The National Law Journal (NLJ) has named Latham to its annual Appellate Hot List for the tenth year. The list recognizes select firms for “winning big in federal and state appeals courts across the country.” The accompanying article highlighted the group’s Supreme Court victory for Florida in Florida v. Georgia, in which the Court ruled 5–4 that the special master had improperly recommended that Florida’s case should be dismissed. The case is an original action in the long-running “water wars” between Florida and Georgia, concerning Georgia’s use of water from the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River basin. The Court’s decision clarifies the legal standard States must meet to secure relief in the increasingly important area of water rights, represents a complete win for Florida at this stage of the case, and preserves Florida’s efforts to protect the Apalachicola Bay region.
The case, decided on the last day of the Court’s 2018 term, added to the remarkable record of wins for Supreme Court & Appellate Practice Chair Gregory Garre in 5–4 cases — by definition, the most difficult cases to win. In an October 2017 study, Empirical SCOTUS calculated that Garre had prevailed in more 5–4 (or one vote) cases before the Court than any Supreme Court advocate since 2005.
When asked about the Latham victory in Florida v. Georgia, Garre noted the case “involved one of the largest evidentiary records I have ever worked with and novel issues of law in a highly unique area of the Court’s docket. We achieved the win by assembling a team that mastered the record and by integrating our best factual points and legal arguments in a way that highlighted the consequences of the action for the Apalachicola Region of Florida.”
Lawyers in Latham’s Supreme Court & Appellate Practice have served at all levels in the US Office of the Solicitor General including as US Solicitor General, US Deputy Solicitor General, and Assistants to the US Solicitor General, and they have enjoyed success in the Supreme Court, federal state and appellate courts and trial level courts. The Practice includes partner Melissa Arbus Sherry, who has argued ten cases before the US Supreme Court, ranking her as one of the top ten women advocates with the most Supreme Court appearances over the past ten Terms, according to a 2018 Law360 article. Latham’s hallmark collaborative approach ensures that before a matter even reaches the appellate phase, the firm’s appellate lawyers are working hand-in-hand with trial teams to persuasively frame and preserve issues for appeal.