Rex S. Heinke is co-head of Akin Gump’s nationally renowned Supreme Court and Appellate practice.

Practice & Background

A seasoned appellate litigator, Mr. Heinke has briefed hundreds of appeals, writs and substantive trial court motions in nearly every facet of civil law. He has made over 150 appellate arguments, in federal and state courts throughout the country, a milestone which was recently profiled by the Daily Journal. He has experience litigating a variety of issues, including administrative law, advertising, alter ego, antitrust, arbitration, attorneys’ fees, bankruptcy, billboards, class actions, complex business disputes, computer software, constitutional law, construction disputes, contracts, copyrights, criminal sentencing, defamation, divorces, docudramas, domestic and international arbitrations, drug testing, employment discrimination, environmental law, entertainment, extraterritoriality of federal laws, federal pre-emption, federal securities, foreign sovereign immunity, fraud, global warming, insurance, invasion of privacy, legal ethics, partition of real estate, patent, personal jurisdiction/inconvenient forum, products liability, public records, punitive damages, reporters’ privilege, right of publicity, separation of powers, statutory interpretation, tax, telephone regulation, television access to courtrooms, trademarks, trusts and estates, unfair competition, unsolicited faxes, wage and hour disputes, and wrongful termination.

Mr. Heinke is regularly called upon to defend clients in some of their most hotly contested matters, often requiring a constant adjustment of strategies and arguments to respond to evolving interpretations of law. As one of the leading appellate practitioners in California, he has extensive experience before the California Courts of Appeal, the California Supreme Court and the 9th Circuit. He has served as lead counsel in numerous complex litigations before the nation’s highest courts, playing a major role in some of the most closely-watched cases and landmark decisions that have impacted businesses across the nation.

Mr. Heinke has also served as lead trial and appellate counsel on behalf of newspapers, magazines, television networks, motion picture studios, websites, and entertainment production and distribution companies in First Amendment, intellectual property, entertainment, media, and Internet disputes. He has lectured on media, entertainment, Internet, intellectual property, advertising, constitutional, and appellate law for programs presented by many professional and educational organizations. He has also written numerous articles on these issues and is the author of Media Law (BNA).

Representative Matters

  • Represented Brinker International, one of the world’s leading casual dining restaurant companies, in a wage-and-hour class action. In a long-anticipated ruling that resolved the legal standards to be applied to California meal period and rest break class actions, the California Supreme Court ruled that employers must relieve workers of their duties during meal breaks but are not obligated to ensure that employees do no work during breaks, and that employers are not required to schedule the breaks at five-hour intervals. For more information about this landmark case, see here.
  • Represented a large retail company in the New York Court of Appeals and the Second Circuit on claims challenging tipping policies; obtained summary judgment on all claims. 
  • Represented a large accounting firm in a successful Second Circuit dismissal of class action claims and order compelling arbitration of the plaintiff’s individual claims in a lawsuit challenging a large accounting firm’s classification of junior accountants as exempt from overtime.
  • Represented a major grocery chain in a putative wage and hour class action; the Ninth Circuit reversed an order remanding the case to state court on account of defendants’ alleged failure to prove to a legal certainty that the claims satisfied the $5 million jurisdictional threshold of the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), and holding that the preponderance of evidence test, not the legal certainty test, was applicable; and remanded to the district court to determine whether, under the preponderance of the evidence test, the amount in controversy exceeded CAFA’s jurisdictional minimum.
  • Represented a major insurance company in the California Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit securing rulings that there was no insurance coverage because no claim for disparagement was pled.

Community Involvement

Mr. Heinke is involved in numerous community, civic and charitable activities that include being on the Board of Directors of:

  • Bet Tzedek
  • Children’s Law Center
  • Executive Committee, Litigation Section, California Lawyers Association
  • Topsy Foundation

Mr. Heinke has been president of the:

  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Chancery Club
  • Los Angeles County Bar Foundation
  • Los Angeles Copyright Society
  • Public Counsel

Mr. Heinke has been a member of the:

  • California Judicial Council
  • California State Bar Board of Governors
  • Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
  • California State Bar’s Advisory Committee
  • California State Bar’s Task Force on Judicial Nominees and Evaluation Committee
  • California Supreme Court’s Task Force on Multi-Jurisdictional Practice

Awards & Accolades

  • Akin Gump’s labor and employment practice named as Law360 Employment Practice Group of the Year four times in the past seven years, including in 2009, 2013, 2015 and 2016.
  • recognized by Who’s Who Legal 100 in Management labor and employment in 2014
  • recognized as “The Top 10” from Southern California Super Lawyers magazine’s 2014 and 2017 “Top 100” list of Southern California lawyers
  • recognized by The Best Lawyers in America for Appellate Practice, Litigation – First Amendment and Media Law (2013 - 2018) and listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 1991
  • recognized by Super Lawyers Business Edition in Litigation, Appellate in 2013
  • recognized by Southern California Super Lawyers in 2017-2018
  • recipient of one of California Lawyer magazine’s 2013 and 2009 California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year (CLAY) Awards
  • included in Daily Journal “Top Verdicts” of 2012 for “Top Appellate Reversal”
  • ranked in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in the area of Litigation: Appellate (2012-2018)
  • recognized by Benchmark Litigation as a Local Litigation Star in 2017
  • Recommended by Legal 500 US in Dispute Resolution – Supreme Court and Appellate (2016-2017).

Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, Controversy or Calm – the Supreme Court’s next term?, Ball/Hunt/Schooley Inn of Court (October 16, 2017)
  • Panelist, Innovative Justice: Discussion on Reforming the Supreme Court, FWD Monthly Meeting (July 28, 2015)
  • Speaker, SCOTUS: The 2014 Term, CLE webinar (June 30, 2015)
  • Speaker, Anti-Slapp Litigation: Overview and Recent Developments (August 8, 2014)
  • Panelist, Implied Disparagement Claims, ABA Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee (July 18, 2014)
  • Panelist, Fourth Annual Conference on Federal and State Appeals (June 20, 2014)
  • Speaker, 2013-14 California Supreme Court Round-Up, The Federalist Society (June 12, 2014)
  • Speaker, Recent Developments in Arbitration and Mediation Law, Orange County Bar Association Alternative Dispute Resolution Section (May 7, 2014)
  • Speaker, Successful Oral Arguments, The Appellate Process for Non Appellate Practitioners (March 21, 2014)
  • Speaker, Effect of Arbitration Agreements on Class Actions, 2014 Consumer Class Action Litigation & Management Conference (January 10, 2014)
  • Panelist, Appeals and The Press, What We Don't Understand About Each Other, California Academy of Appellate Lawyers Fall Meeting 2013 (September 28, 2013)
  • Speaker, 2012-13 California Supreme Court Round-Up, a review of the CA Supreme Court's most significant decisions in 2012-13, Los Angeles Lawyers Chapter of The Federalist Society (June 18, 2013)
  • Panelist, Recent Cases and Statutory Developments in Arbitration, Orange County Bar Association CLE (May 1, 2013)
  • Speaker, Successful Oral Arguments, The Appellate Process 2013: California and Federal Courts, Bridgeport Continuing Education (March 14, 2013)
  • Speaker, Akin Gump CLE Series for In-house Counsel, Houston (July 26, 2012)
  • Speaker, Akin Gump CLE Series for In-House Counsel, Dallas (July 24, 2012)
  • Speaker, Akin Gump CLE Series for In-House Counsel, New York (June 14, 2012)
  • Panelist, 2011-12 California Supreme Court Round-Up, Federalist Society (June 12, 2012)
  • Speaker, The Brinker Case – What the California Supreme Court Decision Means for Meal and Rest Break Class Actions in California, Akin Gump CLE Series for In-house Counsel, Los Angeles (May 2, 2012)
  • Speaker, Brinker and the Future of Meal and Rest Period Litigation in California (April 19, 2012)
  • Speaker, Global Warming and the Federal Courts, Akin Gump CLE Series, San Francisco (October 12, 2011)
  • Speaker, Global Warming and the Federal Courts, Akin Gump CLE Series, Los Angeles Century City (September 21, 2011
  • Participant, Federal Bar Association-LA mock argument, Appellate Practice Workshop at the 9thCircuit (June 21, 2011)
  • Moderator, Law School 2.0: The Future of Law Schools (and Its Impact on the Appellate World), California Academy of Appellate Lawyers (May 22, 2011)
  • Moderator, Second Annual Conference on Federal and State Appeals, Litigation Section, State Bar of California (April 29, 2011)
  • Speaker, Litigating Case Merits prior to certification & Making the Argument for & against Class Certification, Bridgeport’s class Action Litigation Conference (April 21, 2011)
  • Speaker, Hot Issues in Arbitration, Akin Gump CLE Series for In-house Counsel, Los Angeles (December 9, 2010)
  • Speaker, Motions in Limine, Lorman Education Services CLE Teleconference (June 28, 2010)
  • Panelist, The Future of Big Law: Business as Usual or a New Paradigm, Los Angeles County Bar Association (June 17, 2010).