Allon Kedem has left the U.S. solicitor general’s office to join the Supreme Court and appellate practice at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer as a partner.
Kedem’s addition follows the arrival of veteran Supreme Court lawyer John Elwood from Vinson & Elkins in June to replace Lisa Blatt as head of the group.
Blatt left the firm in January for Williams & Connolly, replacing Kannon Shanmugam who left the litigation shop to launch Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison’s Supreme Court and appellate practice.
After five years at the Solicitor General’s office Kedem was ready for a different challenge, he told Bloomberg Law.
As he considered his options he wanted to make sure that he was somewhere he could do top quality appellate work alongside people he really liked, he said. Kedem worked alongside Elwood at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel more than a decade ago.
“It just became clear that this was a great place to do appellate law and a great place to practice law in general,” Kedem said of his new firm.
Kedem is a two-time Supreme Court clerk, first for former Justice Anthony Kennedy over the 2009 term and then for Justice Elena Kagan the following year.
Formerly at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Kedem filed dozens of briefs and hundreds of certiorari-stage briefs in five years with the solicitor general’s office. Cases dealt with issues arising under the False Claims Act, the Federal Arbitration act, securities law, Indian law, and the Clean Water Act.
Arguments before the Supreme Court representing the government came mostly in criminal cases, including a 7-2 loss making it harder for the federal government to prosecute gun crimes.
Although he will have ethical restrictions based on his time with the Solicitor General that prevent him from working on some cases, Kedem is “going to be up and running right away” at the firm, working on matters for clients as well as potential matters ahead.
“I think Arnold & Porter, like other firms, has come to really understand the value of a dedicated appellate practice both in terms of servicing existing clients and attracting and retaining potential new clients,” Kedem said.
With 11 arguments — and eight wins —before the Supreme Court, Kedem brings more depth to Arnold & Porter’s SCOTUS and appellate practice specifically within the False Claims Act area, Elwood told Bloomberg Law.
“He’s just a phenomenal lawyer,” Elwood said.
As competition among Big Law firms within the SCOTUS and appellate space heats up, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer distinguishes itself in the depth of its bench, Elwood said. From its partners to its young associates, “it’s just strength up and down,” he added.
In addition to devoting its resources towards getting some of the best talent, the firm has also been entrepreneurial in the highly competitive SCOTUS and appellate space, Kedem said, noting the firm’s recent victory challenging North Carolina’s redistricting laws.
“I think you have to be talented, hardworking, but also entrepreneurial,” Kedem said. “You have to come up with new ideas and I think Arnold & Porter has done a fantastic job of that with a lot of support from the firm itself.”