Appellate and Supreme Court Practice

We combine exceptional skills in crafting persuasive briefs and oral arguments with extensive experience shepherding high-stakes matters through appellate courts. Over the years, our lawyers have presented more than 100 arguments before the US Supreme Court. They have appeared before federal and state appellate courts on a range of issues, including administrative, antitrust, bankruptcy, civil rights, communications, constitutional, copyright, employment, financial services, government contracts, immigration, patent, preemption, and punitive damages. We also have an extensive amicus practice before the US Supreme Court and other appellate courts and regularly brief, argue, and advise on complex legal issues that arise in various trial-level fora.

In 2020, for the 12th consecutive year, The National Law Journal named Jenner & Block to its “Appellate Hot List,” while Law360 named our Appellate and Supreme Court Practice as “Practice Group of the Year” in both 2017 and 2018.  In the previous five US Supreme Court terms, Jenner & Block’s Appellate and Supreme Court Practice has argued 20 merits cases, substantially prevailing in 16 of them. Those cases were argued by nine different lawyers, reflecting the depth of our bench and ability to provide sophisticated representation across a wide range of cases. Practice Chair Ian Heath Gershengorn has argued 16 cases at the Court, including 13 while serving as principal deputy solicitor general and then acting solicitor general of the United States. Our Appellate and Supreme Court Practice has also been consistently recognized in Chambers USA as being among the nation’s foremost appellate law practices.  Chambers acknowledged the firm’s “impressive number of cases before the Supreme Court” and praised our appellate lawyers’ “depth of experience, energy and creativity,” their “carefully honed arguments” and “strategies that always contain new and fresh perspectives.”  In a recent report, Chambers quoted one reviewer: “A deep stable of lawyers…they approach the case in a thorough and very creative way, and the quality of the product is high.”

Our lawyers handle appeals all over the country, both in cases where we represented a party in the lower court and in cases where we have been brought in specifically for our appellate and Supreme Court proficiency.  We regularly serve as appellate counsel for corporations, trade associations, and industry groups.  Our practice group includes former US Supreme Court clerks, US Court of Appeals clerks, and state appellate court clerks, as well as members of the bars of every US Court of Appeals and members of state bars throughout the country. 

Our lawyers are well versed in the intricacies of the appeals process and know how to navigate a case effectively through the courts.  We work collaboratively – with senior partners involved in every step of the process – to develop persuasive arguments that are thoroughly researched, carefully written, and powerfully delivered.  We do highly significant work in this area in all five of the firm’s offices.

A hallmark of our practice has been a series of important victories in the Supreme Court going back at least to Witherspoon v. Illinois (1968), involving the exclusion from a jury pool of persons with qualms about the death penalty.  That track record continues down to today, including victories in Lawrence v. Texas (2003), the landmark gay rights case, Wiggins v. Smith (2003), addressing standards for effective counsel in the death penalty sentencing phase, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd. (2005), addressing secondary liability of Internet file-sharing services, and Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association (2011), involving a First Amendment challenge to a California law that restricted the sale or rental of “violent” video games to minors.