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H. Bartow Farr III was one of the first lawyers in Washington to realize that a small firm can thrive by doing exclusively Supreme Court and appellate litigation — and after 23 years, he’s still going strong. In 1981, fresh from a clerkship with then-Associate Justice William Rehnquist, two years at the solicitor general’s office, and three years in private practice, Farr helped found one of the first Supreme Court boutique firms in the nation, Onek, Klein & Farr, with two other young lawyers, Joseph Onek and Joel Klein. Ten years later, Onek, Klein was a burgeoning firm of 20 lawyers. But its partners had different visions of the future, and the firm broke up, with many of its lawyers joining larger law offices. Today, Joseph Onek is director of the Liberty and Security Initiative at the Constitution Project, a D.C. nonprofit, and Joel Klein is chancellor of the New York City school system. (Another former partner, Paul Smith, is now a Jenner & Block partner and is also featured in this special report.) In 1991, when the Onek, Klein firm broke up, Farr stayed exactly where he had been — in his boutique firm, which then took on the name of Klein, Farr, Smith & Taranto. Now it’s just him and fellow appellate specialist Richard Taranto. Farr, 59, has stayed in demand all these years. Lawyers familiar with his work uniformly mention his ability to turn a phrase in a brief or at oral argument, and his sense of style. “At argument, I was most struck by his artistry,” says Susie Injijian of San Francisco’s Sterns & Walker, who brought Farr into an airline liability case last year. “His style is elegant and seamless, and he’s very eloquent.” In the case, Olympic Airways v. Husain, an airline passenger with severe allergies died aboard a plane as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke. His widow sued the airline and won in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which held that the passenger’s death was caused by an “accident” and thus the airline was liable under the Warsaw Convention, an international treaty that provides a monetary recovery for international air travelers who are victims of on-board accidents. Injijian had argued and won in the appeals court in 2002, but she turned to Farr for the Supreme Court appeal, which resulted in a 6- 2 decision in favor of the passenger’s widow in February 2004. “He was a joy to work with,” says Injijian. “I had argued in the 9th Circuit, and he was very respectful of us and never shut us out of the process. He’s very humble.” Farr was also the lawyer to whom the Professional Golfers Association turned in its high-profile Supreme Court clash with Casey Martin over the Americans With Disabilities Act. As an accommodation for his disability, Martin sought permission to use a golf cart to travel between his shots on the PGA Tour. Although many justices seemed taken with Farr’s argument that walking the course is part of the “test of excellence” in a tournament, his argument did not carry the day, and in 2001, the justices ruled by a 7-2 margin that the PGA had to let Martin use a cart. In 2003, Farr won a unanimous Supreme Court ruling in California Franchise Tax Board v. Hyatt that a suit in Nevada state courts against the California tax agency could proceed and was not barred by the full-faith and- credit clause. A graduate of Arizona State University College of Law and editor in chief of its law review, Farr has argued 22 cases at the Court in private practice, plus the five that he argued while at the solicitor general’s office. “The key to being a successful appellate advocate is the ability to think about cases the way the justices do,” says Farr. “The justices hear so much rhetoric and overstatement about a case, and your job is to tell them what’s really going on. That’s very much appreciated.”

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