Full Name
Kathleen Hartnett
Job Title
Cooley LLP
Speaker Bio
Kathleen is a trial and appellate advocate and former senior US government lawyer who co-heads Cooley’s issues & appeals practice. Kathleen represents plaintiffs and defendants in high-stakes litigation and investigates business-sensitive matters. Her practice spans commercial, regulatory and constitutional issues, including at the US Supreme Court. Kathleen works closely with industry leaders facing complex challenges involving litigation, policy and politics. She also has significant pro bono and public-oriented litigation experience on a wide range of topics – including LGBTQ+ equality, civil rights and racial justice, women’s rights, immigrants’ rights, gun violence prevention, criminal justice, animal welfare and environmental protection. In all of her representations, Kathleen is tireless in seeking to understand and efficiently achieve her clients’ objectives.
Kathleen serves as co-chair of the US District Court for the Northern District of California’s Lawyer Representatives Committee to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council. She also serves on the board of the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Justice & Diversity Center. In 2020 – 2021, Kathleen was a member of the Biden-Harris Transition Team.
Before returning to private practice in 2016, Kathleen spent five years in the Obama administration, where she last served as deputy assistant attorney general in the US Department of Justice’s Civil Division. In this role, she oversaw the Federal Programs Branch, which represents the federal government in high-profile civil litigation. Kathleen personally led and participated in many cases of national importance, including those involving the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd-Frank Act, executive branch immigration initiatives, and the assertion of executive privilege, arguing several such matters. She supervised major cases involving the US Departments of Treasury, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and Defense, as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission, among others. Before her time at the Department of Justice, Kathleen served as special assistant and associate counsel to President Barack Obama, where she counseled the president and other officials on constitutional, regulatory and oversight issues.
Before her government service, Kathleen was a co-founding partner of a Washington, DC, litigation boutique, where she litigated commercial disputes and represented nationwide classes of antitrust and consumer protection plaintiffs. Earlier in her career, she litigated trial and appellate cases at the DC office.
Kathleen Hartnett