Kathleen P. Tanner Kennedy, a Raleigh native, earned both her undergraduate and law degrees, with honors, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While in law school, Ms. Kennedy was a member of the North Carolina Law Review. After graduating, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Ed Carnes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
Ms. Kennedy spent several years as an associate at a large firm in Washington, D.C., Hogan Lovells, L.L.P. (formerly Hogan & Hartson, L.L.P.), where she was a member of the firm's litigation and legislative practice groups. She joined Tharrington Smith, L.L.P. in 2005, was subsequently elected a partner there, and practiced education law, serving as the lead attorney for the Chatham County Schools, Alamance-Burlington School System, Brunswick County Schools, and Jones County Schools, until early 2016, when she decided to spend a few years as a stay at home mother to her young daughter. In 2018, she decided to pursue her long-standing interest in estate planning and joined Hemphill Gelder, P.C.. Ms. Kennedy is a member of the Estate Planning Section of the North Carolina Bar Association. She is a past president of Phi Beta Kappa of Wake County, a Sustainer in the Junior League of Raleigh, and a member of Edenton Street United Methodist Church. She is married to Robert M. Kennedy, Jr., a partner at Phelps Dunbar, L.L.P., and they have one daughter.