Caitlin Halligan, Selendy & Gay

Selendy & Gay, a litigation focused firm launched just over a year ago, has picked up top appellate lawyer Caitlin Halligan, a former solicitor general for the state of New York. She joins as a partner from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

An announcement Monday from Selendy & Gay hailed Halligan’s arrival at the firm, where she becomes the 13th partner.

Halligan has served as counsel of record in at least 45 U.S. Supreme Court cases, including six in which she argued at the country’s high court. She has also worked in prominent positions at the New York attorney general’s office and the New York County district attorney’s office, and most recently served as a partner and co-chair of Gibson Dunn’s appellate and constitutional law practice.

“Caitlin’s breadth of experience and her commitment to social justice aligns well with our values at Selendy & Gay. A talent like this could have gone to any firm, and we are so thrilled that she’ll be joining our vibrant community and spearheading our appellate practice going forward,” co-managing partner David Elsberg said a statement.

After launching last year with a group of partners who left Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan early in 2018, Selendy & Gay has largely refrained from lateral partner hiring. Halligan marks the first lateral hire since May 2018, when the Selendy & Gay announced that former Kirkland & Ellis partner David Flugman had joined the firm.

In a recent feature story in The American Lawyer, Selendy & Gay’s leadership stressed that among the firm’s guiding principles is a commitment to measured growth that would allow for the fostering and maintaining of a tight-knit, collaborative culture. Selendy & Gay, which is majority-owned by women lawyers, also stresses diversity and legal practices that include a range of work—litigation on both the defense and plaintiffs side of cases, as well as a mix of corporate client work and public interest or pro bono matters.

Those themes emerged in Monday’s announcement, with co-managing partner Jennifer Selendy describing Halligan’s addition as “a rare lateral partner hire” who “is exactly the caliber of thinker and practitioner that aligns with our vision.” Faith Gay, one of the firm’s founding partners alongside Philippe Selendy, added that she has “long wanted to practice” alongside Halligan, in part because her experience includes private practice and public interest matters.

“Her notable breadth of public-private experience fits our firm’s strengths perfectly. We believe she’ll provide important leadership in our firm for many years to come,” said Gay.

Halligan previously spent about five years at Gibson Dunn, a firm she joined in 2014 after serving as general counsel of the New York DA’s office from 2010 to 2013. Prior to that, she was a partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges between 2007 and 2009. She was also nominated by former President Barack Obama to sit as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, but she asked to be withdrawn from consideration in March 2013 in light of a filibuster in the U.S. Senate.

Before joining Weil, she held several roles at the New York AG’s office, including as the office’s internet bureau and first deputy solicitor general, and then ascending to the role of New York solicitor general from 2001 to 2007. As internet bureau chief, the first person to hold that role within the New York AG’s office, Halligan focused on law enforcement and policy initiatives related to online consumer fraud, securities trading and privacy practices.

Halligan said in a statement Monday that she was excited to join Selendy & Gay and credited the firm for having taken several steps to reimagine the traditional law firm model.

“I look forward to expanding the firm’s appellate practice and working with a group of exceptionally talented and successful lawyers whom I have respected for a long time,” she said. “I am also tremendously excited about the firm’s deep commitment to pro bono practice, and the recognition that elite law firms can both do good and do well.”

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