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A law practice dedicated to redressing police and correctional misconduct

Helm Law Office, PC fights for people whose federal and state civil rights have been violated “under color of law” by police officers, sheriff’s deputies, jail personnel, and the counties, cities, and other public and private entities that employ them.

After suffering injury at the hands of law enforcement, those injured—or in the case of someone’s death, the surviving family members—often first want help just finding out what happened.  Sadly, law-enforcement agencies often hide these facts, refusing victims’ and survivors’ requests for information by claiming that confidentiality and never-ending “ongoing investigations” prevent them from releasing information about what happened.  In death cases, law-enforcement agencies also may begin to provide irrelevant and prejudicial information about the victim to the media in an attempt to manufacture justifications for the officers’ actions.   

If, after an in-person meeting either at the firm’s office, the client’s home, or another convenient place, the client and the firm enter into a fee agreement, then Helm Law Office PC will aggressively investigate the client’s loss.  

Helm Law Office, PC represents people on a contingency basis.  If Helm Law Office PC gets a favorable settlement or jury verdict, then the firm will be paid a percentage of it as attorneys’ fees.  Or, Helm Law Office, PC will seek attorneys’ fees (and case costs) from the defendants using one of the federal or state “fee-shifting” statutes that compel the losing party to pay the winning party’s attorneys’ fees.  If the case does not result in any recovery, then the firm will not hold the client responsible for paying either case costs advanced by the firm or attorney time spent on the case.  

Once filed, a case may have a trial date several years in the future.  Defense attorneys may object to discovery requests, requiring negotiation over the production of documents important to prepare the case for trial.  Helm Law Office, PC believes in moving the case forward towards trial as quickly as possible, by doggedly driving discovery forward. The firm also believes in transparency and keeping clients informed at every step of the litigation.  Kennedy returns all client phone calls within 24 hours, if not sooner.  By being accessible, Helm Law Office, PC hopes to support clients throughout the life of their cases.


Kennedy is a social-justice lawyer originally from Louisville, Kentucky.  Now based in Oakland, California, he practices police-misconduct law out of a repurposed solar-powered shipping container.  Before starting Helm Law Office, PC, Kennedy worked as an associate attorney at Haddad & Sherwin, LLP for nearly four years.  There, he litigated almost exclusively police and jail misconduct cases, some involving death and serious physical injury, as part of a team that won settlements and jury trials resulting in police-department and jail reforms and millions of dollars for victims and survivors.  Before law school, Kennedy organized workers for two locals of the Service Employees International Union. He believes in fighting powerful interests on behalf of ordinary people. After college, he lived in Spain, and he speaks fluent Spanish. A sixth-generation lawyer, Kennedy aspires to develop the legal acumen of his 3x great-grandfather Benjamin Hardin (1784-1852), a.k.a. “Old Kitchen Knife,” a trial lawyer who was “like a kitchen-knife when whetted on brick[;] he cuts roughly, but cuts deep.” 


  • Golden Gate University School of Law, JD, 2011, three year full-tuition merit scholarship, Jesse Carter Society
  • Bowdoin College, AB, 1997, Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude


  • Hon. Boyce F. Martin, Jr., United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit


  • California
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of California
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of California