Indian-American lawyer breaks litigation record of late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall

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Neal Katyal (Photo: Hogan Lovells)

One of the best-known legal minds in the U.S, and former acting solicitor general of the country during the Obama administration, just broke the litigation record set by late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

The American Lawyer, a leading American magazine noted Neal Katyal, currently with the private law firm Hogan Lovells, had recently broken Marshall’s record for most arguments before the Supreme Court by a minority lawyer; his 8-1 high court victory for Bristol-Myers Squibb in a highly-watched products liability case; and his recent representation of the state of Hawaii against President Donald Trump’s travel ban, catapulted him to first place.

American Lawyer also ranked Hogan Lovells a Finalist for Litigation Department of the Year, a press release from the law firm said Dec. 19.

Katyal, 47, called the honor of breaking Marshall’s record “bittersweet”, Law.com reported. He has argued 35 cases before the Supreme Court, most of them in the last 8 years. “In the 2016-17 Term alone, Neal argued seven cases in six separate arguments at the Supreme Court, far more than any other advocate in the nation (the next highest number, four arguments, was reached by two attorneys),” Law.com noted.

Katyal hit national headlines during the George W. Bush administration, winning the landmark decision Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, which challenged the policy of military trials at Guantanamo Bay. The Supreme Court sided with him by a 5-3 vote, finding that President Bush’s tribunals violated the constitutional separation of powers, domestic military law, and international law.

In 2011, he received the highest award given to a civilian by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Edmund Randolph Award. The Chief Justice of the United States has twice appointed him to the Advisory Committee on Federal Appellate Rules.

According to his profile on the Hogan Lovells website, while at the Justice Department, Katyal represented the federal government in all appellate matters before the Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeals nationwide. He argued major Supreme Court cases, such as his successful defense of the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, his victorious defense of former Attorney General John Ashcroft for alleged abuses in the war on terror, and his unanimous victory against eight states that sued the nation’s leading power plants for contributing to global warming. He served as Counsel of Record hundreds of times in the Supreme Court. He was the only head of the Solicitor General’s office to argue a case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, on the question of whether aspects of the human genome were patentable.

Katyal has also served as a law professor for nearly two decades at Georgetown University Law Center, where he was one of the youngest professors to have received tenure and a chaired professorship in the university’s history.

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