Our first annual Appellate Hot List is our unscientific survey of firms that scored at least one significant appellate win since January 2007, plus an impressive track record overall. A “significant win” meant prevailing before the U.S. Supreme Court, a U.S. circuit court of appeals or a state court of last resort when the financial stakes were high or an important legal principle was at stake. Government attorneys were not eligible so the California attorney general’s office, for example, didn’t get credit for its role in sustaining the big tobacco settlement against an antitrust claim. We also examined the records of dozens of cases.
When it comes to appellate practice, giving credit where it’s due can be complicated. World-changing precedents rarely are the work of a single law firm. As we scrutinized the achievements of the dozens of firms nominated for this, our first Appellate Hot List, that quickly became clear. Cases important enough to land before the U.S. Supreme Court or other appellate venues tend to attract lots of interested parties. Great firms work in concert to achieve their goals.