Misha Tseytlin, former Wisconsin solicitor general, wants to build at Troutman Sanders what he formed for the state of Wisconsin: A team of successful appellate lawyers. And he sees plenty of demand for it.
While Tseytlin often challenged Obama-era environmental regulations, he said there is still work to do in that arena as President Donald Trump pursues a much more business-friendly environmental policy.
“Who is on what side of the ‘v,’ or who is in opposition or support of the EPA changes, but there is plenty of litigation to go around,” Tseytlin said in an interview. “In addition, when you see federal regulation become more business-friendly, states will litigate more.”
Tseytlin held the position of Wisconsin solicitor general from its creation in 2015 up until it was abolished late last year via a package of controversial laws signed during the last days of ex-Gov. Scott Walker’s term. For the moment, Tseytlin holds the distinction of being the first and last Wisconsin solicitor general.
Troutman Sanders announced this week it hired Tseytlin in its Chicago office as head of the Am Law 100 firm’s appellate and U.S. Supreme Court practice. The Atlanta-based firm’s Supreme Court practice also includes Christopher Browning, who is a former solicitor general for North Carolina, and William Hurd, a former solicitor general of Virginia.
Tseytlin, a former clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, said he was proud of the work he did on behalf of the state of Wisconsin, which included appearing in front of the U.S. Supreme Court twice and taking leading roles in challenging Obama-era Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
“One of the most gratifying things for me in that position was being able to build something,” Tseytlin said. “That’s one of the reasons I’m so excited to be heading to Troutman Sanders.”
Tseytlin declined to comment on the abolishment of his former office. He said he is representing the Wisconsin legislature in relation to a challenge of the laws enacted by Walker that scrapped the solicitor general’s office.
While cracking into the small and hypercompetitive Supreme Court bar can be difficult, Tseytlin said, “There is plenty of room for new attorneys, especially people who have experience before the U.S. Supreme Court, such as myself.”
Tseytlin argued Gill v. Whitford, a challenge to Wisconsin’s political redistricting plan, before the high court in 2017. Last year, the court ruled 9-0 in favor of the state’s plan, finding the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the case. Tsteytlin also argued Murr v. Wisconsin, a property rights case that the justices ruled in favor of Wisconsin, 5-3.
Tseytlin worked on a number of challenges to environmental regulations, including the Clean Power Plan, which some 24 states challenged and was stayed in 2016 by a Supreme Court ruling. Those environmental challenges are when he crossed paths with Troutman Sanders lawyers who represented industry clients also challenging those regulations or drafting amicus briefs.
Tseytlin has already filed at least one amicus brief with the Supreme Court as a Troutman Sanders lawyer. This month, he filed a brief in Rucho v. Common Cause, another redistricting case, on behalf of the North Carolina members of the U.S. House of Representatives. He urged the justices to overturn a district court decision that struck down the state’s 2016 congressional map.