Paul Clement Named Law360 Appellate MVP for 2015

On November 17, 2015, Law360 named Bancroft partner Paul Clement as an Appellate MVP for the year, citing Clement’s work representing Integrity Staffing Solutions, HBSC Holdings PLC, and his upcoming arguments on behalf, among others, of the NFL and UFC. The article praises Clement’s “series of wins before the U.S. Supreme Court,” his “several big wins in federal courts of appeal throughout the country,” and his knack for “singling out key issues” in groundbreaking cases.

Ben James and Kat Greene, Appellate MVP: Bancroft’s Paul Clement, Law360 (Nov. 17, 2015)

The National Law Journal names Bancroft to its “2015 Appellate Hot List”

On November 16, 2015, The National Law Journal named Bancroft to its “2015 Appellate Hot List,” citing the firm’s penchant for taking on only “high profile and high stakes” cases. The National Law Journal recognized Bancroft as one of twenty top law firms for “represent[ing] appellate advocacy at its strongest – winning the big cases and changing the law.”

Tony Mauro, Bancroft, The National Law Journal (Nov. 16, 2015)

Douglas County School District v. Taxpayers for Public Education

On October 28, 2015, Bancroft attorneys Paul D. Clement, George W. Hicks Jr., and Andrew N. Ferguson filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the Douglas County School District in Douglas County School District v. Taxpayers for Public Education.  Douglas County created a scholarship program that gave funds to students to attend private schools.  The program was neutral toward religion:  Students could choose to attend religious or nonreligious private schools.  A group of taxpayers challenged the program as violating article IX, §7 of the Colorado Constitution, which prohibits any governmental entity from “mak[ing] any appropriation, or pay[ing] from any public fund or moneys whatever, anything … to help support or sustain any school … controlled by any church or sectarian denomination whatsoever.”  Section 7 is one of a series of anti-Catholic measures, commonly called Blaine Amendments, enacted over 100 years ago to prohibit funding for “sectarian” schools—which at the time was widely understood to mean “Catholic”—while maintaining funding for public schools that maintained Protestant observances.  The Colorado Supreme Court struck down the scholarship program under §7 and held that using §7 to require the District to exclude religious schools from the program did not violate the federal Constitution.  The question presented is: Whether Colorado’s Blaine Amendment, which the unrebutted record plainly demonstrates was born of religious bigotry, can be used to force state and local governments to discriminate against religious institutions without violating the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.  The Supreme Court is expected to consider the petition in spring 2016.

Bancroft Files Brief on Behalf of NFL in Deflategate Case

On October 26, Bancroft attorneys Paul D. Clement, Erin E. Murphy, and Michael H. McGinley filed an opening brief for the NFL in its appeal from a federal court’s refusal to enforce the suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for his involvement in a scheme to deflate game balls before last season’s AFC Championship Game. Law360 reported on the filing, touting Clement as a “prolific Supreme Court advocate” and highlighting Bancroft’s appellate expertise. In an on camera interview with Adrienne Lawrence from ESPN, legal analyst Lester Munson noted that, in a “major move,” the NFL has brought on Clement who is “the exact right lawyer for the NFL.”

Zachary Zagger, NFL Means Business with Clement Pickup in Deflategate Case, Law360 (Oct. 28, 2015)
Lester Munson, Noted Attorney Paul Clement Hired by NFL to Appeal Tom Brady Decision, ESPN (Oct. 26, 2015)

United States v. Sterling

On October 28, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces granted Bancroft client Lance Corporal Monifa Sterling’s petition for review in United States v. Sterling.  A military court-martial found LCpl Sterling guilty and sentenced her to a bad-conduct discharge after she declined to remove three small pieces of paper from her workstation containing a quotation drawn from the Bible (“No weapon formed against me shall prosper.”).  A military appeals court upheld the conviction and sentence.  On behalf of LCpl Sterling, Bancroft filed a petition for review, and the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces granted review on the following questions:  (1) Did LCpl Sterling establish that her conduct in displaying signs referencing Biblical passage in her shared workplace constituted an exercise of religion within the meaning of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act?  If so, did the actions of her superior noncommissioned officer in ordering her to take the signs down, and in removing them when she did not, constitute a substantial burden on LCpl’s exercise of religion within the meaning of the Act?  If so, were these actions in furtherance of a compelling government interest and the least restrictive means of furthering that interest?  (2) Did LCpl Sterling’s superior noncommissioned officer have a valid military purpose in ordering LCpl Sterling to remove signs referencing Biblical passages from her shared workplace?  Bancroft attorneys Paul D. Clement and George W. Hicks, Jr. prepared and filed the petition for review.  The court of appeals is expected to hear oral argument in early 2016.

Bancroft’s Paul Clement Delivers 2015 Vaughan Lecture at Harvard Law School

On October 26, 2015, Bancroft partner Paul Clement delivered the Herbert W. Vaughan Lecture at Harvard Law School,  where he addressed “Lawyering in the Roberts Court: Ten Lessons in Ten Years.” Harvard Law Dean Martha Minow introduced Mr. Clement as “the most outstanding advocate before the United States Supreme Court today.” The Vaughan Lectureship was established “to promote and advance understanding of the founding principles and core doctrines of American constitutionalism.” In reference to Mr. Clement, Dean Minow explained, “no one better represents these commitments to the greatest practical achievement of political science.”


Harvard Law School, Herbert W. Vaughan Lecture, (Oct. 26, 2015)

Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order v. Florida Priory of the Knights Hospitallers

On October 15, 2015, Bancroft secured a unanimous victory for the Order of Malta in Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta v. Florida Priory of the Knights Hospitallers of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta, The Ecumenical Order, — F.3d —, 2015 WL 6000633 (11th Cir. Oct. 15, 2015).  The Order of Malta is a religious order of the Roman Catholic Church that performs charitable works around the world and a sovereign entity that has diplomatic relations with 105 countries and permanent observer status at the United Nations.  The Order holds several federally-registered marks—including Knights of Malta® and Order of St. John of Jerusalem®—that it uses in connection with its provision of charitable services.   In 2009, in an effort to prevent consumer confusion, the Order brought a trademark infringement suit against a Florida group that uses several of the Order’s federally-registered marks verbatim.  The district court initially cancelled the Order’s marks and Bancroft secured reversal of that ruling on appeal in Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta v. Florida Priory of Knights Hospitallers of Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta, Ecumenical Order, 702 F.3d 1279 (11th Cir. 2012).  On remand, the district court purported to apply the Eleventh Circuit’s seven factor test regarding likely confusion and held that the Order failed to establish that confusion was likely to result from the Florida group’s use of the Order’s marks.  The Eleventh Circuit reversed, holding that the district court erred with respect to every factor challenged by the Order.  On remand, the district court misapplied several factors in its analysis of likely confusion, incorrectly assessed the Florida group’s defense of prior use, relied on historical testimony that the appellate court had previously deemed inadmissible, and misinterpreted the Eleventh Circuit’s instructions about consulting facts outside the record.  The case was briefed and argued by D. Zachary Hudson with assistance from Paul D. Clement and Viet D. Dinh.


Barbara Grzincic, ‘Knights of Malta’ to Battle for Third Time Before Same JudgeReuters (Oct. 16, 2015)

Kat Greene, 11th Circ. Concerned by Judge Remarks in Charity TM FightLaw360 (Oct. 15, 2015)

Bancroft Partner Jeffrey Harris Named DC Rising Star

On September 14, 2015, Bancroft partner Jeffrey Harris was named to the LegalTimes’ list of DC’s Rising Stars.  The list, which features “some of the most accomplished young attorneys” in DC, highlights the wide range of clients and cases on which Harris has worked.  Harris, who joined the firm in 2011, states that he especially appreciates how Bancroft allows him to practice “in a culture with zero red tape or bureaucracy.”

Tony Mauro, D.C.’s Rising Stars: Jeffrey Harris, LegalTimes (Sept. 14, 2015).

Bancroft Joins Colorado Attorney General In Challenge To Preserve School Voucher Program

On September 2, 2015, Douglas County, Colorado officials published a press release announcing that Bancroft partner Paul D. Clement will join the district and the state’s Attorney General in challenging the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision holding that the district’s school voucher program violates the state constitution.  The voucher program, modeled after the program upheld by the Supreme Court in 2002 in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, awards monetary scholarships to the parents of qualifying students; the scholarships are then used to offset tuition at participating private schools, which include both secular and religious private schools.  Clement, a “superstar,” and his “dream team” of lawyers will file a petition for writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court of the United States, arguing that the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision cannot be reconciled with the federal Constitution and Supreme Court precedent.

Kirk Mitchell, Douglas Co. school board to take voucher ruling to U.S. Supreme Court, The Denver Post (Sept. 2, 2015).

LinkedIn Names Erin Murphy On Its “Top Professionals 35 and Under” List

On September 8, 2015, LinkedIn named Bancroft partner Erin Murphy one of ten lawyers on its Next Wave list of “top professionals 35 and under.” Describing Murphy as a “young superstar,” the article highlights her successful oral argument in McCutcheon v. FEC and her work on NFIB v. Sebelius and ABC v. Aereo.  An accompanying video features an interview with Murphy in which she discusses the parallels between her background in journalism and practicing appellate law.

LinkedIn, Next Wave: The top professionals 35 and under: Law (Sept. 8, 2015)