ProfessionalsKannon K. Shanmugam
Chair of the Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Group and managing partner of the Washington office, Kannon Shanmugam is widely recognized as one of the nation's top appellate litigators. He has argued 27 cases before the Supreme Court, including four cases in the recently concluded 2018-2019 term. He has also argued dozens of appeals in courts across the country, including all 13 U.S. courts of appeals and numerous state courts.
Prior to private practice, Kannon served as an Assistant to the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice. He also served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and to Judge J. Michael Luttig of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
One longtime Supreme Court reporter recently said that Kannon “has perhaps the most eloquent and elegant manner … that I’ve ever seen in my 40 years covering the Court,” adding that Kannon “projects calm, confidence, and authority from the moment he takes to the lectern.” In ranking Kannon in Band 1 of appellate advocates nationwide, Chambers USA described him as “absolutely extraordinary” and praised him as “highly impressive and immensely popular.” Benchmark Litigation noted that Kannon is “one of the most respected and admired appellate practitioners” in the country, and Lawdragon praised him as “dazzlingly accomplished” and “inspiring and in demand.”
Awards and Recognitions
Kannon has been recognized as one of the nation’s top 10 appellate lawyers (Benchmark Litigation) and top 500 lawyers overall (Lawdragon magazine). He has been named The American Lawyer’s “Litigator of the Week” three times, and a Law360 “Legal Lion of the Week” ten times for a series of victories at all three levels of the federal courts. Kannon has also been featured on numerous lists of top Supreme Court advocates, with Washingtonian magazine naming him one of its 20 people in Washington to watch.
Kannon’s significant representations include:
- Successfully representing a law firm in the Supreme Court in a case on the application of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to nonjudicial foreclosure proceedings. (Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus)
- Successfully representing antitrust defendants in the Supreme Court in a case concerning the enforcement of a contractual provision delegating questions of arbitrability to an arbitrator. (Henry Schein v. Archer & White).
- Successfully representing Digital Realty in the Supreme Court in a case requiring whistleblowers to report to the Securities and Exchange Commission before bringing suit for retaliation under the Dodd-Frank Act (Digital Realty v. Somers).
- Successfully representing Santander in a Supreme Court case on the frequently litigated question of which financial institutions are subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (Henson v. Santander).
- Successfully representing Omnicare in the Supreme Court in a closely watched case on the actionability of statements of opinion under the federal securities laws (Omnicare v. Laborers District Council).
- Successfully representing Jesse Litvak, a Jefferies bond trader, in two high-profile appeals in the Second Circuit reversing his convictions for securities fraud, for which Kannon was named “Litigator of the Week” by The American Lawyer (United States v. Litvak).
- Successfully representing AstraZeneca in the First Circuit in an appeal from the first jury verdict in an antitrust class action challenging pharmaceutical patent settlements, in which plaintiffs were seeking up to $20 billion in damages (In re Nexium Antitrust Litigation).
- Successfully representing Bank of America in the Second Circuit in its appeal from a $1.3 billion adverse judgment for civil penalties under FIRREA arising from the sale of mortgage loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, for which Kannon was named “Litigator of the Week” by The American Lawyer (Bank of America v. United States).
- Successfully representing AstraZeneca in the Federal Circuit in a case providing broad personal jurisdiction over generic drug manufacturers in patent disputes (AstraZeneca v. Mylan).
- Successfully representing a death-row inmate pro bono in the Supreme Court, with the Court ruling that the district attorney’s office had engaged in prosecutorial misconduct by failing to disclose favorable statements made by the key eyewitness before trial (Smith v. Cain).
- Successfully representing the government in a landmark Supreme Court case setting the pleading standard for federal securities-fraud actions under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (Tellabs v. Makor Issues & Rights).
- Successfully representing the government in the Supreme Court in an antitrust case establishing the legal standard for claims of predatory bidding (Weyerhaeuser v. Ross-Simmons Hardwood Lumber).
Kannon has served as the co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Appellate Practice Committee. He is also a past president of the Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court, the principal bench-bar organization for appellate judges and lawyers in the Washington area. Kannon is the only practicing American attorney who is an honorary bencher of the Inner Temple, one of the four English Inns of Court. He is also a member of the Advisory Committee on Procedures for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and a member of the Executive Committee of the Harvard Law School Association.
Kannon has taught Supreme Court advocacy as an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center. In the community, he has served as chair of the board of trustees of Thurgood Marshall Academy, a charter school in Southeast Washington that is one of the city’s highest-performing public high schools. He has devoted substantial time to pro bono representation in the areas of criminal law and religious liberty.