Kim M. Keenan, Esquire
General Counsel, NAACP
Kim Keenan, is a native of Buffalo, New York. She is a graduate of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and the University of Virginia School of Law and a former member of the University of Virginia Law Alumni Council. After law school, she served as the law clerk to the Honorable John Garrett Penn in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. She is currently the General Counsel of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (“NAACP”). Prior to joining the NAACP, she was the principal of the Keenan Firm in Washington, D.C. where her practice has focused on complex medical malpractice litigation, mediation and arbitration, litigation consulting, and public speaking. Prior to that she served in the litigation practices of two nationally recognized law firms for more than eighteen years. She was recently honored as a Washington, D.C. Super Lawyer and is recognized as a Top Lawyer by Washingtonian Magazine. In May 2007 the Women’s Bar Association named her “Woman Lawyer of the Year” for her contributions to the profession. She is currently the Immediate Past President of the District of Columbia Bar, the second largest jurisdictional bar in the country. Although she was the 38th President of the organization, her service marked the 8th time that a woman has served as president.
Her career demonstrates a strong commitment to important issues affecting women and people of color, public service, and improving the legal profession. Ms. Keenan served as the sixty-second President of the National Bar Association (NBA), the oldest and largest bar association of lawyers of color in the world with a network of more than 50,000 lawyers, judges, and law students. She is the first woman from the District of Columbia to be elected to this position and only the eighth woman in the organization’s eighty-six year history to serve in the NBA’s highest elected office. During her tenure as President, the NBA deployed thousands of lawyers throughout the nation to educate voters regarding new voting laws. The Maryland Bar Foundation awarded her their Professional Legal Excellence Award for her national effort to provide nonpartisan voter education. She is also a Past President of the Washington Bar Association, one of the oldest and largest affiliates of the NBA which was founded in the same year of the NBA.
Ms. Keenan is highly active in the District of Columbia community. In December 2007 she was nominated by the Mayor and confirmed by the District of Columbia City Council to the Board of Trustees of the University of District of Columbia. Since 2002, Ms. Keenan has chaired the District of Columbia Bar’s Landlord -Tenant Implementation Committee, which received the Frederick B. Abramson Award for superior service to the legal profession in June 2004. She is a member of the Women’s Bar Association and served as a speaker for the Women’s Bar Association’s groundbreaking initiative Creating Pathways to Success, which focused on the advancement and retention of women in the legal profession. In 2006, Ms. Keenan was recognized by Girls Inc. for her work in law, policy, and as a mentor to women.
She received the Distinguished Black Woman Award from Black Women In Sisterhood for Action (BISA) for her public service. She has served as Treasurer of the Bar
Association of the District of Columbia, the largest voluntary bar in the District of Columbia and is the first African-American woman to serve in this position. She is a member of the Leadership Metropolitan Washington Class of 2000 and was elected a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation in 2001 in recognition of her professional attainment and distinguished service. Ms. Keenan has received numerous other awards for her community service activities including recognition from the National Bar Association, the Washington Bar Association, The Bar Association of the District of Columbia, the National Association of Black Women Attorneys, and the Louisiana and Virginia State Conferences of the NAACP. She received the Washington Metropolitan Top Forty Under Forty Award in 2000. In December 2002, the Young Lawyers Section of the Bar Association of the District of Columbia honored her with the first Annice M. Wagner Pioneer Award, named for the then Chief Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
Ms. Keenan uses teaching as an opportunity to mentor young professionals. She serves on the Senior Adjunct Faculty of George Washington University Law Center where she co-teaches Pretrial Advocacy and Trial Advocacy. She is currently on sabbatical from the University. In 2007, she was selected to teach on the faculty of the National Trial College for the University of Virginia School of Law. For the past twelve years, she has been the Civil Procedure Lecturer for the Charles Hamilton Houston Law Preparatory Course at Georgetown University Law Center. She is a nationally recognized lecturer on various legal topics and has spoken to numerous organizations including the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (now known as the American Association for Justice), the NAACP, the National Urban League, and the Maryland State Bar Conference of Bar Presidents.
Ms. Keenan was a regularly featured “attorney” on the first season of Fox’s “Power of Attorney” television show. She has been a commentator for Fox News and has appeared on Fox’s legal program “Dayside.” In July 2003, she served as a Guest Host on CNN’s Sunday Morning Legal Show “Attorney-At-Law.” She has also appeared on C-SPAN, Court TV, Fox News and numerous radio programs.
Ms. Keenan’s commitment to the community extends beyond the legal profession. She is a member of the Capitol City Chapter of the Links, Inc. She has served as the appointed Chair of the American Lung Association’s (ALA) national Diversity Committee and is a member of its National Assembly. She has spoken by invitation to the National ALA board and provided diversity training to its national staff as well as a national law firm. She was the first African-American elected to serve as President of the District of Columbia Rape Crisis Center, one of the nation’s largest resource centers for survivors of sexual assault.
Additionally, she served on the advisory board of Posh Communications, a private marketing and communications company where she was the contributing legal editor for Posh’s magazine Odyssey Couleur.