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Karen L. Dunn

Washington, DC

t: 202.895.5235
f: 202.237.6131
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Areas of Practice



Constitutional Law and First Amendment / Mass Media

Crisis Management and Government Response

Global Investigations and White Collar Defense

Privacy, Cybersecurity & Technology


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)


New York

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.  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 2014, Ms. Dunn was recognized as Litigator of the Week by The American Lawyer and Global Competition Review. (Click here) (Click here)  As an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, she prosecuted a range of offenses, including terrorism, international narcotics, money laundering, espionage, and fraud. Ms. Dunn tried to jury verdict a number of multi-defendant cases, handled appellate briefing, and led complex investigations, often involving multiple government agencies. 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'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 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)

Related News

Litigators of the Week: William Isaacson and Karen Dunn (In the News)

Litigators of the Week: Bill Isaacson and Karen Dunn (In the News)

The National Law Journal: D.C.'s Rising Stars: KAREN DUNN (In The News)

The District’s budget autonomy decision could rest on Home Rule Act’s history (08.06.2014)

Split Obamacare Court Rulings Revive Health-Care Debate (07.23.2014)

Trends in Litigation: Crisis Management (July 2014)

D.C. budget autonomy fight could turn on Home Rule Act’s history (In The News)

It will take a lawsuit to determine if the District can manage its own budget (In the News)

Boies law firm takes 'vigorous focus' to D.C. (In the News)

With High-Profile New Partner Karen Dunn, Boies, Schiller Expands Washington Presence (In the News)

Boies Schiller Expands In D.C. By Hiring Young Legal Superstars (In the News)

Government Service

Assistant United States Attorney, Eastern District of Virginia Associate Counsel to the President, The White House Communications Director, Office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton Press and Legislative Aide, Office of Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey