For Sidley Austin, high-quality client service was the key to a string of significant victories its Washington litigators secured last year.

Mark Hopson, managing partner of Sidley's Washington office, said the firm's D.C. outpost provides clients with expertise that spans the legal and regulatory worlds and comes from a team that includes Carter Phillips, a partner who has argued more U.S. Supreme Court cases than any lawyer in private practice.

"It's really client service that defines a great litigation practice," he said.

Among the office's big wins in 2012 were cases that brought its litigators to the Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, as well as the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Before the Supreme Court, Phillips, chairman of Sidley's executive committee, successfully argued for Fox Television Stations Inc. over "fleeting expletives" celebrities uttered during two live broadcasts. The court last year unanimously dismissed fines and sanctions that violated Federal Communications Commission policy on curse words and nudity on broadcast television.

Sidley in 2012 also had success at the Tenth Circuit for TransCanada Corp. The firm helped TransCanada avoid a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction that would have barred the energy company from proceeding with construction of the Keystone XL pipeline pending the outcome of litigation related to the project.

Sidley partner William Williams was the firm's lead counsel on the matter. Counsels Lisa Jones and Peter Steenland Jr. assisted him.

Before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the firm last year secured an injunction that prohibited the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from allowing states to import sodium thiopental to sedate prisoners as part of their inmate-execution protocol. The Sidley team led by partner Coleen Klasmeier represented death row inmates pro bono in the case.

The FDA appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where it is pending.

Litigation partners 334
Litigation partners in D.C. 98
Litigation associates 466
Litigation associates in D.C. 133
Other litigators 92
Other litigators in D.C. 37
Litigators as percentage of firm 51%
Litigators as percentage in D.C. not disclosed
Percentage of firm revenue 50%
Percentage of D.C. revenue not disclosed