Appellate Litigation

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Kirkland has one of the premier appellate practices in the country. The Firm’s appellate attorneys have extensive experience handling high-stakes cases in the United States Supreme Court, the federal courts of appeals, and state appellate courts. The practice features Paul Clement, Solicitor General of the United States from 2005 to 2008; Michael McConnell, who served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; and many other attorneys who have served as law clerks on the Supreme Court, the courts of appeals, and the district courts.  

Kirkland’s experience before the Supreme Court is unrivaled. Collectively, the Firm’s attorneys have argued more than 150 Supreme Court cases spanning countless substantive areas. In the 2017 Term alone, our lawyers argued 8 cases—more than 10 percent of the Court’s docket—involving issues ranging from arbitration to bankruptcy to patent law. The Firm’s appellate practice covers all aspects of Supreme Court litigation.  Kirkland lawyers regularly prepare petitions for certiorari and other certiorari-stage briefing, and also frequently are brought in to handle merits cases after the Court has granted review. Our attorneys have successfully secured certiorari over the federal government’s opposition, have successfully opposed certiorari over the federal government’s request, and frequently handle meetings with the Office of the Solicitor General both before and after the Court has called for the Solicitor General’s views.

Kirkland also has a wealth of experience in the federal and state appellate courts. Our attorneys have handled high-stakes appeals in every federal court of appeals in the country, as well as in numerous state supreme courts. Those appeals have spanned myriad substantive areas, including antitrust, bankruptcy, class actions, copyright, criminal, education, employment, energy, environmental, ERISA, FDA, health care, labor, mass tort, national security, patent, preemption, professional liability, RICO, securities, telecommunications, voting rights, and all manner of constitutional issues. The Firm’s attorneys also have considerable experience with patent appeals in the Federal Circuit, specialized administrative appeals in the D.C. Circuit, extraordinary petitions for mandamus, and petitions for interlocutory appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f).

Kirkland’s appellate practice also has a deep commitment to pro bono work. Our attorneys have secured landmark Supreme Court rulings for pro bono clients ranging from criminal defendants to the Omaha Tribal Council to a class of disabled California prisoners to the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Firm also regularly provides pro bono appellate representation to immigrants, criminal defendants, inmates, and non-profit organizations. 

The appellate practice’s experience is by no means limited to appellate courts or constitutional issues. Our work is defined by neither the forum nor the substantive area; our attorneys assist clients on high-stakes, complex legal issues wherever they arise. Kirkland lawyers pride ourselves on putting client interests first, working cooperatively with co-counsel, and delivering results. And we frequently work closely with trial counsel before, during, and after trial to identify and preserve key legal issues for appeal, particularly in the mass tort context.

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