Kelly Dunbar

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP

$ $$$

Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest 1875
Washington 20006 DC US

Kelly P. Dunbar is a leader of the firm’s Administrative Law Group and focuses his practice on government and regulatory litigation, administrative rulemakings, civil litigation, and appellate matters.

Mr. Dunbar regularly counsels clients regarding regulatory strategy and litigation, represents them before administrative agencies, and litigates Administrative Procedure Act (APA), constitutional, and other matters in federal courts across the country.

Mr. Dunbar’s administrative law practice spans agencies across the federal government, including the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Labor, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Financial Stability Oversight Council, the Food and Drug Administration, the Surface Transportation Board, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Department of Agriculture.

These matters involve complex statutes and regulations governing a wide range of clients, including telecommunications companies, cable operators, airlines, insurance companies, health care providers, Indian tribes, and railroads.

Mr. Dunbar also has an active appellate practice. He represents clients in matters before multiple federal courts of appeals, state high courts, and the United States Supreme Court, and he has presented oral argument on behalf of clients in multiple federal courts.

He also has substantial experience representing Indian tribes in complex civil litigation, appeals, and administrative proceedings involving land into trust, gaming, jurisdictional, and sovereign immunity issues.

Mr. Dunbar joined the firm after serving as an attorney-adviser in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice. During his time at the Department, Mr. Dunbar assisted in drafting opinions resolving legal disputes between and among executive branch agencies and in providing advice on a range of APA, constitutional, executive privilege, and statutory issues to the Office of the Attorney General, the White House, and other executive branch agencies.

Mr. Dunbar is admitted to practice before the US Supreme Court, the US Courts of Appeals for the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and District of Columbia Circuits, and the US District Courts for the District of Columbia, the Northern District of Florida, the Western District of Michigan, and the District of Maryland.

Experience :

  • obtaining a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order on behalf of a leading medical provider in an APA challenge to an emergency rule promulgated by the Department of Health and Human Services;
  • representing trade associations in successful APA litigation challenging the Fiduciary Rule promulgated by the Department of Labor to regulate the life insurance and financial services industries, resulting in vacatur of the Rule;
  • representing a major passenger railroad company as intervenor in an APA action in defense of a rule promulgated by the Surface Transportation Board;
  • advising a major insurance company with respect to Dodd-Frank issues involving the Financial Stability Oversight Council;
  • representing an Indian tribe in an APA challenge to adverse land-into-trust decisions by the Department of the Interior;
  • counseling a government contractor with respect to small business regulations involving the US Small Business Administration;
  • securing a US Supreme Court victory for a bankruptcy trustee in case involving the interpretation of the Bankruptcy Code;
  • securing a victory in the New York Court of Appeals for a major university in a challenge to its expansion plan.


  • JD, Yale Law School, 2004
  • MA, Communication Studies, Baylor University, 1999
  • BA, History, Baylor University, 1997

ADMISSIONS : District of Columbia, New York

CLERKSHIPS : The Hon. Douglas H. Ginsburg, US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 2004 – 2005

GOVERNMENT EXPERIENCE : Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel.


Rate : $$$$

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Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest 1875
Washington 20006 DC US
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New York 10006 NY US