"Clients regard Richard Bress as a 'great appellate lawyer'" who
"'com[es] onto a matter at the appellate stage, quickly get[s] up to speed on the issues, and handl[es] the appeal in the most efficient manner possible.'"Chambers USA 2014

Richard P. Bress

Washington, D.C.
  • 555 Eleventh Street, NW
  • Suite 1000
  • Washington, D.C. 20004-1304
  • USA

Richard Bress is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office. He is currently a member of Latham & Watkins' Executive Committee and previously was the Global Chair of Latham's Associates Committee. His practice is focused on appellate and Supreme Court litigation. He has argued dozens of appellate cases, including eight in the Supreme Court and is a frequent commentator on appellate advocacy issues.

Mr. Bress is recognized as one of the top US appellate and Supreme Court advocates by The Legal 500 US and Chambers USA, which have described him as "'a strong appeals lawyer' who 'provides great representation'" and whose "resume displays an impressive range of experience at the top level." He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Advocates, and has been recognized consistently by Washingtonian magazine as one of Washington, D.C.'s "Top Appellate Lawyers and by Best Lawyers as one of the "Best Lawyers in America" in the area of appellate law, based on peer recommendations. In 2013, Mr. Bress was named an “Appellate MVP” by Law360, and in 2015 was named a “Client Service All-Star” in BTI Consulting Group’s survey of US corporate leaders.

Before joining Latham, Mr. Bress served as an Assistant to the Solicitor General of the United States. During his tenure, he argued several cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, drafted more than 100 briefs (including petitions for and briefs in opposition to certiorari), and assisted the Solicitor General in developing the government's position on a broad range of constitutional and commercial issues in the Supreme Court and the federal courts of appeals.

Prior to his work in the Solicitor General's Office, Mr. Bress spent several years in private practice, engaged primarily in general and appellate litigation. Before entering private practice, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Justice Antonin Scalia and D.C. Circuit Judge Stephen F. Williams.

Mr. Bress is admitted to the bars of the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Federal and D.C. Circuits.

Mr. Bress has handled a broad range of cases for a diverse client base which includes the United States House of Representatives, Affymetrix, AOL, BNSF, Clear Channel, DirecTV, Geico, HCA, InterDigital Communications, Mirant, Molten Corporation, Monsanto, PG&E, Prometheus Laboratories, Sithe Energies and Union Pacific.

Mr. Bress' recent engagements include the following:

  • N.Y. Statewide Coalition N.Y. Statewide Coalition of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce v. N.Y.C. Dep’t of Health & Mental Hygiene, 110 A.D.3d 1 (1st Dep’t 2013). Representing the American Beverage Association, Mr. Bress led the broad-based coalition that successfully challenged former New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s infamous “soda ban.” He played a central role setting the overall litigation strategy from the outset and successfully argued both appeals, securing an unbroken series of highly publicized victories. Affirming the lower courts’ rulings invalidating the ban, the New York State Court of Appeals held that the ban’s promulgation had overstepped executive authority in violation of the state’s constitutional separation of powers.
  • Cellco Partnership v. FCC, 700 F.3d 534 (D.C. Cir. 2012). Representing Leap Wireless and arguing on behalf of all of the intervenors supporting the FCC, Mr. Bress successfully opposed a challenge by Verizon Wireless to a new rule requiring wireless providers to offer data roaming services. The D.C. Circuit upheld the FCC’s rule against Verizon’s charge that it constituted an impermissible common carriage regulation, securing the environment for fair competition among mobile data service providers to the benefit of consumers.
  • Corey Airport Services, Inc. v. Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc., 682 F.3d 1293 (11th Cir. 2012) (per curiam). No. 11-10580. Representing Clear Channel Outdoor Inc., Mr. Bress successfully prosecuted and argued an appeal overturning a jury-based trial court judgment holding Clear Channel liable for conspiring to violate the constitutional rights of a competing bidder for a government contract. The Eleventh Circuit agreed with Mr. Bress’ argument that alleged favoritism toward a supposed political insider fails to state a claim under the Equal Protection Clause, and on that ground reversed the judgment and vacated the compensatory and punitive damages award.
  • BNSF Railway Co. v. Surface Transportation Board, 12-1327 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 31, 2014). Mr. Bress led and argued two successive D.C. Circuit appeals on behalf of BNSF Railway, challenging the Surface Transportation Board’s award of hundreds of millions of dollars in rate reductions and rate reparations. Winning both appeals, Mr. Bress successfully argued that the Board acted arbitrarily and capriciously when ordering the largest rate reparations ever issued against an American railway company.

More generally, Mr. Bress has extensive experience litigating appeals in the Supreme Court, the federal courts of appeals, and state appellate and supreme courts in a broad range of matters, including:

  • Constitutional, statutory and administrative challenges to federal agency rules and orders, particularly those involving EPA, FERC, FCC, HHS and HUD
  • Challenges to laws and regulations affecting commercial speech
  • Judgments under the federal securities and antitrust laws, and ERISA

  • Challenges to punitive damages awards

  • Patent, Lanham Act and other intellectual property disputes

  • Challenges to governmental takings of private property

  • Disputes over government contracts