Kelsi Corkran


Washington, D.C.

Kelsi Brown Corkran heads the firm's Supreme Court practice. A former law clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge David Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Kelsi has served as lead counsel in dozens of federal and state court appeals. Kelsi has presented argument before the U.S. Supreme Court and 11 of the 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals, including the en banc Ninth Circuit. She also frequently strategizes with trial teams on significant legal questions that arise during earlier stages of litigation.

Kelsi maintains a generalist practice mirroring the wide range of subject matters that appellate judges confront on their dockets. Her constitutional and administrative law experience includes litigating challenges involving the First, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments; the Appointments Clause; the Bill of Attainder Clause; separation of powers; statutory interpretation; and regulatory overreach. She has also handled appeals involving copyright, class action certification, civil fraud, breach of contract, financial services, bankruptcy, and employment discrimination, to name a few. She also has a robust pro bono practice focusing on civil rights litigation in the Supreme Court. Rather than structuring her practice around narrow subject areas, Kelsi’s passion is translating complex disputes into compelling stories that persuade the court to rule in her client’s favor.

Prior to joining Orrick, Kelsi was with the Civil Appellate Staff at the U.S. Department of Justice, where she served as lead counsel for the federal government in more than 30 appeals representing a wide array of federal agencies, including the Copyright Royalty Board; the Federal Communications Commission; the Department of Transportation; the Department of Agriculture; the Social Security Administration; the Department of Housing and Urban Development; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; the Department of Health and Human Services; and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Kelsi previously worked in the Communications Office of the White House’s Executive Office of the President, where she assisted with judicial nominations, including the confirmation hearings of Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Before law school, she was a social worker in Philadelphia’s foster care system.

Kelsi serves on the Board of Trustees for the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia and on the Board of Directors for the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. 

    • ExamWorks v. Baldini (9th Cir. 2020): Successfully opposed motion for stay pending appeal of a preliminary injunction foreclosing defendants from using stolen trade secrets.
    • Fresenius Medicare Care, et al. v. Becerra, et al., 2019 WL 8227464 (C.D. Cal. 2019): Successfully obtained preliminary injunction of newly enacted state law regulating dialysis providers on First Amendment grounds.
    • City of Hays v. Vogt, 584 U.S. ____ (2018): Persuaded the Supreme Court at oral argument to dismiss the petition as improvidently granted. This was a victory for our client, Officer Vogt, who was then free to pursue his civil rights claim on remand.
    • Oracle America v. Google, 886 F.3d 1179 (Fed. Cir. 2018): Member of the Orrick team that persuaded the Federal Circuit to reinstate Oracle’s long-running lawsuit against Google for copying its prized Java technology and order a new trial on damages. The Federal Circuit unanimously overturned a jury verdict in Google’s favor, rejecting as a matter of law Google’s argument that it was fair use to copy Oracle’s Java software code into Google’s Android operating system. 
    • Babyak v. Cardiovascular Systems, No. BC601259, 2017 WL 4070935 (Cal. Super. Ct. L.A. Cty. June 29, 2017): Led the Orrick team brought in to handle post-trial briefing after a jury held that our client, Cardiovascular Systems, wrongfully terminated the plaintiff, entitling him to $2.7 million in compensatory damages and an additional $22.4 million in punitive damages. The court granted our remittitur motion, reducing our client's punitive damages from $22.4 million to $2.7 million.
    • Conrad v. Boiron, 869 F.3d 536 (7th Cir. 2017): Successfully briefed and argued appeal on behalf of Boiron, in which the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling denying class certification of the plaintiff's deceptive labeling claims.
    • United States ex rel. O’Donnell v. Countrywide Home Loans, 822 F.3d 350 (2d Cir. 2016): Persuaded the Second Circuit to vacate a jury verdict against the only individual executive targeted in the Department of Justice’s high-profile enforcement action against Countrywide arising out of the mortgage crisis. 
    • Recording Industry Ass’n of America v. Librarian of Congress, 608 F.3d 861 (D.C. Cir. 2010): 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.
    • In re Alpine PCS, Inc., 404 F. App’x 504 (D.C. Cir. 2010): Successfully defended the Federal Communications Commission against a corporate debtor’s efforts to obtain a declaration that the Bankruptcy Code’s automatic stay provision barred the Commission from auctioning licenses to use radio spectrum previously covered by licenses purchased by the debtor.
    • In re Egebjerg, 574 F.3d 1045 (9th Cir. 2009): Persuaded the Ninth Circuit to adopt the U.S. Trustees’ position regarding the extent to which the repayment of a 401(k) loan may be subtracted from a debtor’s calculation of disposable income. 
    • Anderson v. Jackson, 554 F.3d 525 (5th Cir. 2008): Obtained a significant win in the Fifth Circuit in a major class action involving the availability of utility assistance to former public housing residents after they were displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
    • Thompson v. Greenwood, 507 F.3d 416 (6th Cir. 2007): Successfully defended the U.S. Trustees’ interpretation of the Bankruptcy Code’s venue provisions before the Sixth Circuit.

    Kelsi also has successfully defended challenges involving a wide range of government actions and programs, including: 

    • Department of Agriculture cases relating to the pricing formulas and pooling obligations of milk producers. Hettinga v. Vilsack, 428 F. App’x 732 (9th Cir. 2011); Arkansas Dairy Co-op Ass’n v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture., 573 F.3d 815 (D.C. Cir. 2009).
    • The federal explosives law standards of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Vineland Fireworks Co. v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, 544 F.3d 509 (3d Cir. 2008).
    • The Drug Enforcement Administration's enforcement of its regulations involving the importation and distribution of chemicals used in the manufacture of controlled substances. Malladi Drugs & Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. v. Tandy, 552 F.3d 885 (D.C. Cir. 2009). 
    • A set of federal appellate cases involving the question whether posthumously-conceived children (i.e., children conceived via assisted reproduction using the genetic material of a deceased person) are eligible for benefits under the Social Security Act as the “survivor” of the deceased biological parent. Briefed and argued the issue in the Third, Fourth, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits, resulting in a circuit split that was subsequently resolved by the Supreme Court in the government’s favor. Astrue v. Capato, 132 S. Ct. 2021 (2012); Schafer v. Astrue, 641 F.3d 49 (4th Cir. 2011); Beeler v. Astrue, 651 F.3d 954 (8th Cir. 2011); Capato v. Astrue, 631 F.3d 626 (3rd Cir. 2011); Vernoff v. Astrue, 568 F.3d 1102 (9th Cir. 2009).