Paul Hughes is co-chair of the Firm’s Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Group. He briefs and argues complex appeals, and he develops legal strategy for trial litigation.
An experienced appellate lawyer, Paul has argued nine times at the US Supreme Court, including in February, March, October, and December 2019, March 2020, and January 2021. With more than 50 arguments, Paul has appeared before en banc sittings of the Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits, panels of the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, DC, and Federal Circuits, and several state appellate courts. Paul also frequently argues in state and federal trial courts across the country.
Paul is also a visiting clinical lecturer in law at the Yale Law School, where he co-directs Yale’s Supreme Court Advocacy Clinic.
In listing Paul in its nationwide rating of appellate lawyers, Chambers USA (2021) notes that he “has a flourishing reputation for his appellate work,” that he “thinks at least five steps ahead of others,” and that “his integrity and experience shined through everything he did or said.” In ranking Paul as a “Leading Lawyer” in appellate practice, The Legal 500 (2021) describes Paul as “exceptionally professional, effective, and easy to work with,” an “intellectually impressive and skilled advocate,” and it explains that he “demonstrates a surprisingly high policy awareness that sets him apart in Washington.”
Before the Supreme Court, Paul won a pair of cases in 2020 – Nasrallah v. Barr and Guerrero-Lasprilla v. Barr – both of which extended the scope of judicial review over administrative agency action. Crucial to Paul’s victory in Nasrallah was advancing a statutory interpretation argument that had been overlooked by all ten courts of appeals to have previously addressed the issue. In 2019, Paul won a unanimous victory – with divided reasoning – in Kisor v. Wilkie, a landmark administrative law case that imposes significant limitations on the scope of agency deference. In 2018, Paul secured a 9-0 win in the bankruptcy case Lamar, Archer & Confrin, LLP v. Appling, which presented a technical question of statutory interpretation.
Paul frequently challenges administrative agency action, especially with respect to the life sciences and healthcare industries, high-skilled immigration, and taxation. In October 2020, Paul won an injunction for the National Association of Manufacturers and the US Chamber of Commerce, enjoining implementation of a presidential proclamation that would have barred tens-of-thousands of high-skilled workers from entering the United States. In a series of orders spanning 2020 and 2021, Paul invalidated four separate regulations designed to substantially upset high-skilled immigration.
In 2018, Law360 named Paul an “MVP” for his intellectual property work before the Federal Circuit, where he has argued about a dozen times. Paul also has deep experience with the False Claims Act, civil rights litigation, and securities law. Paul often challenges—and sometimes defends—federal, state, and local governments across a wide range of issues.
Paul served as a law clerk to the Honorable Diana Gribbon Motz of the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He was a senior editor of the Yale Law Journal.
In the Supreme Court, won a 9-0 favorable decision regarding the construction of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, leading to victory on remand (Ross v. Blake, 2016)*
In the Supreme Court, obtained a nontraditional order granting, vacating and remanding an Oklahoma state court decision regarding personal jurisdiction (Murco Wall Products v. Galier, 2018)*
In the Supreme Court, obtained an atypical order granting, vacating and remanding in a malicious prosecution case, and then prevailed on remand in the Sixth Circuit (Sanders v. Jones, 2018)*
In the Federal Circuit, won a summary affirmance of a complex, multi-week patent trial (Zhejiang Med. Co. v. Kaneka Corp., 2019)*
In the Federal Circuit, successfully reversed the adverse decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (In re Tropp, 2018)*
In the Federal Circuit, won appeal regarding patent invalidity for reasons of indefiniteness (Capital Security Systems v. NCR, 2018)*
In the Federal Circuit, obtained reversal of the district court’s grant of summary judgment in a patent matter, winning an important decision addressing divided infringement (Travel Sentry, Inc. v. Tropp, 2017)*
In the Fifth Circuit, won reversal of the district court’s statutory construction regarding the reach of the fraud exception to bankruptcy discharge (Matter of Haler, 2017)*
In the US District Court for the Northern District of California, won summary judgment to hold invalid two interim final regulations—one by the Department of Labor and one by the Department of Homeland Security—designed to foreclose the H-1B program; subsequently succeeded in invalidating two additional regulations, again one each by DOL and DHS, which sought to disrupt H-1B visas (Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. DHS, 2020 & 2021)
In the US District Court for the Northern District of California, obtained a preliminary injunction on that barred enforcement of Presidential Proclamation 10,052, which sought to ban entry of high-skilled workers entering the United States on H, J, and L visas (National Association of Manufacturers v. DHS, 2020)
In the US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, obtained a nationwide permanent injunction on behalf of a consortium of leading colleges and universities, blocking an immigration policy detrimental to the interests of international students (Guilford College v. McAleenan, 2020)
In the US District Court for the District of Columbia, prevailed on summary judgment against the Department of Homeland Security, invalidating its delay of the International Entrepreneur Rule (Nat’l Venture Capital Ass’n v. Duke, 2017)*
US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
US District Court for the District of Colorado
US District Court for the District of Columbia
US District Court for the District of Maryland
US District Court for the Eastern District of New York
US District Court for the Southern District of New York
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