Boutiques Elbow Out Space at SCOTUS


The Supreme Court bar is becoming more exclusive and specialized. And while that Supreme Club is predominately composed of BigLaw lawyers, some boutique firms have managed to elbow out some space for themselves too.

Back in 2015, boutique firm Gupta Wessler told me about one case it hoped to get before the high court. They succeeded, and the case, No. 15-118 Hernández v. Mesa, will be argued on Feb. 21. While no one from Gutpa Wessler will be arguing the case, a firm attorney was counsel of record on the briefs. (For a short preview of this tragic case involving the cross border killing of a Mexican teen by a U.S. Border Patrol agent, listen to this podcast.)

That’s just one of three cases before the court this term where Gupta Wessler took the lead. Deepak Gupta argued a consumer credit case before the justices in January, No. 15-1391 Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman. Matthew W.H. Wessler will argued No 16-149 Coventry Health Care of Mo., Inc. v. Nevils later this month.

Representing clients they “care about” on such a high profile stage is one reason why top lawyers stay at boutique firms, Gupta told Bloomberg BNA in September.

It also may be why President Donald Trump’s reported top pick for U.S. Solicitor General, Charles J. Cooper, of boutique firm Cooper & Kirk, turned down the coveted position. “Life is too good and too short,” Cooper told POLITICO about his decision to withdraw.

And with boutique firms handling so many cases at the high court, we’ll probably see Cooper there again sometime soon.

Until then, you can keep up with the latest Supreme Court news with a free trial to United States Law Week.