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.
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.
- 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
- Recognized as a leader in appellate law in the 2009-2018 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 2013-2018 IP Star by Managing IP, a guidebook that identifies leading IP lawyers in the United States
- Selected by peers for inclusion in the 2006, 2008-2018 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
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JD, Yale Law School, 1987Notes Editor, Yale Law Journal
MPhil, University of Cambridge, Trinity College, 1984Phi Beta Kappa
AB, Harvard University, 1982magna cum laude
District of Columbia
United States Supreme Court
Department of Justice
Office of the Solicitor GeneralAssistant to the Solicitor General