FacultyFaculty/Author Profile

Seth P. Waxman

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP

Washington, DC, USA


Seth P. Waxman is a partner in the firm's Regulatory and Government Affairs and Litigation/Controversy Departments, and the chair of the Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice Group.

Universally considered to be among the country's premier Supreme Court and appellate advocates, Mr. Waxman served as Solicitor General of the United States from 1997 through January 2001. In addition to leading the firm's appellate practice, Mr. Waxman engages in a broad litigation and counseling practice, with particular emphasis on complex challenges involving governments or public policy issues. A Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, he also is a widely respected trial litigator—named as "Bet-the-Company Litigator of the Year" for 2010 by The Best Lawyers in America. Mr. Waxman has been accorded both "star" rating by Chambers USA and "leading lawyer" ranking in PLC's Global Counsel Handbook. He is among the "Top Ten" Super Lawyers in Washington and Washingtonian magazine's "Top 30 Lawyers."

Practice
Mr. Waxman's practice spans both federal and state trial and appellate courts. He has delivered 56 oral arguments in the United States Supreme Court and many more in the lower federal and state courts. Mr. Waxman's clients range from financial institutions to technology, consumer, industrial and media companies. He also represents a number of local, state and national governments and prominent business and government executives and professionals. The recipient of numerous professional awards and honors, Mr. Waxman is among a small handful of practicing attorneys elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He holds several honorary degrees, as well as the Jefferson Medal in Law, an honor awarded once a year and only rarely to an attorney in private practice. In recognition of exceptional service to law enforcement, Mr. Waxman holds the extraordinary status of permanent honorary Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Recent Highlights
Mr. Waxman has won landmark rulings in a number of Supreme Court cases, including Boumediene v. Bush, in which the Court ruled that foreign citizens held at challenge their detention in US civilian courts; Roper v. Simmons, in which the Court declared unconstitutional the death penalty for juvenile offenders; and McConnell v. FEC, in which the Court sustained the constitutionality of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. He has also won victories in the Supreme Court for a wide range of business clients.

Mr. Waxman represents a range of business clients in patent, trade-secret and other intellectual property litigation, in both trial and appellate courts. He has won multiple consecutive cases in the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit involving complex issues of patent validity, infringement, and licensing.

Mr. Waxman represents a major financial institution in tackling the multi-dimensional problems caused by claims associated with exposure to asbestos. Under his leadership, our representation includes litigation in insurance coverage and bankruptcy proceedings and strategic advice on constitutional and other issues associated with efforts to achieve a coherent solution to the national asbestos liability crisis.

Mr. Waxman's clients constitute a broad range of public as well as corporate institutions. He won a complete victory for the Government of Canada in a multi-billiondollar
trade dispute involving softwood lumber imports before a NAFTA Extraordinary Challenge Committee proceeding. By special appointment, he advised the Office of the Governor of the State of Connecticut in connection with the state legislature's landmark proceedings to consider impeachment of a sitting governor. He served as counsel to the Commission to Review the United States Olympic Committee, a blueribbon commission created by the United States Senate to review and recommend changes to the structure and operations of the USOC. He represented the United Nations in litigation concerning the Oil for Food investigation and several state regulatory agencies in First Amendment and environmental matters.

Professional Activities
Mr. Waxman was recently elected to be president of Harvard's Board of Overseers for 2010-2011, a role he will assume after Commencement this spring. Mr. Waxman was elected to the Board of Overseers in 2005, and has served on the board's executive committee since 2008. Mr. Waxman also serves on the faculty of the Georgetown University Law Center. He is a director and fellow of several professional, educational and cultural institutions, including the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, the American Bar Foundation, the American Law Institute, the Supreme Court Institute and the Supreme Court Historical Society. He lectures and writes frequently on topics related to litigation, constitutional history and doctrine, the First Amendment, intellectual property and the Supreme Court.

Bar Admissions
District of Columbia

Clerkships
The Hon. Gerhard A. Gesell, US District Court for the District of Columbia, 1977 - 1978
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