Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner has hired Jean-Claude “J.C.” André, former West Coast head of Sidley’s Supreme Court practice, to co-lead the firm’s appellate and Supreme Court practice.
André joins as a partner in the commercial disputes practice group and will lead the appellate practice in Los Angeles alongside St. Louis partner Barbara Smith.
“Our national appellate practice is an important part of our platform and we are excited to see it grow under J.C. and Barbara’s leadership,” Lee Marshall, global department leader of Bryan Cave’s litigation and investigations practice, said in a statement.
André said he has long been interested in the firm, and that he took particular note of the 2018 merger between Bryan Cave and U.K. law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, which he said demonstrated a commitment to growth. He was also drawn to the fact that Marshall is an appellate lawyer.
“The ability to work with and learn from someone who sees litigation the same way you do is really exciting,” André said.
André’s practice includes matters that address complex constitutional questions as well as statutory and regulatory interpretation.
He has briefed and argued hundreds of appeals in federal and California courts. Just six years out of law school, André in 2006 argued and won two cases before the Supreme Court.
In Winkelman v. Parma City School District, he convinced the court that a non-lawyer parent of a disabled child may argue in federal court on behalf of the child under the Disabilities Education Act. In Jones v. Bock, he represented a prisoner who sustained injuries while in custody, on several procedural questions. He argued and lost a third case, Ali v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, the following year.
He went on to work as an assistant United States attorney and as the appellate chief at the Office of the United States Attorney for the Central District of California, the country’s largest federal district. He joined Sidley in 2017.
Barbara Smith, a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, has represented clients filing petitions for review and opposing certiorari at the high court, and has filed merits briefs, according to the firm. She also serves on the steering committee for the St. Louis Chapter of the Federalist Society.