the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance.

Kay has also represented companies in single-plaintiff and multi-plaintiff litigation, as well as class actions, involving traditional pension plans, cash balance plans, non-qualified deferred compensation plans, and various welfare plans including long-term disability, short-term disability, life insurance, health, and severance plans. Her experience includes representing insurers and service providers in litigation involving claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and state law claims involving individual disability income policies. Kay has counseled clients on such issues as fiduciary obligations, interpretation of plan terms, standards of review, standing, preemption, misrepresentation, contingent workers, discrimination / interference with benefit rights under ERISA § 510, and COBRA continuation health coverage.

Prior to joining Ahmad Zaffarese LLC, Mayor Michael A. Nutter appointed Kay to serve as the Chairperson of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, the local agency charged with authority to enforce the City’s civil rights and anti-discrimination laws. Under her leadership, the PCHR convened 11 public hearings in 2010 to hear from the community on issues relating to intergroup tensions and violence in the City’s public schools. “Widening the Circle of Our Concern: Public Perceptions of the School District of Philadelphia’s Response to Intergroup Conflicts,” the report that presented the findings and recommendations from the public hearings, was published in March 2011. During the same period of time, partnering with the Mayor’s Office and City Council, Kay worked to overhaul, update and restate the City’s civil rights law. While the Fair Practices Ordinance had been amended in a piecemeal fashion from time to time since it was enacted in 1963, it had not been reworked in this fashion in nearly 60 years. Kay served as the Chair of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations from March 2009 until January 2013.

Before her service with the Commission, Kay was a partner at Pepper Hamilton LLP from 2004 to 2009, and an attorney at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP from 1999 to 2004.

An avid marathoner, Kay has completed 30 marathons including 10 Boston Marathons, 6 ultra-marathons, and 5 IronMan-distance triathlons.

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Practice Areas

  • Litigation
  • Labor & Employment
  • ERISA Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania State of Connecticut

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania


  • Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC
  • Columbia College, Columbia University, New York, NY