Image: Stephen Kinnaird

Stephen Kinnaird

Partner, Litigation Department


Stephen B. Kinnaird is a partner in the Litigation practice of Paul Hastings and co-chair of the Appellate practice. He is based in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office. He has represented clients in numerous cases in the United States Supreme Court, the federal courts of appeals and district courts, and state appellate courts.

A highly experienced appellate lawyer, Mr. Kinnaird has handled matters involving energy, transportation, intellectual property, antitrust, environmental, telecommunications, administrative, criminal, and constitutional law.

Specifically, Mr. Kinnaird has handled cases involving the Communications Act, the Interstate Commerce Act, the Federal Power Act, the Federal Railroad Safety Act, the Federal Employer’s Liability Act, the Social Security Act, the Sherman and Robinson-Patman Acts, the Lanham Act, the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts, CERCLA, the Patent and Trademark Acts, ERISA, the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, and the Civil Rights Act; the Commerce, Due Process, and Takings Clauses; and the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Tenth, and Eleventh Amendments.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Kinnaird served as a law clerk to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the United States Supreme Court, and to Judge John M. Walker, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Mr. Kinnaird argued Padilla v. Kentucky in the United States Supreme Court in 2009. The Court ruled in favor of firm client Jose Padilla in holding that the Sixth Amendment imposed duties upon defense counsel to advise criminal defendants of the deportation consequences of criminal convictions. Mr. Kinnaird was featured on the cover of the July/August 2010 issue of The American Lawyer in a story highlighting the historic decision.


  • The Legal 500 USA, Appellate: States and Federal Courts Of Appeals/Supreme Courts (2021-2022)
  • Awarded the Jack Wasserman Memorial Award in 2011 for excellence in litigation in the field of immigration law by The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) for the representation of Jose Padilla in Padilla v. Kentucky
  • Recognized in 2011 by Lawyers USA as one of nine Lawyers of the Year in 2010 for his representation of Jose Padilla in the Padilla v. Kentucky Supreme Court win
  • Honored by The National Association of Attorneys General for his assistance in helping state attorneys general prepare for Supreme Court cases in 2010
  • Honored with the 2010 Public Advocate’s Award by the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy for his pro bono service in the Padilla case


  • Yale Law School, J.D., 1994 (Yale Law Journal, Articles Editor; awarded three faculty prizes for scholarship)
  • The University of Oxford, M.A., 1992 (Rhodes Scholar)
  • Yale University, B.A., 1984 (summa cum laude)


  • An energy company in the U.S. Supreme Court in a case establishing private rights to coal bed methane in homestead grants
  • A railroad in the U.S. Supreme Court in a case establishing preemption of state tort claims for inadequate warning devices
  • A major league baseball team in the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving taxation of back pay
  • A telecommunications company in the U.S. Supreme Court and the courts of appeals in cases establishing rules of competitive access to network facilities under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and rejecting takings and sovereign immunity defenses
  • A railroad in the U.S. Supreme Court in a case establishing the protections of limited liability clauses for inland carriers engaged in international cargo transportation
  • A tire manufacturer in the Ninth Circuit in a case involving the availability of preliminary injunctive relief in aid of arbitration
  • An information technology company in the Federal Circuit in cases involving patent infringement and the scope of authority of the International Trade Commission
  • A chemical company in the Fourth Circuit in a case involving relevant market definition under the Sherman Act
  • Veterans in the Federal Circuit in major cases involving veterans benefits laws



    Engagement & Publications

    • Presented on issues of federal and constitutional law to the Food and Drug Law Institute, Mealey’s National Asbestos Litigation Conference, and the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel, among other organizations
    • High Court to Revisit Federal Preemption, Paul Hastings - Stay Current (January 2009)
    • All Over the High Court: Major Corporate Law Firms Dominate the Court's New Cases, Legal Times (Oct. 6, 2008)
    • Fear-of-Cancer Claims After Norfolk Southern Railway v. Ayers, Washington Legal Foundation Legal Briefing, Vol. 18, No. 29 (July 2003)
    • The Supreme Court’s Revolutionary Decision On Punitive Damages Promises Much Relief for Defendants, The Insurance Advocate (May 5, 2003)
    • The Impact of State Farm Insurance Co. v. Campbell, Claims Magazine (May 2003)
    • Public Housing: Abandon HOPE, But Not Privatization, 103 Yale L.J. 961 (1994), excerpted and discussed in Robert C. Ellickson & Vicki L. Been, Land Use Controls: Cases And Materials (2d ed. 1999)


    • Board Member, National Veterans Legal Services Program
    • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
    • Member, Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court

    Practice Areas


    Appellate Litigation

    Complex Litigation and Arbitration

    Global Dispute Resolution Practice for Japanese Clients

    International Arbitration




    District of Columbia Bar

    New York Bar


    Yale Law School, J.D. 1994

    University of Oxford, M.A. 1992

    Yale University, B.A. 1984

    Get In Touch With Us

    Contact Us