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. Our team engineered a rare feat in the Supreme Court, securing a unanimous victory on behalf of Los Angeles County and two sheriff’s deputies. The decision in Los Angeles v. Mendez involved a high-profile 2010 police shooting and established important precedent for police departments around the country. Specifically, the case addressed when police officers can be held personally liable for excessive force. The Ninth Circuit here, and some other courts, allowed officers to be held liable under the “provocation rule” even when the force they used at the time was reasonable. The justices rejected that rule.
How did your firm approach appellate success over the past year? Our six first-chair partners develop deep relationships that lead to repeat engagements for clients including Apple, Credit Suisse and Oracle. We also build for the future. In the past year, eight different associates have argued or will argue 10 different appeals.
What practice advice would you give your younger self? 1. Ask yourself, at every juncture: What is the path that will be the most fun, give me the best experience and make me the best lawyer over the next three years? 2. Take risks. Challenge yourself to take on tasks you aren’t confident you can achieve.
Responses submitted by Josh Rosenkranz, head of the Supreme Court and appellate practice at Orrick.