Kennon Poteat’s practice focuses on litigating complex business matters at the trial and appellate levels in federal and state courts, and before domestic and international arbitration panels. Over the course of his career, Kennon has represented Fortune 100 and Global 500 companies, Am Law 100 law firms, and corporate executives. In recent years, Kennon has played leading roles in numerous hearings and trials, including serving as lead counsel for a space-flight company that successfully secured dismissal of all claims filed against it in court, and then as co-lead counsel in a large commercial arbitration that was successfully tried before a panel of three arbitrators.
Kennon is actively committed to pro bono representation, having represented clients through the D.C. Bar’s Advocacy and Justice Clinic and the firm’s partnership with the Montgomery County, Maryland Public Defender’s Office. In addition to his pro bono work, Kennon serves on the Board of Directors for Gifts for the Homeless, a wholly volunteer-run organization that serves the homeless in the Washington, D.C. area. Kennon also is Chair of the University of Virginia Alumni Association’s Board of Managers.
Kennon was born and raised in Danville, Virginia. He received a B.S. in Commerce, with a concentration in Finance, from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia, after which he spent two years in state politics. He graduated first in his class from the University of Richmond School of Law, where he served as an editor on the University of Richmond Law Review. Before joining Williams & Connolly in 2008, he served as Law Clerk to the Honorable Edith Brown Clement, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, and the Honorable Rebecca Beach Smith, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, in Norfolk. Kennon is a member of the firm's Hiring Committee.
Kennon lives in the District of Columbia with his wife and children.
- Served as lead counsel for space-flight company and individual company executives in JAMS arbitration and state-court litigation initiated by former directors and current shareholders seeking tens of millions of dollars. The arbitrator found for the defense on every issue, dismissing claimants’ action with prejudice for failing to state any claims, and granting respondents’ counterclaim for breach of the arbitration agreement. The clients were ultimately awarded their fees and costs.
- Served as co-lead counsel for a leading private equity firm and individual fund executives in AAA arbitration and state-court litigation initiated by a municipality seeking more than $600 million in connection with the client’s acquisition of a privately-held water system. After more than six years of litigation, a hearing was held before a panel of three arbitrators in Missoula, Montana, which resulted in a complete defense victory. The panel’s unanimous award exonerated the clients on every allegation of breach of contract and found the municipality liable for breaching the parties’ arbitration agreement by first filing in court. The municipality ultimately paid the client $4.13 million as part of a global settlement.
- Served as co-lead counsel for a Fortune 500 international medical device manufacturer in a multimillion dollar dispute arising out of an M&A transaction, which was tried before the Supreme Court of New York in Manhattan. The two-week trial resulted in an overwhelming victory for the client.
- Represented a major technology company in an ICC arbitration concerning the valuation of cross-licensing rights in a telecommunications patent license covering standard essential patents for cellular telephones and tablets, which was tried before a panel of three arbitrators.
- Represented a major wireless communications company in multiple actions involving disputes over spectrum leases.
- Represented individuals and corporations in the Eastern District of Virginia in a matter involving allegations of fraud and breach of contract arising out of the space flight industry.
- Served as lead counsel for a Fortune 500 company in a JAMS mediation concerning a construction dispute involving a major hospital.
- Represented a major technology company in the Northern District of Illinois in a matter involving claims of breach of a patent license agreement and indemnity.
- Defended a life settlement company in the Southern District of Florida in an indemnity dispute.
- Represented a global electronics manufacturer in an ICC arbitration, seated in New York, involving the scope of a patent-license agreement.
- Represented a global electronics manufacturer in an indemnification dispute.
- Defended a large labor union in federal court in Pennsylvania against RICO claims.
- Defended a Virginia company and two corporate officers in a contract dispute in federal court in Virginia.
- Represented a multinational law firm in a AAA arbitration, seated in California, concerning a claim of legal malpractice in an M&A transaction.
- Defended a global technology consulting firm in the Eastern District of Virginia against claims of breach of contract and tortious interference
- Defended a leading electric power development and operating company in federal court in New York and Virginia in a contract dispute.
- Served as lead trial counsel in the pro bono defense of an individual charged with second-degree murder in Montgomery County, Maryland.
- Served as lead trial counsel in the pro bono defense of an individual charged with first degree assault, first degree burglary, and reckless endangerment in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Other Government Service
Extern, Justice Donald W. Lemons, Supreme Court of Virginia, 2005
Legal Fellow, Governor Mark R. Warner, Office of the Governor of Virginia, 2005