Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr., a partner in the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, is Co-Chair of the firm’s Appellate and Constitutional Law Group and Transnational Litigation Group, as well as a member of the Crisis Management Group. He is also a member of the firm’s Executive and Management Committees.
Mr. Boutrous has represented clients in the federal and state appellate courts throughout the nation in a wide spectrum of cases. He has argued more than 80 appeals, including before the Supreme Court of the United States, 11 different federal circuit courts of appeals, eight different state supreme courts and a multitude of other appellate and trial courts. He has successfully persuaded courts to overturn some of the largest jury verdicts and class actions in history. In 2011, he successfully represented Walmart before the Supreme Court of the United States in the Dukes case, which unanimously reversed what had been the largest employment class action in history and established important standards governing class actions (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes). In 2013, he successfully represented the prevailing party in obtaining a unanimous Supreme Court decision enforcing the Class Action Fairness Act (Standard Fire Insurance Co. v. Knowles). Also in 2013, Mr. Boutrous successfully represented plaintiffs in the Supreme Court in a case invalidating California’s prohibition on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8 (Hollingsworth v. Perry). In other ongoing constitutional litigation, Mr. Boutrous won a landmark trial victory on behalf of California schoolchildren asserting a state constitutional challenge to laws that prevent school administrators from hiring and retaining the most effective teachers (Students Matter Website). (See attached list of representative cases.)
Mr. Boutrous also represents media organizations, reporters, and others in First Amendment matters such as reporters’ privilege battles, defamation cases, litigation seeking public access to judicial records and court proceedings, and asylum proceedings for journalists in danger.
As both a crisis management strategist and a seasoned appellate and media lawyer, Mr. Boutrous has extensive experience handling high-profile litigation, media relations and media legal issues. He routinely advises clients in planning how to respond, and in responding, to crises and other especially significant legal problems that attract the media spotlight. According to The National Law Journal, which in 2013 named him one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America,” he “is known for his wise, strategic advice to clients in crisis and is a media law star.”
Numerous other profiles of Mr. Boutrous and his practice have appeared in the media. Prominent mentions include: "Can Vergara Fix Our Schools?" California Lawyer (August 2015), “After Chevron Win, Dole Victory Caps Big Week for Gibson Dunn,” Am Law Litigation Daily (March 9, 2014); “Practice Group Performs In Spotlight and Under Pressure,” Los Angeles Daily Journal (March 2012); “Litigator of the Week,” Am Law Litigation Daily (June 2011); “Lawyer of the Week,” The Times of London (June 2011); “Appellate Lawyer of the Week,” National Law Journal (March 2011); “Litigation Department of the Year,” The American Lawyer (January 2012); “Litigation Department of the Year,” The American Lawyer (January 2010); “He’s a Hired Gun of the Highest Caliber,” The Los Angeles Times (June 24, 2007); “Special Appeal,” Los Angeles Business Journal (July 26, 2004); and “Jackson Case Stirs First Amendment Guru,” Daily Journal Extra (February 23, 2004).
Mr. Boutrous is a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. Chambers USA ranks Mr. Boutrous as a leading lawyer in five different categories, describing him as “a combination of smart and pragmatic” with “a complete command of the facts and law,” a “true innovator,” a “go-to guy on cutting-edge cases,” a “formidable litigator,” and “a hugely accomplished appellate lawyer . . . familiar with appeals at all levels and venues.” Legal 500 has named Mr. Boutrous a “Leading Lawyer” for Supreme Court and Appellate litigation for the past three years in a row, calling him a “renowned advocate” and “the preeminent authority on punitive damages defenses in the U.S.” In 2012, Mr. Boutrous was named an “Attorney of the Year” by both the California Lawyer and the San Francisco Recorder, and the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals named Mr. Boutrous one of the 100 best lawyers in California for the eleventh year in a row. In naming him to its list of the 500 Leading Lawyers in America, Lawdragon calls him “One of the best media and appellate attorneys in the nation.” And the Los Angeles Business Journal describes him as “one of the nation’s most prominent appellate attorneys.”
Mr. Boutrous is a frequent commentator on legal issues. His articles include "Challenging Inequality," Los Angeles Lawyer (July/August 2015); "Why We're Fighting for Teachers' Free Speech," The Recorder (May 25, 2015); "Media Relations in High Profile Litigation: Chevron Corp. v. Donzinger," InsideCounsel (September 30, 2014); “A First Amendment Blind Spot,” Wall Street Journal (May 27, 2014); “California Kids Go to Court to Demand a Good Education,” Wall Street Journal (January 28, 2014); "A Radical Departure on Press Freedom," Wall Street Journal (May 23, 2013); “A Killer’s Notebook, a Reporter’s Rights,” New York Times (April 9, 2013), “President Correa’s Libel Suit and the Fraud Against Chevron,” Forbes (March 6, 2012); “Broadcast ‘Indecency’ on Trial,” Wall Street Journal (January 17, 2012); “The Four Myths Surrounding the Common Law Reporter’s Privilege,” Media Law Resources Center (January 2007); “First Amendment on Trial,” Wall Street Journal (August 19, 2006); “What’s Next for Punitive Damage Awards,” Wall Street Journal (May 29, 1996); “Rule 6(e) and the Public’s Right to Know,” Wall Street Journal (August 17, 1998); and “Celebrity Justice: A New Double Standard,” ABA Communications Lawyer (Fall 2004).
Mr. Boutrous is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Women’s Media Foundation and the Board of Directors of the California Supreme Court Historical Society. He also is a member of the Business Advisory Council of ProPublica, a non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism.
Mr. Boutrous received his law degree, summa cum laude, from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1987, where he was Valedictorian and Editor-in-Chief of the San Diego Law Review.
Representative Appellate and Constitutional Cases [PDF]
Representative Media Cases [PDF]