Even for a president who has made “fake news” a rallying cry, Donald Trump’s Nov. 7, 2018, press conference was a contentious affair. But the bile he directed at his questioners—calling CNN’s Jim Acosta a “terrible person” and attacking the media as “the enemy of the people”—was overshadowed when the White House revoked Acosta’s press pass the same day, falsely claiming he had “placed his hands” on an intern.

As media organizations absorbed the implications for their businesses and for the nation, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Theodore Boutrous and Theodore Olson were already leaping into action. Before the night was over, they had hashed out a strategy with CNN and assembled a team to counter the White House on First Amendment grounds.