Paul R.Q. Wolfson


Vice Chair, Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice Group

Wolfson, Paul R.Q.

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


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

Publications & News


March 6, 2015

303 Conservatives File Historic Amicus Brief in Marriage Equality Case Before US Supreme Court

Project Right Side and former RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman formally filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court involving four landmark cases slated to be heard on April 28, 2015 concerning government recognition of the freedom to marry.

July 17, 2014

WilmerHale and 17 Partners Rank in Managing IP’s 2014-2015 IP Stars Handbook

Managing IP has released its second annual edition of its IP Stars Handbook—a guide that identifies the leading IP firms and lawyers in the United States—prominently ranking WilmerHale and 17 of its partners.

May 23, 2014

Chambers USA Ranks Top WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices in 2014 Edition

We are pleased to announce the names of the individuals and practice areas that are ranked in the 2014 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business.

May 13, 2014

Success at the Federal Circuit: WilmerHale Earns Five Victories in One Week

WilmerHale has just completed an extremely successful week at the Federal Circuit, receiving favorable decisions in five out of six patent cases concerning various legal issues.

April 25, 2014

WilmerHale Attorneys Recognized in Annual Washington DC Super Lawyers Listing

The annual edition of the Washington DC Super Lawyers magazine, published by The Washington Post Magazine, released its 2014 listing which includes 37 WilmerHale attorneys.

January 30, 2014

Law360 Selects WilmerHale as “Appellate Practice Group of the Year” for Third Consecutive Year

WilmerHale’s Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice was named by Law360 as “Appellate Practice Group of the Year” for 2013.

January 23, 2014

Significant Patent Case Ruling by Supreme Court a Win for WilmerHale

On January 22, 2014, the US Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of WilmerHale client Medtronic Inc., in Medtronic Inc. v. Mirowski Family Ventures, L.L.C.—the first patent decision of the court's 2013 Term.

January 22, 2014

WilmerHale Appellate Team Secures Supreme Court Victory in Hawaii Reapportionment Case

Members of WilmerHale's Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice received a favorable decision for their client, the Chief Election Officer of the State of Hawaii et al., in Kostick v. Nago, No. 13-456.

November 21, 2013

WilmerHale Ranks Among Financial Times' Top 40 US Innovative Lawyers in 2013

The Financial Times featured WilmerHale's successful representation of Monsanto Company in the US Innovative Lawyers 2013 ranking and awards report released on November 21, 2013.

July 19, 2013

WilmerHale Hosts Pro Bono Client, Elevator Repair Service, in New York Office

WilmerHale hosted an exclusive sneak preview of Arguendo, the latest work in progress by the award-winning Elevator Repair Service, in its New York office on July 16. Arguendo is a lively performance of the oral argument delivered in the 1991 First Amendment case Barnes v. Glen Theatre.

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


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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