People

Paul R.Q. Wolfson

Partner

Co-Chair, Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice

Wolfson, Paul R.Q.

Paul Wolfson is a partner in the firm's Litigation/Controversy Department, and a co-chair of the Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice. He is also a member of the Government and Regulatory Litigation Practice. He rejoined the firm in 2002.

Practice

Mr. Wolfson's practice focuses on Supreme Court and appellate litigation, and on advising clients on complex issues of federal law.

Mr. Wolfson has argued 21 cases in the United States Supreme Court and has also argued before seven federal courts of appeals. He is a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Federal Judicial Improvements, and served for two years as a member of an ABA Presidential Task Force on Federal Pleading Standards, examining the effect of the Twombly and Iqbal decisions. He also served two terms on the District of Columbia Board on Professional Responsibility. Before rejoining the firm, Mr. Wolfson worked for eight years in the Solicitor General's Office, where he received the Attorney General's Distinguished Service Award for “exemplary representation of the United States before the Supreme Court.” After law school, he clerked for Supreme Court Justice Byron White.

Since returning to WilmerHale, Mr. Wolfson has represented parties and amici curiae in dozens of Supreme Court cases, including Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District (Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment); Messerschmidt v. Millender (Fourth Amendment); FCC v. Fox Broadcasting Co. (First Amendment challenge to FCC's indecency policy); Bowman v. Monsanto Co. (patent exhaustion);Bates v. Dow Agrosciences LLC (preemption under FIFRA); Watson v. Philip Morris Companies (federal removal jurisdiction); McConnell v. FEC (constitutionality of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act), and Boumediene v. Bush (challenging the detention of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay).

In the courts of appeals and district courts, Mr. Wolfson has a diverse practice, including several universities and governmental entities. He has represented a leading university against efforts to attach antiquities in its collection, another leading university against challenges to its plans for expansion of its campus, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in defending its landmark fiscal-stabilization program, the State of Georgia in litigation over the water supply for the metropolitan Atlanta region, and a federal agency in challenging sanctions imposed under Rule 11.

Mr. Wolfson has also represented numerous parties in patent litigation, including Monsanto Company in several successful defenses against challenges to its patents on genetically modified soybeans. He successfully represented Rambus Inc. in its challenge to a ruling of the Federal Trade Commission that Rambus had violated the antitrust laws. And, he represented a Washington DC real estate developer in litigation in the DC trial and appellate courts over a shopping mall in Georgetown.

Mr. Wolfson is active in pro bono matters. In recent Supreme Court cases he has represented a Los Angeles family whose house was searched pursuant to an invalid warrant, and a group of scientists challenging a government background investigation. He successfully represented Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina in a challenge to a state statute that barred funding to that organization, and obtained withholding of deportation for a Cameroonian dissident. He also represented the Texas chapter of the NAACP defending the constitutionality of the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act.

Honors & Awards

  • Recognized as a leader in appellate law in the 2009-2017 editions of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers in Business
  • Recommended as a leading lawyer in Supreme Court and appellate litigation by The Legal 500 United States in 2015, 2016 and 2017
  • Selected as a 2013-2016 IP Star by Managing IP, a guidebook that identifies leading IP lawyers in the United States
  • Selected by peers for inclusion in the 2006, 2008-2017 editions of the Best Lawyers in America in the area of appellate law
  • Named a top-rated appellate attorney in the 2007-2017 editions of Washington DC Super Lawyers

Publications & News

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June 9, 2017

The Legal 500 United States 2017 Recognizes 125 WilmerHale Lawyers Across 28 Practice Areas

The Legal 500 United States has released its 2017 rankings, recommending 125 WilmerHale lawyers—including 12 who are named to its elite “Leading Lawyers” list and two on its “Next Generation Lawyers” list—and 28 practice areas in its 11th edition.

June 8, 2017

WilmerHale Partners and Practices Named Among Managing Intellectual Property's 2017 IP Stars

IP Stars identifies lawyers based on their practice and industry experience, and recommendations from their peers and clients.

May 30, 2017

The National Law Journal Names WilmerHale Washington DC Litigation Department of the Year

The National Law Journal has named WilmerHale the 2017 Washington DC Litigation Department of the Year in the General Litigation category.

May 26, 2017

WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices Recognized in 2017 Edition of Chambers USA

Chambers and Partners announced its rankings for the 2017 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 86 WilmerHale lawyers as leaders in their respective fields.

February 14, 2017

WilmerHale Named Appellate Group of the Year by Law360

The practice achieved four major wins before the Supreme Court in 2016 in addition to several victories before the Federal Circuit and appeals courts. 
 

December 28, 2016

WilmerHale Named to The National Law Journal's Appellate Hot List

The winners were selected based on their federal and state appeals court victories in the US during 2016.

August 15, 2016

WilmerHale Lawyers Named Among the 2017 Best Lawyers in America®, Six Recognized as Lawyers of the Year

Best Lawyers in America®—a respected peer-review publication in the legal industry—recognizes 101 WilmerHale lawyers and names six partners as Lawyers of the Year in its 23rd edition.

June 22, 2016

The Legal 500 United States 2016 Recognizes 111 WilmerHale Lawyers Across 30 Practice Areas

The guide's rankings are based on a series of criteria, including client feedback, interviews with private practice lawyers, and its own research.

May 27, 2016

WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices Recognized in 2016 Edition of Chambers USA

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business announced its final rankings for the 2016 edition, with WilmerHale ranking among the nation's best in 47 practice area categories. Chambers also ranked 82 WilmerHale lawyers as leaders in their respective fields.

May 17, 2016

WilmerHale Attorneys and Practices Recognized in 2016 edition of IP Stars Handbook

The fourth edition of the IP Stars Handbook—a Managing IP guide that identifies the leading IP firms and lawyers in the world—has been released and it prominently ranks WilmerHale and 19 of its partners.

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association
  • District of Columbia Bar Association
  • American Bar Association Standing Committee on Federal Judicial Improvements
  • Chair, Amicus Brief Committee, ABA Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section

Practices

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Education

JD, Yale Law School, 1987, Notes Editor, Yale Law Journal

MPhil, University of Cambridge, Trinity College, 1984, Phi Beta Kappa

AB, magna cum laude, Harvard University, 1982

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia

United States Supreme Court

Government Experience

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