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Ellen Swennes Kennedy

Washington, D.C.

Ellen Swennes Kennedy

As a litigation partner in our D.C. office — where she has spent her entire private practice career — Ellen ("Ellie") Kennedy has handled a wide range of litigation, from a matter brought in local claims court against a pro bono client to a multi-billion dollar adversary proceeding in bankruptcy court. Her primary clients include insurance carriers, financial and lending institutions, automobile manufacturers, and media and technology companies.

Though they say it can't be done in a big firm setting, Ellie has substantial trial experience, having handled everything from jury trials in state courts to multi-million dollar arbitration hearings. She is also an accomplished writer and oral advocate and regularly represents her clients at hearings and in appellate proceedings in both state and federal courts. Some of her proudest moments have come in her representation of her pro bono clients, including her participation in the groundbreaking exoneration of Thomas Haynesworth, who had served over 25 years in prison for crimes he did not commit, by the Supreme Court of Virginia in 2009.

After graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law, Order of the Coif, in 1997, Ellie began her legal career serving as a law clerk to the Hon. Stanley S. Harris of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. For the past three years, she has been recognized by Washington DC Superlawyers in the area of Business Litigation.

Representative experience

Successfully defended one of the nation's largest healthcare lenders in multiple state and federal lawsuits seeking over US$1bn in damages.

Represented a major automobile manufacturer in state court against allegations of statutory violations and contractual breaches by a Maryland dealer.

Tried a multiple-week jury case brought against a major insurance carrier to a favorable verdict in state court.

Obtained a multimillion dollar award for a satellite communications company in an international arbitration proceeding.

Represented one of the nation's largest homebuilders in the defense of whistleblower litigation brought by a former employee under Sarbanes-Oxley.

Obtained dismissal of a multibillion dollar lawsuit filed against an international bank and its subsidiaries relating to the Oil for Food Program.

Represented a major insurance carrier seeking to rescind a crime policy in Florida federal court.

Education and admissions


  • J.D., Order of the Coif, University of Virginia School of Law, 1997
  • B.A., magna cum laude, Duke University, 1994

Bar admissions and qualifications

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia

Court admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia


Business Litigation

Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers


Insurance: Advice to Insurers

Legal 500 US

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