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Former Stanford Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan has joined Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges as of counsel with the task of building an appellate practice for the firm. Sullivan remains on Stanford’s law faculty and will continue to head Stanford’s new constitutional law center, expected to be launched in the next academic year. She officially began working at Quinn Emanuel’s Silicon Valley office this week. “Quinn Emanuel made an irresistible offer,” she said. “They gave me carte blanche to build an appellate practice from scratch.” Sullivan said she has been creating lawyers for 20 years, and the chance to work in a new capacity was exciting. She said she also hoped to build a synergy between Quinn Emanuel and the pro bono work to be done through the constitutional law center. A nationally recognized constitutional scholar, Sullivan has argued three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, most recently representing wineries in their challenge to bans on the direct shipment of wine to consumers living out of state. She argued that case last month. Last year she was on the legal team challenging the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, which the Supreme Court subsequently upheld. Sullivan is currently representing Kamehameha Schools, an educational trust left by one of the last monarchs of Hawaii for the education of native Hawaiian children. She argued the case, in which plaintiffs oppose the racial preference funding, before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in November. Sullivan stepped down as Stanford’s dean in September after a five-year term. During her tenure she raised more than $100 million for the school and oversaw the creation of centers of Internet, e-commerce, biotechnology and constitutional law. As is typical after ending a term as dean, Sullivan is taking a one-year leave of absence. Until she resumes teaching, she will work full-time building Quinn Emanuel’s appellate practice and getting the constitutional law center off the ground. At the end of her sabbatical she will work one day a week at Quinn Emanuel’s Silicon Valley office. A go-to firm for business litigation, Quinn Emanuel is seeking to become a dominant player in the appellate arena with the addition of Sullivan. “We’re hoping she’ll be able to identify outstanding oral and written advocates and recruit them to join us,” said Managing Partner John Quinn. With such a team, “our firm would have to be considered for any major business case that goes on appeal,” as well as any major pro bono or public policy matter, he said. Quinn said the size of the practice would depend on the number of outstanding people the firm is able to recruit. Sullivan said she hopes to bring in former students. Sullivan has known Quinn and partner A. William Urquhart since they worked together at New York’s Cravath, Swaine & Moore. A summer associate at the time, Sullivan worked with Urquhart, then an associate, on a pro bono race discrimination case against the Tennessee Valley Authority. She said she became re-acquainted with Urquhart when he was recruiting at Stanford. Sullivan joined Stanford’s faculty in 1993. Before that she spent nine years as a professor at Harvard Law School where she received her law degree in 1981. She began her career as a research assistant, and later a litigation associate, for Laurence Tribe, who had been her constitutional law professor. One of the matters she worked on with Tribe was the unsuccessful defense of Rev. Sun Myung Moon in a criminal tax case. Sullivan made her first court appearance for Quinn Emanuel last week in a class action brought against Philip Morris. The firm represents cigarette consumers who allege the multibillion-dollar settlement the tobacco companies reached with 46 state governments in 1998 amounts to a price-fixing cartel. Sullivan argued against Philip Morris’ motion to dismiss the case before U.S. District Judge Susan Illston, who has yet to issue a ruling on the motion.

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