David E. Kendall
Background and Education
Kendall was born in 1944 and grew up in Sheridan, Indiana. While a student at Wabash College, Kendall worked during the Freedom Summer of 1964 with the COFO on voter registration, and was the roommate of murdered civil rights worker Andrew Goodman during the last week of his life. Kendall was arrested a few times and convicted once in Mississippi during the summer of 1964. He obtained his B.A. (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in 1966.
Kendall served a stint in the U.S. Army, where he was a 2nd Lieutenant. Then, as a Rhodes Scholar, Kendall earned an M.A. at Worcester College, Oxford in 1968, where he and Bill Clinton met. He earned a J.D. from Yale Law in 1971.
Following a clerkship with Supreme Court Justice Byron White, Kendall spent five years as an associate counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, focusing on criminal defense practice, handling high-profile death penalty cases including Coker v. Georgia and the death penalty appeals of John Arthur Spenkelink and Gary Gilmore.
He joined Williams & Connolly LLP, a Washington, D.C. law firm, in 1978 and became a partner there in 1981. He presently works on diverse matters such as intellectual property, criminal investigations, and the Clinton Library foundation. He has appeared in trial courts in 22 states and has argued appeals in 6 federal courts of appeal, 7 state supreme courts, and the Supreme Court of the United States. He has briefed and argued numerous important criminal cases before the Supreme Court on pro bono publico assignments. His notable clients have included AOL, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Washington Post, the National Enquirer, and the Baltimore Orioles.
Representation of President Clinton
Kendall began representing President Clinton in November 1993 in an investigation related to the Whitewater Development Company, Inc. As the investigation expanded, Kendall went on to represent the Clintons in the 1998-99 impeachment proceedings, and continues to represent them in miscellaneous civil matters.
Kendall advised President Clinton during the grand jury appearance that led to the discovery of Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Kendall was heavily criticized for advising Clinton to pursue the "legalistic argument" that receiving oral sex did not constitute a sexual relationship. However, he was also credited for scoring significant victories against Ken Starr, particularly when he attacked the Starr Report and the many leaks that came out of the Starr office.
He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from his alma mater, Wabash College, on May 16, 2010.
He has been married to Anne L. Kendall, a psychologist with the Wake Kendall Group, since 1968, and they have three children.
- Panelist, Columbia Law School Alumni Forum on Law & Journalism, April 7, 2005.
- Interview with Wabash College magazine
- 'David E. Kendall ’66, Doctor of Laws,' Wabash.edu, May 16, 2010
- 'David E Kendall Bio,' Williams & Connolly LLP
- 'Key Player: David Kendall', Washington Post, January 19, 1999