James C. Ho is a partner in the Dallas office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he leads the firm’s Appellate and Constitutional Law Practice Group in Texas. 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.” Chambers USA ranked him in its highest tier of Texas appellate lawyers (Band 1). Law360 recognized him in its Texas Powerhouse series for “shielding clients from a combined total of nearly $15 billion in liability,” and previously named him a Rising Star as one of the nation’s top appellate lawyers under 40. The National Law Journal named him among the “upper echelons of Supreme Court practice” and 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.
Representative Matters [PDF]
- As lead appellate counsel, Mr. Ho has argued and won dozens of cases at every level of the federal and Texas judiciary. He has won reversals of adverse rulings and other victories on appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Texas Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and other federal and state courts of appeals nationwide. In the U.S. Supreme Court, he defeated an attempt by the federal government to impose monetary liability on state governments, overturning two circuit precedents that authorized such recoveries (Sossamon v. Texas), and won a rare ruling unanimously reinstating a capital sentence set aside by the Fifth Circuit (Thaler v. Haynes).
- As trial counsel, Mr. Ho has successfully litigated preliminary injunction, dismissal, class action, and summary judgment motions, and overturned multi-million dollar jury verdicts in post-trial proceedings.
- As amicus counsel, his briefs have been cited favorably by the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fifth and Seventh Circuits, and state courts at every level of the Texas judiciary.
- Mr. Ho also regularly counsels clients on legal issues arising out of pending legislation, government investigations, and regulatory proceedings. He has testified on business and constitutional issues before both Congress and the Texas Legislature as well as various governmental agencies.
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 nationwide to be invited to express the views of a state before the Supreme Court.
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 numerous boards and commissions, including the Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee, 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 twin toddlers, Quentin and Georgia.