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Nix-Hines, Crystal

Crystal Nix-Hines

Los Angeles
Tel: +1 213 443 3000 Fax: +1 213 443 3100

Crystal Nix-Hines is a Partner in the Los Angeles Office where she focuses on class action litigation, internal investigations, complex business disputes, intellectual property and sovereign dispute litigation. Her clients include domestic and multinational corporations, global investment firms, business executives and entrepreneurs and major non-profit organizations. Ambassador Nix-Hines returned to the firm in 2017 after her tenure in Paris, France as U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO. A C-Suite and Board-level strategic thinker, Ambassador Nix-Hines Co-Chairs the firm’s Crisis Law & Strategy Group, advising clients on crisis management and resolution, as well as strategic issues including diversity and inclusion and corporate governance.  She also Chairs the firm’s Education Practice Group and is currently defending numerous universities in COVID-19-related class action litigation. She initially joined the firm in 2008.

A law clerk to Supreme Court Justices Thurgood Marshall and Sandra Day O’Connor, and to Judge William Norris of the Ninth Circuit, Ambassador Nix-Hines excels in formulating legal strategy and persuasive written advocacy that often leads to early resolution at the pleading and summary judgment stages. She has played an instrumental role in significant trial and appellate cases, including two successful cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ambassador Nix-Hines has won numerous awards including: Law360’s “Class Action MVP”; Lawdragon’s “500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers”; the Daily Journal’s “Top Women Lawyers of 2021”; Benchmark Litigation’s “Top 250 Women in Litigation,” and Lawyers of Color’s “Nation’s Best” Award. 

During her ambassadorial tenure, Ambassador Nix-Hines established a proactive, entrepreneurial and constructive mandate for the U.S. Mission that highlighted American leadership and improved organizational governance and effectiveness.  She successfully led United States’ efforts in Paris to secure reelection to UNESCO’s Executive Board – the key decision-making body – as well as launched a series of innovative initiatives, including two global public-private partnerships.

Ambassador Nix-Hines earned a B.A. from Princeton University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where she graduated with honors and served as Supervising Editor of the Harvard Law Review. She serves on the boards of Fulcrum BioEnergy Inc. and the California Community Foundation and on the advisory board of Cross River Bank. She previously served for nine years as a Trustee of Princeton University.

  • AIG Inc.
  • American Tower Company
  • Allstate Insurance
  • Caltech
  • Ford Motor Company
  • General Motors
  • Google
  • Home Depot
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Mattel Inc.
  • Nextel Communications, Inc. (Sprint)
  • Shell Oil Company
  • TPG
  • The California Endowment
  • The State of North Carolina
  • Viceroy Hotel Group
  • Defended Ford Motor Company in class action product liability lawsuits.
  • Helped secure an 8-1 win for Shell Oil Company in the U.S. Supreme Court regarding “arranger” liability for the disposal of hazardous wastes under CERCLA. Wrote and edited significant portions of the brief and prepared lead attorney for oral argument.
  • Successfully defended the State of North Carolina's redistricting plan before the U.S. Supreme Court against claims of racial gerrymandering, resulting in a unanimous victory. Principal brief writer and editor and prepared lead attorney for oral argument.
  • Represented AIG in its successful lawsuit against Bank of America, Countrywide and Merrill Lynch for their alleged roles in a massive fraud in marketing and selling mortgage backed securities, resulting in a nine figure settlement for AIG. Drafted and edited key motions and briefs; helped strategize and prepare for oral arguments.
  • Successfully defended a Fortune 100 company in connection with a statewide investigation conducted by the Attorney General and District Attorneys' offices regarding the company's statewide hazardous waste and materials practices. Principal brief writer and editor of briefs, motions and settlement presentations. Resulted in a favorable settlement for the company.
  • Represented Mattel with respect to two trials and appeal arising out of claims of infringement and trade secret misappropriation of Bratz dolls. Wrote and edited key motions and briefs.
  • Wrote significant sections of an amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court, defending key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which was upheld by the Court.
  • Harvard Law School
    (J.D., cum laude, 1990)
    • Harvard Law Review:
      • Supervising Editor and Managing Board Member
    • Member, Black Law Students Association
  • Princeton University
    (B.A., 1985)


  • The State Bar of California
  • The State Bar of New York
  • The District of Columbia Bar (inactive)
  • The United States Supreme Court
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):
    • United States Ambassador, 2014-2017 
  • Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP:
    • Of Counsel, 2008-2014
  • Fairbanks & Vincent:
    • Special Counsel, 2006-2008
  • Disney/Touchstone Productions/Fox/independent:
    • Writer/Producer, 2001-2012
  • O’Melveny & Myers, LLP:
    • Special Counsel, Litigation Department, 1997-2000
  • United States State Department:
    • Counselor to Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights & Labor; Member, Policy Planning Staff, 1995-1997
    • Special Assistant to the Legal Adviser, 1993-1995
  • Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. (now Disney/ABC, Inc.):
    • Assistant to the General Counsel – Senior Vice President, 1992-1993
  • Law clerk to the Hon. Justice Thurgood Marshall and Hon. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor:
    • United States Supreme Court, 1991-1992
  • Law Clerk to the Hon. William A. Norris:
    • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 1990-1991 
  • The New York Times:
    • Reporter, 1985-1987
  • Benchmark Litigation, Local Litigation Star, 2022
  • Benchmark Litigation’s Top 250 Women in Litigation, 2021
  • Law360 Class Action MVP, 2021
  • Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers, 2021, 2022
  • Daily Journal, Top Women Lawyers, 2021
  • Lawyers of Color, Nation's Best Award, 2020
  • Princeton University's Association of Black Princeton Alumni Service Award, 2013
  • United States Department of State Superior Honor Award, 1995
  • The New York Times Publisher’s Award, 1985
  • New York Press Club, Cub Reporter of the Year Award, 1986
  • Princeton University Frederick Douglass Award, 1985
  • Princeton Student Achievement Award, 1984
  • United States News & World Report, Lawrence Scholar, 1983 and 1984
  • California Community Foundation, Board Member Elect 2019
  • Co-Chair, Los Angeles Mayor’s International Advisory Council, 2020
  • Princeton University Board of Trustees, 1999-2003; 2009-2014
  • Member, American Bar Association:
    • International Litigation Committee, Co-Chair, 1998-2000
    • Central & Eastern European Law Initiative, Advisory Committee Member, 1997-1999
  • Member, International Human Rights Law Group (now Global Rights Group),
    • Executive Committee, Board Member, 1997-2000
  • Princeton University Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs,
    • Advisory Council Member, 1986-2000
  • Council on Foreign Relations, Term Member, 1993-1998