ProfessionalsKannon K. Shanmugam
Chair of the Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Group and managing partner of the Washington, D.C. office, Kannon Shanmugam is widely recognized as one of the nation's top appellate litigators, having argued 27 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Kannon has also argued dozens of appeals in cases before all 13 U.S. courts of appeals and in numerous state appellate 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.
Awards and Recognitions
Kannon has been recognized as one of the nation’s top 10 appellate lawyers (Benchmark Litigation) and top 500 lawyers (Lawdragon magazine). He has been named The American Lawyer’s “Litigator of the Week” three times, and a Law360 “Legal Lion of the Week” eight times for a series of victories at all three levels of the federal courts. Kannon has also featured on numerous lists of top Supreme Court advocates, with Washingtonian magazine naming him one of its 20 people in Washington to watch.
In ranking Kannon in Band 1 of appellate advocates nationwide, Chambers USA described him as “outstanding” 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 “inspiring and in demand.” The American Lawyer recently lauded him for his “amazing track record,” and The National Law Journal cited his “confident manner and elegant elocution” before the Supreme Court, stating that he “never seems to get flustered.”
Kannon presented oral argument and has been principally responsible for the written briefs in the following matters, including:
- 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 Midland Funding, a subsidiary of Encore Capital Group, in a Supreme Court case challenging the filing of certain bankruptcy claims as a false or unfair debt-collection practice (Midland Funding v. Johnson).
- Successfully representing Omnicare, the nation’s largest provider of pharmacy-related services for the elderly, 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).
- Representing a criminal defendant in the landmark Supreme Court case on the constitutionality of DNA testing of arrestees that one justice described as “perhaps the most important criminal procedure case that this Court has heard in decades” (Maryland v. King).
- 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).
- Representing Merck in the Supreme Court in a high-profile case concerning the operation of the statute of limitations for federal securities-fraud claims (Merck v. Reynolds).
- 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).
- Representing debtors in a closely watched Supreme Court case on the question whether inherited individual retirement accounts are part of an individual’s bankruptcy estate (Clark v. Rameker).
- Representing the plaintiff in a Supreme Court case concerning the admissibility of evidence from jury deliberations to prove dishonesty during jury selection (Warger v. Shauers).
- Successfully representing a criminal defendant in the Supreme Court in a challenge to the scope of the power of police to detain individuals incident to the execution of a search warrant (Bailey v. United States).
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. He is a member of the Advisory Committee on Procedures for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
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.