Lori Alvino McGill

Lori is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz. Lori’s practice focuses on all aspects of appellate and legal strategy, including issue preservation, briefing, argument, and obtaining (and opposing) Supreme Court review. She has handled high-profile appeals involving a wide range of constitutional and statutory issues in state and federal appellate courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. Lori also has deep expertise in administrative law and experience challenging actions of federal agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Surface Transportation Board, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Interior, and the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Lori has been recognized by The National Law Journal as among the “Top 40 Under 40,” and Law360 has dubbed her a rising star of the appellate bar. The Washington Business Journal has recognized her as a Legal Champion for her appellate successes in a pair of high-profile pro bono cases.

  • Benchmark Litigation "Under 40 Hotlist" 2016

Notable Matters

  • On behalf of the National Football League, helped obtain a full dismissal of an antitrust challenge to the distribution arrangements for NFL’s “Sunday Ticket” package.
  • On behalf of Bayer, helped obtain judgment notwithstanding a jury verdict against the defense in Hartman v. Janssen—the first state-court bellwether trial involving allegations that Bayer and Janssen did not adequately warn of the risks of bleeding associated with the anticoagulant Xarelto. Also on behalf of Bayer, led the briefing at trial and argued the jury-charge conference in Russell v. Janssen, the second state-court bellwether trial in the Xarelto litigation, which resulted in a full defense verdict.
  • On behalf of several tribal lending entities, helped to obtain a full dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • On behalf of FedEx Ground, led the pre-trial legal strategy and motions practice in a lawsuit brought by the State and City of New York in federal court, alleging violations of the federal Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act, RICO, and state law.
  • On behalf of United Technologies Corporation, helped to overturn on appeal a nearly $700 million damages award in a False Claims Act case brought by the United States.
  • Represented the University of Texas at Austin in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (2016), which was brought before the U.S. Supreme Court for a second time. The case involved a constitutional challenge the University’s undergraduate admissions policy, which considers race as one of many factors. At issue was whether the Court’s decisions interpreting the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, including the landmark Grutter v. Bollinger decision, permit the University to consider race in its undergraduate admissions decisions. In a 4-3 decision authored by Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court upheld UT’s undergraduate admissions policy, reaffirming that universities have a compelling interest in seeking the educational benefits of a broadly diverse student body and that they may use race-conscious admissions policies tailored to that goal. The decision – which praises the University’s efforts to achieve diversity through other means, and its reasoned conclusion that those efforts were inadequate – also marks the first time that Justice Kennedy has voted to uphold a race-conscious admissions policy as consistent with the Equal Protection Clause.

Notable Matters

  • Represented the birth mother of “Baby Veronica” in the high-profile adoption case, Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl (2013). After a 5-4 victory in the Supreme Court, represented the adoptive parents in state-court proceedings in Oklahoma.
  • Represented the taxpayers in United States v. Home Concrete & Supply LLC (2012), a case presenting the question whether an understatement of gross income resulting from an overstatement of basis in property constitutes an “omission” from gross income that triggers an extended six-year statute of limitations. The 5-4 victory for the taxpayers was a rare defeat for the IRS before the Court—in a case that the Wall Street Journal has reported could affect more than a billion US tax dollars.
  • Represented the University of California Hastings College of the Law in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, one of the most closely watched cases decided by the Supreme Court in its 2009-2010 term. The case involved a far-reaching challenge, under the First Amendment’s speech and religion clauses, to the constitutionality of Hastings’ nondiscrimination policy, which requires all school-recognized and funded student groups to admit all registered students, regardless of the students’ status or beliefs. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Hastings’ policy in a 5-4 decision handed down on the last day of the term, holding that it was a reasonable and permissible limitation on speech in the law school’s limited public forum.

Other Activities

Lori is an active member of the appellate bar. She currently serves on the D.C. Circuit Advisory Committee on Procedures, she is a member of the Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court, she is a member of the Board of Visitors of Columbia Law School’s Center for Constitutional Governance, and she regularly serves as a guest judge at the Georgetown Law Center Supreme Court Institute.

Education

  • Undergraduate: Columbia College, Columbia University, B.A.
  • Law: Columbia University School of Law, J.D., Kent Scholar (highest honors)

Clerkships

  • The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court of the United States (2005-06)
  • Office of the Solicitor General of the United States, Bristow Fellow (2004-05)
  • The Honorable Douglas H. Ginsburg, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (2003-04)