A former Supreme Court and Second Circuit clerk, Rachel Wainer Apter specializes in high-stakes appeals.  

Rachel is a member of the firm’s Supreme Court and Appellate practice. Her work spans a range of subject areas, including constitutional law, intellectual property, bankruptcy and employment.  

Rachel has been a lead drafter on dozens of briefs in federal and state appellate tribunals and in the U.S. Supreme Court. Rachel is currently working on a high-stakes appeal involving a life-saving cure for the Hepatitis C virus. She is also representing former senior officials of the United States Customs and Border Protection in the first cross-border shooting case to reach the U.S. Supreme Court. Rachel maintains an active pro bono practice, recently presenting argument in the D.C. Court of Appeals in a first-degree murder appeal.

Prior to joining Orrick, Rachel served as a law clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Chief Judge Robert Katzmann of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and Judge Jed Rakoff of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Rachel sits on the legal advisory council for the Fair Punishment Project, a joint initiative of Harvard Law School helping to create a fair and accountable justice system through legal action and educational initiatives.

    • Gilead Sciences v. Merck (Federal Circuit): Rachel is representing Gilead Sciences in an appeal regarding its life-saving treatment for Hepatitis C.
    • Hernandez v. Mesa (Supreme Court): Rachel is representing two former senior officials at U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the first cross-border shooting case to reach the Supreme Court. The amicus brief argues that cross-border shootings at the Mexican border arise from systemic issues in the Border Patrol, and will not be deterred without the possibility of civil liability for agents who use excessive force.
    • Heller Ehrman v. Orrick (California Supreme Court): Rachel is representing Orrick in a case concerning whether a dissolved law firm has a property interest in future hourly fees earned after the law firm dissolves.
    • Medtronic v. Robert Bosch Healthcare Systems (Federal Circuit): Rachel won a dismissal for lack of appellate jurisdiction, and a petition for rehearing, where the appellant attempted to appeal a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board that did not reach the merits of patent validity.
    • Impression Products v. Lexmark (Supreme Court): Rachel submitted an amicus brief on behalf of Dell, Intel and VIZIO, arguing that one authorized sale of a patented product should exhaust a patent holder's patent rights in that product. The case, which could have a major impact on the global supply chain, was argued in March 2017.
    • Shine v. Williams Sonoma (California Court of Appeals): Rachel won a dismissal of a putative class action that sought reporting time pay for employees who were scheduled for call-in shifts and then told that they did not need to report to work. The case is currently on appeal.
    • Samsung v. Apple (Supreme Court): Rachel represented a group of world class designers in the first design patent case before the Supreme Court in 100 years. The amicus brief garnered attention in the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times.
    • Animal Legal Defense Fund v. FDA (Ninth Circuit): Rachel successfully convinced the Ninth Circuit to grant en banc rehearing and reverse on the standard of review it applies in FOIA cases decided on summary judgment. The Ninth Circuit overruled its prior precedent and agreed that de novo review is appropriate.  
    • Sheriff v. Gillie (Supreme Court): Rachel represented two individuals in the third Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case to reach the Supreme Court. Although the Court held that the use by private attorneys of the Ohio Attorney General's letterhead is not misleading, it did not exempt those attorneys from the strictures of the FDCPA, which has proven important to organizations fighting deceptive debt collection practices in Ohio.
    • MHN v. Zaborowski (Supreme Court): Rachel convinced the Supreme Court to grant certiorari in a case about California's arbitration-only severance rule. The case settled before oral argument.
    • City of Los Angeles v. Patel (Supreme Court): Rachel represented the City of Los Angeles in an important Fourth Amendment case concerning the constitutionality of a Los Angeles ordinance which required hotel operators to keep specific hotel records available for police inspection.