Roman Martinez of Latham & Watkins. (August 29, 2013.)
Roman Martinez of Latham & Watkins. (August 29, 2013.) (Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL)

Latham & Watkins’ Supreme Court and appellate practice will welcome back Roman Martinez, a former associate there who spent the last three years as an assistant to the solicitor general at the U.S. Justice Department.

Martinez, a Latham associate from 2010 to 2013, rejoins as a partner in the appellate practice.

The Yale Law School graduate called his experience in the solicitor general’s office “invaluable,” but he said he never intended to make a career there. At Latham, he will work under the leadership of Gregory Garre, a former U.S. solicitor general in the George W. Bush administration.

“I felt over time it was getting close to come back to Latham,” Martinez said Wednesday. “The draw was obviously I had worked with Greg and he has been a mentor and friend since I first met him, and I am coming back in a more senior capacity.”

The move comes amid the buzz about a new leader of the office under Donald Trump. Trump reportedly is vetting candidates for solicitor general, and one contender is George Conway of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, husband of Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway.

During the last three years in the solicitor general’s office, Martinez argued seven cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and participated in others in the federal courts of appeals.

Among his high court victories were two major patent cases that he argued as amicus representing the United States: Halo Electronics v. Pulse Electronics, which addressed the legal standard for awarding enhanced damages, and Octane Fitness v. Icon Health & Fitness, a case about the test for awarding attorney fees.

Martinez most recently argued on Oct. 31 in Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, a case that involved the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act. That case is pending decision.

The Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia presented Martinez with its 2016 “Rising Star Award.”

Before he joined the solicitor general’s office, Martinez’s work at the firm included a variety of matters in the Supreme Court and before federal and state appellate courts. He argued appeals in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the Federal Circuit and the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

Martinez was widely praised for his pro bono work on behalf of veterans. Martinez received the Veterans Community Service Award from the National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates for his successful challenge to a regulation depriving veterans of due-process protections in the disability claims process.

Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. commended Martinez in a letter that said “Roman’s work on behalf of American veterans is admirable and in the best tradition of the bar’s commitment to pro bono service.”

In addition to Garre, Martinez will connect with other veterans of the solicitor general’s office, including former assistants to the solicitor general, Melissa Arbus Sherry, who rejoined Latham in 2014, and Richard Bress.

“We are thrilled to welcome Roman back to our appellate practice,” Garre said. “He is a rare talent—an excellent oral advocate and superb writer with judgment well beyond his years.”