Paul Hughes is a partner in Mayer Brown’s Supreme Court & Appellate practice in Washington DC. He briefs and argues complex appeals, and he develops legal strategy for trial litigation. Paul is also a Visiting Clinical Lecturer in Law at the Yale Law School, where he co-directs Yale’s Supreme Court Advocacy Clinic.
Paul has argued before the US Supreme Court twice, before en banc sittings of the Fifth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits, and before panels of the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, DC, and Federal Circuits. Paul has argued more than 20 cases, and he has handled over 200 appellate matters, including 16 merits cases at the US Supreme Court.
Law360 (2017) and the National Law Journal (2017) both recognized Paul as a “Rising Star” among appellate practitioners. Placing Paul on its “Under 40 Hotlist”, Benchmark Litigation (2017) identified him as among “the most promising emerging talent.” Paul has appeared in and been quoted by a wide array of national media outlets. And his work contributed to Mayer Brown’s inclusion in The National Law Journal’s 2016 and 2017 Appellate Hot List.
The American Lawyer (2017) named Paul “Litigator of the Week” in connection with his work relating to immigration. Paul recently won summary judgment against the Department of Homeland Security, invalidating the agency’s delay of the International Entrepreneur Rule.
Paul has significant experience with intellectual property appeals. He authored the winning Supreme Court briefs in Impression Products v. Lexmark (2017), a landmark victory defining the scope of patent exhaustion. Per the Washington Post, this decision has “enormous implications for the economy” and “real ramifications for America’s way of life.” Paul argued a trademark matter in the US Supreme Court, Hana Financial, Inc. v. Hana Bank, No. 13-1211. And he has briefed and argued several cases in the Federal Circuit. Recent successes include Rapid Litig. Mgmt. Ltd. v. CellzDirect, Inc., 827 F.3d 1042 (Fed. Cir. 2016), which defines the reach of Section 101 to biotechnology.
Additionally, Paul often litigates appeals involving banking and securities law. He recently argued and won a bankruptcy case (Matter of Haler, 2017 WL 6729967 (5th Cir. Dec. 29, 2017)), and a transnational financial case (Toumazou v. HSBC, No. 14-7170) in the DC Circuit. Paul obtained an interlocutory victory in Retirement Board of the Policemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund v. The Bank of New York Mellon, 775 F.3d 154 (2d Cir. 2014), a closely-watched case involving the Trust Indenture Act.
Paul maintains an active pro bono practice, where he regularly represents civil rights litigants, immigrants, and criminal defendants in appellate matters. In 2016, Paul prevailed in Ross v. Blake, 136 S. Ct. 1850 (2016), before the US Supreme Court. A critical decision with respect to the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Empirical SCOTUS identified Blake as one of five decisions from October Term 2015 that is “making waves in the lower courts” and will have among “the greatest downstream effects.”
Prior to joining Mayer Brown, Paul served as a law clerk to the Honorable Diana Gribbon Motz, US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Paul received his JD from the Yale Law School, where he served as a senior editor of the Yale Law Journal and was the recipient of the C. LaRue Munson Prize and the Chubb Prize. He received his MA in International Law & Politics, with distinction, and AB, summa cum laude, from Georgetown University.