U.S. Supreme Court

These 5 firms argued half of all SCOTUS cases last term

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Out of the 67 U.S. Supreme Court cases decided during the term that ended in June, 33 were argued by the same five law firms, Law.com (sub. req.) reports.

Three law firms—Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr; and Goldstein & Russell—each argued seven cases. Two law firms, Bancroft and Sidley Austin, argued six cases each.

“What this plainly underscores is that the ‘superstar’ model of Supreme Court advocacy marketing is prevailing,” said Richard Lazarus, a Harvard Law School professor who studies the Supreme Court bar, to Law.com. He uses the term “docket capture” to describe how a small group of lawyers tends to be successful with getting grants and wins in business cases.

Other firms are trying to join the group, with mixed success, the article reports. It mentions Goodwin Procter, Sullivan & Cromwell and Baker Botts.

And some partners who traditionally argue Supreme Court cases are sharing more with colleagues.

“It’s been a project of mine to put other people in a position to argue at the court,” Seth Waxman told Law.com. Waxman, a WilmerHale partner and former solicitor general during the Clinton Administration, argued four cases this term, handing three off to colleagues.

The opportunities for a position to argue are shrinking as well. For the term ending in June, the justices decided on less than half as many cases as they did 20 years ago, according to the article.

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