James C. Ho is a partner in the Dallas office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, and co-chair of the firm’s Appellate and Constitutional Law practice group. He has over a decade of government experience, most recently as Solicitor General of Texas and as Chief Counsel to U.S. Senator John Cornyn.
Mr. Ho is routinely ranked among leading appellate litigators. Benchmark called him “one of the most skilled appellate advocates in the country,” and recognized him with a “National Impact” award for “secur[ing] a series of multi-million dollar, headline-grabbing wins for major clients in state and federal courts across the country.” Chambers praised him as a “highly respected figure at the appellate Bar in Texas and nationwide.” Law360 applauded his work in its “Texas Powerhouse” series for “shielding clients from a combined total of nearly $15 billion in liability,” and in its “Class Action Group of the Year” series for his “rescue squad” effort to overturn a $150 million class certification order, and named him a “Legal Lion” and “Rising Star” in appellate litigation. The National Law Journal named him among the “upper echelons of Supreme Court practice,” as well as one of the top minority lawyers in the nation. Texas Lawyer named him one of 25 “Extraordinary Minorities in Texas Law,” noting his success challenging government regulations. Texas Tribune called him one of the “big guns” of the Texas bar. He has also been named as a leading appellate lawyer by The Best Lawyers in America®, The Legal 500, Texas Super Lawyers, and D Magazine.
Appellate and Constitutional Law Practice
Mr. Ho has presented over 45 oral arguments in federal and state courts nationwide (prevailing in over 75%)—including 25 arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the Texas Supreme Court.
Among his most significant wins as lead appellate counsel: Mr. Ho persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Fifth Circuit and Eleventh Circuit precedents in Thaler v. Haynes and Sossamon v. Texas, respectively. He has argued and won before the en banc panel of the Fifth Circuit. He has defeated two multi-billion dollar class actions (in the Fifth Circuit and the Oklahoma Supreme Court), won reversals in four other appeals defeating suits seeking over $100 million (twice in the Fifth Circuit and twice in the Texas Supreme Court), and successfully litigated numerous challenges to government actions and other multi-million dollar appeals nationwide.
Mr. Ho has briefed and argued various appeals on behalf of amici curiae. His amicus briefs have been cited at every level of the federal and Texas judiciaries—including the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fifth and Seventh Circuits, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, the Texas Supreme Court, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, and both trial and appellate courts in Austin, Texas.
In addition, Mr. Ho has successfully litigated critical trial court motions, including preliminary injunction, class certification, motion to dismiss, summary judgment, and post-trial motions to overturn multi-million dollar verdicts. He also regularly counsels clients outside of litigation, on legal issues arising out of pending legislation, regulatory proceedings, and government investigations. He has testified on business and constitutional issues before Congress, the Texas Legislature, and various governmental agencies.
A list of representative matters is available here [PDF].
Government and Public Service Experience
As Solicitor General of Texas, the state’s chief appellate and Supreme Court litigator, Mr. Ho represented Texas in its most difficult appeals and constitutional disputes. He received three Supreme Court Best Brief Awards from the National Association of Attorneys General. He is the only state solicitor general in U.S. Supreme Court history to be invited to express the views of a state.
Mr. Ho has also served with distinction in all three branches of the federal government. As chief counsel to Senator John Cornyn and the Senate Judiciary Subcommittees on the Constitution and Immigration, he was named one of the best 35 Congressional aides under 35 by The Hill. During the first year of the Bush Administration, he helped lead the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. At the Office of Legal Counsel, he advised White House and other Administration officials on constitutional and other complex legal issues, and earned the Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service from the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He also served as a law clerk for Judge Jerry E. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court.
His record of public service also includes appointments to various boards and commissions. Mr. Ho is vice chair of the Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee, established by U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz to evaluate appointments to the federal bench and U.S. Attorney in Texas. He has also served on the U.S. Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel for the Northern District of Texas, the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society Board of Trustees, the Continuity of Government Commission, and the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Before law school, he was a legislative aide to California State Senator Quentin Kopp.
Other Background Information
Taiwanese by birth and Texan by marriage, Mr. Ho is an active member of the Asian American community. He is co-chair of the Judiciary Committee of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and a recipient of the Association’s Presidential Award.
In addition, Mr. Ho has taught U.S. Supreme Court Litigation as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Texas School of Law, and served as co-editor of Pub. L. Misc., and as senior editor of the Green Bag.
Mr. Ho graduated from Stanford University with honors and a B.A. in Public Policy, and the University of Chicago Law School with high honors. He and his wife Allyson, a fellow appellate litigator, have a twin daughter and son.