Tell us about your top U.S. Supreme Court or federal circuit court victory over the past year and how you and your team achieved the win. The top is our clients’ Supreme Court victory in Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton, where the court held that a church need not establish a church-affiliated organization for that organization to be exempt from ERISA. The case involved fundamental religious protections, and the plaintiffs were seeking billions of dollars from religious hospitals all over the country. The victory was especially gratifying because three appellate courts had unanimously ruled against our clients before the case got to the Supreme Court. We approached this case like every case—treating the case as one of life or death. Fear of death is a strong motivator.
How did your firm approach appellate success over the past year? See the last sentence above! I also think the role of a lawyer is to be the only thing standing between the client and the abyss. It also helps to be fearless and brutally honest. Courts like the truth.
What practice advice would you give your younger self? 1. Never let others define you or a setback stop you. 2. Trust the judgment of others less and your judgment more. At the same time, always admit your mistakes. It’s easier to learn from them the sooner you acknowledge them.
Responses submitted by Lisa Blatt, head of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer’s appellate and Supreme Court practice.