Photo of R. Shawn  Gunnarson

R. Shawn Gunnarson

Key Bank Tower
36 S. State Street
Suite 1900
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Related Info

Mr. Gunnarson is a member of the firm’s Appellate, Litigation, and First Amendment and Religious Organizations sections. Before joining Kirton McConkie, he spent over a decade in Washington, D.C. There he served as Senior Counsel to U.S. Senator Robert F. Bennett, worked as an associate for the Washington office of White & Case, and litigated for the Washington Legal Foundation.

His practice focuses on critical motions and appeals in civil cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts. He has extensive U.S. Supreme Court experience, having filed briefs or petitions in over 50 cases before that Court, including six cases during the October 2018 term alone. For instance, he has obtained a grant of certiorari, remand, and vacatur by the Supreme Court for his client in a Takings Clause case. He has also filed briefs in all but two U.S. Courts of Appeals. 

He was recently appointed to a second four-year term as a member of the Utah Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules of Appellate Procedure. He is a member of both the Utah and the District of Columbia bars. 


  • Represented clients in 55 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.
      • Represented amici curiae before the Supreme Court in numerous religion cases under the First Amendment and federal statutes.
      • Drafted a petition seeking Supreme Court review of a state court decision rendered contrary to the Federal Arbitration Act.
      • Assisted pro bono in drafting a petition seeking Supreme Court review of a prisoner’s claim that the state’s denial of medical treatment violated the Eighth Amendment.
      • Represented a landowner before the Supreme Court and South Carolina Supreme Court in a prominent regulatory takings case.
  • Assisted with civil appeals before federal appellate courts and state supreme courts involving the First Amendment, torts, choice of law, and state rules of civil procedure.
  • Assisted state-owned energy suppliers in complex and appellate litigation raising issues under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, the domestic execution of international arbitral awards, and valid service of process on a foreign state.
  • Quoted in the Economist and Financial Times in articles discussing Internet governance.
  • Advised global organizations on Internet governance, assisting them to formulate strategic recommendations to achieve their goals and to execute that strategy.
  • Served as Senior Counsel to U.S. Senator Robert F. Bennett, advising him on issues regarding constitutional law, intellectual property, Internet governance, telecommunications, and cyber security.
  • Served as ex officio member of the CSIS Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency.




Brigham Young University, J.D., cum laude, 1994

  • Scholarly Writing Award, 1994
  • Member, BYU Law Review, 1993-94

Brigham Young University, B.A., Political Science and Honors in Philosophy (University Honors with Thesis), magna cum laude, 1991

Bar Admissions

  • Utah, 1995
  • District of Columbia, 2002
Other Admissions
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Utah