Photo of Richard A. Simpson


J.D., with high honors, University of North Carolina School of Law; Order of the Coif

B.A., magna cum laude, Wesleyan University


Law Clerk for the Honorable John D. Butzner, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (1977-1978)

Bar and Court Admissions

District of Columbia Bar

Illinois Bar

Maryland Bar

Virginia Bar

Supreme Court of the United States

U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and District of Columbia Circuits

U.S. District Courts for the District of Colorado, District of Columbia, District of Maryland, Eastern District of Michigan, Eastern District of Virginia, Northern District of Florida, Northern District of Illinois, Northern District of Texas, Western District of Michigan, and Western District of Virginia

Rick has a national trial court and appellate litigation practice, with an emphasis on defense of lawyers and other professionals in malpractice and disciplinary cases and defense of insurers in insurance coverage/“bad faith” cases. He has defended law firms and lawyers in claims arising from a wide variety of complex underlying representations, including intellectual property, international trade, and securities, among many others. He has represented clients in matters pending in 47 states.

Rick has substantial jury and bench trial experience in state and federal courts. He has also acted as lead appellate counsel in 11 of the federal courts of appeals, and in state appellate courts in California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia. Rick has been an Adjunct Instructor in Trial Advocacy at the University of Virginia School of Law since 2003. He is a member of the firm's Management Committee.

Representative Experience

  • As counsel retained for proceedings in the North Carolina Supreme Court in a case important to the accounting profession, obtained a grant of discretionary review and then reversal of an intermediate appellate court decision holding that an auditor may owe a fiduciary duty to the audit client as a matter of law. CommScope Credit  Union v. Butler & Burke, LLP,  --- S.E.2d ----, No. 5PA15, 2016 WL 5335250 (N.C. Sept. 23, 2016). 
  • Acted as lead counsel for Professor Alan Dershowitz in a highly-publicized defamation case in state court in Florida, which was resolved in April 2016 with the parties issuing a Joint Statement in which the opposing parties withdrew the allegations against Professor Dershowitz.
  • Obtained a favorable jury verdict in June 2016 determining that an insurer did not unreasonably delay in rescinding an accountants professional liability after learning of grounds for rescission, having previously obtained favorable summary judgment decisions determining that the insurer was entitled to rescind the policy.  Cont'l Cas. Co. v. Marshall Granger & Co., 6 F. Supp. 3d 380  (SDNY 2014) and 921 F. Supp. 2d 111 (S.D.N.Y. 2013).
  • Represented an insurance broker for post-trial motions and possible appeal following a jury verdict and judgment of over $23 million in a professional liability case; Judge Rakoff granted the motion for new trial. Cammeby’s Mgmt. Co. v. Affiliated FM Ins. Co., 152---F. Supp. 3d 159 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 27, 2016).
  • Represented a District of Columbia lawyer at trial in a closely watched legal malpractice case brought by a Nobel Prize laureate, obtaining a defense jury verdict following a nine-day trial.
  • Represented a law firm on appeal of a legal malpractice judgment to the Ohio Supreme Court, which reversed and directed entry of judgment for the law firm in a decision that is an important precedent for lawyers professional liability cases in Ohio. ENC v. Goodman Weiss Miller, LLP, 893 N.E.2d 173 (Ohio 2008). (Rick’s appellate argument may be viewed on the Ohio Supreme Court's website).
  • Represented an accounting firm on appeal in a case arising from the Madoff fraud, obtaining affirmance by the Second Circuit of the district court's decision dismissing plaintiffs' negligence and professional malpractice claims for failure to state plausible claims of breach of duty. DeLollis v. Friedberg, Smith & Co., P.C., 600 F. App’x 792 (2d Cir. 2015), aff’g, 933 F. Supp. 2d 354 (D. Conn. 2013).
  • Represented an individual pro bono in a civil rights case against the Baltimore Police Department that resulted in a settlement agreement under which the Police Department agreed to substantial changes in its policies and training program regarding the constitutional right of citizens to record police activity.
  • Represented the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland and individual clients pro bono in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals in a Maryland Public Information Act case arising from the creation of dossiers regarding political opponents, obtaining important precedent regarding the Act in a case of first impression. Am. Civil Liberties Union Found. of Md. v. Leopold, 223 Md. App. 97 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 2015).
  • Currently representing lawyers, accountants and other professionals in state and federal courts nationwide.
  • Currently providing legal ethics advice to law firms and representing lawyers in connection with disciplinary proceedings.
  • Currently representing several insurance carriers nationally in insurance coverage and bad faith litigation.
  • Represented a U.S. Senator who was the subject of a criminal investigation.
  • Represented two high-ranking White House officials in connection with investigations by Congress and independent counsel Kenneth Starr of the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky matters.

Professional Experience

  • Adjunct Instructor in Trial Advocacy, University of Virginia School of Law (2003-Present)
  • Deputy Independent Counsel, Office of Independent Counsel Curtis Emery von Kann (November 1996-October 1997). Had day-to-day responsibility for a confidential investigation conducted under seal
  • Associate Independent Counsel, Office of Independent Counsel James C. McKay (November 1987-October 1988). Assisted with the Aqaba pipeline aspect of the investigation of then Attorney General Edwin Meese, II
  • Attorney-Adviser, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel (1984-1985)
  • Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (1982-1984). Handled a wide variety of civil and quasi-criminal matters, including several civil litigations arising from a $91 million jeopardy tax assessment against Clarendon LLP, f/k/a Marc Rich & Company


  • American Bar Association (ABA)
  • Appointed by the ABA President to the Standing Committee on Lawyers' Professional Liability (2015-Present)
  • American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, Committee on Litigation and Legal Priorities
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Permanent Member, Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference
  • Board of Governors, University of North Carolina School of Law Alumni Association (2017-Present)
  • Virginia Bar Association


  • Received International Municipal Lawyers Association's Amicus Service Award (2017)
  • Named by The Legal 500 US a "recommended lawyer" in Insurance Law (2014-2016) and Supreme Court and Appellate Law (2015)
  • Named one of DC's "Super Lawyers" for Appellate by Super Lawyers magazine (2013-2017)
  • Named one of Washington's "Best Lawyers" by Washingtonian magazine (2011)
  • Graduated first in law school class
  • 2001 Term Volunteer Recognition Award, National Association of Attorneys General (for assisting state government officials in preparation for arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States)
  • Rated "Highly Qualified" for appointment to the Fourth Circuit by the Virginia State Bar Judicial Selection Committee, February 2009 (1 of 4 candidates receiving highest rating)

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