Supreme Court & Appellate

Equally rooted in the appellate capital of Washington, D.C., the Bay Area’s technology hub, and the financial center of New York City, Orrick’s Supreme Court & Appellate group is one of the most respected appellate practices in the country. Recognized by the leading global legal directories — Chambers USA (2014-2020) and The Legal 500 US (2011-2020) — we have become a destination for bet-the-company and industry-changing appeals. Our commitment to the ‘‘constellation model” — with multiple bright stars, rather than everyone revolving around one — offers our clients a breadth and depth that few appellate practices can match. As just one example, during the 2018 Supreme Court Term, we produced five successful results in five cases argued by four different members of our team.

We have won awards and recognition from publications such as the Financial Times, which has recognized Orrick among North America’s top ten most innovative law firms for several years. In 2018 and 2019, for instance, FT recognized our work to secure access to justice for veterans. In that case, we persuaded the Federal Circuit to find that “Blue Water Navy” veterans who served during the Vietnam War are entitled to receive benefits for health issues linked to Agent Orange exposure. That victory opened the door for nearly 100,000 veterans to secure benefits after decades of government resistance. Our successes on behalf of Oracle, Credit Suisse, and the dietary supplement industry, as well as important pro bono cases for veterans, immigrants, and others were highlighted in our 2019 “Appellate Hot List” ranking by The National Law Journal — our eighth time being named to the list. Additionally, our lawyers have earned numerous individual distinctions. Chambers USA ranks four of our partners among the top appellate lawyers in the country; Legal 500 has recognized nine of our attorneys in their appellate ranks. And our lawyers have garnered numerous other recognitions as well: multiple Law360 Rising Stars, one of the National LGBT Bar Association’s “Best LGBTQ+ Lawyers Under 40,” and one of the National Black Lawyers Top 40 for 2019.

We have established ourselves as a marquee practice with "a deep bench, diverse cases, high-profile clients and a presence in the nation’s highest court." We represent clients ranging from Microsoft, DISH Network, and Oracle; to JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Credit Suisse; to Johnson & Johnson, Fresenius, and Gilead; and everything in between. And we win — sometimes against all odds. We saved DISH Network from a life-threatening injunction, Facebook from the Winklevoss twins, brokerage firms from crushing liability, and Bratz from Barbie. We saved the multi-billion-dollar market in imported copyrighted goods. We represent Oracle against Google in the "World Series of copyright cases." The reasons are simple:

We treat you like you are our only client

Clients turn to us when they simply have to win an appeal. It’s more than just our track record. It’s our philosophy of devoting the utmost attention to every matter. When we represented a Silicon Valley stalwart in a case involving its computer code, we met with its programmers to understand its technology inside and out. When we defended a law allowing the police to inspect hotel guest registries, we not only uncovered the medieval history of regulating innkeepers, we rode along with the vice squad to witness firsthand just why the inspections are so important. Our clients know that their cause is ours.

Winning prose and innovative arguments

We have a distinctive writing style that grabs judges from word one and keeps them reading, a knack for conveying our position as plain common sense, and persuasive oral arguments meticulously prepared and passionately delivered. Chambers USA 2016 described the mix as the "perfect combination of persuasiveness, intelligence, wit and deference" that it takes to "mastermind" unlikely victories. In the 2020 Chambers USA guide, one client said, "They're the best at turning mind-numbingly dense legal doctrine into elegant analysis that resonates with both trial and appellate courts."

Innovative strategies are our calling card. You almost never see an appellate brief that starts with an allegory. And how often does your opponent say that your brief reads like an engineer’s action adventure? When the satellite industry was besieged by discriminatory taxes in state legislatures around the country, we transformed an appellate strategy into a legislative strategy that defeated 53 of 54 bills introduced by competitors.

Collaboration with clients and co-counsel

Clients come back again and again because we treat them — and the lawyers who lived with the case until appeal — like full partners. We take the time to learn what each case means to our clients’ businesses, and we give voice to their passion and concerns. It matters to us that other lawyers turn to us and that our competitors bring us in as co-counsel – including increasingly to provide “appellate eyes” on high-stakes cases long before an appeal is filed. These close partnerships are the heart of our practice. As one client put it to Chambers USA, "If I had only one call, it would be to Orrick. They offer pure skill and knowledge - anything you throw at them, they can handle. It's world class legal representation."

    • Lead counsel representing Microsoft in a fight to prevent the U.S. government from unilaterally searching private emails stored in foreign countries. After a win in the Second Circuit, The Washington Post described the case as one of the “most intriguing, consequential, and complex legal cases having to do with technology now in the courts.” The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari, and Orrick’s compelling oral argument and merits brief before that Court helped drive the Government to the bargaining table in Congress. After Congress enacted long-overdue legislative reforms, the Supreme Court vacated and remanded the case as moot—vindicating our position that the extraterritoriality of the Stored Communications Act was a question for Congress, not the courts.
    • In a case called the “World Series of IP cases,” Orrick’s appellate team has secured two stunning rulings for Oracle in their long-running lawsuit against Google. In 2014, Orrick persuaded the Federal Circuit to overturn a 2012 ruling that the thousands of lines of Oracle software that Google copied into its Android operating system had no copyright protection. Reuters called this decision a “HUGE ruling.” This led to a jury trial in which a jury found Google’s copying fair use. In March 2018, Orrick’s appellate team scored their next major victory when the Federal Circuit unanimously overturned the 2016 jury verdict and held Google’s copying not fair use a matter of law.
    • A landmark, industry-shaping victory in the U.S. Supreme Court in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. — one of the most significant copyright cases in many years, which rescued the $60 billion U.S. market for imported goods manufactured abroad.
    • Successfully defended Carnegie Mellon University on appeal in a highly-publicized, long-running dispute concerning patents about reading data from computer hard drives. This set the stage for an eventual settlement, including a $750 million payment to CMU.
    • Obtained an important victory for DJL Mortgage Capital, a Credit Suisse affiliate, in a high-stakes residential mortgage-backed securities case worth nearly $1 billion in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, First Judicial Department.
    • Persuaded the Second Circuit to overturn a liability finding against the only individual targeted who had been ordered to pay a $1 million civil penalty in connection with the “Hustle” mortgage program.
    • Successfully represented DISH Network challenging an infringement finding that yielded $400 million in damages and a life-threatening injunction requiring DISH to turn off DVR functionality for millions of customers. Additionally, on behalf of DISH and DIRECTV, prevailed in a constitutional challenge under the dormant Commerce Clause to a Florida statute imposing higher taxes on satellite TV providers than cable companies. We also argued related issues in the Utah Supreme Court.
    • Two major wins for Dow AgroSciences in a complex and high-stakes patent dispute involving herbicide tolerant plant genes built into one of the company's most important products. After the second merits victory for Dow and Orrick, Bayer was ordered to pay Dow nearly $6 million in attorneys' fees, a result Orrick preserved on appeal. We represent Dow in post-appeal proceedings seeking to overturn a $455 million damages award from an International Chamber of Commerce arbitration related to the same product.
    • A precedent-setting victory for Morgan Stanley concerning the extent to which federal securities law preempts state labor laws.

Testimonials