Kelsi Corkran, Former DOJ Appellate Lawyer and Clerk to Justice Ginsburg, Joins Orrick


Washington, D.C. – Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP announced today that Kelsi Corkran, a former lawyer with the Justice Department’s prestigious Civil Appellate Staff, and most recently law clerk to The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, will join the firm’s market leading Supreme Court & Appellate Practice as a partner in the Washington D.C. office. Ms. Corkran, one of the few lawyers who have moved from Civil Appellate for private practice, has served as lead counsel for the federal government in more than 30 appeals and presented oral argument in 24 cases before 10 different federal appellate courts. Today, National Law Journal named her to its prestigious “40 Under 40” list of rising leaders in Washington, D.C.

“We are delighted to add a lawyer with Kelsi’s stellar reputation and impressive record to our fast-growing appellate team,” said E. Joshua Rosenkranz, head of Orrick’s Supreme Court & Appellate practice. “She is a real catch.”

Ms. Corkran said, “I am excited to join a team known for its creativity and ability to rethink cases from the ground up. Orrick’s appellate group has an extraordinary record in high stakes cases, and I was immediately attracted by the breadth of talent on this team.”

Orrick’s Supreme Court & Appellate team has grown from just one partner four years ago to five partners with a team of 14 other lawyers.  Five former members of DOJ’s Civil Appellate Staff are now in Orrick’s appellate practice. Among them are partners Robert (Bob) Loeb, former acting deputy director and special appellate counsel, who joined in 2013, and Mark Davies, a seven-year veteran of Civil Appellate, who joined in 2010. Orrick’s appellate team also recently added Eric A. Shumsky, formerly a partner at Sidley Austin.

At the DOJ, Ms. Corkran was lead counsel in a wide range of challenging appeals involving complex and novel issues. Ms. Corkran made an early mark by obtaining a significant win in the Fifth Circuit in a major class action case involving the availability of utility assistance to thousands of former public housing residents after they were displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Ms. Corkran also:

  • succeeded on appeal in numerous cases involving a diverse array of government actions and programs;

  • successfully argued numerous bankruptcy cases on appeal, including cases about the bankruptcy venue provision and treatment of 401(k) retirement plan loans in bankruptcy;

  • served as lead counsel for the Copyright Royalty Board, successfully defending the rates and terms set by the Board for the making and distribution of “phonorecords,” including permanent digital downloads and ringtones, against a challenge by the Recording Industry Association of America;

  • prevailed on appeal in a variety of different high-stakes tort actions; and

  • successfully defended the federal government on appeal in numerous high-profile employment discrimination cases.

Ms. Corkran previously worked at the White House, where she assisted with Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation, and before joining the DOJ Civil Appellate Staff she clerked for Judge David Tatel on the D.C. Circuit. She also practiced with Bancroft PLLC and most recently clerked for Justice Ginsburg.

She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998 with a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. In 2005, she graduated from the University of Chicago with a J.D. and a Masters in Public Policy. Ms. Corkran was on the editorial board for the University of Chicago Law Review and was awarded the Casper Platt Award for the Outstanding Paper Written by a Graduating Student and membership in the Order of the Coif.

Orrick has one of the nation’s leading appellate litigation departments. The team of 14 lawyers is recognized by Chambers USA 2014 for doing “the best job at focusing on the high-priority strategic issues of law and policy.”  Recent wins in high stakes appeals include a high-profile copyright appeal for Oracle over the use of Java in the Android platform; a landmark, industry-shaping victory for Kirtsaeng in one of the most significant copyright cases in many years; a company-saving win for MGA Entertainment in its contentious battle with Mattel, a company-saving win for DISH Network in a patent dispute with TiVo; a successful defense of DISH Network’s commercial-skipping Hopper technology; a precedent-setting victory for Morgan Stanley concerning the extent to which federal securities law preempts state labor laws; a major win for Dow Chemical in a patent dispute involving herbicide resistant plants; a complete victory for defense contractor L-3 Communications in a long-running aviation-related dispute; and a win for Nintendo in a high-stakes appeal involving the company’s most important and successful product—the Wii.