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Kim M. Keenan
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Kim M. Keenan Esq.

Latest Insights
Upcoming Events
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 is 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 experience 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 was the only 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. Currently, she is a founding Director of the Digital Progress Institute, a bi-partisan nonprofit focused on advocating for digital inclusion for every American.

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: trial advocacy, mediation, pretrial advocacy, and negotiation

Representative Matters

  • Entertainment & Sports
      • Has arbitrated several SafeSport matters involving sexual harassment, abuse, and misconduct alleged by adult and minor athletes
      • 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
      • Mediated a breach of contract matter involving the alleged violation of a non-solicitation provision
      • Mediated a breach of contract dispute between a property management company and an event management company regarding extensive amenities in a planned living community
      • Arbitrated a number of consumer breach of contract disputes involving entities such as banks, financial institutions and solar companies
      • Arbitrated numerous business-to-business (B2B) contractual disputes
      • Arbitrated breach of contract disputes for non-payment for services rendered in various industries
      • Served as a neutral evaluator to resolve a by-law dispute between a national entity and its state entity
      • 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
      • Conducted a neutral analysis assignment involving an investigation for a national agency accused of racial discrimination
      • Mediated a dispute brought by a female-owned business against an insurance company for allegedly excluding them from a vendor program based on race and gender
      • Mediated a Title IX matter involving alleged non-consensual sexual contact between two college roommates
      • 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
      • Has mediated a number of employment matters alleging harassment or discrimination based on a protected class (including wrongful termination, hostile work environment, retaliation, pay inequity, failure to accommodate)
      • Mediated a matter in which plaintiff was injured while performing required duties of their employment; the dispute involved questions of liability as the incident involved a vendor and separate delivery service employee
      • Mediated an employment matter involving a contractor and government employees
      • Mediated a discrimination dispute brought by an officer against a police department
      • 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 a multi-year 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
      • Mediated a multi-million-dollar medical malpractice case involving multiple surgeries and loss of limb
      • Mediated a wrongful death case seeking liability against the property owner where deceased was employed
      • Mediated a product liability matter in which patient alleged that a defective medical device inserted during surgery caused permanent injury
      • Mediated a personal injury matter in which a hip replacement failed and required a revision surgery; plaintiff alleged the replacement hip was defective
      • 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
      • Mediated a dispute regarding the renovation and subsequent sale of single-family row houses involving issues such as right of first refusal
      • 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
      • Mediated a dispute regarding the renovation and subsequent sale of single-family row houses involving issues such as right of first refusal
      • 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

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, 2020–2021
  • 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
  • Serve on the Regional Council of the Smithsonian, 2023-2024
  • Director, Links Foundation, Inc., Chair, Legal Affairs, 2022-2024

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Peggy Quince Luminary Award, International Executive Board of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, 2024
  • Presidential Volunteer Service Award, 2023
  • Sankofa Award, National Bar Association, 2021
  • 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

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Remarks, Presidential Voluntary Service Award, January 2024
  • Speaker, Carnegie Hall, Digital Advocacy, Black History Month, February 2023 and 2024
  • Commencement Speaker, University of Virginia School of Law, May 2022

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, 2007–2010
  • Volunteer Mediator, 1998-2007
  • 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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