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United States > Dispute resolution > Appellate > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Appellate: Supreme Court (federal and state)
  2. Appellate: courts of appeals
  3. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s appellate practice is at ‘the top of the game’ and is commended for its work at the Supreme Court as well as in state and federal appeals courts. The highly reputable, former US Solicitor General Theodore Olson represented the plaintiffs in the Bank Markazi case heard at the Supreme Court, which questioned the constitutionality of turning over assets worth $1.75bn to the families of the victims of the 1983 Beirut marine barracks bombing. The practice now houses a sports law practice and its standout work in this area includes defending Tom Brady in the Second Circuit’s ‘deflategate’ appeal brought by the NFL. Mark Perry has an excellent track record in IP cases, especially landmark patent cases; the ‘first-class’ Miguel Estrada, former assistant to the US Solicitor General, has an outstanding US Supreme Court reputation. The ‘stellar’ Theodore Boutrous is based in Los Angeles, while practice head Caitlin Halligan - who joined the practice in 2014 after serving as general counsel to the New York County District Attorney’s Office - is New York-based. Since publication, Thomas Hungar was appointed the new general counsel of the US House of Representatives.

Jones Day’s team is often involved in pivotal Supreme Court cases and 2015 proved to be another strong year. Shay Dvoretzky, former US Supreme Court law clerk, acted for Abercrombie & Fitch in the closely watched case regarding ‘look policy’ and religious accommodations; Glen Nager, also a former US Supreme Court law clerk, handled a major antitrust case, representing North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners; and Michael Carvin was active in the King v Burwell and Halbig v Burwell cases, where he represented two groups affected by the IRS regulations on the Affordable Care Act. The team has also been granted certiorari in five Supreme Court cases for upcoming terms. Its significant appellate presence follows through into the lower courts of appeals, both federal and state, with the ‘excellent’ Beth Heifetz leading the appeal for the City of Detroit in a highly complex municipal bankruptcy case. Gregory Katsas is frequently engaged by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and had recent success in a major preemption case.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s appellate practice is ‘a top contender’ for Supreme Court cases, with three upcoming appeals in the next term. Most notable among these is the highly anticipated and controversial case of Fisher v University of Texas, with practice head and 44th Solicitor General of the United States Gregory Garre defending the university against claims that its race-conscious admissions policy is unconstitution; this long-running appeal is still awaiting a decision. Other notable Supreme Court highlights include Florida v Georgia, which concerned a longstanding environmental dispute over water rights, and Campbell-Ewald v Gomez, a major class action pertaining to unsolicited text messages advertising the US Navy. Other clients include Ford Motor Company and online games service provider WildTangent; the team defended the latter in a major patent infringement case in the Federal Circuit, obtaining a complete win for the client. Maureen Mahoney, founder of the firm’s appellate practice, retired in 2015.

Mayer Brown’s team is ‘among the top appellate practices’ and ‘works on high-quality appellate cases in an extremely efficient manner’. The team is undertaking advocacy in some of most notable cases of the year, including the closely watched Supreme Court case of Spokeo v Robins, which relates to the publication of incorrect material online and will determine the question of whether individuals who have not suffered an injury have sufficient standing to bring a claim; Andrew Pincus is leading the team representing Spokeo, an online information aggregator. Recently promoted partner Michael Kimberly is acting for the plaintiff in Shapiro v McManus, which pertains to redistricting. Other clients include Medtronic, which the firm is defending in medical devices litigation, and BNY Mellon, where the team is handling high-profile financial disputes. Practice head and founder of the Supreme Court and appellate litigation group Stephen Shapiro is another name to note.

Sidley Austin LLP’s team can ‘turn its hand to any case’, with the group active in six Supreme Court cases in 2015 alone. It is able to draw on a deep bench, and its practitioners advocate in the Supreme Court as well as state and federal courts of appeals, handling both civil and criminal cases. On the civil side, Carter Phillips defended Tyson Foods in a class action bought by employees, which is awaiting a decision. Criminal justice cases constitute part of the practice, with Jeffrey Green appearing before the Supreme Court in this area. While at the court of appeals level, Constantine Trela successfully appealed on behalf of AstraZeneca at the Federal Circuit in a claim against Apotex for patent formulation infringement; the client was awarded a mammoth $99m in damages. Peter Keisler is another key figure and has an ‘excellent’ appellate practice.

The appellate team at WilmerHale is headed by well-known Supreme Court advocate Seth Waxman, who has won landmark cases such as Boumediene v Bush, where the court held that foreign detainees at Guantanamo Bay were able to challenge the terms of their detention. The group is currently handling several high-profile cases before the Federal Circuit, the highest patent court in the US, and the Supreme Court. The team secured a major victory for Bank of America in the Supreme Court in a case that questioned the paying-off of second mortgages on underwater homes; the court held that mortgages of this kind cannot be waived during bankruptcy declarations; Danielle Spinelli led the arguments. In a key case for technology giant Apple, Mark Fleming and William Lee overturned a jury verdict requiring Apple to pay $368m. Other standout work for the group includes Thomas Saunders’ successful representation of Marvel, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, in a patent royalties dispute over a Spider-Man toy. This success has extended to cases in the federal courts of appeals, with a notable victory for The Boeing Company in the Ninth Circuit, where the court found that the California Senate Bill 990, regulating the clean-up of Santa Susana Field Laboratory, was too onerous. Paul Wolfson co-chairs the Supreme Court and appelate practice and is another key name.

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP’s team is led by highly reputable appellate practitioner Lisa Blatt, who has an extremely impressive record, having won 32 of the 33 cases she has argued. Blatt is representing the Washington Redskins in an ongoing high-profile defense of the team’s controversial trademarks. Another key client is Philip Morris, which the firm successfully represented in state supreme court in matters concerning antitrust, product liability and catastrophic injury. The group works across the country in federal appeals and Howard Cayne and Michael Johnson are part of a team that secured several victories for the Federal Housing Finance Agency in financial services litigation. Anthony Franze is another name to note.

Covington & Burling LLP’s appellate practice was involved in some of the most notable cases of the year. Supreme Court highlights included filing amicus briefs for the HCA in King v Burwell, a key healthcare subsidiaries case; and in the landmark same-sex marriage case, Obergefell v Hodges, the group filed on behalf of Conflict of Law Scholars. In the Seventh Circuit, practice chair Robert Long successfully defended Samsung in an antitrust suit pertaining to the alleged cartel price fixing of LCD screens. John Hall and Mark Mosier successfully dismissed claims bought against Chiquita under the Alien Tort Statute in the Eleventh Circuit.

Hogan Lovells US LLP’s appellate practice has an ‘excellent knowledge of the Supreme Court and its procedures’. Neal Katyal, former acting Solicitor General, is a superb Supreme Court practitioner, and has secured a string of successes, including a unanimous victory for Highmark in the closely watched patent appeal of 2014, Highmark v Allcare Health Management Systems. In the federal courts of appeals, ‘highly recommended’ co-head Cate Stetson successfully argued before the DC Circuit on behalf of an employee plaintiff in a high-profile discrimination case relating to secret service promotions; the case is progressing as a class action and the firm is representing African-American Secret Service agents. Desmond Hogan successfully defended the Ford Motor Company in a class action suit for breach of contract by heavy truck dealers. Other clients include energy provider Dominion Transmission, for which the team is handling a regulatory appeal, and Google and YouTube, for which the team secured an en banc Ninth Circuit win in a copyright and freedom of speech case.

Jenner & Block LLP has ‘one of the strongest appellate practices in the nation’, according to one client. The Washington DC-based team has a diverse case load and, in May 2015, it secured a significant victory at the Supreme Court on behalf of the plaintiff in Wellness International Network v Sharif, which questioned the scope of bankruptcy judges’ powers. The group achieved further success serving as co-counsel for the Alabama Democratic Conference in a case pertaining to Alabama’s voting policy for new district boundaries; ‘masterful’ practice head Paul Smith led the team. The group has also worked in human rights, environmental, energy and securities cases on a range of merits and amicus briefings, including the landmark same-sex marriage case Obergefell v Hodges, where it filed on behalf of the American Psychology Association, among others. In the federal courts of appeals, the group is working across the country on tax, patent and energy matters, most notably representing the Authors Guild in proceedings against Google.

The Washington DC-based litigation firm Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel, P.L.L.C. has a strong appellate practice. In 2015, David Frederick successfully represented members of an ERISA plan in the Ninth Circuit, bringing a claim for breach of fiduciary duty. Scott Angstreich acted for the appellants in a novel case in the Fourth Circuit, Johnson v American Towers, pertaining to a telephone signal in a prison, where a contraband phone was used to order an attack on a prison guard; although it was found that the telecoms providers were not liable, it was the first of its kind. Aaron Panner is another key contact at the firm.

King & Spalding LLP had a strong year and maintained their ‘top-notch service levels’ and ‘excellent business acumen’. Top appellate advocate Ashley Parrish argued in both the Supreme Court and federal courts of appeals on major cases. In the commercial sphere, Parrish represented appellant Electric Power Supply Association in the DC Circuit in a case over the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s authority to regulate ‘demand response’; the case has now been granted certiorari for the Supreme Court. Practice head Daryl Joseffer successfully reversed a patent infringement suit against Avon Products at the Federal Circuit, ending a longstanding dispute over ‘shopping-cart’ technology and confirming that these patents had already been invalidated. The group also handle bet-the-company litigation and was recently successful in reversing a $40m civil contempt sanction for Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals. In 2014, the firm represented Google in a landmark copyright case against Oracle concerning the use of a Java computer code for Android phones; the case was ultimately denied a hearing at the Federal Circuit.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP has a strong appellate practice, with a truly national presence. Christopher Landau’s successful representation of DirecTV in an important arbitration enforcement dispute is testament to the firm’s abilities; the case, heard in the US Supreme Court, also has implications for the sovereignty of federal law over state law. In a federal court of appeals case, the firm represented Facebook in the dismissal of derivative actions bought by directors in the wake of its $16bn IPO in 2012. Highlights for Jay Lefkowitz include successfully defending Teva Pharmaceuticals in personal injury. Following publication, the firm subsumed the practice of leading Supreme Court law firm Bancroft PLLC. Those joining include ‘prolific’ practice head and former US Solicitor General Paul Clement, who had appeared at the Supreme Court over 75 times prior to 2015 - a number he added to over the course of the year in several major cases. In December, Clement argued the closely watched Supreme Court appeal for Franchise Tax Board of California in a case pertaining to the sovereignty of states in competition statutes. In October, Clement was retained by the appellant, the NFL, in the headline ‘deflategate’ litigation, which concerns the suspension of star quarterback Tom Brady for his knowledge of deflated footballs used in a game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts; this case is ongoing. The legacy practice is also highly active in the federal courts of appeal, with HSBC a prestigious new client win; Clement successfully cleared a $2.5bn jury verdict concerning allegations that HSBC executives had misrepresented various company practices, including lending and accounting.

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s ‘very strong’ appellate practice is headed by the ‘exceptionally talented and incredibly dedicated advocate’ Deanne Maynard and Joseph Ralmore, who is ‘an expert in healthcare and telecoms’. IP litigation is a key area for the firm, which represented Sandoz in a landmark Federal Circuit case against Teva Pharmaceuticals. Further success was achieved in the IP space for Sotheby’s in a case concerning royalties, where an en banc Ninth Circuit ruled that the California Resale Royalties Act violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution by regulating sales beyond the state of California. The firm also handles product liability litigation and recently successfully represented 16 food manufacturers in a labelling dispute with the Environmental Law Foundation; Michèle Corash argued the case.

Practice head Jonathan Hacker at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, along with the highly reputable Walter Dellinger and Deanna Rice, is representing Merrill Lynch in proceedings before the Supreme Court pertaining to allegations of short selling. The team also filed amicus briefs in Obergefell v Hodges and King v Burwell. In July 2015, Hacker and Anton Metlitsky obtained a major victory in the Second Circuit in Balintulo, a case which set the scope of the Alien Tort Statute and held that the actions of a subsidiary of Ford were beyond the statute; this concluded over a decade’s worth of litigation.

The highly esteemed Joshua Rosenkranz leads the team at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, which was bolstered by the addition of Thomas Bondy, former deputy general counsel for the FBI, in September 2015. The group has a strong Supreme Court practice and, at the end of 2014, acted for the City of Los Angeles in a dispute with a motel owner, with the court ultimately finding that motel owners cannot be required to keep a guest register available for police due to its incompatibility with the Fourth Amendment. In another case heard before the Supreme Court, the firm successfully represented Marlene June in a case against the State, with the court ruling that the Federal Tort Claims Act needs to allow greater flexibility for deadlines to bringing a claim. Highlights in the state courts included a major victory for DirecTV in a constitutional challenge to Florida law, which imposes higher taxes on satellite TV users. The practice is also active in IP cases and data privacy, representing clients such as Microsoft and Oracle.

Preeminent’ appellate attorney Kathleen Sullivan chairs the practice at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP. The team has a strong focus on patent appeals and represented Marvell Technology Group in appealing a patent infringement ruling concerning the extraterritorial application of US patent law. Although the Federal Circuit found that Marvell had infringed the patent, the judgment was lowered from $1.5bn to $278m. Another key client is Samsung, which the team is acting for in a case against Apple. The firm’s involvement in Supreme Court cases included a unanimous win for Randy Shauers in Warger v Shauers, which resulted in the ruling that juror testimony about events that occur in jury deliberation is not admissible ‘during an inquiry into the validity of a verdict’; Sheila Birnbaum led the oral arguments. The firm also handled personal injury and licensing cases in the highest courts of the state of New York.

Litigation boutique Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner & Sauber recently added to its successful track record at the Supreme Court, securing a unanimous decision in Harris v Viegelahn, in what was a key case for the financial services industry; recently promoted partner Matthew Madden argued the case for the petitioner, with the court holding that ‘a debtor who converts to Chapter 7 bankruptcy is entitled to return of any post-petition wages not yet distributed by the Chapter 13 trustee’. Another key win for the firm was on behalf of aerospace and defense technology company Northrop Grumman, in which the team appealed the bidding process for a contract to build a new $19.5m long-range radar; Northrop is now able to re-bid for the project. Co-founder Roy Englert is a key name for the appellate practice, which was bolstered by the arrival of Michael Bromwich, former Inspector General for the Department of Justice, in June 2015.

Williams & Connolly LLP’s ‘expert team’ provides ‘reasoned advice’, according to sources. Kannon Shanmugam, who is ‘incredibly talented’ and an ‘eloquent writer and oral advocate’, heads the appellate team and focuses on the US Supreme Court. Shanmugam handled three oral arguments in the 2014/15 term: firstly, representing Omnicare alongside co-counsel Winston & Strawn LLP in a closely watched case regarding the scope of liability under the ’33 Act for false statements of opinion; secondly, acting for appellant Warger in a case questioning the admissibility of testimony about jury deliberations; and finally, in Coleman v Tollefson, in a case regarding criminal justice the Prison Litigation Reform Act’s ‘three strikes’ provision. In the Second Circuit, the group is defending Bank of America against alleged breaches of contractual warranties relating to mortgages sold in the wake of the mortgage crisis, worth over $1.2bn; oral arguments were held in December 2015.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP’s appellate practice has ‘gone from strength to strength’ and includes a number notable names, including ‘outstanding’ Supreme Court advocate Pratik Shah, and Rex Heinke, who has a strong following in California. The group works on the full scope of cases, with a recent Supreme Court appearance achieving an important victory for four Somali citizens who had been victims of human rights abuses. The group also acts on commercial cases and Donald Livingston successfully defended Freeman in a discrimination class action in the Fourth Circuit that has important implications for EEOC policy. Another key case was in the California Supreme Court, where Shah served as co-defense counsel to brewing company Anheuser-Busch in successfully defending claims of non-compliance with California’s recycling program. Other clients include Ernst & Young and subsidiaries of Balfour Betty and FiberTower Spectrum.

Bracewell LLP’s team is experienced across the full scope of appellate matters, with its clients typically drawn from the energy, military and financial services sectors. A major highlight is the team’s ongoing defense of KBR in a case regarding alleged exposure to sodium dichromate; Warren Harris led arguments in the Ninth Circuit. Other recent highlights include representing Federation of Petanque USA (FPUSA) in a patent infringement case, which saw the Federal Circuit partially reverse the injunction imposed on FPUSA in the Texas state court; Jeffrey Oldham was the lead partner. Other clients include BP products, Prosperity Bancshares and also ASARCO, which Oldham successfully represented before the Fifth Circuit and the Supreme Court in a case involving a dispute over whether Section 330(a) of the Bankruptcy Code authorizes the client’s bankruptcy counsel to recover $5m in legal fees; in this case it worked in conjunction with Bancroft PLLC’s Paul Clement.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has a clear focus on commercial disputes and houses advocates who are able to make the shift between trial and appellate practices. Evan Chesler, whose practice straddles both the trial and appellate space, successfully acted for ABC and ESPN in class action proceedings that alleged a conspiracy to limit student athletes’ compensation. Other highlights included its involvement in United States v American Express, where the team defended the latter in long-running antitrust class action proceedings. The group counts Credit Suisse as a client and represented it in several appeals pertaining to RMBS cases; Richard Clary leads on this work.

High-quality appellate firmGoodwin Procter LLP has a ‘strategic approach’, as evidenced by the landmark victories achieved in 2014. The group was instrumental in Teva Pharmaceuticals v Sandoz, a precedent-setting patent case, and B&B Hardware v Hargis Industries, a trademark infringement case, both in the Federal Circuit. The firm is defending Teva Pharmaceuticals against product liability claims in several federal courts of appeals. William Jay handled several certiorari petitions and is a ‘superb writer and extremely analytical’. Other highlights included successfully overturning a $109m disgorgement ruling for PHH Corporation; Thomas Hefferon co-led the case with attorneys from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP’s appellate team appeared before the US Supreme Court in 2015, representing The Florida Bar in Williams-Yulee v The Florida Bar, a case concerning redistricting and the regulation of judicial elections across different states. Barry Richard, who wrote the brief and argued the case, prevailed for the client, with the original ban on judicial fundraising remaining in place. The team regularly appears in the federal courts of appeals and has several important wins under its belt; most notably its success for Lorillard Tobacco in 2014. The group is frequently retained by clients in the pharmaceutical and insurance sectors on high-value appeals; examples include Teva Pharmaceuticals and Zenith Insurance. Elliot Scherker, Mark Solomons and Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick chair the team.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s appellate group has notable expertise in class actions, tax disputes and IP matters. The team has a strong representation for handling cases involving the healthcare industry and, in December 2015, practice head Miller Baker successfully petitioned for a Supreme Court hearing on behalf of Universal Health Service pertaining to whistleblowing; the case will clarify the complex regulatory requirements on when knowledge of a failure to adhere to the law constitutes fraud against the government. Tax appeals are another area of strength for the group, which successfully represented Johnson & Johnson in a First Circuit appeal concerning the tax implications of its operations in Puerto Rico, while the group also successfully handled several disputes for internet travel company Orbitz.

MoloLamken LLP’s team has ‘great strength and depth’ and practitioners that are ‘highly skilled in courtroom advocacy and briefing’. The group represented economist Dr. Alexander Mirtchev and his company Krull Corporation in securing a major victory in a RICO and defamation suit in the DC Circuit; ‘superb lawyer’ and practice head Jeffrey Lamken, who is based in Washington DC, argued the case. Lamken is also due to represent Bank Markazi in a Supreme Court case concerning compensation for the victims of the 1983 Beirut bombings, which will have significant implications for the separation of powers over foreign affairs; he also adept at handling patent infringement cases, and recently defended d.b.a. Planet Blue in the Federal Circuit. Financial services cases remain a focus of the firm, which acted for Bank Melli in the Ninth Circuit. Robert Kry in Washington DC and name partner Steven Molo in New York and are other key names.

The ‘excellentMorgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP’s team has a strong reputation at the Supreme Court, particularly within the employment sphere. Allyson Ho secured a ‘game-changing’ result for M&G Polymers, and employers in general, with the Supreme Court decision in January 2015 that employers no longer have to provide unalterable lifetime benefits when there is no clear promise to do so in the initial contract; the court unanimously decided that when a contract has no set duration for retiree benefits, it cannot be inferred that the parties intended to confer the benefits for life, which has huge implication for both employers and former employees. The team represented Mortgage Bankers Association in an employment dispute concerning overtime pay. Other areas of strength include consumer disputes and web technology, and the group acted for eBay and PayPal in the Ninth Circuit in separate consumer complaints. The team, which is experienced in environmental cases, successfully represented Elementis Chromium, a specialty chemicals company, in a precedent-setting case that saw the reversal of a $2.5m penalty for an alleged failure to comply with regulations.

Paul Hastings LLP’s appellate practice has seen recent victories at the Supreme Court, with Neal Mollen and Stephen Kinnaird prevailing in pharmaceuticals and sentencing cases respectively. The firm has also been successful in the California Court of Appeals, where it defended L’Oréal in Adjamian v L’Oréal against an attempted class action; Katherine Murray led the arguments. The group handles cases nationwide and successfully represented Fujifilm Medical Systems in a discrimination and tortious interferences case brought by a former employee in the Second Circuit; the team has also been active in the Ninth Circuit. San Francisco-based Paul Cane and Stephen Kinnaird in Washington DC head the practice.

Proskauer Rose LLP has a clear strength in patent appeals, which was in evidence in 2014 as it secured a favorable ruling in Nautilus v Biosig, with the US Supreme Court vacating the Federal Circuit’s decision and remanding the case for the further consideration. Practice co-head and former US Supreme Court clerk Mark Harris led on this and continued the representation of Biosig in 2015 in the Federal Court. The team won a major victory in the Second Circuit for Sprint-Nextel in a case involving allegations of a breach of fiduciary duty and legal malpractice, among other claims; the Second Circuit vacated the district court’s decision that the claims could be brought as a class action. Other highlights included representing telecoms providers in contractual disputes, acting for employers on the legality of unpaid interns, and handling antitrust cases for sports clients.

Kim Watterson chairs the appellate practice at Reed Smith LLP, which is ‘always available and provides an excellent service’. It has a national presence with a particular focus on appeals in the Ninth and Second circuits. The group acts on the full range of cases and has achieved recent success in defending antitrust and RICO claims. Clients include equity funds, manufacturers and insurers. It successfully defended a tort claim brought by employees against health insurance provider Anthem Blue Cross. Margaret Grignon has left to set up her own practice.

Ropes & Gray LLP saw an uptick in work in the IP space in 2015 and is handling several ongoing patent appeals. James Batchelder, Steven Baughman and Douglas Hallward-Driemeier defended SAP America in five patent infringement claims brought by Versata, which marked an end to long-running litigation in what was a landmark win for the client. The group has considerable success in shareholder disputes across a range of sectors, but most notably in the life sciences space. On behalf of Columbia Laboratories, it recently secured a ruling from the Third Circuit, which affirmed the dismissal of a shareholder class action filed in 2012 in the wake of the FDA’s denial of approval of an application by the client to market a drug for the prevention of pre term birth; the unanimous decision marks a growing trend towards the disclosure of FDA interactions.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP was kept busy in 2015 handling several key cases and has been active in appeals surrounding RBMS, patents and insurance. ‘Excellent and skilled advocate’ Mary Kay Vyskocil excels in both trials and appeals, and secured a win for Travelers against Western MacArthur’s reinsurers in a coverage dispute. David Woll successfully defended DB Structured Products against claims that mortgages failed to comply with contractual representations and warranties, which was an important ruling in the financial services sector. Sarah Razi has a particular focus on antitrust matters.

The highly reputable Jeffery Wall in Washington, DC, leads Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s ‘pragmatic, responsive and client-focused’ team, which had a strong year doing ‘excellent work’. Robert Giuffra and Garrard Beeney are acting for the plaintiff in a US Supreme Court case, Stryker v Zimmer, which concerns damages awards for patent infringement; arguments are set for February 2016. In addition to its IP focus, the firm has a strong financial services practice, and successfully represented Banco Central de la Republica Argentina in a Second Circuit appeal; Joseph Neuhaus led the advice. Other clients include Standard Chartered Bank, JPMorgan Chase and BP.

Vinson & Elkins LLP’s team, which has a ‘full understanding of the appellate procedure’, is jointly headed by Marie Yeates, whose ‘oral arguments bring the other side to its knees’, and Thomas Leatherbury. John Elwood led the defense of KBR in the Supreme Court in a case involving allegations of fraudulent action under the False Claims Act. The firm also acted on criminal sentencing cases in the Supreme Court in 2014. Unsurprisingly for a firm based in Texas, it has a strong focus on the energy sector, and frequently acts for energy companies in high-profile and high-value appeals. Of note is the team’s representation of oil and gas handling company Valerus in tax proceedings in Texas.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s appellate practice is headed by former assistant solicitor general for New York Gregory Silbert and former US Supreme Court clerk Steven Reiss. The team represented publisher Simon & Schuster in antitrust proceedings against Apple regarding the alleged price-fixing of certain e-books; the Second Circuit ultimately found against Apple. The appellate practice includes a patent sub-group, which is led by Edward Reines in the Silicon Valley office; recent highlights include its successful defense of Microsoft in the Federal Circuit against allegations of patent infringement brought by Allvoice Developments.

Wiley Rein LLP’s team has seen considerable activity in the telecoms sector in 2015, representing clients such as the United States Telecom Association, The Wireless Infrastructure Association and Neustar. Practice head Andrew McBride and his team secured an important victory in the Third Circuit for T-Mobile regarding the siting of a wireless tower. In another recent highlight, Brett Shumate, Eve Reed and McBride are representing the joint petitioners in United States Telecoms Association v Federal Communications Commission and United States of America and have filed a petition at the DC Circuit arguing that the FCC net neutrality orders pose a challenge to the First Amendment.

Winston & Strawn LLP’s ‘excellent appellate practice’ has a strong track record at the Supreme Court. Alongside co-counsel Williams & Connolly LLP, a team including practice chair Linda Coberly secured a major win for Omnicare in 2014 in what was a long-awaited decision; the case concerned the scope of liability under Section 11 of the ’33 Act for false statements of opinion. The firm was kept busy in 2015 handling the run-on litigation relating to this decision. Steffen Johnson, who is ‘quick on his feet with persuasive arguments’, has notable expertise in IP matters, and successfully represented the defendant in Tyco v Mutual Pharma in a case that straddled both patent and antitrust law; the court ruled in favor of Mutual Pharma in finding that filing a lawsuit under the Hatch-Waxman scheme can give rise to antitrust liability.

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