On January 19, 2022, partner Luke McCloud argued his first case before the U.S. Supreme Court in Concepcion v. United States. Luke’s debut was covered by Bloomberg Law and The National Law Journal’s Supreme Court Brief series, both noting that Luke is one of only a small number of African-American lawyers in private practice to argue before the Court. Luke argued before two Justices for whom he previously clerked: Sonia M. Sotomayor and Brett M. Kavanaugh, for whom Luke clerked when he served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
In Concepcion, Luke is representing a pro bono client seeking to reduce his prison term under the First Step Act, the 2018 criminal-justice reform bill. “It is especially meaningful for me as a Black man to be arguing this case because so many people who are affected by the First Step Act are Black men,” Luke said in his interview with The National Law Journal. “I do hope I’m not the last Black man to argue in the court for a while. . . . I know there are many, many other talented Black and diverse lawyers doing this appellate work who are just as capable as I am. Hopefully with leaders like Lisa Blatt, the industry will see that change.”
Lisa has said in earlier interviews with The National Law Journal that when she joined Williams & Connolly, the firm specifically asked her to develop and promote the next generation of appellate lawyers. To that end, she recently shepherded partners Sarah Harris, a former clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas, and Amy Saharia, a former clerk to Justice Sonia Sotomayor, through their first high court arguments, and she continues that effort through Luke’s argument this week.
Click here to read coverage by Bloomberg and here to read coverage by The National Law Journal.