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Who is the Most Famous Practicing Lawyer in Big Law?

Sept. 16, 2016, 9:34 PM

Most practicing lawyers aren’t famous. If they are, they aren’tthatkind of famous. They don’t get asked for autographs, or stopped on the street for photographs, or have their images turned into memes. But then some lawyers are famous within the legal community. More famous than, say, other lawyers. Who then is the most famous practicing lawyer in Big Law today? It was a casually tossed off question that had us scratching our heads the other day at the BLB office. And while we have some ideas, we thought we’d leave it up to you, the readers of Big Law Business to decide. For our purposes, if you are(a) an attorney (b) currently employed by (c) an Am Law 200 law firm,you are eligible. That of course excludes famous law professors who practice like Alan Dershowitz, famous attorneys who work at smaller firms, like Gloria Allred, or even well known attorneys who still practice, who used to work at an Am Law 200 law firm, like Tom Goldstein. And it may include some attorneys who only [air quotes] “practice,” alongside others who actually practice. So be it. We have to draw the line somewhere. We’ve started the candidates off with the names on our list below, but feel free to write-in your choice if you have someone else who qualifies.

Voting will mirror the NBA’s Most Valuable Player scoring. Lawyers will receive 10 points for each first-place vote, seven points for each second-place vote, five points for each third-place vote, three points for each fourth-place vote and one point for each fifth-place vote. That’s right, you can choose the five practicing big law attorneys that you believe are the most famous.

Email us at BigLawBusiness@bna.com , includeMost Famous in Big Law, in your subject line, and your top five lawyers, with the law firms where they work, and rank them in order of most famous.

Your email should look something like this, for example:
From:Jeffrey Lebowski <jlebowski@hollywoodstarlanes.com>
Date:Friday, September 16, 2016 at 5:19 PM
To:biglawbusiness biglaw<business@bna.com>
Subject:Most Famous in Big Law


  1. David Boies, Boies Schiller


  • 3. Rodge Cohen, Sullivan & Cromwell


  • 5. Paul Clement, Kirkland & Ellis


  • 7. Vernon Jordan, Akin Gump


  • 9. Ted Olson, Gibson Dunn

Scoring: Boies would receive 10 points, Cohen 7, Clement 5, Jordan 3, and Olson 1.

One entry per person, please. Deadline for voting: September 30, 2016 at 5:00 PM.

Here’s an alphabetical list of some well known lawyers to consider...

1. Floyd Abrams, Cahill Gordon

First Amendment lawyer

2. Joe Andrew, Dentons

Former DNC Chair/turned Dentons into a legal behemoth

3. Frank Aquila, Sullivan & Cromwell

M&A lawyer/Advised on largest all-cash acquisition ever of Anheuser-Busch

4. Bob Barnett, Williams & Connolly

Has represented Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Dick Cheney

5. Scott Barshay, Paul, Weiss

M&A dealmaker who left Cravath for Paul, Weiss

6. Bob Bennett, Hogan Lovells

Represented Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal

7. Jay Bilas, Moore & Van Allen

College Basketball Analyst

8. Lisa Blatt, Arnold & Porter

Supreme Court litigator

9. David Boies, Boies Schiller

Litigator/Law Firm Founding Partner

10. Ted Boutrous, Gibson Dunn

Appellate litigator

11. Lanny Breuer, Covington

Former Special Counsel to President Clinton/Former Assistant U.S. Attorney General

12. Saxby Chambliss, DLA Piper

Former U.S. Senator

13. Evan Chesler, Cravath

Chairman of Cravath

14. Morgan Chu, Irell

Intellectual Property attorney/Former Co-Managing Partner of Irell

15. Paul Clement, Kirkland & Ellis

Supreme Court litigator/Former U.S. Solicitor General

16. Rodge Cohen, Sullivan & Cromwell

Senior Chairman of Sullivan & Cromwell/Commercial Banking lawyer

17. Edward Colbert, Andrews Kurth

Stephen Colbert’s brother/Former Chair of Kenyon & Kenyon

18. Greg Craig, Skadden

Former White House Counsel

19. A.B. Culvahouse, O’Melveny

Former White House Counsel/Former Chair of O’Melveny & Myers

20. Walter Dellinger, O’Melveny

Former U.S. Solicitor General

21. Susan Estrich, Quinn Emanuel

Political Commentator

22. Ralph Ferrara, Proskauer

Ex-Dewey Partner/Securities Lawyer

23. Fred Fielding, Morgan Lewis

Former White House Counsel

24. Patrick Fitzgerald, Skadden

Federal prosecutor in Valerie Plame affair and Rod Blagojevich investigation

25. Rudy Giuliani, Greenberg Traurig

Former Mayor of New York City

26. Jamie Gorelick, WilmerHale

Former Deputy U.S. Attorney General

27. Doug Hallward-Driemeier, Ropes & Gray

Argued landmark marriage equality case at the Supreme Court

28. Eric Holder, Covington

Former U.S. Attorney General

29. Edward Herlihy, Wachtell

Co-chairman of Wachell’s Executive Committee

30. Vernon Jordan, Akin Gump

Civil Rights Activist/Advisor to Bill Clinton

31. Peter Kalis, K&L Gates

Chairman of K&L Gates

32. Roberta Kaplan, Paul, Weiss

Argued in landmark Supreme Court case, United States v. Windsor

33. Brad Karp, Paul, Weiss

Chairman of Paul, Weiss

34. Marc Kasowitz, Kasowitz

Founding Partner of Kasowitz

35. David Kendall, Williams & Connolly

Represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial

36. Cameron Kerry, Sidley Austin

Brother of John Kerry/Former U.S. Department of Commerce Official

37. Neal Katyal, Hogan Lovells

Former Acting Solicitor General

38. Jeff Kessler, Winston & Strawn

Antitrust and Sports Lawyer/Former Dewey Partner

39. Kim Koopersmith, Akin Gump

Chair of Akin Gump

40. Joe Lieberman, Kasowitz

Former U.S. Senator/Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee in 2000

41. Marty Lipton, Wachtell

Founding partner of Wachtell

42. Jami McKeon, Morgan Lewis

Chair of Morgan Lewis

43. Roger Meltzer, DLA Piper

Co-Chair of DLA Piper

44. Michael Mukasey, Debevoise & Plimpton

Former U.S. Attorney General

45. Ted Olson, Gibson Dunn

Former U.S. Solicitor General

46. Allen Parker, Cravath

Cravath’s Presiding Partner/Started the associate salary stampede to $180K

47. George Pataki, Chadbourne

Former Governor of New York

48. Daniel Petrocelli, O’Melveney

Lead plaintiff attorney in the O.J. Simpson civil trial

49. Carter Phillips, Sidley Austin

Supreme Court litigator/Chair of Sidley’s Executive Committee

50. Stacy Phillips, Blank Rome

Celebrity Divorce Attorney

51. John Quinn, Quinn Emanuel

Founding Partner of Quinn Emanuel

52. Steven Reisman, Curtis

“Steve the Lawyer” or “2 Dollar Steve” to hip-hop fans

53. Ed Rendell, Ballard Spahr

Former Governor of Pennsylvania

54. Richard Rosenbaum, Greenberg Traurig

Former Chairman of Greenberg Traurig

55. Kathryn Ruemmler, Latham & Watkins

Former White House Counsel to President Barack Obama

56. Faiza Saeed, Cravath

Newly elected Presiding Partner of Cravath

57. Karen Seymour, Sullivan & Cromwell

Co-Managing Partner of S&C’s litigation group/Prosecuted Martha Stewart

58. Joseph Shenker, Sullivan & Cromwell

Chairman of Sullivan & Cromwell

59. Rogers Stevens, Ballard Spahr

Guitarist for Blind Melon

60. Brendan Sullivan, Williams & Connolly

Defended Oliver North in the Iran-Contra scandal

61. Kathleen Sullivan, Quinn Emanuel

Former Dean of Stanford Law School/Appellate Lawyer/First woman “name partner” at an Am Law 100 firm

62. Dick Thornburgh, K&L Gates

Former U.S. Attorney General

63. Donald Verilli, Munger Tolles

Former U.S. Solicitor General

64. Herbert Wachtell, Wachtell

Founding Partner of Wachtell

65. Seth Waxman, WilmerHale

Former U.S. Solicitor General

66. Ted Wells, Paul, Weiss

White Collar Defense/"Deflategate” Investigator

67. Barry Wolf, Weil

Chairman of Weil

68. Seth Zachary, Paul Hastings

Chairman of Paul Hastings

(UPDATE: The list above is of editorially selected well known lawyers to help you consider your choices. From time to time, until the ballot box closes on September 30, at 5pm, we may update this list. Thank you for participating.)

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