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We asked our readers to nominate firms with stellar records in appellate advocacy, and the response was overwhelming. We received dozens of nominations for firms that really have been shaking things up. We looked for firms that scored at least one significant appellate win since February 2007, plus an impressive legacy overall. A “significant win” meant prevailing before the U.S. Supreme Court, a federal circuit court or a state court of last resort when the financial stakes were high or an important legal principle was at stake. The firms on this list contributed in meaningful ways to the most important appeals of the year, whether through drafting the main briefs, presenting oral arguments or as friends of the court. Editor’s noteWe were faced with a lot of tough choices in deciding our Appellate Hot List this year. Appellate victories usually are the fruit of collaborations, but we couldn’t list each firm that contributed to a specific outcome. Instad we’ve tried to highlight cases that had particular lessons to teach. THE 2009 APPELLATE HOTLISTThe firms we honored this year are: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; Covington & Burling; Fish & Richardson; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; Irell & Manella; Jenner & Block; Jones Day: K&L Gates; Latham & Watkins; Mayer Brown; Morrison & Foerster; O’Melveny & Myers; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker; Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner & Sauber; Sidley Austin; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Steptoe & Johnson; Vinson & Elkins; Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr; and Winston & Strawn.

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