Editor's note: In September 2016
Kirkland & Ellis announced that had hired all
Bancroftt PLLC attorneys, effectively shuttering Bancroft PLLC as
of October 1, 2016.
Named after the DuPont Circle townhouse that it
first called home, Washington, D.C.-based Bancroft PLLC is a
litigation firm focusing on Supreme Court and appellate litigation
and strategic counseling. The firm was founded by former Assistant
Attorney General Viet D. Dinh in 2003, and today its 17 attorneys
include nine U.S. Supreme Court clerkships, 17 U.S. Court of
Appeals clerkships, and five Presidential appointments. Five of the
firm's seven partners have argued successfully before the U.S.
Supreme Court. Together, the firms lawyers have handled 120 Supreme
Court arguments, along with hundreds more Supreme Court briefs.
Small But Mighty
Bancroft PLLC has been regarded as "not the next
big firm, but the next great firm." It has been ranked as a top
litigation firm and boasts a roster of "super lawyers." Since its
start, Bancroft has quickly earned a reputation for high-profile
cases, including many in front of the Supreme Court.
Several of the Supreme Court cases had been
argued by partner Paul Clement, who joined the firm while in the
midst of defending the Defense of Marriage Act after it was dropped
by his previous firm. At Bancroft, he celebrated his 75th
notes-free oral arguments in front of the Supreme Court, an
achievement reached in only 13 years. Clement now boasts 83 total
arguments before the Supreme Court, including the three days of
argument in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act case,
and has been called a "wunderkind." One of the firm's appellate
lawyers, Erin Murphy, has also gained high recognition after
winning her first argument in front of the Supreme Court in 2013
and arguing two more cases in 2016. Murphy accepted the McCutcheon
v. Federal Election Commission case merely a month before she was
to argue it and noted that her experience as serving second chair
to Paul Clement at one point was "hugely helpful."
Bancroft has also been praised for its work
representing the NFL and other sports leagues throughout the past
couple of years. When the NFL Player lockout occurred in 2011, the
firm assisted in representing League during the months-long
dispute. And when the Deflategate conspiracy came to light, Clement
defended the NFL Commissioner's four-game suspension of player Tom
Brady, which was upheld on April 25, 2016.
Bancroft's high-esteemed lawyers are not just
encouraged by the firm's founder Viet Dinh to take on high-stake
cases, but also clerkships if they should choose to do so. Dinh
notes that he and others regard their clerkships as "the best year
of our professional lives," and the firm has hired a number of its
lawyers back following Supreme Court clerkships.
"Not a Megafirm"
While Bancroft's lawyers are known for having
some of the most media-followed cases in Washington, the ones who
get to see the action close-up are those who share the Bancroft
office. Before the firm's recent move near the Capitol, the power
duo Dinh and Clement shared a glass wall that gave off the
appearance of an "exhibit at a museum or perhaps a zoo." Even in
their new space, the firm maintains a close-knit environment that
is focused on results over bureaucracy.