Background & Qualifications

Education and Professional Experience

  • A.B., Harvard University (cum laude)
  • J.D., Stanford University School of Law (Law Review Board of Editors)
  • Associate Attorney with Seyfarth, Shaw, Fairweather & Geraldson (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Partner in the firms of: Boyden & Kennedy, Nielson & Senior, and Edwards, McCoy & Kennedy (Salt Lake City, Utah). 2000-2001: "Of Counsel" Durham, Jones, and Pinegar
  • Utah State District Court Judge (Third District)
  • Pepperdine University Straus Institute (“Mediating the Litigated Case”) 2012. (The Straus Institute has been ranked number one nationally in mediation training since 2004)
  • Utah State Court Mediation Program
  • National Judicial College (“Dispute Resolution Skills”)
  • Admitted: United States Supreme Court; District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals; Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeals; Illinois Supreme Court; Utah Supreme Court; and various tribal courts
  • Mediation/arbitration panel member of Utah ADR Services

ADR Experience

While serving on the bench of the Third District Court, Judge Kennedy was asked by other Judges to mediate difficult and complex pending cases. Over the years, as a lawyer and as a Judge, he developed extensive experience in hearing and settling cases in a wide variety of fields including contracts, medical and legal malpractice, real estate, wrongful termination, insurance coverage and bad faith claims, personal injury suits, business disputes, labor-management conflicts, civil rights claims, family law and domestic relations, probate, adoption, and guardianship matters, construction defect cases, taxation matters, and property boundary conflicts. Judge Kennedy is experienced in conducting Mediation sessions and hearings using programs which permit attorneys and parties to participate from separate remote locations.


  • He was involved in resolving a variety of complex commercial, collective bargaining, and employment disputes.
  • While serving on the Utah District Court, Judge Kennedy was appointed to handle matters as a tax judge.
  • He litigated and mediated the largest-ever quiet title and partition actions in the United States (involving more than 2,000,000 acres).
  • Before taking the bench, he worked with the head of the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service to resolve a century-old inter-tribal dispute involving claims in the eight figure range.
  • As a practicing attorney, Judge Kennedy participated in reaching the first mediated Labor-Management agreement for the Washington DC Metropolitan Transit Authority involving more than 7,000 employees and a package in the nine figure range.
  • Judge Kennedy completed formal mediation training at: Pepperdine University, Straus Institute; National Judicial College; Utah State Courts; and various programs of the American Bar Association and the Utah State Bar Association.
  • He has successfully arbitrated more than 125 cases.
  • Prior to being appointed to the bench, Judge Kennedy prevailed in a trademark case before the US Supreme Court with now Chief-Justice John Roberts representing the other side.
  • Av rated since 1978.

Professional Affiliations

  • Member American Bar Association
  • Member Utah State Bar Association (ADR Section) and Salt Lake County Bar Association
  • Member of the Utah Council on Conflict Resolution
  • Fellow of the Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Center (“ASTAR”)
  • Master of the Bench, Aldon Anderson Chapter, American Inns of Court

Some of Judge Kennedy’s Presentations

  • “Mediating Probate and Guardianship Matters with Civility,” Utah Bar Association Elder Law and Estate Planning Section, 2019.
  • "Civility and Professionalism in Mediation and Arbitration." Utah Association of Justice, 2017.
  • "Preventing the Mediation Meltdown." Panel, Utah State Bar Summer Convention, 2016.
  • "Ethics and Civility in Mediation." Utah Bar CLE presentation, May 2015.
  • "It’s More than Just Money—Communicating through Offers and Counters.” Utah State Court Mediators’ Training Program, November 2014.
  • “Mediating in Utah’s District Courts—How Judges Can Help.” Joint presentation with Hon. Anthony Quinn, Utah District Court Judges Annual Conference, May 2011.