Photo of Richard A. Simpson

Education

J.D., with high honors (graduating first in class), University of North Carolina School of Law; Order of the Coif

B.A., magna cum laude, Wesleyan University

Clerkships

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 practice, with an emphasis on claims against lawyers and other professionals in malpractice and disciplinary cases and defense of insurers in insurance coverage/“bad faith” cases. He also has represented individuals (including White House officials and a U.S. Senator) in connection with criminal and congressional investigations.

Rick has substantial jury and bench trial experience and has acted as lead appellate counsel in ten of the federal Courts of Appeals, and in state appellate courts in California, Florida, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia. He recently acted as lead counsel for Professor Alan Dershowitz in a highly-publicized defamation case in state court in Florida. Rick is a member of the Firm's Management Committee, and has been an Adjunct Instructor in Trial Advocacy at the University of Virginia School of Law since 2003. 

Prior to private practice, Rick served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (under U.S. Attorneys John Martin and Rudolph Giuliani). He also held positions in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice (under Assistant Attorney General Theodore Olson), in the Office of Independent Counsel Curtis Emery von Kann, and in the Office of Independent Counsel James C. McKay.

Representative Experience

  • 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.
  • In a 2016 jury trial, obtained a verdict of “NO!” in response to the question whether the insurer had unreasonably delayed thereby waiving its right to rescind an accountants professional liability policy. Before trial, obtained published opinions granting partial summary judgment for the insurer on several important issues of New York law regarding rescission. Cont’l Cas. Co. v. Marshall Granger & Co., 921 F. Supp. 2d 111 (S.D.N.Y. 2013), 6 F. Supp. 3d 380 (S.D.N.Y. 2014). The Second Circuit affirmed the judgment for the insurer. Cont’l Cas. Co. v. Marshall Granger & Co., No. 16-2384, 2017 WL 2416902 (2d Cir. June 5, 2017).
  • As appellate counsel, obtained affirmance by the Ninth Circuit of a summary judgment in favor of a Washington State law firm in a claim alleging millions of dollars in damages arising from the handling of an underlying lawsuit relating to an international ship charter arrangement (2017).
  • Prevailed on motion to dismiss a claim asserted against a New York law firm alleging millions of dollars of damages arising from an underlying securities transaction, with the court holding that the claims were barred both by the doctrine of in pari delicto and judicial estoppel (2017).
  • Prevailed on a motion to dismiss claims seeking damages in excess of $10 million asserted against a lawyer in his capacity as a chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee (2017).
  • 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, 790 S.E.2d 657 (N.C. Sept. 23, 2016).
  • Represented an insurance broker for post-trial motions 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. 2016).
  • Represented 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., 600 F. App’x 792 (2d Cir. 2015), aff’g, 933 F. Supp. 2d 354 (D. Conn. 2013).
  • Acted as trial counsel for a District of Columbia lawyer in a closely watched legal malpractice case brought by a Nobel Prize laureate, obtaining a defense jury verdict following a nine-day trial (2011).
  • Retained as appellate counsel following a large jury verdict against a law firm in Ohio. On appeal, the Ohio Supreme Court reversed and directed entry of judgment for the law firm in an opinion that is now an important precedent often used to defend legal malpractice claims. Envtl. Network Corp. v. Goodman Weiss Miller, LLP, 893 N.E.2d 173 (Ohio 2008) (The appellate argument presented on April 22, 2008, by Richard A. Simpson, may be viewed on the Ohio Supreme Court's website).
  • 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 the disciplinary proceedings before State Bars and the U.S. Patent Office.
  • 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

Affiliations

  • 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 (2011-Present)
  • 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

Recognitions

  • 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)
  • 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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