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It’s Been “Very Satisfying” to Build Supreme Court Practice From Ground Up, Kannon Shanmugam Tells Lawdragon

January 25, 2024

In a wide-ranging interview with Lawdragon, litigation partner Kannon Shanmugam discussed his path from growing up in Kansas, to launching Paul, Weiss’s Supreme Court and Appellate Litigation Practice, to becoming co-chair of the Litigation Department. In “Building a Top-Flight Supreme Court Practice With Kannon Shanmugam,” published on January 25, Kannon discusses the launch of a dedicated Supreme Court practice five years ago and how it has succeeded.

“It was gratifying how quickly our litigation department adapted to having an appellate practice. My partners were my best agents, and they continue to be when it comes to marketing the practice to clients,” he says. Moreover, “it works in both directions. If the firm gets hired to handle a big appeal, it is often the case that if the appeal goes well, the client will hire the firm for other litigation or even transactional matters.”

Kannon also highlights some of his most consequential and memorable Supreme Court cases since joining Paul, Weiss, including Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in which the Court held that the structure of the CFPB was unconstitutional and modified its structure so the president now has the ability to remove the CFPB's director.

“It was an extraordinary case; the constitutional issues were interesting and complex,” Kannon notes. “It was one of the last cases to be argued before the pandemic. As it turned out, the oral argument was one of Justice Ginsburg's last oral arguments in person before she passed away, so it was special for that reason as well.”

Looking ahead, Kannon shares his concerns around the increasing politicization of the judicial nomination and confirmation process, and discusses his priorities as Litigation Department co-chair.

“Our goal is to make sure that we capitalize on our historic strengths and continue to attract the top talent,” he says. “Ultimately, the success of any law firm depends on its ability to attract the very best talent at every level. I think we're doing that now, and we need to keep doing that in the future.”

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