Practice Areas & Industries: Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP


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Sutherland maximizes chances of winning appeals by identifying outcome-determinative issues and presenting them in ways accessible to courts.

Our appellate team identifies outcome-determining issues and presents them in readily understood ways, relying on detailed knowledge of our clients' industries and their cases as well as extensive courtroom experience. Many Sutherland attorneys began their legal careers as clerks to federal and state appellate judges, adding invaluable experience and insight to their current work before these same courts. Our attorneys have clerked for the U.S. Supreme Court, every federal circuit and the highest courts in Alaska, Florida, Georgia and Texas.

Sutherland’s appellate attorneys win appeals in fields ranging from antitrust, telecommunications and land use to tax, energy, franchising and distribution disputes. They prevail in appellate matters involving professional liability, securities and insurance law, and education as well as issues of employment, class actions, construction and real property. Working closely as part of the trial team, Sutherland appellate attorneys develop legal theories, draft complex motions and jury charges, ensure preservation of the record for appeal and handle interlocutory appeals and mandamus proceedings that arise during trial court litigation.

As part of our appellate practice, we often act as amicus curiae. Because we know our clients' businesses and industries so intimately, we readily identify key policy issues and arguments that may affect them. Filing an influential amicus brief can protect client interests quickly and effectively. We often submit a Brandeis Brief, presenting economic and other social-science data relevant to the case before the court. We have found that this often achieves the most effective results for our clients.

Why Sutherland
Sutherland's appellate practice covers virtually the entire range of substantive law from the most arcane regulatory and taxation issues in a specific industry to the protection of basic constitutional rights. We represent clients in appellate work before the U.S. Supreme Court, each federal circuit court and many of the state appeals courts in the 50 states and District of Columbia.

Industry knowledge. Our appellate practice is well-versed in a wide range of client industries. We focus on outcome-determinative issues regardless of forum or field. We have successfully protected constitutional rights before the U.S. Supreme Court as readily as we have won appeals for energy firms before FERC in rule-making proceedings.

Amicus briefs. Sutherland's extensive knowledge of our clients' industries positions us to offer opinions and arguments in appellate proceedings by filing amicus curiae briefs. These can and do have substantial influence not only on the individual case under consideration but also on the entire field of law and on the industry in question. By advising the court on aspects of a case that may not be readily apparent, we proactively protect our clients' interests.

Brandeis Briefs. Often an amicus brief takes the form of a Brandeis Brief. These briefs educate the court or agency on social impacts that a particular case or legal decision may have on society as a whole. In our experience, these facts and arguments often yield a positive outcome. We strive to make this specialist information accessible to courts.

Nuts and Bolts
Sutherland's appellate team has worked on matters involving:

  • Energy
  • Antitrust
  • Telecommunications
  • Land use
  • Tax
  • Franchising and distribution
  • Professional liability
  • Securities law
  • Insurance law
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Class actions
  • Construction
  • Real property
  • Constitutional claims, including habeas, speech, and religion
  • Sovereign immunity
  • Eminent domain

Take Action
Sutherland's appellate practice combines extensive experience of the appeals system with in-depth knowledge of our clients and their concerns. Relying on our deep experience, we readily identify the outcome-determining issues that will likely direct the decision and present our specialized knowledge in a way that courts can follow.

Selected Experience
Sutherland prevails in three-front patent litigation for international electronics manufacturer.
Sutherland successfully defended a three-front patent dispute by winning a preliminary injunction in a New Mexico action and subsequently defending it on appeal. The preliminary injunction dismissed the plaintiff’s International Trade Commission action against our client and plaintiff’s patent infringement claims in a California action. The preliminary injunction was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and plaintiff’s motion for rehearing en banc was also denied.

Attorney defeats statewide proposed injunctive class action.
In a proposed class action raising constitutional challenges to the Texas foster-care system, a federal district court’s order certifying an injunctive class comprised of all children in Texas’ permanent managing conservatorship was successfully overturned.

Sutherland wins constitutional challenge of “excise tax,” which federal court affirms on appeal.
Our attorneys successfully challenged the constitutionality of an “excise tax” on greenhouse gas emissions enacted by Montgomery County, Md., which specifically targeted one of the country’s largest wholesale producers of electricity. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit agreed, and our client was refunded more than $10 million.