A Q&A with Pratik Shah, Washington Business Journal “Rising Star”

As part of its celebration of the practitioners selected for its inaugural “Legal Champions” contest, which recognizes distinguished legal professionals in the Washington, D.C. region, Washington Business Journal conducted interviews with the honorees, among them Akin Gump Supreme Court and appellate practice co-head Pratik Shah.

Among the topics covered:

  • What it’s like to argue before the Court: “First and foremost, it’s an honor and privilege to be able to do that…I think the one thing that makes it a little bit easier and less intimidating than it otherwise might be is the fact that when you’re up there arguing, you’re actually just a few feet away from the justices. It feels much more like a conversation.”
  • Lessons learned from the Defense of Marriage Act case as assistant to the solicitor general: “The important lesson is to be able to listen to the different voices. Even though you can’t make everyone happy, in articulating a position at least that you can let everyone know that you’ve…heard the different views, that your decision is an informed one.”
  • Biggest changes in the legal profession (Supreme Court practice, in particular) in the past decade: “One is the emergence of the Supreme Court clinics at various law schools that I think have changed the nature [of Supreme Court practice]. For clients it’s made pro bono representation at the Supreme Court much more prevalent and of a much higher quality.”