Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation LITIGATION/CONTROVERSY

Combining our trial and appellate strengths allows us to shape litigation strategy from the outset to maximize the likelihood of ultimate success.

Our seasoned appellate lawyers have argued more than 140 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 50 patent and other cases in the Federal Circuit in the last two years. In the 2015 term alone, for example, five different WilmerHale lawyers argued eight cases in the Supreme Court—more than any other firm. In 2016, 32 different lawyers presented 59 oral arguments across 14 state and federal appeals courts. 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 named the group to the Appellate Hot List for the ninth consecutive year in 2016, and recognized WilmerHale as the Washington DC Litigation Department of the Year in the General Litigation category in 2017. The group has also been recognized as a leader in appellate advocacy by U.S. News/Best Lawyers, Benchmark and Law360, which has named WilmerHale to its "Practice Group of the Year" series for six consecutive years.

Combining our trial and appellate strengths allows us to shape litigation strategy from the outset to maximize the likelihood of ultimate success.

Our seasoned appellate lawyers have argued more than 140 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 50 patent and other cases in the Federal Circuit in the last two years. In the 2015 term alone, for example, five different WilmerHale lawyers argued eight cases in the Supreme Court—more than any other firm. In 2016, 32 different lawyers presented 59 oral arguments across 14 state and federal appeals courts. 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.

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Contacts

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Waxman, Seth P.

Seth P. Waxman

Co-Chair, Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice

+1 202 663 6800 (t)

seth.waxman@wilmerhale.com

Wolfson, Paul R.Q.

Paul R.Q. Wolfson

Co-Chair, Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice

+1 202 663 6390 (t)

paul.wolfson@wilmerhale.com

Fleming, Mark C.

Mark C. Fleming

Vice-Chair, Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice

+1 617 526 6909 (t)

mark.fleming@wilmerhale.com

Spinelli, Danielle

Danielle Spinelli

Vice-Chair, Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice

+1 202 663 6901 (t)

danielle.spinelli@wilmerhale.com

Publications & News

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May 15, 2018

SCOTUS Overturns LA Death-Row Inmate’s Conviction in Win for WilmerHale’s Seth Waxman

In a case argued by Partner Seth Waxman on behalf of a Louisiana death-row inmate, the US Supreme Court on Monday, May 14, 2018, overturned several murder convictions and ordered a new trial after finding that the condemned man's trial attorney violated his constitutional rights.

May 3, 2018

WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices Recognized in 2018 Edition of Chambers USA

Chambers and Partners announced its rankings for the 2018 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, with WilmerHale listed among the nation's best in 50 practice area categories. Chambers also ranked 95 WilmerHale lawyers as leaders in their respective fields.

April 24, 2018

Supreme Court Upholds IPRs but Strikes Down Partial PTAB Decisions in Two Important Patent Cases

The Supreme Court today decided two important cases involving patent rights and inter partes review at the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). Both cases affirm the importance of Post-Grant Proceedings as a part of an Intellectual Property strategy and may portend changes to the processes at the PTO.

April 17, 2018

Patent Law and the Supreme Court: Patent Certiorari Petitions Denied in 2018

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.

April 17, 2018

Patent Law and the Supreme Court: Patent 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.

April 17, 2018

Patent Law and the Supreme Court: Patent 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.

April 16, 2018

Congress Enacts Law Creating a Sex Trafficking Exception From the Immunity Provided by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

On Wednesday, April 11, the President signed into law the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017, also known as “FOSTA.”

December 27, 2017

Patent Law and the Supreme Court: Patent Certiorari Petitions Denied in 2017

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.

December 20, 2017

WilmerHale Makes American Lawyer's 2017 Finalist List as a Top Litigation Firm

Recognizing the enormous talent and major recent victories of WilmerHale lawyers, The American Lawyer placed the firm's Litigation/Controversy Department in the small group of finalists for the legal publication's 2017 Litigation Department of the Year contest.

December 5, 2017

Can Juries Decide Patent Eligibility Under 35 U.S.C. § 101?

An article by Partner Greg Lantier and former Senior Associate Richard Crudo, published by the Federal Circuit Bar Journal, Vol. 27, No. 1.

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 2017 for the 10th consecutive year. In addition, Partners Mark Fleming and Danielle Spinelli were named Appellate Lawyer of the Week in 2011 and 2010, respectively. The National Law Journal also named WilmerHale the 2017 Washington DC Litigation Department of the Year in the General Litigation category. 
  • Chambers USA 2016 recognized the firm's appellate practice with a top tier ranking nationally. Clients praise the group, saying "they have an incredibly deep appellate bench with experience at all circuits as well as the Supreme Court that is second to none." In 2016, Partner Seth Waxman was cited as a star individual, with sources calling him "simply the best appellate lawyer in the country right now" and a "superb writer and oral advocate." Partner Paul Wolfson is described as a "very experienced lawyer," and Partner Danielle Spinelli is noted as an up and coming appellate litigator. The group has been recognized by Chambers every year since 2005.
  • In January 2016, former US Solicitor General and chair of WilmerHale's Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice Seth Waxman was recognized as Litigator of the Year by The American Lawyer. Waxman argued his 75th case before the US Supreme Court on December 2, 2015.
  • In April 2016, Partners Thomas Saunders and Catherine Carroll were named two of Law360's six Appellate Rising Stars. Partner Felicia Ellsworth was also selected as one of five Trial Rising Stars.
  • Law360 has named the practice “Group of the Year” for six consecutive years (2011-2016) 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 - Best Lawyers 2013-2017 "Best Law Firms" rankings, our appellate practice ranked in the first tier nationally and in Boston and Washington DC.
  • 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: 

  • In March 2017, we achieved a notable victory in a bankruptcy appeal when the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of a group of truck drivers formerly employed by Jevic Transportation Inc. in Czyzewski v. Jevic, finding that so-called "structured dismissals" to end Chapter 11 cases cannot be used in a way that violates the Bankruptcy Code's priority scheme.
  • For the Tohono O'odham Nation, we obtained two significant victories in the Ninth Circuit relating to the Nation's plan to open a gaming facility near Phoenix.
  • In April 2016, we secured a major victory for Google in the Second Circuit in a copyright dispute with the Authors Guild over Google Books.
  • For Liberty Mutual Insurance, we achieved a Supreme Court victory related to Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) preemption in March 2016.
  • We secured a Supreme Court victory in Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, a dispute over patent royalties.
  • In June 2015, we obtained a unanimous victory in the Supreme Court for a major financial institution in the consolidated cases of Caulkett and Toledo-Cardona.
  • For the California Table Grape Commission, we achieved a complete Federal Circuit victory in January 2015 in a case challenging the validity of two plant patents exclusively licensed to the commission.
  • We won a complete victory for Staples in December 2014 when the DC Circuit unanimously affirmed the district court's dismissal of a False Claims Act case against Staples and three co-defendants.  

Pro bono highlights:

  • We achieved a victory in June 2016 in Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. v. United States when the Supreme Court unanimously sided with Kingdomware, ruling that a contracting preference for veteran-owned small businesses was mandatory for all VA contracts.
  • We secured a victory in June 2016 in the Supreme Court in Mathis v. United States, in which the Court reversed a lower court's ruling that made it easier to enhance federal sentences under the Armed Career Criminal Act.
  • In January 2016, we achieved a significant victory for pro bono client Timothy Lee Hurst when the Supreme Court held that Florida's capital-sentencing scheme violates the Sixth Amendment because it requires the judge and not the jury to find the existence of an aggravating circumstance that makes the defendant eligible for the death penalty.
  • In Boumediene v. Bush, we successfully representing 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. On remand, the district court in Washington DC ordered five of the firm's six clients released. In June 2010, we secured a victory on behalf of our sixth client in Bensayah v. Obama, when the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed and remanded the district court's denial of habeas relief.
  • We successfully challenging the Board of Immigration Appeals policy restricting the availability of relief from deportation in Judulang v. Holder, in which the Supreme Court ruled in favor of our client and nullified the board's policy as arbitrary and capricious. 

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)