Wiley Rein LLP

Litigation | APPELLATE

Wiley Rein’s Appellate Group stands out for its strategic acumen, creative thinking, clear and concise writing, and persuasive oral advocacy skills.  A Wiley Rein brief, whether filed before the Supreme Court of the United States, a federal circuit court, or a state court of appeals, is thoughtful, crisp, well-written, and persuasive.  We are the voice of the client in litigation and our work always reflects the client’s values and a keen sense of the client’s litigation and business goals. 

Described by The Legal 500 US as “hugely effective,” Wiley Rein’s Appellate Group has a tremendous record in courts at all levels throughout the country.  Our “elite cadre of appellate lawyers” (Legal Times) is frequently called upon for “bet the company case[s]” or to reverse a lower court, regulatory, or legislative defeat, as we have done many times.  The Group often takes the lead for an entire industry on a critical issue in litigation across the country.  Wiley Rein’s Appellate Group also has extensive experience acting as a “private solicitor general” for its clients, moving issues across forums and finding the correct venue and timing for victory.  Wiley Rein can also keep clients outside Washington up to date on the latest decisions that may affect them from the Supreme Court and the D.C. and Federal Circuits.

Our Team

The Appellate Group is headed by Andrew G. McBride, former law clerk to Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court and Judge Robert H. Bork of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  Mr. McBride spent ten years in the U.S. Department of Justice, including seven as an AUSA in the “rocket docket” in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Mr. McBride regularly is recognized as a “Leading Lawyer” in Chambers USA for his “wealth of trial, appellate and Supreme Court experience” (2009) and for his “skills as a litigator” (2011).  The Legal 500 US commends him for “leading many of the firm’s high-stakes representations in trial, appellate and Supreme Court cases,” and notes that clients praise him as a litigator who is “precise and effective” and who “matches understanding of the regulatory with a tenacity in federal court.”  He has also been listed as one of “The Best Lawyers in America” in the area of Appellate Law.

At the core of Wiley Rein’s appellate capabilities is a deep bench of former judicial clerks and appellate practitioners.  Firm founder and name partner Bert W. Rein, who served as a law clerk to Associate Justice John M. Harlan (1966-1967), provides guidance and expertise to the Group.  Our litigators include more than 50 attorneys who have served as clerks in federal and state courts across the country and several former Supreme Court clerks, along with a broad range of lawyers with substantial appellate experience.

A full list of our attorneys with clerkship experience can be found at http://www.wileyrein.com/practices.cfm?sp=clerkships&id=5


In building our reputation for handling cases of national significance and representing the interests of entire industries, our Team continues to be intimately involved in the litigation of myriad questions of first impression and national importance.  These matters frequently involve novel questions in key areas:

  • Preemption:  Our Appellate Group regularly deploys the full spectrum of federal preemption arguments on behalf of diverse clients in a variety of substantive legal areas.  We have used preemption strategically to invalidate state and local laws and regulations, securing important precedents from numerous federal and state appellate courts.
  • Constitutional and Administrative Law:  Our appellate matters often involve complex questions of constitutional and administrative law.  In addition to our significant federal preemption experience, we regularly confront difficult issues under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). We also have extensive experience in First Amendment protection for commercial speech and our Team often litigates First Amendment and Fifth Amendment issues in challenges to federal and state regulations or in response to class actions.
  • Class Actions:  Our Team successfully defends class actions in a variety of industries, often using creative legal theories to defeat the lawsuit at the motion-to-dismiss stage, yielding victories that we then have defended successfully on appeal.
  • Arbitration: Wiley Rein is at the forefront of district court, appellate and Supreme Court litigation over the use of individual arbitration clauses to replace class actions in federal and state court.  The Group has written and defended such clauses across the country with near uniform success.
  • Intellectual Property and Insurance Law:  We are often called upon to handle cutting edge issues in patent law in district court and the Federal Circuit.  We have a nationally-renowned Insurance Group that regularly works with our Appellate Group to represent both individual insurers and leading industry trade groups in issues of national import for the insurance industry.
  • Strategic Amicus Work: We help our clients vindicate their interests by coordinating amicus briefs and strategies to bring industry and scholarly perspective to bear in important cases.  We have filed critical, complementary amicus briefs on behalf of coalitions, major trade associations and professors that reinforce industry goals and perspectives.

Representative Experience

In keeping with the firm’s interdisciplinary approach, our Appellate Group often partners with our deep bench of subject matter expertise in over a dozen key areas of law.  The Legal 500 US notes that Wiley Rein’s “fusion of a highly rated regulatory group” with its “litigation expertise” is a strategy that “manifests itself in the flexibility of its lawyers and the firm’s prolific record of success in contentious matters.” 

Some representative appellate matters include:

  • CTIA-The Wireless Association v. City and County of San Francisco (9th Cir.). Wiley Rein acted as lead counsel for CTIA in federal trial and appellate court against San Francisco in a First Amendment and federal preemption challenge to the first-in-the-nation Cell Phone Right-to-Know Ordinance.  The ordinance would have required retailers to display posters and offer “fact sheets” warning customers about cell phones’ radio frequency (RF) energy.  We obtained a partial preliminary injunction in the district court, and then secured an injunction pending appeal of the entire regime from the Ninth Circuit. On review, the Ninth Circuit fully enjoined the ordinance, finding that the City mandates violated the First Amendment.  Wiley Rein lawyers presented oral argument at every stage of the case, which involved heavy motions practice, expert evidence, consumer surveys, and the coordination of multiple amicus briefs.
  • New York. S.M.S.A v. Town of Clarkstown (2d Cir.).  Wiley Rein briefed, argued, and won an important federal preemption case of first impression in the Second Circuit.  The court recognized field and conflict preemption in the area of technical standards for wireless transmission facilities.  Wiley Rein represented the entire industry and succeeded in striking down a local ordinance that impeded wireless carriers from upgrading their technology as they saw fit.
  • Borough of Paramus v. T-Mobile (3d Cir.).  Emblematic of our “start to finish” expertise, in this case we secured an important victory for T-Mobile in federal district court in a wireless siting dispute.  Our appellate experience gives us the ability to defend this judgment on appeal, and in the process potentially expand the scope of an already strong district court decision.
  • Balthazar v. Verizon Hawaii (Haw.).  Wiley Rein retired a potential $300 million class action over Hawai’i Telephone’s charges for “touch tone” service.  Our attorneys briefed and argued the case in Circuit Court in Maui and successfully defended the result before the Hawaii Supreme Court.
  • American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut (S.Ct.).  Represented amicus curiae at the certiorari and merits stage in the first test of federal court jurisdiction over global warming nuisance suits seeking judicial order to reduce energy companies’ carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Roswell v. T-Mobile (S.Ct.).  We represent the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business in the Supreme Court on an important question of statutory interpretation under federal law, which could impact communications companies’ ability to deploy essential facilities.
  • Fisher v. University of Texas (S.Ct.). Wiley Rein successfully represented the petitioner from complaint through the Supreme Court in a constitutional challenge to the university’s race-based admission policies.  Wiley Rein argued the case at the Supreme Court of the United States in 2012.
  • Shelby County v. Holder (S.Ct.).  Wiley Rein represented Shelby County, Alabama in its successful challenge to the constitutionality of the renewal of the preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act. Wiley Rein argued the case before the Supreme Court of the United States in 2013.

Contact Us

Andrew G. McBride
202.719.7135 | amcbride@wileyrein.com

Megan L. Brown
202.719.7579 | mbrown@wileyrein.com

Claire J. Evans
202.719.7022 | cevans@wileyrein.com

Joshua S. Turner
202.719.4807 | jturner@wileyrein.com


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