Ellen Arvin Kennedy


Ellen’s thorough knowledge of bankruptcy law enables her to guide both debtors and creditors through the full spectrum of financial distress matters. She has extensive experience litigating and mediating high-stakes matters in both bankruptcy and state courts, and employs a practical, measured approach to helping her clients reach resolutions.

She has substantial experience in handling commercial bankruptcy, insolvency and creditors’ rights matters for clients, including advising Chapter 11 and liquidating trustees and both creditors and debtors in complex liquidations and corporate wind-downs. Her knowledge of bankruptcy law and her ability to tailor her approach to fit each client’s circumstances allow her to offer counsel at every step of the bankruptcy and restructuring process, including proactive counsel.

Ellen leverages her knowledge of bankruptcy proceedings and corporate law to guide investment groups through the purchase, reorganization and sale of companies and distressed assets, typically within the coal and mining industries, which with she has significant experience. She recently guided the corporate reorganization of several limited liability coal companies, which resulted in a $20 million sale of assets to a publically traded company. Ellen also represents creditors in pursuit of fraud claims in both bankruptcy and state courts. She has skill in forensic analysis of records for the purpose of locating hidden assets in order to pursue her clients’ claims to the fullest extent.

In addition to her practice, she was elected chair of the Bankruptcy practice section of the Kentucky Bar Association for 2011-2012, the second time she’s held this position, a role that includes organizing and presenting seminars on bankruptcy issues to attorneys across the state. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky appointed Ellen to serve as a member of the Local Rules Committee tasked with editing and drafting local practice rules for that jurisdiction.


  • University of Kentucky College of Law  (J.D., 2000)
    • Moot Court Board, First Amendment Moot Court Team
  • Centre College  (B.A., cum laude, 1997)
    • Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

  • Kentucky

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky


  • Kentucky Bar Association, Bankruptcy practice section chair 
  • Eastern District of Kentucky, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Local Rules Committee 
  • Fayette County Bar Association, Women Lawyers Section past chair 
  • American Bankruptcy Institute 
  • Leadership Lexington, Class of 2008
  • Leadership Kentucky, Class of 2014
  • High Street Neighborhood Center, past board member
  • International Women's Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC)


  • Peer Review Rated AV in Martindale-Hubbell
  • Fayette County Bar Association Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year (2008)
  • Best Lawyers®
    • Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights, Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Litigation - Bankruptcy
    • "Lawyer of the Year" in Lexington for Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law (2016)
    • "Lawyer of the Year" in Lexington for Litigation Bankruptcy (2017)
  • Kentucky Super Lawyers®
  • Kentucky Rising Stars®