Karen L. Dunn
Areas of Practice
Yale Law School, J.D., 2006
Brown University, B.A., magna cum laude, Political Science, 1997
Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Supreme Court of the United States, (2007-2008)
Judge Merrick B. Garland, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, (2006-2007)
District of Columbia
Karen L. Dunn is a partner in the firm’s Washington, DC office. Her practice focuses on high-profile civil and criminal litigation as well as strategic counseling and crisis management. She has been recognized for her work by The National Law Journal (Click here), The Washington Post (Click here), Law360 (Click here) and as Litigator of the Week by The American Lawyer and Global Competition Review. (Click here) (Click here). In 2015, Ms. Dunn was named one of The National Law Journal’s Outstanding Women Lawyers (Click here). Recent representative matters include:
- Serving as co-lead trial counsel in a high profile antitrust case in the portable music industry, winning a defense verdict from the jury in a class action seeking $350M in damages before trebling.
- Providing strategic and legal counsel to C-suite executives and in-house counsel at a large, multi-national company confronting simultaneous federal and state investigations, litigation, congressional inquiries, and media scrutiny.
- Representing a target of the investigation by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform into political targeting by the IRS.
- Serving as co-lead counsel, pro bono, in a lawsuit brought by the District of Columbia Council against Mayor Vincent Gray to enforce the Local Budget Autonomy Act.
- Preparing witnesses and political figures for high-stakes testimony, congressional hearings and public appearances.
Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Dunn served in all three branches of government. She worked in the White House as Associate Counsel to President Barack Obama, in the Eastern District of Virginia as an Assistant United States Attorney, in the Senate as communications director and a senior advisor to Hillary Rodham Clinton, and as a law clerk first to Judge Merrick B. Garland of the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and then to Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Ms. Dunn has substantial trial and investigations experience. In addition to her work at the firm, as an Assistant United States Attorney, Ms. Dunn tried to jury verdict a number of multi-defendant cases, handled appellate briefing, and led complex investigations, often involving multiple government agencies. Ms. Dunn prosecuted a range of offenses including terrorism, international narcotics, money laundering, espionage, and fraud. In the White House, she represented the Executive Office of the President in congressional investigations and conducted internal investigations.
Ms. Dunn is also expert in strategic counseling and crisis management. Throughout her career, Ms. Dunn has acted in public-facing and government-facing roles in which she was responsible for managing the response to developing crises. As a senior advisor and communications director to then-Senator Clinton, Ms. Dunn guided the response to a string of closely watched events, including those associated with rebuilding New York after 9/11. She has appeared on network and cable television, dealt with nearly every national news organization in America, and provided government officials and political candidates with strategic and communications advice. She also employed her crisis management skills at the White House and in several high profile political campaigns, including the 2008 and 2012 presidential races. Ms. Dunn has also been an occasional consultant to the television show, House of Cards.
Ms. Dunn's unusual combination of experience-litigation and crisis management-enables her to help clients confront high-stakes legal problems that require them to simultaneously contend with the law, the media, and the government. She has prepared high-profile political candidates, including President Obama, for televised debates and numerous nominees for high-stakes congressional hearings, including developing the confirmation strategy for now-Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. In the White House, Ms. Dunn advised the President and Executive Branch staff on a wide variety of constitutional, statutory, policy, and regulatory issues. And she has guided companies, research universities, and non-profit organizations in crafting internal and external strategies designed to advance their policy goals.
Selected Professional Awards and Associations
The National Law Journal’s Outstanding Women Lawyers, 2015
Global Competition Review 2014 Litigation of the Year – Non-Cartel Defense
The National Law Journal Top 40 Under 40 in Washington, D.C.
2014 Recipient of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) SHIELD Award
Edward Bennett Williams White Collar Inn of Court
Kate Stith & Karen Dunn, A Second Chance for Sentencing Reform: Establishing a Sentencing Agency in the Judicial Branch, 58 STAN. L. REV. 217 (2005)
Karen Dunn and Alanna Rutherford Named Outstanding Women Lawyers (April 17, 2015)
Litigators of the Week: William Isaacson and Karen Dunn (AmLaw Litigation Daily)
D.C.'s Rising Stars: KAREN DUNN (The National Law Journal)
The District’s budget autonomy decision could rest on Home Rule Act’s history (Washington Post (Editorial))
Split Obamacare Court Rulings Revive Health-Care Debate (Bloomberg News)
Trends in Litigation: Crisis Management (July 2014)
D.C. budget autonomy fight could turn on Home Rule Act’s history (The Wasington Post)
D.C. budget autonomy suit could compel Congress to butt out of District’s finances (Washington Post (Editorial))
Boies law firm takes 'vigorous focus' to D.C. (The Washington Post)
Boies Schiller Expands In D.C. By Hiring Young Legal Superstars (Above the Law)
Assistant United States Attorney, Eastern District of Virginia
Associate Counsel to the President, The White House
Communications Director to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
Press and Legislative Aide to Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey