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Anyone with a case and a law degree can argue before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is why the appellate practitioner is often the same man or woman who had the case at the trial level. That said, however, there are still some faces that stand out. They may have made their name in other venues, but they’ve also had a disproportionate say in the crafting of federal law in the West. They’re the handful that don’t really need to introduce themselves to panels.

David Boies Boies, Schiller & Flexner Armonk, N.Y. So what if it’s more than 20 years since he’s had a clear-cut win in the 9th? Any lawyers who find themselves facing down David Boies’ gold-rimmed reading glasses and Lands End suit know they’re in the presence of a superstar. As Time magazine — in the context of Boies’ representation of then-Vice President Gore in the Florida recount case — put it: “No lawyer in memory ever won so much by losing.” Similarly, it could qualify as a personal victory that Boies’ client, the music-file-sharing-for-free Napster Inc., remains up and running after the 9th Circuit’s ruling last month, and despite this week’s order from the district court enjoining Napster from distributing copyrighted material. Based in Armonk, N.Y., his litigation boutique, Boies, Schiller & Flexner, has represented Calvin Klein, Don Imus and, in the Microsoft antitrust case, the U.S. Department of Justice. Ramsey Clark Law Offices of Ramsey Clark New York The long, tall Texan — who now works out of New York — has a 9th Circuit record that stretches through some 50 cases back to the early 1960s, when he was an assistant federal prosecutor. The son of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thomas C. Clark, Ramsey Clark was U.S. attorney general in the Johnson administration. Hewing to his liberal credentials — “If you believe in rights, you defend them” is a favorite expression — Clark has had a number of clients on the fringe, including Branch Davidians and Gypsies. Most recently, he was arguing last December before an en banc panel that the state of Idaho has a right to criminally prosecute an FBI sharpshooter for the 1992 deaths at Ruby Ridge. Roger Jon Diamond Sole practitioner Santa Monica, Calif. Is your neighborhood homeowners’ association up in arms about your plans to have bikini-clad waitresses in your supper club? Have we got the attorney for you. Perpetually upbeat Roger Jon Diamond is perhaps the nation’s best-known defender of adult bookstores, strip joints and other X-rated clients whose First Amendment rights may or may not be at risk under local ordinances. Although it is rare for any practitioner to appear more than once a year before the 9th, Diamond had three wins there last year. Not all of the Santa Monica, Calif.-based lawyer’s clients are in the adult entertainment mold, although many seem to share pariah status. He recently represented a man who pleaded guilty to mishandling human remains in his parents’ funeral home, and then (successfully) sued Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti for reneging on the plea bargain.

Shirley Hufstedler Morrison & Foerster Los Angeles One of her favorite quotes is that “restructuring governments is not for the short-winded,” and after a half century in public eye, Shirley M. Hufstedler is still arguing complex litigation, sitting on reform commissions and putting her stamp on the legal system. She was one of the first women to be named to the federal bench, sitting on the 9th Circuit from 1968 to 1979 and leaving to join President Carter’s cabinet as education secretary. Three years ago, she represented an appellant in a landmark arbitration-clause case, LaPine v. Kyocera, involving a $250 million-plus award in which the review provision was under attack. She prevailed with the argument that “some lawyers don’t wise up until their clients have a disaster,” and the award was vacated. Denver-born Hufstedler is a longtime California resident and a senior counsel in the Los Angeles office of San Francisco’s Morrison & Foerster. Miriam A. Krinsky U.S. Department of Justice Los Angeles When the 9th Circuit needed a single lawyer to represent all practitioners on its 10-member Evaluation Committee, Miriam A. Krinsky was the obvious choice. As chief of criminal appeals for the U.S. attorney’s office, Krinsky stood front-and-center in the government’s efforts to keep behind bars Charles Keating of savings and loan fame as well as the two police officers convicted of beating Rodney King. Despite more than 100 published opinions logged to her name in the past decade, she’s also active in all sorts of community reform groups. She sits on the 9th Circuit’s Rules Committee, heads the city of Los Angeles’ high-profile ethics committee and is in line for the presidency of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. When she led bar efforts to educate the public about what she believed was a misleading juvenile justice initiative pushed by then-Governor Pete Wilson, some questioned the time and work it would take. Her simple answer: “Somebody’s got to take the lead.”

Ephraim Margolin Law Offices of Ephraim MargolinSan Francisco His most recent win in the 9th is a perfect example of what drives circuit critics into a fury: The appellate panel reversed the conviction of an alleged cocaine smuggler because the trial judge shouldn’t have admitted evidence of a 17-year-old mail fraud conviction. Why? Because, Margolin argued, the client never claimed to have a law-abiding background. Born in Berlin, raised in Tel Aviv, Israel, soft-spoken Ephraim Margolin was a guerrilla fighter before he was a lawyer. Today, he runs a small law office in San Francisco, where two-thirds of his practice is criminal defense work, and much of the rest runs to defending asylum cases and judges and lawyers in disciplinary proceedings. Roughly one-third of the practice is also pro bono, estimates Margolin, who has won about every award that the criminal defense bar can bestow. Joseph Remcho Remcho, Johansen & Purcell San Francisco and Sacramento, Calif. He’s “The Expert” on election finance and public policy law. His client list sounds as if it could staff its own government: a superintendent of the board of education in a 14th Amendment case alleging illegal racial quotas in schools; a former state assemblyman in a battle over lifetime term limits; and the Service Employees International Union in its successful bid to enjoin a campaign finance initiative. Joe Remcho is known as unflappable, analytical. He comes from Yale by way of Harvard and has had a career that includes teaching second grade, defending enlisted men accused of crimes during the Vietnam War and working as a lobbyist. He runs a small firm — Remcho, Johansen & Purcell — by piloting his own plane between the Sacramento, Calif., and San Francisco offices. Turnaround time is particularly crucial, he says, when you’re racing to make changes in a ballot before election day. The personal politics of this political fixer? He’s a Democrat.

Gerald F. Uelmen Santa Clara Univ. School of Law Santa Clara, Calif. This term’s U.S. Supreme Court docket features the quintessential West Coast case: The Justice Department wants to reverse Santa Clara University School of Law Professor Gerald F. Uelmen’s 9th Circuit win for the Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Co-op. At stake is a 1996 voter initiative that allows doctors to approve the medical use of marijuana. As an assistant U.S. attorney in the late 1970s, he prosecuted organized crime before becoming a criminal defense lawyer and one of the state’s most quoted legal commentators. Wry and disarming, he earned the nickname Cobra for his deadly cross-examinations. Today it’s his writing skills — on display in scholarly analyses, a couple of books of courtroom humor, a one-man play about William Jennings Bryan and history-based walking tours published in magazines — that most often earn him praise. That and the distinction of being one member of O.J. Simpson’s “Dream Team” unencumbered by a nightmare ego.

Robert C. Vanderet O’Melveny & Myers Los Angeles Listen up when he joins the group and says — authoritatively but casually, having left his suit coat hanging on a hook somewhere — “We’re just bystanders here.” Bob Vanderet qualifies as the stealth practitioner of the 9th Circuit, rarely poking his head up into radar range but quietly shaping issues behind the scenes with amici briefs and unpublished opinions for gilt-edged clients. He did agree to be questioned about violence in motion pictures on “60 Minutes,” making the point that literary classics and even the Bible have the potential to send deranged individuals on a rampage. Perhaps it was his long-standing relationship with CBS; he once cleared the network and anchor Dan Rather in a defamation suit. But he’s also represented NBC, Warner Bros., Columbia Pictures and, most notably in the 9th Circuit, Time Inc. Vanderet is a senior partner in the home office of Los Angeles’ O’Melveny & Myers.

Bruce Vanyo Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Palo Alto, Calif. Bruce Vanyo founded and chairs the securities litigation practice as a senior partner at Palo Alto’s high-octane Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati — the tall, broody mastermind of defense strategies for Silicon Valley’s high-tech companies. Since 1973, Vanyo has defended securities cases, first at McCutchen Doyle, Brown & Enersen and then — after 1984 — at Wilson Sonsini. After years of fending off what he terms “needlessly expensive” class actions accusing management of swindling shareholders when there’s a dip in the value of a company’s stock, Vanyo testified in Washington, D.C., on behalf of a federal law that would raise the standard for pleadings in such cases. He got it, and in the Silicon Graphics case that ended last year, Vanyo had the pleasure of arguing it so that the 9th Circuit established the most defendant-friendly interpretation in the nation.

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