Matthew D. McGill is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. He practices in the firm's Litigation Department and its Appellate and Constitutional Law and Intellectual Property practice groups.
Mr. McGill is a Chambers-ranked appellate litigator, and previously was named a national Rising Star by Law360, which identified him as one of ten appellate lawyers under 40 to watch. He has participated in 20 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, prevailing in 15. Spanning a wide range of substantive areas, those representations have included several high-profile triumphs over foreign and domestic sovereigns:
- Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust (2016) – Arguing before the Supreme Court on behalf of creditors that found themselves on the leading edge of Puerto Rico's debt crisis, Mr. McGill successfully defended an injunction invalidating Puerto Rico's emergency municipal bankruptcy legislation. The ruling protected bondholders against the "chance that the territory could write its own bankruptcy plan" (Wall Street Journal) and ensured that Congress would remain in charge of any rescue plan for Puerto Rico.
- Bank Markazi v. Peterson (2016) – In this important separation-of-powers case, Mr. McGill represented victims of the 1983 Beirut Marine Corps Barracks Bombing who hold judgments against the government of Iran. Ruling in favor of the Beirut Marines, the Supreme Court rejected arguments from Iran's central bank that Congress had impermissibly invaded the province of the Judicial Branch by authorizing victims of terrorism to seize certain assets. The ruling clears the way for nearly $2 billion to be distributed to Iran's victims.
- Argentina v. NML Capital, Ltd., (2014) – For ten years, Mr. McGill represented NML Capital in its efforts to recover on defaulted sovereign bonds of the Republic of Argentina in what the Financial Times called "the trial of the century in sovereign debt restructuring." The Supreme Court's decision in this case confirmed the availability of discovery in aid of enforcement of money judgments against foreign sovereigns and helped set the stage for NML's multi-billion-dollar settlement of its claims under Argentina's defaulted bonds.
- Hollingsworth v. Perry (2013) – This "historic" decision (Washington Post) secured the right of same-sex couples in California to marry. The Supreme Court's decision followed a landmark trial that had invalidated California's voter-enacted ban on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8, for violating the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantees of due process and equal protection of the laws.
- Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) – Hailed by the New York Times as a "doctrinal earthquake," this decision overruled two Supreme Court precedents and established the First Amendment right of corporations to spend general treasury funds on speech activities to influence the outcomes of elections.
Outside the Supreme Court, Mr. McGill's practice focuses on cases involving novel and complex questions of federal law, often in high-profile litigation against governmental entities. For example, he currently represents victims of the 1998 African Embassy Bombings in an appeal brought by the government of Sudan that raises questions under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. And he represents Perry Capital in its challenge to the federal government's ongoing seizure of profits from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
In the intellectual property area, Mr. McGill regularly participates in significant copyright and patent cases before the Supreme Court and the court of appeals. In the Supreme Court, he represented Nautilus in Nautilus v. Biosig, Microsoft in Microsoft v. AT&T and Microsoft v. i4i, and publisher John Wiley & Sons in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons. And he regularly files amicus curiae briefs on behalf of clients in cases raising issues of concern to the high technology companies.
Mr. McGill also maintains an active pro bono practice. He represented the plaintiffs in Bostic v. Rainey, the successful federal constitutional challenge to Virginia's statutory and constitutional provisions that prohibit same-sex couples from marrying. Previously, he briefed and argued a case in the Supreme Court of Virginia on behalf of the adoptive family of a 4-year-old girl and won a unanimous ruling affirming the adoption. And in 2008, he successfully defended Senator John McCain in cases contending that Senator McCain was not a "natural-born citizen" and therefore was ineligible to be President.
Prior to joining Gibson Dunn, Mr. McGill served as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice. He clerked for the Hon. Joseph M. McLaughlin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the Hon. John G. Roberts, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Mr. McGill earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, from Dartmouth College in 1996. In 2000, he graduated from Stanford Law School, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif. Mr. McGill is licensed to practice in New York and the District of Columbia and he has been admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, District of Columbia, and Federal Circuits, and the United States District Courts for the District of Columbia and the Southern District of New York.