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Kim M. Keenan, Esq.

Kim M. Keenan, Esq.

General Biography
Practice Areas
Entertainment & Sports
Business & Commercial
Civil Rights
Cybersecurity & Privacy
Employment Law
Higher Education & Title IX
Intellectual Property
Personal Injury/Torts
Pharmaceuticals/Mass Tort
Professional Liability
Real Estate & Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Kim M. Keenan, Esq., joins JAMS after an impressive career as a nationally known trial lawyer, mediator and in-house counsel, as well as a recognized leader among multicultural social justice organizations. Ms. Keenan earned a reputation as a smart, skilled negotiator adept at crafting realistic and sustainable results while always maintaining a calm and balanced demeanor. She is known for her inclusive style in communicating complex subject matters with clarity across broad stakeholder groups and increasing engagement for shared outcomes.

The word “collaborative” is used most often when counsel are describing Ms. Keenan. “Her ability to make a genuine connection with everyone, irrespective of the level of complexity that the situation presents, is honestly quite astounding and impressive to witness.”

Notable is Ms. Keenan’s success in varied roles, including law firm litigator for 20-plus years and private mediator and general counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the oldest, largest, and most recognized grass roots civil rights organization in the world.

Along the way, Ms. Keenan developed subject matter expertise in negotiation of complex business contracts, mass torts, medical malpractice, employment discrimination and harassment, civil rights, entertainment and public policy, specifically in the areas of telecommunications and digital privacy. She has extensive experience working with global brands from the Fortune 100 and has built long-standing senior-level relationships with private sector, academia, government and nonprofit leaders.

Ms. Keenan is a past president of the District of Columbia Bar and was the 62nd past president of the National Bar Association, the largest coalition of African American lawyers, judges, law professors and law students. She also serves as the first female co-chair of the Internet Innovation Alliance, a broad-based coalition of business and non-profit organizations working to ensure every American has access to broadband internet.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Served as a private mediator for business and commercial disputes, personal injury cases and real estate matters
  • Served as a mediator on the District of Columbia Superior Court’s Multi-Door Dispute Resolution Program
  • Served as a mediator in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
  • Adjunct professor for trial advocacy and mediation classes; lead instructor for pretrial advocacy classes

Representative Matters

  • Entertainment & Sports
      • Negotiated multiple profitable network (NBC and TV One) and production agreements for the NAACP Image Awards
      • Negotiated contracts for talent, production and related elements for NAACP conventions and events
  • Business & Commercial
      • Contract claims and negotiations related to complex projects and long-term contractual relations
      • Governance and risk management (internal and external)
      • Resolution of disputes over partnership, franchise and distribution agreements
  • Civil Rights
      • Provided key legal advice related to governance, risk management (internal and external), civil rights and discrimination litigation, and contracts, as well as defended suits for the NAACP and local NAACP branches and national state conferences
      • Authorized the filing of numerous successful civil rights lawsuits in voting, housing and other areas, including the First Amendment in NAACP v. Philadelphia, a Third Circuit case affirming the NAACP’s right to include grassroots messaging in metropolitan airports
      • Convened legal civil rights partners to coordinate on activities including 2010 census, election protection and redistricting.
  • Employment Law
      • Chaired the former Fair Employment Council, which focused on creating equal opportunity in employment (the organization was merged into the Equal Rights Center, where she served as the inaugural first vice-president)
      • Fair Employment Council: Filed litigation for discrimination in employment
      • Equal Rights Center: Focused on housing, employment and disability discrimination
      • Negotiated the NAACP labor agreement with its union employees
      • Oversaw all national litigation focused on discrimination for the NAACP, including employment, housing, and elections
  • Intellectual Property
      • Protected the NAACP brand with cease and desist orders and litigation over misuse of the name
      • Negotiated the NAACP’s IP agreement to digitize the largest collection in the Library of Congress
  • Personal Injury/Torts
      • Selected, evaluated and tried catastrophic personal injury and medical malpractice cases from intake to trial
      • Significant verdicts and settlements of cases involving failure to diagnose cancer, birth injuries, catastrophic truck/auto accidents and surgical errors
      • Represented numerous clients in their tobacco settlements
      • Mediated construction defect dispute
  • Real Estate & Real Property
      • Personally chaired a challenging pilot project for landlords and tenants at D.C. Superior Court and mediated a group including landlords, tenants, attorneys and judges with opposing viewpoints to create the existing Self-Help Center for Landlords and Tenants, one of the largest in the nation
      • Chaired the real estate committee for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, securing a $1-million reduction in the rent over the term of the lease
  • Telecommunications
      • Served as the second president and CEO of a 30-year-old advocacy organization focused on public policy, advocacy and programming in media, technology and telecommunications
      • Created a national partnership to secure a multi-million-dollar contract from the U.S. Department of Labor to train apprentices in telecommunications
      • Published numerous articles on privacy policy

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.

Memberships and Affiliations

  • President, National Bar Association, 2004–2005
  • President, District of Columbia Bar, 2009–2010
  • President, International Women’s Forum, 2019–present
  • Independent Trustee, Profit Investment Fund (mutual fund (PIM)), 2008–2013
  • Director and Fundraising Committee Chair, Council on Legal Education Opportunity, 2006–2010
  • Director and Executive Committee Member, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, 2005–2010
  • Trustee and Board Vice Chairman, University of the District of Columbia, 2008–2009

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Hall of Fame, Washington Bar Association, 2020
  • Spirit of Democracy Award, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, 2017
  • Gavel for Good, Greater Washington Area Chapter, National Bar Association, 2017
  • Gertrude E. Rush Award, National Bar Association, 2017
  • Ollie May Cooper Award, Washington Bar Association, 2016
  • Charging Buffalo Award, New York State Society, 2016
  • Attorney of the Year, National Capital Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, 2016
  • Media Executive of the Year, Vote It Loud, 2016
  • Medgar Wiley Evers Award of Excellence, NAACP, 2014
  • Equal Justice Award, University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, 2013
  • Wiley A. Branton Award, Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, 2011
  • “Rebel in the Law” for Innovation, American Bar Association, 2010
  • Vice-President; Capital City Chapter, The Links, Incorporated; 2009–present
  • Woman Lawyer of the Year, Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia, 2007

Background and Education

  • General Counsel and EVP of Marketing, Odyssey Media, 2018–2020
  • President and CEO, Multicultural Media, Telecom & Internet Council, 2014–2017
  • General Counsel and Secretary, NAACP, 2010–2014
  • Private Mediator, 1998–2010
  • Principal and Founder, The Keenan Firm, 2007–2010
  • Senior Trial Attorney, Jack H. Olender & Associates, 1991–2007
  • Associate; Washington, Perito & Dubuc (successor firm of Finley, Kumble, Wagner, Underberg, Manley, Myerson & Casey); 1989–1991
  • Law Clerk, The Honorable John Garrett Penn, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, 1987–1989
  • J.D., University of Virginia Law School, 1987
  • B.S., International Economics, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, 1983


This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

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