Blake Stafford is an associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins and a member of the firm’s Supreme Court & Appellate Practice.

Mr. Stafford represents clients in a broad range of matters in state and federal appellate courts, including the US Supreme Court. He also assists with strategic analysis and dispositive briefing in high-stakes trial court litigation and regulatory proceedings.

Mr. Stafford’s litigation experience encompasses a wide variety of substantive legal issues. He has successfully represented clients in matters involving precedent-setting questions of:

  • Administrative law
  • Securities regulation
  • Environmental law
  • Antitrust
  • Constitutional law
  • Torts
  • Federal civil procedure
  • Contract interpretation

Among his most significant wins, Mr. Stafford led the certiorari and merits briefing and served as second chair in SEC v. Cochran (2023), securing a unanimous Supreme Court victory on behalf of CPA Michelle Cochran in a decision allowing federal courts to hear structural constitutional challenges to SEC enforcement proceedings. He likewise led the briefing and obtained a unanimous Supreme Court victory on behalf of the Government of Guam in Guam v. United States (2021), a complex statutory-interpretation case involving environmental regulations.

Mr. Stafford also argued on behalf of the National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates in NOVA v. Secretary of Veterans Affairs (2022), successfully urging the Federal Circuit to vacate unlawful restrictions on veterans’ disability benefits imposed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. That victory followed a 2020 win in the same case before the en banc Federal Circuit, which overturned circuit precedent limiting veterans’ rights to challenge the Department of Veterans Affairs’ regulations.

Prior to joining Latham full-time, Mr. Stafford clerked for Judge Jay S. Bybee of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He earned his JD at Wake Forest University School of Law, where he graduated first in his class.

Thought Leadership

  • Recurring Panelist, “Quarterly Supreme Court Update,” Federal Bar Association, Capitol Hill Chapter (2020-2021)
  • Author, “US Congress Affirms and Expands SEC’s Disgorgement Authority in Annual Defense Spending Bill,” Latham & Watkins Client Alert (January 2021)
  • Author, “US Supreme Court Upholds SEC’s Authority to Seek Disgorgement,” Latham & Watkins Client Alert (June 2020)
  • Author, “Supreme Court to Review SEC’s Authority to Seek Disgorgement,” Latham & Watkins Client Alert (November 2019)
  • Riding the Line Between “Employee” and “Independent Contractor” in the Modern Sharing Economy, 51 Wake Forest L. Rev. 1223 (2016)

Blake Stafford's representative experience includes:

  • SEC v. Cochran, 143 S. Ct. 890 (2023): Obtained unanimous victory on behalf of Michelle Cochran in US Supreme Court case authorizing federal courts to hear structural constitutional challenges to SEC enforcement proceedings
  • Guam v. United States, 141 S. Ct. 1608 (2021): Secured certiorari and unanimous reversal on behalf of Guam in US Supreme Court case raising significant and statutory-interpretation questions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
  • National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates, Inc. v. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, 48 F.4th 1307 (Fed. Cir. 2022): Successfully urged Federal Circuit to vacate Department of Veterans Affairs’ unlawfully narrow interpretation of rules governing disability benefits for service-related knee injuries
  • National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates, Inc. v. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, 981 F.3d 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2020) (en banc): Obtained initial hearing en banc and 11-0 victory in the Federal Circuit on multiple jurisdictional issues regarding the reviewability of rules promulgated by the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Gonzalez v. Mathis, 493 P.3d 212 (Cal. 2021): Achieved unanimous victory in the California Supreme Court on behalf of singer Johnny Mathis in an important tort case concerning the scope of landowner liability for injured independent contractors
  • Lanzo v. Cyprus Amax Minerals Co., 254 A.3d 691 (N.J. App. Div. 2021): Obtained unanimous reversal of US$36 million jury verdict against Imerys Talc America in precedent-setting decision by the New Jersey Appellate Division concerning expert testimony in talcum-powder asbestos litigation
  • Niemann v. Carlsen, 2023 WL 4198227 (E.D. Mo. 2023): Achieved complete dismissal of claims against Chess.com and related defendants in high-profile defamation and antitrust lawsuit brought by chess grandmaster
  • Gray v. Wilkie, 139 S. Ct. 2764 (2019): Obtained grant of certiorari in the US Supreme Court on behalf of Navy veteran challenging Federal Circuit decision denying jurisdiction to review rules promulgated by the Department of Veterans Affairs; the Supreme Court ultimately vacated the Federal Circuit’s judgment after the case became moot

Bar Qualification

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia

Education

  • JD, Wake Forest University School of Law, 2017
    Order of the Coif, magna cum laude
  • MS, Louisiana State University, 2014
  • BA, Louisiana State University, 2013

Languages Spoken

  • English