Which Firms Win the Most at SCOTUS

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By George Khoury, Esq. on April 25, 2019 9:00 AM

Arguing in front of the Supreme Court is a big deal that only a select few lawyers are ever lucky enough to get the chance to do. But notably, a recent study of the lawyers who have the most appearances in recent years has produced some rather curious findings.

Aside from the curious findings that actually relate to political leanings of the lawyers appearing before the High Court, the report essentially names which law firms have the best records in front of the Supreme Court. The numbers show which firms have gotten the most votes, overall, from all of the Justices over the past several years.

Wait … What About Those Curious Findings?

Apparently, the political leaning of the attorney arguing the case might actually influence how certain Justices might rule. As explained by Empirical SCOTUS, some Supreme Court scholars believe that the Justices will usually rule based upon their “preferred policy direction.” And based on the numbers, it looks like attorneys with particular political leanings, or policy agendas (like government attorneys), may be favored by certain Justices.

However, the big caveat to the data is the fact that very few lawyers ever make multiple appearances, such that the Justices actually get to know the individual lawyers that well. Conversely though, by the time most cases make it the High Court, there has been some sort of political divisiveness associated with the case. Additionally, lawyers representing government agencies generally are considered to be advocating for the policy direction of their agency.

Firms Ranked by Number of Votes

The data from the Empirical SCOTUS report lists the law firms which have gotten the most votes from Supreme Court Justices in their favor. The numbers are definitely skewed in favor of firms that appeared more frequently in front of the High Court, and particularly for those firms that won unanimous decisions.

The five firms with the most votes are:

  • Jenner & Block
  • Wilmer Hale
  • Bancroft
  • Gibson Dunn
  • Mayer Brown

Notably, the Stanford Law School Supreme Court Clinic actually beat out Gibson Dunn, in terms of getting more votes in its favor.

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