James Kennedy, Jr. ’85 was appointed to succeed William Hochul, Jr. as acting U.S. Attorney. This marks the most recent achievement in his 24-year career as a federal prosecutor and the unsurprising next step from his previous role as second-in-command of the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Upon accepting this appointment, he stated, “As a native of Western New York, I look forward to working with our outstanding law enforcement partners at the local, state and federal levels and serving the community in which I was born and raised.” He continued, “I pledge to work tirelessly with the many hard-working and talented attorneys and support staff who serve in this Office not only to continue our crime-fighting efforts but to develop creative and innovative solutions to the problems with which we are confronted.”
Kennedy’s career thus far has been steadily marked with advancement. In 1992, he was hired by former U.S. Attorney Dennis Vacco to work in civil division, but after just one year, he became a prosecutor with the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. Two years after that, he was selected by former U.S. Attorney Michael Battle to serve as the office’s first full-time Appellate Chief. He later became the chief of the White Collar General Crimes unit and then the criminal chief for the office. Finally, in 2010, Hochul appointed him to First Assistant U.S. Attorney, making him second in charge.
This development in his career is certainly a testament to his hard work, skill and dedication in the field, but Kennedy has also received many accolades including but not limited to the Attorney General’s John Marshall Award, which is one of the highest honors given by the Department of Justice.
At Hamilton, Kennedy majored in sociology and was a member of men’s football and the fraternity Delta Kappa Epsilon. He earned his J.D. from Buffalo State College in 1988.