Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation LITIGATION/CONTROVERSY

Our seasoned appellate lawyers have argued more than 115 cases before the US Supreme Court, including leading cases in areas such as antitrust, banking law, bankruptcy, communications, constitutional law, employment, energy regulation, federal preemption, patent, securities regulation and tax. We regularly handle matters in federal and state appellate courts throughout the United States, and have represented clients in more than 30 patent and other cases in the Federal Circuit in the last two years. In 2013 alone, 24 different WilmerHale lawyers made a total of 42 oral arguments in state and federal courts, including seven arguments by five different lawyers in the Supreme Court. Combining our trial and appellate strengths allows us to shape litigation strategy from the outset to maximize the likelihood of ultimate success. Clients also retain us to advise them on complex and often unsettled legal issues, no matter what the particular forum or context.

WilmerHale's Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice, with members in Washington DC, New York, Boston and Los Angeles, has been honored by Chambers USA every year since 2005. Chambers called our team a "bench of talent that is 'impressive beyond belief'" and cited our "built-in ability and knowledge to tackle appeals both before the state, federal and Supreme courts." According to Law360's review of the 2013 Supreme Court term, WilmerHale's seven arguments were "the most … before the high court this session" and noted that no other firm had more wins, with five. The National Law Journal also recognized the group by naming it to the Appellate Hot List for the seventh consecutive year in 2014, and described our Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice as "broad, deep, successful." The group has also been recognized as a leader in appellate advocacy by U.S. News/Best Lawyers, Benchmark and Law360, which recently named WilmerHale to its "Practice Group of the Year" series for 2014.

Contacts

Sort By
Waxman, Seth P.

Seth P. Waxman

Chair, Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice Group

+1 202 663 6800 (t)

seth.waxman@wilmerhale.com

Wolfson, Paul R.Q.

Paul R.Q. Wolfson

Vice Chair, Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice Group

+1 202 663 6390 (t)

paul.wolfson@wilmerhale.com

Publications & News

View

August 6, 2015

Landmark Civil Rights Victory Achieved in Fifth Circuit Decision on Voting Rights Act

WilmerHale and its co-counsel, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, secured a landmark civil rights victory when the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed a decision by the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas that Texas's highly restrictive voter photo identification law had a discriminatory effect on African-American and Hispanic voters in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

August 4, 2015

When the Supreme Court Comes Calling: WilmerHale Partner Invited to Argue Next Term

Bloomberg BNA reports on the US Supreme Court inviting WilmerHale Partner Catherine Carroll to argue a case.

July 22, 2015

Bragging Rights Go to WilmerHale

The National Law Journal reports that WilmerHale argued the most cases during the recent US Supreme Court term.

July 20, 2015

WilmerHale Partner Mark Fleming Elected Council Member of Boston Bar Association

WilmerHale Partner Mark Fleming has been elected Member of the Council for the Boston Bar Association. Fleming will serve a three-year term beginning in August 2015.

July 9, 2015

Patent Law and the Supreme Court: Certiorari Petitions Denied

WilmerHale compiles lists of certiorari petitions that raise patent-law issues. This page contains a consolidated list of all recently denied petitions, organized in reverse chronological order by date of certiorari petition.

July 9, 2015

Patent Law and the Supreme Court: Certiorari Petitions Granted

WilmerHale compiles lists of certiorari petitions that raise patent-law issues. This page contains a consolidated list of all recently granted petitions, organized in reverse chronological order by date of certiorari petition.

July 9, 2015

Patent Law and the Supreme Court: Certiorari Petitions Pending

WilmerHale compiles lists of certiorari petitions that raise patent-law issues. This page contains a consolidated list of all pending petitions, organized in reverse chronological order by date of certiorari petition.

July 1, 2015

WilmerHale Named a Leading National Firm in the United States by The Legal 500

The Legal 500 United States has released its annual rankings, selecting WilmerHale as one of the preeminent law firms in the country.

June 29, 2015

WilmerHale Achieves Significant Supreme Court Victory in Key Election Law Case

On June 29, 2015, WilmerHale achieved a complete victory on behalf of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission in a key election law case before the United States Supreme Court.

May 21, 2015

Felicia Ellsworth Recognized Among Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Up & Coming Lawyers

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly has recognized Partner Felicia Ellsworth in its 2015 Excellence in the Law edition.

Recognition

WilmerHale’s appellate practice and its individual attorneys are universally recognized areas as leaders in the field.

  • The National Law Journal included WilmerHale’s appellate group in the "Appellate Hot List" in 2014 for the seventh consecutive year. In addition, Partners Mark Fleming and Danielle Spinelli were named Appellate Lawyer of the Week in 2011 and 2010, respectively.
  • Chambers USA 2015 recognized the firm's appellate practice with a top tier ranking nationally. Clients praise the group, saying "they have the ability to distill very complex matters, and do it in a way that the word 'brilliant' often comes to mind." In 2015, Partner Seth Waxman was cited as a star individual. Clients say "he commands respect at the Supreme Court" and "he is a remarkably effective advocate with the credibility to make arguments that are cutting-edge," and Partner Paul Wolfson is described as "the kind of lawyer you want when you are betting the store." The group has been recognized by Chambers every year since 2005.
  • Law360 has named the practice “Group of the Year” for four consecutive years (2011-2014) in its annual series recognizing firms that have played a key role in the significant matters that made headlines and changed the legal landscape within the past year. The publication has also previously recognized Partner Mark Fleming as an “MVP of the Year” with distinction in appellate law (2011) and Partner Seth Waxman as an Appellate MVP of the Year (2014).
  • According to Law360, in the 2013 Supreme Court term, WilmerHale had more arguments than any other firm, with seven in the term. In addition, the firm’s five wins were the most achieved by any firm.
  • WilmerHale, along with Partner Seth Waxman, received Managing IP's 2015 Supreme Court Milestone Case of the Year award for the successful representation of POM in POM Wonderful v. Coca-Cola
  • The Legal 500 United States ranked WilmerHale’s appellate practice in the “Top Tier” in the 2012 edition of its annual guidebook, and commended the firm for its “superb pedigree before the US Supreme Court.”
  • In U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers’ 2013-2015 Best Law Firm rankings, our appellate practice ranked in the first tier nationally and in Boston and Washington DC for three consecutive years.
  • Benchmark Litigation 2013 recognized WilmerHale’s appellate practice nationally. In addition, Benchmark Appellate 2013 specifically praised our Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice with a first-tier national ranking and highly recommended our group in Washington DC and in the US Courts of Appeal for the First and Federal Circuits.

Experience

Recent practice highlights include: 

  • Presented oral argument in seven cases in the Supreme Court’s 2013 term. Cases ranged from the enforceability of certain provisions in ERISA disability plans (Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co., which Partner Catherine Carroll successfully argued) to the treatment of certain IRAs for bankruptcy purposes (Clark v. Rameker, argued successfully by Partner Danielle Spinelli).  
  • Presented oral argument in four cases during the Supreme Court’s 2011 term. In Judulang v. Holder, Partner Mark Fleming successfully challenged the Board of Immigration Appeals policy restricting the availability of relief from deportation; in a unanimous opinion, the Court ruled in favor of our client and nullified the board’s policy as arbitrary and capricious. In December 2011, Partners Paul Wolfson and Seth Waxman argued cases on consecutive days in Messerschmidt v. Millender and Martel v. Clair. Finally, on January 12, 2012, Seth Waxman successfully argued in the closely watched FCC v. Fox Television, et al., which concerned the FCC’s indecency rules for broadcast television. Ruling unanimously, the Court set aside the FCC’s findings that television networks violated the agency’s indecency rules.
  • Won the judgment of acquittal on all counts against our client, former McAfee Chief Financial Officer Prabhat Goyal, in the Ninth Circuit. The decision was a resounding rejection of the government’s case, finding that no jury could reasonably have convicted Goyal of accounting fraud or related charges. In a concurring opinion that takes particular exception with the government’s pursuit of criminal charges, Chief Judge Kozinski noted: “Mr. Goyal had the benefit of exceptionally fine advocacy on appeal, so he is spared the punishment for a crime he didn’t commit. But not everyone is so lucky.” (United States v. Goyal)
  • Won a substantial victory in a nearly decade-long battle over patent rights for recordable/rewritable compact disks when the Federal Circuit—sitting en banc—affirmed the decision of the International Trade Commission. (Princo Corp. v. ITC)
  • Won a significant victory in the Supreme Court in 2010 on behalf of several ocean shippers in a case raising important issues of class arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act. (Stolt-Nielsen v. Animalfeeds)
  • Successfully represented six inmates held without charge at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The firm obtained a landmark victory in the Supreme Court, which held—in a constitutional case now taught in law schools nationwide—that Guantanamo prisoners have a constitutional right to habeas corpus. (Boumediene v. Bush). On remand, the district court in Washington DC ordered five of our six clients released. In June 2010, we secured a victory on behalf of our sixth client when the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in a case argued by Partner Mark Fleming, reversed and remanded the District Court’s denial of habeas relief. (Bensayah v. Obama) All six clients are now free.

Patent Cert. Petitions

WilmerHale compiles lists of certiorari petitions that raise patent-law issues. This page contains a consolidated list of all recently pending, granted and denied petitions, organized in each listing in reverse chronological order by date of certiorari petition.

Patent Law and the Supreme Court: Certiorari Petitions Pending

Patent Law and the Supreme Court: Certiorari Petitions Granted

Patent Law and the Supreme Court: Certiorari Petitions Denied

For more information on these petitions or other patent appeal matters, contact:

Joseph J. Mueller (+1 617 526 6396, joseph.mueller@wilmerhale.com)
Thomas G. Saunders (+1 202 663 6536, thomas.saunders@wilmerhale.com)
Leslie Pearlson (+1 617 526 6809, leslie.pearlson@wilmerhale.com)