Katherine L. McKnight

Partner

Washington, D.C.
T +1.202.861.1618
F +1.202.861.1783

Overview

Kate McKnight represents clients in a range of litigation matters in commercial and election law. From start to finish, she helps clients develop their litigation strategy, navigate complex discovery obligations, advocate their positions in court, prepare for and present their case at trial, and, if necessary, resolve cases at the appellate level. She regularly argues and tries cases and uses this experience to help clients prepare for but avoid the courtroom through alternative dispute processes. Kate litigates in federal and state trial and appellate courts, and has particular experience in federal district courts, including the Eastern District of Virginia’s “Rocket Docket."

Select Experience

Election Law

Kate is a member of the Firm’s robust election law team and has litigated and counseled clients at the forefront of an area of law that has diminishing clarity. She has served redistricting clients in substantial matters in North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Georgia.

  • Represented members of Congress from Ohio in defending the 2011 Congressional redistricting plan in the case brought before a three-judge panel in the Southern District of Ohio alleging that the plan was a partisan gerrymander (Ohio A. Philip Randolph Inst. v. Householder).
Commercial Litigation
  • Defended insurance companies in the Eastern District of Virginia against class action claims related to a data breach incident.
Tax Controversy, Litigation and Corporate Investigations
  • Represented a multinational financial institution facing a federal grand jury investigation for allegedly assisting U.S. taxpayers in evading their U.S. tax obligations.

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Experience

Election Law

Kate is a member of the Firm’s robust election law team and has litigated and counseled clients at the forefront of an area of law that has diminishing clarity. She has served redistricting clients in substantial matters in North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Georgia.

  • Represented members of Congress from Ohio in defending the 2011 Congressional redistricting plan in the case brought before a three-judge panel in the Southern District of Ohio alleging that the plan was a partisan gerrymander (Ohio A. Philip Randolph Inst. v. Householder).
  • Represented the North Carolina Senate and House of Representatives and their leadership in defending redistricting plans in state court-litigation brought late in the census decade (Common Cause v. Lewis; Harper v. Lewis).
  • Represented the Virginia House of Delegates and its Speaker in defending the 2011 state legislative redistricting plan in the case brought before a three-judge panel in the Eastern District of Virginia alleging violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections).
  • Represented the Virginia House of Delegates and its Speaker against a claim brought by plaintiffs alleging that the 2011 redistricting plans drawn by both the Virginia House and Senate violated the Virginia Constitution’s requirement that all districts be drawn to be compact.
  • Presented oral argument to the Virginia Supreme Court about legislative privilege, an issue of first impression under the Virginia Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause.
  • Counsels legislatures and local governments in litigation brought against districting maps alleging violations of the Voting Rights Act, the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause.
Commercial Litigation
  • Defended insurance companies in the Eastern District of Virginia against class action claims related to a data breach incident.
  • Lead trial attorney in a breach of contract case in the Eastern District of Virginia involving an issue of piercing the corporate veil. 
  • Defended an equipment manufacturer from antitrust claims in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. 
  • Represented a technology/software company in patent litigation in the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Worked to develop litigation strategy, prepared and argued motions in limine, jury instructions and other pre-trial matters.
  • Represented a large publicly owned client in anticipation of a contract dispute concerning construction delays. Conducted an extensive internal investigation into the client’s contract performance and developed a defense resulting in a settlement without litigation.
  • Represented a family-owned company in a dispute before the Superior Court in the District of Columbia. Resolved case through settlement.
Tax Controversy, Litigation and Corporate Investigations
  • Represented a multinational financial institution facing a federal grand jury investigation for allegedly assisting U.S. taxpayers in evading their U.S. tax obligations.
  • Represented clients before the Tax Court in actions involving historic tax credit and conservation easement partnerships.
  • Served on legal team examining fatal shipping accident for client responding to regulatory investigation.
  • Represented individuals facing civil and criminal tax investigations involving alleged tax fraud and evasion.
  • Represented U.S. individuals participating in the IRS' Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Programs.
  • Served on a team acting as independent examiner for a major Swiss bank.
  • Served as a member of a team acting as court-appointed counsel to SIPA Trustee Irving Picard for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, investigating and recovering assets from offshore hedge funds and international financial institutions.
  • Represented a large publicly owned client in a controversy with the Commonwealth of Virginia concerning real property tax overpayments. Filed a complaint and negotiated a settlement for the entire monetary amount with counsel for the Commonwealth.
  • Tote matter; helped in investigation of shipping disaster
  • Facade easements; pieces of litigation where clients are seeking relief from taxes issues/applied to them on where they have donated parts of buildings are parts of historic restoration efforts. Helped on litigations.
Other
  • Assisted client in developing policies and procedures to address and prevent workplace harassment.
  • Co-lead of office-based Women's Committee supporting the advancement of female attorneys in the office and Firm.
  • Volunteer with local organization to educate sixth grade students about good citizenship.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • Washington, D.C., Super Lawyers "Rising Star" (2017 to 2019)
  • American Bankruptcy Institute: Medal of Excellence (2008)

Memberships

  • American Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association

News

News

Pro Bono

  • Defended client against claims of defamation resulting from her speaking out against sexual misconduct in her profession. Obtained protective order prohibiting abusive discovery and engaged experts to provide Court knowledgeable explanation of issues of consent.
  • Represented tenants facing residential eviction in the Landlord/Tenant Branch of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, and helped negotiate a settlement allowing tenants to remain in their home.

Prior Positions

  • Law Clerk for the Honorable Claude M. Hilton of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • National Democratic Institute for International Affairs

Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • Virginia, 2011
  • District of Columbia, 2010
  • New York, 2009

Education

  • J.D., University of Minnesota Law School, 2008, Dean's List; Editor-in-Chief, Minnesota Journal of International Law
  • B.A., Brown University, 2000