Principal Deputy General Counsel
Ms. Kennedy is a cum laude graduate of Vanderbilt University, and a graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Law. She has practiced law before the local, state and/or federal district and appellate courts of Tennessee for approximately twenty-four years. She is licensed to practice before the United States Supreme Court. Ms. Kennedy began her legal career as a law clerk with the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. Thereafter, she became an associate and later partner in the law firm of Williams and Dinkins. Williams and Dinkins was a mid-sized firm founded in the 1950s which devoted a significant portion of its practice to the litigation of civil rights and employment discrimination issues, handling seminal school desegregation cases. While a member of Williams and Dinkins, Ms. Kennedy also handled hundreds of receivership and environmental law cases for the State of Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. Ms. Kennedy has served on community boards and was a member of a legal honor society. She has served in several leadership capacities with local bar associations and has been presented with distinguished service awards for dedicated service and leadership in law. She was appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court to serve on the Tennessee Supreme Court Racial and Ethnic Fairness Commission and she was appointed by the Chancery Court of Tennessee to serve as a Special Master.
In 1998, Ms. Kennedy became an Assistant Attorney General for the state of Tennessee where she litigated cases for TennCare (Tennessee’s Medicaid program) and Tennessee Housing Development Agency, and handled appellate child support litigation for Tennessee’s District Attorneys and IV-D Child Support Attorneys.
Ms. Kennedy has been with VA’s Office of General Counsel since 1999 when she became a staff attorney in the Nashville Office of Region 8 (Tennessee and Arkansas). She has handled cases in almost all of that office’s practice areas. In October 2006, Ms. Kennedy became Regional Counsel (RC) for Region 8. This appointment (with responsibility for Arkansas) was particularly personally significant to Ms. Kennedy because her father, a twenty-one year Veteran of the United States Air Force, was stationed at an Air Force Base in Jacksonville, Arkansas, and she attended elementary school and junior high school there. As RC for Region 8, Ms. Kennedy developed and led a diverse, geographically dispersed staff committed to teamwork and excellence. Ms. Kennedy became a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES) in February 2011 and has served VA, OGC and external stakeholders in numerous leadership capacities. Ms. Kennedy was the inaugural chair of OGC’s Southeast Collaborative, served as an adjunct faculty member of DOJ’s National Advocacy Center (NAC), co-authored OGC’s draft Diversity and Inclusion Plan, chaired OGC’s National Legal Support Review Workgroup, and has served on OGC’s Pilot Governance Team (PGT) and Management Advisory Committee (MAC).