Press Release

Cooley Adds Acclaimed Trial + Appellate Litigator

Former associate counsel to President Obama and US Supreme Court law clerk Kathleen Hartnett joins as partner
February 3, 2020

San Francisco – February 3, 2020 – Cooley has expanded its litigation department with the addition of experienced trial and appellate lawyer Kathleen Hartnett, who joins as a partner in San Francisco. Hartnett arrives from Boies Schiller Flexner, where she was co-administrative partner of the firm’s San Francisco office. Previously, she served as deputy assistant attorney general in the US Department of Justice’s Civil Division, overseeing the Federal Programs Branch, which represents the federal government in high-profile civil litigation.

“Kathleen is an accomplished litigator with extraordinary credentials who brings to our rapidly growing litigation department best-in-class strategic instinct and deep experience navigating high-profile, impactful litigation,” said Mike Attanasio, chair of Cooley’s global litigation department. “Together with her deserved reputation for working tirelessly to achieve clients’ objectives, her talents will further add to our powerful litigation bench around the world.”

Hartnett has extensive experience representing plaintiffs and defendants in high-stakes civil litigation and providing strategic counseling, including in major battles in the technology industry. Her practice spans commercial, regulatory and constitutional law, and she has represented industry and government leaders facing complex challenges involving litigation, policy and politics. At DOJ, Hartnett led, argued and participated in many cases of national importance, including those involving the Affordable Care and DoddFrank acts, former President Barack Obama’s immigration initiatives and the assertion of executive privilege. She also supervised important cases involving the US Departments of Treasury, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and Defense and the SEC, among others. Hartnett formerly served as special assistant and associate counsel for President Obama, a role in which she counseled the president and other officials on constitutional, regulatory and oversight issues.

“Cooley’s success as a global litigation force attracted me, as did its renowned culture of collaboration and commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said Hartnett. “I look forward to working closely with my new colleagues to protect our clients’ innovation and success.”

Recognized by the National Law Journal as an Equality Trailblazer for fighting for equal justice under law, Hartnett has significant pro bono and publicoriented litigation experience. She earned her JD from Harvard Law, where she served on the Harvard Law Review. After law school, she clerked for Judge Merrick Garland of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and for US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Before her government service, Hartnett was cofounding partner of a litigation boutique in Washington, DC.

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