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Christopher Michel

Christopher G. Michel

Direct Tel: 202-538-8308
Washington, D.C.
Tel: +1 202 538 8000 Fax: +1 202 538 8100

Chris Michel is Co-Chair of the firm’s National Appellate Practice.  His practice focuses on complex legal issues at all stages of litigation, with a particular emphasis on appellate and Supreme Court matters along with high-stakes trial briefing and argument.  He has handled significant matters in the areas of securities, antitrust, intellectual property and technology, civil RICO and white-collar fraud, healthcare, employment, administrative law, the First Amendment, corporate governance, and foreign affairs—among others.  He practices frequently in the U.S. Supreme Court, federal and state courts of appeals, and trial courts.  In 2023, he was named an Appellate MVP by Law360 and one of America’s 500 Leading Litigators by Lawdragon, and he is nationally ranked in Appellate Law by Chambers USA.

Chris joined the firm from the Office of the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice.  During his time there, he argued 10 cases before the Supreme Court, briefed roughly 200 more.  In addition to his experience in the Solicitor General’s Office, he served as a counselor to the Attorney General on civil litigation matters and as a special adviser in the White House Counsel’s Office. He began his legal career as a law clerk to Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., at the Supreme Court, and to Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who was then sitting on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Before attending law school, Chris worked at the White House under President George W. Bush, whom he served as Director of Speechwriting, drafting more than 500 presidential speeches including five State of the Union addresses. He also collaborated on President Bush’s memoir, Decision Points.

A native of California and a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, Chris has taught constitutional law and separation of powers at Georgetown University Law Center, and he is an appointed member of the D.C. Circuit’s Advisory Committee on Procedures.

  • Avery Dennison
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Cisco
  • Citadel Securities
  • Elon Musk
  • Express Scripts, Inc.
  • Fanatics
  • Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression
  • Google
  • Hyundai
  • Kia
  • LIV Golf
  • Manhattan Institute
  • Masimo Corp.
  • Medallia
  • National Association of Realtors
  • Neighbors for a Better San Francisco
  • Norwegian Cruise Lines
  • Open AI
  • Pilgrim’s Pride
  • Tesla
  • Texas Capital Bank
  • Trafigura
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Verizon
  • Victims of Oct 7 Attacks
  • X Corp.
  • Cert Petition, Avery Dennison Corp. v. ADASA, Inc.
  • Cert Petition, Elon Musk v. SEC
  • Cert Petition, Free Speech Coalition v. Paxton
  • Cert Petition, Hamid Akhavan v. United States
  • Supreme Court Amicus Brief, NVIDIA Corp. v. Fonder
  • Supreme Court Amicus Brief, Vidal v. Elster
  • Supreme Court Amicus Brief, Grants Pass v. Johnson
  • Supreme Court Amicus Brief, Belya v. Kapral
  • Appeal (D.C. Circuit), National Ass’n of Realtors v. United States
  • Appeal (First Circuit):  Hermalyn v. DraftKings
  • Appeal (Fifth Circuit), Free Speech Coalition v. Colmenero
  • Appeal (Seventh Circuit), Coatney v.
  • Appeal (Eighth Circuit), Jefferson County v. Express Scripts, Inc.
  • Appeal (Ninth Circuit), Calhoun v. Google
  • Appeal (Ninth Circuit), Cisco Systems v. Doe
  • Appeal (Ninth Circuit), City of Buffalo v. Hyundai Motor America
  • Appeal (Eleventh Circuit), Havana Docks v. Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Appeal (Eleventh Circuit), PDVSA U.S. Litigation Trust v. Lukoil Pan Americas LLC
  • Appellate Amicus Brief (Second Circuit), New York Times v. Dep’t of Justice
  • Appellate Amicus Brief (Seventh Circuit), Garrick v. Moody Bible Institute
  • Appellate Amicus Brief (Eleventh Circuit), American Securities Ass’n v. SEC
  • Appellate Mandamus Petition (Sixth Circuit), In re Optum Rx

Cases Briefed and Argued in the U.S. Supreme Court

Lorenzo v. SEC: represented the SEC in defending a securities-fraud liability finding in an enforcement action; obtained what the New York Times called a “significant victory” for the Commission, snapping its prior losing streak at the Supreme Court

Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers: represented the SEC in interpreting the scope of the whistleblower retaliation provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act

USAID v. Alliance for Open Society Int’l, Inc.: represented USAID and the Department of Health and Human Services in defending the constitutional validity of components of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which the Court explained has “helped save an estimated 17 million lives, primarily in Africa”

American Hospital Ass’n v. Becerra: represented HHS in a multi-billion-dollar case involving Medicare reimbursement rates for drugs subject to a statutory discount program

Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Christian: represented the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in opposing a lawsuit that challenged central aspects of the EPA cleanup of a major Superfund site

Hollyfrontier Cheyenne Refining, LLC v. Renewable Fuels Ass’n: represented EPA in defending its interpretation of the exemption-extension provision of the Renewable Fuel Standard

Parker Drilling Mgmt. Services, Ltd. v. Newton: interpreted key provisions of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which determines the law applicable to most offshore-oil-drilling operations

Torres v. Texas Dep’t of Public Safety: defended a federal statutory provision that allows suits against States by military service members who are denied re-employment protections

Kansas v. Garcia: addressed the preemptive effect of the Immigration Reform and Control Act on state criminal prosecutions for identity theft committed through submission of fraudulent tax forms

Edwards v. Vannoy: addressed the retroactive application of the Supreme Court’s newly announced unanimous-jury rule to state prisoners whose convictions had already become final 

Additional Cases Briefed in the Supreme Court

United States v. Tsarnaev: defended a federal jury verdict imposing capital sentences on the perpetrator of the Boston Marathon bombing

Biden v. Missouri: defended HHS’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers

Frank v. Gaos: interpreted provisions of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 governing class certification and class-action settlements in suit alleging privacy violations for Internet searches

United States v. Washington: represented the Department of Energy in challenging a state law imposing heightened workers’ compensation burdens on a former federal nuclear-weapons facility

Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania: defended a HHS rule adopting exemptions to the contraceptive mandate against substantive and procedural Administrative Procedure Act claims

Janus v. AFSCME: addressed the First Amendment validity of unions charging compulsory agency fees to public-sector employees

Merrill v. Milligan: addressed the validity of a state’s congressional redistricting plan under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act

Haaland v. Brackeen: defended the constitutionality of key provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act

Merit Mgmt. Group, LP v. FTI Consulting, Inc.: represented bankruptcy trustee in contending that certain transferred securities were not subject to an avoiding-power exception

  • Yale Law School 
    (J.D., 2013)
    • Notes Editor, Yale Law Journal
    • Burton Award for Distinguished Legal Writing
    • Kauffman Fellowship in Law, Economics & Entrepreneurship
    • Research/Teaching Assistant in Civil Procedure, Federal Courts, and Constitutional Law
  • Yale University
    (B.A., History, 2003)
    • Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude, Distinction in the Major
    • Hart-Lyman and Charles Clark Memorial Prizes for top academic performance
    • Editor in Chief, Yale Daily News
    • Member, Yale Varsity Golf Team


  • Bar of the District of Columbia
  • State Bar of Virginia
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals:
    • D.C. Circuit
    • First Circuit
    • Second Circuit
    • Fourth Circuit
    • Fifth Circuit
    • Sixth Circuit
    • Seventh Circuit
    • Eighth Circuit
    • Ninth Circuit
    • Tenth Circuit
    • Eleventh Circuit
    • Federal Circuit      
  • U.S. District Courts
    • District of the District of Columbia    
    • Eastern District of Virginia
  • United States Department of Justice
    • Assistant to the Solicitor General, 2017-2022
    • Counselor and Chief of Staff to the Attorney General, 2020
  • The White House
    • Special Adviser to the White House Counsel, 2018
  •  Kirkland & Ellis LLP
    • Associate, 2016-2017
  •  Bancroft PLLC
    • Associate, 2015-2016
  •  Georgetown University Law Center
    • Adjunct Professor & Teaching Fellow, 2016-2017
  •  Law Clerk to Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.
    • Supreme Court of the United States, 2014-2015
  •  Law Clerk to the Honorable Brett M. Kavanaugh
    • United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, 2013-2014
  •  The White House
    • Speechwriter to the President, 2003-2009
  • Ranked Nationwide in Appellate Law by Chambers USA, 2024
  • Ranked by Lawdragon 500 Leading Litigators in America for appellate, inc. Supreme Court, 2024
  • Named Law360 Appellate MVP
  • Appellate Group ranked by National Law Journal Appellate Hot List
  • University of Pennsylvania Law School, Federalist Society Public Interest Panel:  The U.S. Solicitor General’s Office and the Supreme Court (Nov. 2023)
  • American University Washington College of Law, IP at the Supreme Court Series Panel (Nov. 2023)
  • Federal Bar Association, Appellate Advocacy Panel (Oct. 2023)
  • American University Law Review, Federal Circuit Symposium (Oct. 2023)
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce Podcast, Review of Supreme Court Business Cases (July 2023)
  • Bloomberg Law, The Biggest FCA Case of the Term Is One the Court Didn’t Decide (July 2023)
  • Becket Fund, Law Firm Practice Panel (June 2023)
  • International Association of Defense Counsel Conference, Supreme Court Panel (April 2023)
  • C. Boyden Gray Center, Administrative Law Conference (May 2023)
  • Quinn Emanuel, “Announcement: Partner Christopher G. Michel joins Washington, D.C. office,” January 2023
  • Reuters, “Law firm Quinn Emanuel hires Justice Dept. lawyer to co-head appellate team,” January 2023
  • Guest Lecturer, Supreme Court 2021 Term, Antonin Scalia Law School (July 2022)
  • Guest Lecturer, Supreme Court 2020 Term, Antonin Scalia Law School (July 2021)
  • Federalist Society, Courthouse Steps: D.C. Circuit En Banc Arguments (May 2017)
  • Ragan Communications Speechwriters Conference, Policy and Persuasion (March 2017)
  • Yale Club of Washington, D.C., Panel: The Supreme Court: An Insider’s View (September 2016)
  • Yale College Buckley Program, Speechwriting and Legal Writing (September 2015)
  • Yale Law Journal, There’s No Such Thing as a Political Question of Statutory Interpretation: The Implications of Zivotofsky v. Clinton (2013)
  • Yale Law & Policy Review, Bench Memoirs: A Review of Five Chiefs by Justice John Paul Stevens (2012)
  • D.C. Circuit Advisory Committee on Procedures
  • Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court
  • Federalist Society Practice Group on Federalism and Separation of Powers
  • Yale Law School Association Executive Committee
  • Yale Daily News Foundation Board of Directors
  • Georgetown Supreme Court Institute