Appellate Litigation

Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP has substantial experience representing clients at every stage of an appeal in both state and federal courts—including at the U.S. Supreme Court. We have won cases of historic importance, securing a landmark victory for LGBTQ rights and successfully defending the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election. In 2022, we were included on The National Law Journal’s “Appellate Hot List.”

The firm’s Appellate practice spans every dimension of our work and encompasses commercial, criminal, and public interest matters. We advise clients at all stages of litigation on appellate strategy, and our lawyers have extensive experience teaming up with trial counsel to identify key issues and maximize the odds of success on appeal. We excel at working closely with clients to convey their stories—and present their legal arguments—in the clearest and most compelling way possible. Our lawyers approach every matter with a creative, strategic outlook and a client-centric commitment to mastering the issues.

KHF is fiercely dedicated to success on appeal. We are adept at helping clients navigate the certiorari and merits stages of U.S. Supreme Court proceedings—and have a proven record of success for clients in high-stakes, emergency appellate proceedings. In approaching such matters, we draw on formidable expertise: five of our lawyers clerked at the U.S. Supreme Court, and many more have clerked in the U.S. Courts of Appeals.

The firm’s recent Supreme Court representations include:

  • The Governors of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in successfully defending their states’ congressional districting maps
  • Governor Andy Beshear of Kentucky in successfully defending the constitutionality of his COVID-19 public health orders
  • The City of Philadelphia in Fulton v. Philadelphia, a case raising a First Amendment challenge to the City’s non-discrimination requirements for foster care providers
  • The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in successfully defending its certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election
  • The SEIU in successfully opposing a cert. petition seeking review of the constitutionality of Washington State’s access to information law
  • Maryland and the District of Columbia in successfully opposing a cert. petition filed by former President Trump in the Emoluments Clause litigation

The firm’s recent appellate representations include:

  • Brown University in successfully defending an order upholding a class action settlement of claims arising under Title IX (First Circuit)
  • A victim of race discrimination in successfully reversing a decision that dismissed her claims at the summary judgment stage (First Circuit)
  • The Federal Defenders of New York in successfully reinstating their suit challenging attorney access limitations imposed by the Bureau of Prisons (Second Circuit)
  • AECOM in successfully defending the dismissal of a substantial majority of False Claims Act allegations related to a $1 billion government contract (Second Circuit)
  • Victims of a consumer fraud perpetrated by Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization in successfully defending an order that denied efforts to compel their case into arbitration (Second Circuit)
  • Buffalo Mayoral Candidate India Walton in successfully staying an order that invalidated provisions of New York election law (Second Circuit)
  • E. Jean Carroll in defending an order that denied substitution under the Westfall Act in her defamation suit against Donald J. Trump (Second Circuit)
  • A victim of torture and persecution based on her sexual orientation in challenging an erroneous Board of Immigration Appeals determination (Ninth Circuit)
  • The Center for Tech and Civic Life in successfully defending the dismissal of a case alleging constitutional and civil RICO claims (Tenth Circuit)
  • Avilon in successfully reversing the dismissal of an unjust enrichment claim concerning an alleged scheme to siphon tens of millions of dollars that were loaned to entities under the defendant’s control (NY First Department)
  • Uber in successfully securing expedited interim relief staying an arbitration provider’s allegedly unlawful invoicing practices in connection with a mass arbitration (NY First Department)

The firm’s recent Supreme Court amicus representations include:

  • Former federal prosecutors in explaining why a U.S. Senator may be required to testify in an investigation into interference with the 2020 election in Georgia
  • Experts on public accommodations law in addressing an asserted First Amendment free speech right to violate state civil rights statutes
  • The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in addressing the constitutionality of public carry regulations
  • Professors Reva Siegel, Melissa Murray, and Serena Mayeri in explaining how equal protection principles support the constitutional right to an abortion
  • Former federal judges in describing the power of federal courts to grant classwide injunctive relief in certain immigration cases
  • Former national security officials in highlighting the importance of a qualified First Amendment right of access to significant FISC decisions
  • FAMM and NACDL in urging the Supreme Court to address the availability of compassionate release in light of the First Step Act
  • Former Solicitors General in demonstrating that Title VII’s plain text prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender status
  • The City of Seattle in opposing a constitutional challenge under the Takings Clause that would undermine local health and safety regimes

Prior to joining KHF, some of our lawyers’ appellate litigation matters included:

  • Representing Edith Windsor in her successful challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act before the Second Circuit and the Supreme Court
  • Serving among counsel to an amicus appointed by the Supreme Court to defend a decision interpreting provisions of the Social Security Act
  • Representing parties at the Supreme Court in certiorari-stage proceedings addressing issues including copyright law, federal preemption, class certification, sentencing, the rights of criminal defendants, federal labor law, and civil rights.
  • Representing individuals and companies on appeal in cases arising from class action, bankruptcy, False Claims Act, arbitration, contract, and employment disputes
  • Representing the U.S. government in successfully defending convictions in cases involving international terrorism, domestic terrorism, and narcotics trafficking
  • Representing individuals in a wide range of civil rights, constitutional, family law, and immigration cases in state and federal appellate proceedings


Lawyers who specialize in this Practice Area