When it comes to the High Court, most if not nearly all of the focus tends to fall on the cases and judges. However, a recent SCOTUSblog piece takes a look at which attorneys and law firms have fared the best before the High Court in recent years.
The Empirical SCOTUS piece shows that over the past five terms, looking only at attorneys that have made four or more appearances at the Court during that time, only one attorney and one firm have perfect records. The piece also details who had the most overall wins, and even the most wins in particular categories like First or Fourth Amendment, or Patent cases.
So Who's the Best?
Depending on how you want to categorize best, this question can shake out a couple different ways. The one attorney listed above with the perfect record, Adam Unikowski, went 6 for 6, which is impressive. But Paul Clement, who put up a 65% win rate, argued 23 cases, meaning he won double the number of cases as Unikowski.
And when you look at most successful firms that had at least four appearances, considering win rate leads to an interesting outcome: the Alliance Defending Freedom went 4 for 4 in their cases including the Masterpiece Cakeshop matter, and other similar matters.
In further trying to get to the answer of that penultimate question of who the best Supreme Court lawyer is, the report shows which lawyers won the most close, five-vote majority decisions. Paul Clement took that win with four successes there. While Hogan Lovells tied Clement's firm of Kirkland & Ellis with four a piece.