Ephraim A. McDowell


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Ephraim McDowell focuses his practice on appellate and complex litigation matters. He has drafted numerous briefs in federal and state courts, and has presented oral argument in three federal courts of appeal, federal district court, and a state supreme court. He represents clients in cases involving a wide variety of subject matters, including privacy and technology, financial services, insurance, punitive damages, and federal jurisdiction.

Ephraim maintains an active pro bono practice, focusing on immigration, criminal, and constitutional law. He successfully briefed and argued a case resulting in a district court injunction against the federal government’s border wall construction. He successfully briefed and argued a case in which the Louisiana Supreme Court held a nonviolent criminal defendant’s sentence unconstitutionally excessive. And he successfully briefed a case resulting in the reversal of convictions of volunteers who were providing humanitarian aid along the US-Mexico border.



Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • New York

Court Admissions

  • US Court of Appeals, First, Second, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth and District of Columbia Circuits


  • Harvard University, J.D., 2016: summa cum laude; Harvard Law Review; Fay Diploma; Sears Prize 2014 & 2015; Ames Moot Court Competition, Semifinalist, Best Brief
  • Hamilton College, B.A., 2012: summa cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa

Professional Activities


  • Honorable Elena Kagan, Supreme Court of the United States 
  • Honorable Merrick B. Garland, US Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit


  • Note, The Rise of Purposivism and Fall of Chevron: Major Statutory Cases in the Supreme Court, 130 HARV. L. REV. 1227 (2017)
  • Case Comment, Michigan v. EPA, 135 S. Ct. 2699 (2015), 129 HARV. L. REV. 311 (2015)
  • Recent Case, NRDC v. FDA, 760 F.3d 151 (2d Cir. 2014), 128 HARV. L. REV. 1011 (2015)

Representative State and Federal Court Matters

  • El Paso County v. Trump — Successfully briefed and argued summary judgment motion in federal district court, persuading the court to enjoin the federal government’s border wall construction. Briefed and argued case for affirmance in the Fifth Circuit.
  • State v. Kennon — Successfully briefed and argued appeal in the Louisiana Supreme Court, persuading the court to hold unconstitutional a nonviolent criminal defendant’s 60-year sentence.
  • Saccameno v. U.S. Bank National Association — Co-authored briefs in the Seventh Circuit, persuading the court to reverse and substantially reduce a $3 million punitive damages award.
  • Holmes v. Apple — Co-authored briefs in the Second Circuit, persuading the court to affirm a district court decision rejecting a variety of contract and tort claims.
  • Hoffman v. United States — Successfully briefed appeal of criminal defendants’ convictions for providing humanitarian aid along the US-Mexico border, persuading the court to reverse the convictions under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
  • AR Capital v. Westchester Fire Insurance Company — Co-authored motion to dismiss, persuading the court to dismiss a case against a group of insurers for lack of personal jurisdiction.
  • Wark Entertainment, Inc. v. Twentieth Century Fox — Co-authored motion to vacate, persuading the court to vacate a $128 million arbitral punitive damages award.
  • Foxcroft Productions v. Universal City Studios — Co-authored motion for new trial, persuading the court to vacate a $70 million jury verdict.