Paul Clement is a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Paul served as the 43rd Solicitor General of the United States from June 2005 until June 2008. Before his confirmation as Solicitor General, he served as Acting Solicitor General for nearly a year and as Principal Deputy Solicitor General for over three years.
He has argued over 100 cases before the United States Supreme Court, including McConnell v. FEC, Tennessee v. Lane, United States v. Booker, MGM v. Grokster, ABC v. Aereo, Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, and Rucho v. Common Cause. Paul has argued more Supreme Court cases since 2000 than any lawyer in or out of government. He has also argued many important cases in the lower courts, including Walker v. Cheney, United States v. Moussaoui, and NFL v. Brady.
Paul’s practice focuses on appellate matters, constitutional litigation, and strategic counseling. He represents a broad array of clients in the Supreme Court and in federal and state appellate courts. Last year, for example, he successfully argued Supreme Court cases involving significant issues of energy regulation, religious liberty, state sovereign immunity and labor law, and successfully argued an arbitration appeal to the Second Circuit, a preemption appeal to the Eighth Circuit, a constitutional appeal before the en banc Third Circuit, and secured the reversal of an adverse jury verdict in the Eleventh Circuit.
Paul focuses on high-stakes appeals. In recent years, he successfully defended a $1.2 billion jury verdict for clients in a Tenth Circuit case, while securing the reversal of an over $2 billion jury verdict for another client in the Seventh Circuit and the approval of a nearly billion dollar class action settlement in the Third Circuit. He has initiated major administrative law challenges and constitutional litigation against the federal government, such as the airlines’ challenge to fee increases and the First Amendment challenge in Allergan v. United States. He also counsels clients on a variety of strategic legal questions, whether arising from pending legislation, government inquiries or ongoing litigation.
He has undertaken substantial pro bono engagements in the Supreme Court, such as twice successfully representing the defendant in Bond v. United States and successfully representing the Omaha Tribe in Nebraska v. Parker, the guardian ad litem in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, and the defendant in Sekhar v. United States.
Following law school, Paul clerked for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court. After his clerkships, he went on to serve as Chief Counsel of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Federalism and Property Rights.
Paul is a Distinguished Lecturer in Law at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he has taught in various capacities since 1998. He also serves as a Senior Fellow of the Law Center’s Supreme Court Institute.
"‘The Essential Scalia’: What RBG Admired," The Wall Street Journal (Book Review), October 11, 2020
"RBG: An advocate’s perspective on a Justice who could never be outworked," SCOTUSblog, September 24, 2020
“Lawyering in the Supreme Court,” DRI In-House Defense Quarterly, Winter 2018
"Why We Read the Scalia Opinion First," Judicature, Spring 2017
"In Scalia, criminal defendants have lost a great defender," USA Today, February 19, 2016
"Arguing Before Justice Scalia," The New York Times, February 17, 2016
"Paul Clement On the Record," Marquette Lawyer, Fall 2013
"No Shrinking From the Hard Questions," Harvard L. Bulletin, Winter 2010
Keynote Address: The Intra-Executive Separation of Powers, 59 Emory L.J., 2009
Commencement Address: remarks of the Solicitor General of the United States, 90 Marquette L. Rev., Fall 2006
"Solicitors General Panel on the Legacy of the Rehnquist Court," 74 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 1171-1190, August 2006
"Wisconsin’s Own: Some thoughts on the Legacy of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist," 10 Tex. Rev. of L. & Politics, 2006
Named a "Litigation Star" by Benchmark Litigation United States, 2021
Recognized by Law360 as “MVP of the Year” for Appellate, 2020
Recognized by The Legal 500 United States for Appellate [Hall of Fame], 2020–2021
Recognized by Chambers USA for Appellate Law [Nationwide] [Star Individual]
Received an honorary degree from the Catholic University of America Law School in 2016
Selected by the National Law Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America, 2013
Lawyer of the Year, The Bar Association of the District of Columbia, 2012
Admissions & Qualifications
- District of Columbia
- Supreme Court of the United States
- United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
- United States District Court for the District of Columbia
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida
- Harvard Law SchoolJ.D.magna cum laude
Supreme Court Editor, Harvard Law Review
- Cambridge UniversityM.Phil., Economics
- Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign ServiceB.S.F.S.summa cum laude