Brian Goldman litigates high-stakes appeals in the U.S. Supreme Court and appellate courts around the country.

Every word counts in appellate litigation. With limited briefing and a short oral argument, lawyers have to summarize the complex facts and history of a case, help busy judges understand the intricacies of sometimes-unfamiliar areas of law, and then persuade the court why the judgment should be affirmed or reversed. Brian specializes in collaborating with clients and trial counsel to distill years of litigation and complicated fact patterns into compelling narratives that drive common-sense arguments.

Brian’s capabilities have proven particularly valuable in cases involving cutting-edge technologies. Brian has helped companies like Microsoft and Facebook set groundbreaking precedent on appeal by combining traditional legal arguments with finely tuned analogies that show how pre-internet-age laws should apply to novel circumstances. In addition to data privacy, Brian has represented companies and individuals in cases involving intellectual property, immigration, and general commercial disputes. Brian also maintains an active pro bono practice in the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals.

In 2014, and again in 2017, the Ninth Circuit appointed Brian to three-year terms as an Appellate Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. In that role, Brian co-authored The Appellate Lawyer Representatives' Guide to Practice in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and created a "shell brief" for attorneys to use in preparing properly structured Ninth Circuit briefs.

Brian was named one of California's "Top 40 Under 40" in 2018 by the Daily Journal, and one of the country’s “Appellate Rising Stars” by Law360. He also won a California Lawyer Attorney of the Year Award for his work defending a local firearms ordinance against a Second Amendment challenge.

Prior to joining Orrick, Brian served as a law clerk to Justice Sonia Sotomayor and to Judge Stephen Reinhardt. He also served in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Division, where he briefed and argued cases on appeal for the federal government. Before law school, he was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company.

    • Microsoft v. United States (Second Circuit, Supreme Court): Brian represented Microsoft in its successful Second Circuit challenge to the federal government's attempt to force Microsoft to turn over a customer's email content stored on a server in Ireland, beyond the reach of the federal Stored Communications Act. The Supreme Court then found the case moot after Congress updated the law with compromise legislation that was prompted by the Second Circuit decision. (Supreme Court Opinion) (CA2 Opinion) (Supreme Court Brief) (CA2 Opening Brief) (CA2 Reply Brief)
    • Facebook v. Power Ventures (Ninth Circuit, Supreme Court): Brian successfully defended a judgment in favor of Facebook finding that defendants had unlawfully scraped content from Facebook in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and California's computer trespass law. Brian then defended that victory against the defendants' petition for Supreme Court review. In a follow-on appeal, Brian then defended the district court's award of damages and injunctive relief to Facebook. (First CA9 Opinion, Second CA9 Opinion)
    • Blasdell v. Space Exploration Technologies (California Court of Appeal): Following Brian's briefing and oral argument, the Court of Appeal affirmed a jury verdict in favor of SpaceX in an individual employee's action alleging whistleblower retaliation. (Opinion)
    • Teixeira v. County of Alameda (Ninth Circuit en banc, Supreme Court): Brian successfully argued a significant Second Amendment case before the en banc Ninth Circuit on behalf of Alameda County, California, persuading the court to uphold a county zoning ordinance regulating the location of gun stores. The Supreme Court then denied the challengers petition for certiorari. (CA9 en banc Oral Argument) (CA9 en banc Opinion) (Supreme Court Brief in Opposition)

    Recent pro bono matters:

    • Marinelarena v. Barr (Ninth Circuit en banc): Brian persuaded the Ninth Circuit to overrule a prior decision that often had made it impossible for noncitizens with criminal convictions to apply for essential humanitarian relief from deportation. (CA9 en banc Oral Argument) (CA9 en banc Opinion
    • Sessions v. Dimaya (Supreme Court): In a major immigration case, Brian convinced the Supreme Court to strike down as unconstitutional a law that the government had frequently used to deport noncitizens. Brian was the lead author of the team's brief, which explained why the immigration law's "crime of violence" provision was void for vagueness. (Supreme Court Opinion) (Supreme Court Brief)
    • Volpicelli v. United States (Ninth Circuit): Brian successfully briefed and argued a tax case to the Ninth Circuit on behalf of a client whose property was wrongfully seized by the IRS when it was attempting to collect on someone else's tax debt. The Ninth Circuit issued a precedential decision holding that the statute of limitations for filing such suits could be extended in appropriate cases -- the first decision by any appellate court in two decades to allow a tax refund deadline to be extended. (Opinion) (Oral Argument) (Press coverage: Forbes, Law360)

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