Morgan, Lewis & Bockius picked up the Lone Star State's go-to lawyer for matters before appellate courts in order to broaden a similar practice within the firm.
In his current role as Texas solicitor general, R. Ted Cruz is responsible for representing the state before the U.S. Supreme Court, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and all Texas appellate courts.
As of May 12, Cruz will become a partner in Morgan Lewis' fast-expanding Houston office to help build and lead the firm's national appellate practice. He will also spend some time in the firm's Washington, D.C., office.
His practice will include a U.S. Supreme Court component, a courthouse with which Cruz has become familiar. He has authored more than 70 briefs for matters before the Court and has presented oral arguments before the Court on eight occasions. Cruz is returning to private practice following a rapid rise in law and government.
Cruz, the son of a Cuban immigrant, was the first Hispanic solicitor general in Texas and, when appointed, was the youngest solicitor general in the United States. He has served in that role for five and a half years and dealt with matters ranging from separation of church and state issues to the civil commitment of sexually violent predators.
His work at Morgan Lewis will focus on leading the firm's effort to build a larger U.S. Supreme Court and national appellate practice for clients with "high-stakes commercial litigation."
"Morgan Lewis offered the perfect combination," Cruz said in a statement. "It is a venerable firm with a global reputation that has shown a deep commitment to growth in Texas, and it presents an unparalleled opportunity to help build a top-tier national appellate practice."
Morgan Lewis already has an appeals and special issues practice whose attorneys represent clients at all levels of the trial and appeals process across the country. It is Cruz's Supreme Court experience and overall depth in appellate advocacy that the firm is looking to capitalize on.
Morgan Lewis litigation practice leader James D. Pagliaro said there aren't many 38-year-old lawyers who have been before the high court -- particularly eight times. The firm has had several appearances before the U.S. Supreme Court over the years, and Pagliaro said he thinks Morgan Lewis has a strong practice in that arena already. Cruz's presence adds "exponentially" to the appellate team and helps further the firm's goal of expanding in Texas and adding to the national litigation group, he said.
Cruz will be the first attorney in Morgan Lewis' Houston office to focus solely on appellate work.
Since January 2007, the number of attorneys between the firm's Dallas and Houston offices has grown from 18 to 61, with 20 attorneys joining the Houston office in the last four months.