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Vinson & Elkins LLP

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Austin, Beijing, Dallas, Dubai, Hong Kong, Houston and 10 more

John Elwood

Work +1 202 639 6518
Vinson & Elkins LLP

Work Department

Supreme Court and Appellate


Considerable experience before the Supreme Court of the United States (briefed or argued more than two dozen merits cases; briefed more than 130 cases at the certiorari stage), and the federal courts of appeals (appearances before Third, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Eleventh and Federal Circuits). Substantial knowledge of constitutional, criminal, administrative, and environmental law. Served as an Assistant to the Solicitor General (2002-2005), as senior Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (2005-2009), and as a law clerk to Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy (1996-1997).

The 2010 edition of Chambers USA reports that "clients consider [John's] addition 'an immediate enhancement to Vinson & Elkins's appellate group: he is a much-loved and widely respected lawyer who is quick on his feet.'"

John has received both the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service and the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service – the Justice Department’s two top awards for lawyers.


  • Edward Bennett Williams Inn of Court; Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court


John graduated from Princeton University summa cum laude (A.B. 1989); King’s College London (M.A. with distinction 1990; first in class); and Yale Law School (J.D. 1993). Admitted to the Georgia bar in 1994 and the D.C. Bar in 1996.

United States: Dispute resolution


Within: Appellate

Covering a wide variety of matters, Vinson & Elkins LLP’s practice is jointly chaired by Dallas-based Thomas Leatherbury and Houston-based Marie Yeats, and has strong expertise in the energy sector, environmental affairs, regulatory issues, mass torts, and intellectual property. Leatherbury led the team on securing a victory for Herring Bancorp in a dispute before the Texas Supreme Court over the redemption of preferred shares held by the opposing party as part of the bank’s conversion into a 'Subchapter S Corporation'. Yeats and Michael Heidler (Austin) successfully represented Anadarko Petroleum in a $100m insurance coverage appeal against Lloyd's of London before the Texas Supreme Court; the Court reversed a judgment of the Ninth District Court of Appeals in Beaumont and confirmed that Anadarko may recover its defense costs arising out of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico. At the US Supreme Court, Washington DC-based duo John Elwood and Jeremy Marwell successfully served as co-counsel to the petitioner in White v United States concerning the interpretation of the Speedy Trial Act; the Court sided with White in rejecting the government’s position and remanded the case to the Sixth Circuit. Sandra Rodriguez departed to accept an in-house position.

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