Pratik A. Shah is co-head of Akin Gump’s Supreme Court and Appellate practice.

Practice & Background

Mr. Shah has argued 13 cases before the United States Supreme Court and has filed over 150 merits or certiorari-stage briefs in that court. He has also briefed and argued numerous cases in other federal and state appellate courts, and provides strategic advice to companies, funds and organizations at all stages of constitutional, regulatory and other complex litigation.

In its national rankings, Chambers USA describes Mr. Shah as “one of the brightest and most personable members of the DC appellate bar” with “complete mastery of the facts and law of a case.” Among other publications, the Washington Business Journal has recognized him as a leading appellate advocate who has successfully “practiced before the highest court in the land on some of the most groundbreaking cases of the 21st century.” Under his leadership, Akin Gump again made the National Law Journal “Appellate Hot List” (top 20 practices)—now for the ninth straight year.

Before joining the firm in 2013, Mr. Shah served for over five years as an assistant to the solicitor general at the U.S. Department of Justice. He received a number of awards for his advocacy before the Supreme Court during that time, including the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for his role as lead drafter of the successful challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor.

Prior to that, Mr. Shah worked in the appellate practice of another international law firm, taught constitutional law, and clerked for Justice Stephen G. Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge William Fletcher on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

Mr. Shah received his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, and graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University with a B.S.E. in chemical engineering.

Representative Matters

American Indian Law

  • United States v. Jicarilla Apache Nation, 131 S. Ct. 2313 (2011) (government’s attorney-client privilege in tribal trust context; successfully briefed and argued)
  • Lower Elwa Klallam Indian Tribe v. Lummi Nation (9th Cir. 2014) (successful reversal of SJ in tribal treaty fishing rights case)
  • United States v. Gila Valley Irrigation District, (9th Cir. pending) (interpretation of 1935 water decree rights under Arizona forfeiture and abandonment laws)

Intellectual Property

  • Grandeye Ltd. v. Google Inc., No. 15-1622 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (patent/IPR appeal; successfully briefed and argued)
  • Bianco v. Globus Medical, No. 15-1193 (Fed. Cir. 2015) (trade secret case; successfully briefed and argued)
  • Limelight Networks v. Akamai Technologies, 134 S. Ct. 2111 (2014) (scope of infringement under 35 U.S.C. 271(b); successful amicus brief on behalf of CTIA-The Wireless Association)
  • Octane Fitness v. Icon Health & Fitness, 134 S. Ct. 1749 (2014) (fee awards under 35 U.S.C. 285 for “exceptional cases”; successful amicus brief on behalf 3M, GE, P&G, and Johnson & Johnson)

Telecommunications

  • FiberTower Spectrum Holdings v. FCC, No. 14-1039 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (successful vacatur of FCC order canceling 689 licenses for fixed wireless services)
  • In re: FCC, No. 11-9900 (10th Cir. 2014) (challenging FCC’s Universal Service Fund rulemaking)

Bankruptcy and Tax

  • Hall v. United States, 132 S. Ct. 1882 (2012) (treatment of federal tax liability in Chapter 12 bankruptcy; successfully briefed and argued)
  • In re Motors Liquidation Company (GM), No. 15-2844 (2d Cir. pending) (equitable mootness)
  • In re MPM Silicones, LLC, Nos. 15-1682, 15-1771 (2d Cir. pending) (whether “formula” approach under Till governs the cramdown interest rate in Chapter 11 cases)

Criminal / Civil Fraud

  • Matrixx Initiatives, Inc. v. Siracusano, 131 S. Ct. 1309 (2011) (Section 10(b) federal securities fraud claims in pharmaceutical context; successfully briefed and argued)
  • Hedgpeth v. Pulido, 129 S. Ct. 530 (2008) (criminal jury instructional error; successfully briefed and argued)
  • Bridge v. Phoenix Bond & Indemnity Co., 128 S. Ct. 2131 (2008) (causation standard for civil RICO claim based on mail fraud; successful amicus brief on behalf of the United States)

Environment

  • Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. NRDC, 133 S. Ct. 710 (2013) (Clean Water Act; successfully briefed and argued)
  • Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center, 133 S. Ct. 1326 (2013) (Clean Water Act; successfully briefed invitation and merits)
  • Coeur Alaska, Inc. v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, 129 S. Ct. 2458 (2009) (Clean Water Act; successfully briefed merits)
  • Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. United States, 129 S. Ct. 1870 (2009) (CERCLA; briefed merits)

Constitutional Law and Civil Rights

  • United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013) (equal protection challenge to Defense of Marriage Act; successfully briefed certiorari-stage and merits)
  • Hollingsworth v. Perry, 133 S. Ct. 2652 (2013) (equal protection challenge to California’s restriction on same-sex marriage; amicus brief on behalf of United States)
  • Minneci v. Pollard, 132 S. Ct. 617 (2012) (scope of Bivens action; successfully briefed and argued)
  • Tolentino v. New York, 131 S. Ct. 1387 (2011) (Fourth Amendment challenge; successfully briefed and argued)
  • Perdue v. Kenny A., 130 S. Ct. 1662 (2010) (attorney’s fees under civil-rights statute; successfully briefed and argued)
  • Alamo Recycling v. Anheuser Busch (Cal. App. 2015) (dormant commerce clause defense to tort action; successfully briefed and argued)

Immigration

  • Moncrieffe v. Holder, 133 S. Ct. 1678 (2013) (“aggravated felony” under INA; briefed and argued)
  • Holder v. Martinez Gutierrez, 132 S. Ct. 2011 (2012) (parental imputation of status/residency for purposes of 8 U.S.C. 1229b; successfully briefed certiorari-stage and merits)

Community Involvement

Mr. Shah has been involved with various community, civic and professional organizations, including the Practitioners’ Reading Group of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, Supreme Court Historical Society (Trustee), South Asian Bar Association of North America (National Advisory Council), U.S. Chamber Litigation Center (Constitutional Law & Federal Courts Advisory Committee), Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court (Barrister), Street Law (Supreme Court Summer Institute) and Citizen Schools (Legal Apprenticeship Program).

Awards and Accolades

Mr. Shah has received numerous recognitions for his professional and public service, including:

  • Ranked in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business: National Appellate Law
  • Recognized in The Legal 500: “Supreme Court Appellate”
  • National Law Journal and Legal Times “40 under 40” listing
  • Washington Business Journal “Legal Champions 2014” Award
  • Featured in Washingtonian “Top Lawyers” list
  • Washington DC “Super Lawyers” list
  • Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award
  • South Asian Bar Association of North America “Cornerstone” Award
  • Internal Revenue Service, National Chief Counsel Award for Supreme Court advocacy
  • Department of Justice, Environment & Natural Resources Division’s Special Commendation
  • Green Bag’s Exemplary Legal Writing Award for Supreme Court briefing
  • Boston Bar Association President’s Award for pro bono representation of Guantanamo detainees

Speaking Engagements

Mr. Shah is an active speaker on matters related to the Supreme Court and appellate advocacy, including:

  • Supreme Court Preview, George Mason University Law School (Oct. 3, 2016)
  • On the Docket: A Look at the 2016 Supreme Court Term, ABA/The Wilson Center/American University (Sept. 28, 2016)
  • SCOTUS Preview, Office of the Speaker/U.S. House of Representatives (Sept. 26, 2016)
  • Supreme Court Term Review, Federal Bar Association (July 12, 2016)
  • SCOTUS: An Insider’s Perspective, SABA Delaware (June 14, 2016)
  • Supreme Court Review, South Asian Bar Association (NA) Annual Conference (May 13, 2016)
  • Supreme Court Review/Preview, ABA Administrative Law Conference (Oct. 29, 2015)
  • John Roberts and Statutory Interpretation, Symposium, Cardozo Law Review and Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy (Oct. 15, 2015)
  • Seeking and Defending Certiorari, VBA Appellate Summit (Sept. 30, 2015)
  • Supreme Court Term Review, Federal Bar Association (July 16, 2015)
  • Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers, Street Law Program, Georgetown Law School (June 20, 2015)
  • If Affordable Care Act Fails: Impact of King v. Burwell, Akin Gump In-House Series (June 15, 2015)
  • Supreme Court Review, South Asian Bar Association (NA) Annual Conference (June 12, 2015)
  • Supreme Court Review and Preview, Annual D.C. Judicial Training Conference (Dec. 4, 2014)
  • State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) Supreme Court Preview Webinar (Oct. 16, 2014)
  • Supreme Court Preview, C-SPAN Washington Journal (Oct. 6, 2014)
  • Supreme Court Pre-Term Press Briefing, U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Oct. 3, 2014)
  • Supreme Court Preview, George Mason University Law School (Sept. 30, 2014)
  • Conversation on the Supreme Court, ABA Preview Webinar (Sept. 15, 2014)
  • Supreme Court Review and Preview, DC Bar CLE Program (Sept. 11, 2014)
  • Supreme Court Term Review, Federal Bar Association (July 22, 2014)
  • Recent Important Appellate Cases, DRI Appellate Advocacy Seminar (July 17, 2014)
  • Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers, Street Law Program, Georgetown Law School (June 26, 2014)
  • Mock Supreme Court Argument, South Asian Bar Association of North America (June 21, 2014)
  • Supreme Court Patent Decisions, In-House Counsel CLE Series, New York (June 12, 2104)
  • Evening with Pratik Shah & Peter Karanjia, South Asian Bar Association of D.C. (Apr. 22, 2014)
  • Supreme Court Advocacy: Arguing Before the Highest Court, Harvard Law School (Apr. 14, 2014)
  • Supreme Court Review, ABA Conference on Equal Employment Opportunity Law (Mar. 28, 2014)
  • Supreme Court Practice Seminar, State and Local Legal Center (Mar. 4, 2014)
  • Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby: Mock Argument, Supreme Court Institute, Georgetown (Feb. 26, 2014)
  • Mid-Term Preview, Supreme Court Institute, Georgetown Law (Jan. 29, 2014)
  • Supreme Court Advocacy Seminar, National Association of Attorneys General (Dec. 5, 2013)
  • Supreme Court Preview, Annual Institute, Institute for Corporate Counsel (Dec. 3, 2013)
  • Cases to Watch, ABA Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law (Oct. 31, 2013)
  • Supreme Court Preview, C-SPAN Washington Journal (Oct. 7, 2013)
  • Supreme Court Preview, George Mason University Law School (Oct. 1, 2013).