Kannon Shanmugam heads Williams & Connolly’s Supreme Court and Appellate Litigation practice. He is the only lawyer to have joined the firm as a lateral partner in the last 30 years. Widely recognized as one of the nation’s premier appellate advocates, Kannon has argued 18 cases before the Supreme Court, including several of the Court’s most significant recent business and criminal cases. Beyond the Supreme Court, Kannon has argued dozens of appeals in courts across the country, including arguments in all thirteen federal courts of appeals and in numerous state courts. Kannon has been named The American Lawyer’s Litigator of the Week twice in the last year, most recently for the Second Circuit’s reversal of a $1.3 billion judgment obtained by the government against Bank of America.
In selecting Kannon as one of the 500 leading lawyers in America, Lawdragonmagazine described him as “inspiring and in demand.” The American Lawyer recently lauded him for his “amazing track record,” and The National Law Journal praised him for his “confident manner and elegant elocution” before the Court, stating that he “never seems to get flustered.” Legal 500 described him as “a graceful writer and a very fluid and polished oral advocate” who “understands the need to make a brief tell a compelling story.” Kannon has featured on numerous lists of the top Supreme Court advocates, with Washingtonian magazine naming him one of its 20 people in Washington to watch.
Kannon joined Williams & Connolly in 2008 after serving as an Assistant to the Solicitor General in the Department of Justice. Born and raised in Lawrence, Kansas, he received an A.B. summa cum laude in classics from Harvard; an M. Litt. in classics from the University of Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar; and a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was executive editor of the law review and argued for the winning side in the moot-court competition. After graduation, he served as a law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court and Judge J. Michael Luttig on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Kannon serves 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 serves 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.
- Harvard Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 1998; Executive Editor, Harvard Law Review
- University of Oxford, M. Litt., 1995 (Marshall Scholar)
- Harvard University, A.B., summa cum laude, 1993
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