New Hire Fuels Munger as Emerging SCOTUS Powerhouse

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By Melissa Heelan Stanzione

Ginger D. Anders is a lawyer who welcomes challenges.

Anders, who left the Department of Justice this year, recently joined Munger, Tolles & Olson’s Washington office to help build it “from the ground up,” she told Bloomberg BNA.

She looks forward to the challenge of building an appellate practice and raising the Washington office’s profile for appellate work, Anders said.

She will be joining former Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., who launched the office in Sept. 2016 with attorneys Michael B. DeSanctis and Chad Golder.

Anders worked with Verrilli first at Jenner & Block, and then in the SG’s office from 2011 to 2016.

Firm Building

Appellate and Supreme Court litigation will be one important focus for the office, Verrilli told Bloomberg BNA.

“We’re investing a lot of our energy into building that part of the practice and will continue to do so,” Verrilli said.

Munger’s attorneys will be “second to none in their ability to be effective in the Supreme Court and the courts of appeal,” he said.

During his tenure as solicitor general, Verrilli successfully argued several landmark cases at the Supreme Court including Obergefell v. Hodges, where he advocated for marriage equality, and Nat’l Fed’n of Indep. Bus. v. Sebelius, where he defended the Affordable Care Act.

Justice Served

Munger’s D.C. office currently has eight attorneys, five of whom have DOJ experience.

Anders worked for eight years at DOJ, first in the solicitor general’s office and then in the Office of Legal Counsel.

She was a deputy assistant attorney general at the OLC, a “political position,” which meant that Anders’s last day on the job was Jan. 19, one day before President Donald Trump was sworn in.

Anders “jumped at” the opportunity to work with Verrilli again, and to do so with the Munger platform “made it almost perfect,” she said.

Anders was heavily involved in patent litigation at the SG’s office, and she will continue that practice with Munger.

Her involvement in that area of law was “fortuitious,” because she arrived “just as the Supreme Court’s patent docket was heating up,” Anders said.

She had no background in the sciences or engineering, but really enjoyed the chance to learn about it, she said.

Translating Technology

As a government employee, Anders had “the forces of the government” to help her learn about the subject matter, she said.

Agencies like the Patent and Trademark Office or the National Institutes of Health have experts “who can sit with you and explain it all to you,” Anders said.

The “most fun and most challenging” part is to then translate the technology for the courts, which don’t have a background in it, she said.

Anders wrote the government’s briefs in such seminal cases as Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l and Bilski v. Kappos, both of which addressed the patentability of claims relating to abstract ideas.

One of her most memorable experiences during her tenure at the SG’s office was her oral argument in Teva Pharm. USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc.

The case was about what standard applied to appellate review of lower courts’ factual findings in claim construction judgments.

Anders enjoyed the case so much because she felt that the government’s argument was “helpful to the court.”

“The justices seemed really engaged,” Anders said.

Anders’s experience in the government also included transnational litigation—cases against foreign sovereigns or among foreign entities.

She finds that area “really interesting and challenging” and hopes to continue with it at Munger, she said.

Growing Practice

There will soon be more attorneys to help build Munger’s office.

“We anticipate we’ll hire a couple more people in the ensuing months,” Verrilli said.

We want to have “the best of the best” in terms of talent and the values these lawyers bring, he said.

The goal is to have 20 lawyers in the next two to three years “and after that, we’ll see where we go,” Verrilli said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Melissa Heelan Stanzione in Washington at mstanzione@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bna.com

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