Karen M. Kennard

Karen M. Kennard

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Karen M. Kennard focuses her practice on government law, policy and regulatory matters with an emphasis on municipal local government issues. Her experience spans more than two decades and includes positions as City Attorney for a large city and General Counsel for the largest municipal league in the country.

Prior to joining the firm, Karen served as City Attorney for the City of Austin, Texas, where she was instrumental in leading several high-profile initiatives, including four large municipal bond elections, the transition from at-large council district election system to single member district elections, settlement of two U.S. Department of Justice pattern and practice investigations, negotiation and drafting of major Chapter 380 economic development agreements, and the sale and transfer of large tracts of publicly owned property for redevelopment purposes.

Karen also managed the City of Austin Governmental Relations Office during the 83rd legislative session (2015) where she served as the chief contact for the city at the Texas state legislature and assisted the city’s outside lobby consultant teams in educating and lobbying Texas legislators on issues of importance to the City.

Earlier in her career, Karen spent 15 years providing legal and legislative services at the Texas Municipal League where she helped develop legislative strategies, drafted talking points, positions statements, and testimony, and conducted legal briefings for Mayors and city council members across the state of Texas.

Concentrations

  • Government law, policy and regulation
  • Government relations
  • Economic development
  • Procurement
  • Public infrastructure
  • Housing
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Capabilities

Recognition & Leadership

  • Team Member, Best Lawyers in America®, "Top Listed – Government Relations," 2018
  • Recipient, Austin Black Lawyers Association "Legacy Award," 2012
  • Travis County Women’s Lawyer’s Association
    • Pathfinder Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession in Travis County, 2006
    • Award for Contribution to the Minority Community, 1994
  • President, Texas City Attorneys Association, 2014-2015
  • Member, International Municipal Lawyers Association
  • Citizens Advisory Council, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
  • Board of Directors, KLRU-TV
  • McBee Fellow, Austin Area Research Association (AARO), 2010
  • Board Member, State Bar of Texas Government Lawyers Council, 2011-2012
  • Board Member, City of Austin Police Retirement System, 2005-2008
  • President, Austin Black Lawyers Association, 1999
  • Leadership Austin, Class of 1997-1998
  • Board Member, Austin Bar Association (formerly Travis County Bar Association), 1995

Credentials

Education
  • J.D., Texas Tech University School of Law, 1988
  • B.A., Political Science, Southern Methodist University, 1985
Admissions
  • Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas