San Francisco Advantage

Coast Guard’s Top Attorney Visits USF

The U.S. Coast Guard is currently recruiting candidates from USF for its judge advocate program.

Kenney discussed the Coast Guard’s varied missions, including its involvement with hurricane recovery operations, the Haiti earthquake, and the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill, all of which continue to require extensive involvement of U.S. Coast Guard lawyers. Coast Guard attorneys provide legal services for worldwide missions, act as legal counsel for the branch’s extensive regulatory and law enforcement functions, and support units and personnel.

“People used to ask me what kind of law I practice,” said Rear Adm. Kenney, who was appointed as judge advocate general in January. “I would say, ‘It depends on what my next phone call is.’”

Kenney, who joined the Coast Guard in 1981 shortly after graduating from college, attended the USF School of Law while stationed in the Bay Area. His practice has included protecting the marine environment, which he considers his most rewarding work. He has helped prosecute shipping companies that intentionally dumped oil and other hazardous substances into waterways, worked on the international treaty that banned certain chemicals used on ships’ hull paint, and chaired the drafting committee that wrote a convention for the discharge of ships’ ballast water.

“The most challenging aspect for any Coast Guard attorney is staying ahead enough so that you can be ready to meet the next challenge, because you know it’s coming,” Rear Adm. Kenney said.