Nicholas O. Kennedy
Nick Kennedy is a trial lawyer. Unlike many others at large law firms, Nick regularly tries high stakes cases—at least one per year, and often more. These cases have regularly had tens of millions, hundreds of millions, and in one case more than a billion in dispute. Nick has been first chair in 4 arbitrations with more than USD 100 million in controversy. On the offensive side, his clients have recovered at trial or arbitration nearly a billion dollars in cases he has handled. On the defensive side, he has helped clients avoid claims for many hundred millions more through successful defense verdicts or arbitration awards. While Nick thrives at trial, he also has a successful pre-and post-trial practice with scores of successful dispositive and expert motions, along with appeals all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Nick’s practices crosses industry and borders. He focuses heavily on the software, technology franchise, and consumer goods industries. Nick uses his ability to make complex technologies simple for jurors and arbitrators to represent technology owners in disputes about trade secrets, software performance, and contractual issues. He adeptly handles complicated financial concepts to represent business owners and partners in complex valuation, investment fraud, and fiduciary duty disputes. Nick regularly handles the damages portion of all types of complex cases, working closely with experts to do so. Nick also has a strong background with trade secrets and non-competes across industries, allowing him to help his clients protect their own IP and employees and defend against claims of misuse by others.
Nick routinely represents foreign clients in US disputes, or US clients in foreign disputes. He has arbitrated cases with all major arbitral institutions, including the ICC, ICDR, ICSID, UNCITRAL, JAMS, SCC, AAA, and LCIA. He has acted on behalf of investors against states in investor-state disputes under ICSID, UNCITRAL, LCIA, and SCC Arbitration Rules and in related enforcement proceedings. He has handled disputes in or related to several dozen countries. This diverse experience helps Nick to advise clients on how to craft appropriate dispute resolution clauses when drafting contracts, and how to maximize their benefits when a dispute arises. Finally, Nick’s international experience includes a strong track record of enforcing foreign judgments or arbitration awards in the US and abroad, including identifying and collecting upon assets of uncooperative debtors.
Nick graduated from Harvard University and the UCLA School of Law, where he was a member of the UCLA Law Review and was awarded Order of the Coif. He also externed for the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He maintains an active pro bono practice that has included serving as first chair in a trial to restore mental health benefits for a developmentally delayed toddler and contributing to an amicus brief at the US Supreme Court in a seminal marriage equality case. Nick is also a member of Baker McKenzie’s cross-disciplinary trade secret practice group.
Nick is admitted in Texas and California. He has acted for clients disputes related to more than 30 different countries.
Nick's international arbitration practice encompasses both investor-state and commercial disputes. He also has significant experience enforcing arbitration awards and judgments through multi-jurisdictional asset freezes and coordinated steps to identify and seize assets in the US and abroad.
Domestically, Nick has extensive trade secret and non-compete experience for both plaintiffs and defendants. Nick also defends against and helps his clients avoid consumer class actions, antitrust actions, and claims under California Proposition 65. Nick also has experience with intellectual property disputes, including patents, copyrights, and trademarks.
Representative Legal Matters
Represent one of the world’s largest technology companies in arbitration with subcontractor related to cell phone technology deployed in South Africa. Claimant sought more than USD 25 million in damages. Obtained an award of costs against Claimant after defeating all claims. Nick served as first chair during a multi-day arbitration Merits Hearing held virtually during Covid and including witnesses in the US, UK, France, Spain, Greece, and South Africa. This case is ongoing.
Represent franchisee of fitness company in dispute regarding termination of Master Franchise Agreement for certain Middle Eastern territories. First-chaired three-day Merits Hearing that proceeded remotely due to Covid and included witnesses in the US, Dubai, and the UK. This case is ongoing.
Represented Russian investor in investment treaty arbitration against the Republic of Belarus relating to complex construction project. The case was administered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration under the UNCITRAL Rules. Participated in merits hearing at the Hague, including primary responsibility for presentation of damages arguments at the hearing.
Represented Cypriot investor in judgment enforcement case against high-profile former business partner in the United States. Developed unique strategy to target assets in foreign jurisdictions that the debtor previously believed to be unavailable to satisfy the US judgment. After uncovering those assets at debtor exams and moving for a turnover order, the judgment debtor paid our client on the eve of the hearing on the turnover order motion.
- Represented US and Luxembourg investors in investment treaty claims against the Republic of Georgia related to mining operations in arbitration to be administered by the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. The case was resolved upon the filing of a request for emergency interim measures.
- Represented Singapore-based publicly traded company in multi-jurisdictional dispute with former shareholder. Developed strategy and presented argument for anti-suit injunction in US federal court seeking to halt litigation in India about the same issues that were being litigated in a parallel Singapore arbitration.
- Represented Kazakh investor in investment treaty arbitration against the Republic of Georgia related to a natural gas distribution network. The case was administered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration under the UNCITRAL Rules. The case settled favorably just days before the final merits hearing.
- Represented Hong Kong-based apparel distributor in ICC arbitration against global apparel manufacturer asserting claims under California law for unfair trade practices, fraud, and breach of contract based on failure to enter into a license agreement on commercially reasonable terms. Coordinated with co-counsel in Hong Kong regarding parallel proceedings in Hong Kong courts.
- Represented Turkish energy company in USD 1.5 billion ICSID arbitration against Pakistan relating to unfair measures taken by the government. Advocated at 14-day merits hearing and coordinated with co-counsel in the US, the UK, and Pakistan.
- Represented Russian national in series of coordinated proceedings enforcing under NY Convention a USD 75 million LCIA arbitration award issued in the UK against Russian national living in the US. Confirmed award in C.D. California as part of global enforcement strategy across five jurisdictions. Obtained multiple asset freezes and litigated in District Court, the Ninth Circuit, Bankruptcy Court and California State Court as well as in London, Russia, Lichtenstein and Cyprus.
Professional Associations and Memberships
- American Bar Association – Member
- Institute for Transnational Arbitration-Young Arbitrator's Forum
- Dallas Bar Association – Member, International Law Section
- Dallas Association of Young Lawyers - Member
- California~United States (2011)
- Texas~United States (2013)
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit~United States (2011)
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit~United States (2014)
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit~United States (2015)
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit~United States (2017)
- U.S. District Court, Central District of California~United States (2011)
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of California~United States (2012)
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of California~United States (2015)
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas~United States (2013)
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas~United States (2013)
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan~United States (2013)
- U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois~United States (2013)
- University of California at Los Angeles (J.D., Order of the Coif with a specialization in business law)
- Harvard University (B.A. Government & Economics, Spanish minor)
Publications & Presentations
- Author, "United States: Texas governor lifts COVID-19 mask requirements and business occupancy limits," Global Compliance News, 2021
- Author, "Should I Stay or Should I Close? COVID-19 Issues Across US Jurisdictions," Global Compliance News, April 2020
- Author, "Contagious: Class Actions and Anticipated Trends Based on the COVID-19 Pandemic," Baker McKenzie Client Alert, March 2020
- Author, "COVID-19: Impacts on Pending Litigation and Mitigating Litigation Risk in the US," Baker McKenzie Client Alert, March 2020
- Author, "Texas’ Response to COVID-19 and the Impact on Businesses and Critical Infrastructure," Baker McKenzie Client Alert, March 2020
- Author, "Agreements to Arbitrate (Chapter)," Arbitration of M&A Transactions, Globe Law and Business, 2nd Edition, 2020