Neal Katyal of Hogan Lovells.

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. At the same time that my team and I were successfully arguing in the District Court and Ninth Circuit for the state of Hawaii in the major challenge to President Trump’s travel ban, we argued a mass plaintiff product-liability lawsuit on behalf of Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) in the U.S. Supreme Court. We petitioned to get them to take the case, and then successfully argued it, culminating in a decisive 8-1 victory. The decision is already having an effect in litigation across the country, and The Drug & Device Law Blog called it “one of the most important mass tort/product liability decisions ever.”

How did your firm approach appellate success in the past year? We dominated the U.S. Supreme Court practice—arguing 10 percent of all cases on the court’s docket. [I] argued seven cases in six separate arguments. Among other wins, Cate Stetson delivered an 8-0 win for Venezuela, and [I delivered] a 9-0 win for the town of Chester.

What practice advice would you give your younger self? 1. Be bottom-up: The best insights can come from anywhere, so be open-minded enough to listen to them. 2. And always spend the time to understand the client’s business in total, not just for the case at hand. I’m shocked by how few lawyers focus on this instead of the high theory.

Responses submitted by Neal Katyal, a partner at Hogan Lovells.