In a remarkable feat, by the end of April arguments in the 2008-09 term, two veteran U.S. Supreme Court advocates each had argued six cases, and attorneys from just three firms and one law school clinic stood at the podium in nearly 35 percent of the term’s 78 argued cases.

The term was a testament to the growing size and influence of the private Supreme Court bar. By rough count, experienced high court practitioners argued in at least half of the 78 cases, and they broke into an area long represented by legal specialists — environmental law.

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