Bloomberg Law
July 27, 2023, 9:00 AM

They’ve Got Next: The 40 Under 40 - Lauren Roberta Kennedy of Cravath, Swaine & Moore

Lisa Helem
Lisa Helem
Executive Editor
MP McQueen

Please describe two of your most substantial, recent wins in practice.

I recently won partial summary judgment for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and member plans in a massive, multi-district antitrust litigation challenging certain foundational aspects of the Blue system. The court held that the Blues’ cornerstone exclusive service areas are rightly analyzed under the rule of reason—a significant win in the face of a prior adverse decision that not only changed the legal landscape of the pending lawsuit, but also will be critical to defending the Blue system going forward.

In addition, I helped secure the 2019 dismissal of antitrust litigation filed against Florida Blue by competitor Oscar Insurance, alleging Florida Blue’s exclusive agency relationships violated the Sherman Act.

We won this decision despite the DOJ intervening in Oscar’s favor. This victory followed a prior win in the same case, where we defeated Oscar’s motion for preliminary injunction following an evidentiary hearing.

What is the most important lesson you learned as a first-year attorney and how does it inform your practice today? 

One of the earliest lessons I learned is the importance of a positive, can-do attitude. So many opportunities and experiences come from simply being the type of person who others want to work with.

This means more than being smart and doing good work; it involves approaching every task with enthusiasm and a demeanor that conveys, “I will do whatever it takes, and I will do it with a smile.” These are the people that senior associates and partners enjoy working with, and these are the people who get the chance to try new things and to advance early in their careers.

I carry this lesson with me today, particularly when interfacing with clients. As lawyers, our clients turn to us in times of trouble and need. It is imperative to be the type of person that is top of mind when disaster strikes.

You significantly increase your odds if you are remembered as the person who not only got a great result, but who was a pleasure to be around in the process. At the end of the day, our clients are people, and we all want to work with those who make our lives easier and more enjoyable.

How do you define success in your practice? 

I define success as my clients choosing and turning to me over and over again. In the type of complex litigation I handle, it can take many, many years for the client to get a final resolution.

However, if the client is constantly coming back to me in the interim to expand my role, to seek my advice, and to take on new matters, then I know that I am doing exactly what I should be doing: inspiring confidence, earning trust and getting great results.

My favorite phone call is the one that begins, “I just want to sanity check this with you, because I trust your judgment and you know my business better than anyone.”

That is who I aspire to be for my clients each and every day: not an interloper who appears for a given litigation, but a true partner in their business and in achieving their big-picture goals.

What are you most proud of as a lawyer? 

I am most proud of the relationship I have helped to grow with Blue Cross Blue Shield (“BCBS”). That relationship began when I was an associate, when Cravath represented only one BCBS member Plan. Today, we represent 12 plans plus the association in an MDL and related litigation that is critical to the System.

This expanded role did not happen overnight. It happened over many years, as we learned the BCBS System and developed relationships across Plans. I am very proud that, over that time, our work has been so appreciated and valued that our role was broadened in this way.

A recent high point in this relationship was the August 2022 standard of review decision, in which the district court held that the Blues’ cornerstone service areas are to be analyzed under the rule of reason, after previously ruling that those same service areas, when aggregated with another Blue rule, were per se unlawful.

This one decision changed the course of the litigation. It was so rewarding to develop the winning argument with others in our group, and to know that we have set up the system for success not only in this case, but potential future matters as well.

Who is your greatest mentor in the law and what have they taught you? 

Karin DeMasi is, by far, my greatest mentor. I first worked with Karin when I was an associate, and I am lucky enough to work alongside her now as a partner, including in our representation of BCBS.

Karin is a brilliant and creative lawyer, a master at relationship-building, and an all-around amazing human being. Over the years, she has helped hone my skills, created important opportunities for me, and gave me the confidence to own rooms that I didn’t even know I belonged in.

Of the many things Karin has taught me, the most important probably is “sit with your anxiety.” We have all observed those lawyers who confront a problem and mistake activity for progress; who believe that, as long as they are doing something, they are advancing the ball.

Karin does not do that, she is one of the most thoughtful, strategic, and disciplined people I know, no matter the situation or circumstance. And it is not only because she is smart; she has the patience, maturity and self-confidence to sit still and think while others agitate. Her advice—sit with your anxiety—is a mantra I repeat to myself not only professionally, but also in my personal life.

Tell us your two favorite songs on your summer music playlist.

“Green, Green Grass” (George Ezra) and Free and “Easy” (Dierks Bentley) are two songs that make me feel appreciative and immensely happy no matter what else may be going on.

Lauren Roberta Kennedy of Cravath hiking with family in Bedford, N.Y.
Lauren Roberta Kennedy and Jonathan Hurtarte / Bloomberg Law

Lauren Roberta Kennedy won a 2020 dismissal of putative class action securities litigation filed against fintech company GreenSky relating to the company’s IPO, in addition to her antitrust matters. She is active in pro bono and community service, including with the Kate Stoneman Project, an organization of women partners at Manhattan law firms seeking to advance women in the legal profession.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lisa Helem at; MP McQueen at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: MP McQueen at; Lisa Helem at

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