John Kern is a partner in Holland & Knight's San Francisco office, where his practice focuses on representing healthcare, financial services and technology companies —from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies— in commercial litigation matters in federal and state court. Mr. Kern also has significant experience representing companies in a broad range of government investigations brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, State Attorneys General, and regulators in a wide range of practice areas, including securities/banking, healthcare fraud and abuse, and drug price calculation and reporting. He has been responsible for managing teams of associates and paralegals through the full scope of government investigations and all phases of litigation, such as mediations, arbitrations, and state and federal court jury trials.

During law school, Mr. Kern was the general editor of the Cornell International Law Journal. Prior to attending law school, he was an international trade analyst for the Department of State's U.S. Trade and Development Agency in Washington, D.C.


  • Acting as outside general counsel and lead litigation defense counsel for one of the nation’s largest third-party administrators of self-directed Individual Retirement Accounts. Defended the company in dozens of litigation matters and government investigations, including SEC, DOJ, and IRS investigations, as well as dozens of state regulator investigations. Acted as legal advisor for the company on all aspects of its business operations, including corporate governance, labor and employment issues, licensing agreements, vendor contracts, protection of intellectual property and on business combinations

  • Representing, for more than a decade, the nation’s largest publisher of pharmaceutical drug pricing information in dozens of federal and state government investigations and private payer lawsuits involving allegations fraud and false claims in the reporting of pharmaceutical drug data (e.g., Average Wholesale Price (AWP) and Wholesale Acquisition Cost)
  • Representing and counseling the nation’s second largest drug store chain in its response to subpoenas and investigations concerning its use of AWP and its reimbursement policies and practices
  • Counseling a pharmaceutical manufacturer on the meaning and impact of new CMS pricing benchmarks, including AMP, ASP, and Best Price, and advising the company in the implementation of new government price reporting practices and policies
  • Defending a generic drug manufacturer in qui tam litigation and a related DOJ/State Medicaid investigation alleging violation of the Federal False Claims Act, stemming from the company's self-disclosed, accidental misclassification of an innovator drug under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program. Assisted in the negotiation of a settlement of all claims for an amount equal to the exact underpayment plus interest—with no penalties and no imposition of a Corporate Integrity Agreement
  • Representing a drug manufacturer in an investigation by the HHS-OIG into allegations the company had failed to and/or inaccurately reported ASP pricing to the VA and HHS, leading to potential statutory penalties in excess of $80 million. Assisted with successful negotiation of a settlement under which the company submitted revised, accurate ASP data and paid a de minimis penalty

  • Representing a search engine software company in a successful copyright infringement jury trial against one of its competitors


  • Cornell Law School, J.D.
  • University of Virginia, M.A., Foreign Affairs and Political Economy
  • Grinnell College, B.A., Political Science
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • California
Court Admissions
  • All Federal Courts in California
  • All State Courts in California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit


Speaking Engagements