Jonathan Hacker


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Jon Hacker chairs O’Melveny’s Supreme Court and Appellate Practice and serves as the hiring partner for the DC office.

Jon has authored briefs in dozens of US Supreme Court cases at both the merits and certiorari stages. He has argued five cases in the US Supreme Court and appeals in nearly every federal circuit. He has also briefed and argued appeals in numerous state courts, including New York, California, Ohio, New Jersey, Florida, Montana, Nebraska, and the District of Columbia. Jon’s appellate work has resulted in reversals of trial-court judgments (including jury verdicts) worth tens of millions and even billions of dollars. He has also briefed and argued many trial-level matters, has conducted discovery and depositions in complex litigation matters, and has handled several trials. Jon’s areas of expertise include federal constitutional law, insurance, ERISA, criminal law and procedure, and federal jurisdiction and procedure.


Honors & Awards

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers® 2019 for Appellate Practice in Washington, DC; Jonathan has been listed in Best Lawyers® since 2010.
  • Repeatedly selected as a leading US appellate lawyer by Chambers, Legal 500
  • “Local Litigation Star,” Benchmark Litigation (2019)
  • “Litigator of the Week,” The American Lawyer (August 2015)
  • “Rising Appellate Star,”  The Wall Street Journal (January 2011)
  • “Appellate Lawyer of the Week,” National Law Journal (2011)


Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland

Court Admissions

  • US Supreme Court
  • All federal circuit courts of appeal
  • US District Court, District of Columbia and District of Maryland


  • University of Michigan, J.D., 1995:  magna cum laude; Order of the Coif; Henry M. Campbell Memorial Scholarship (Law School’s highest award for graduates); Managing Editor, 1994-95, Associate Editor, 1993-94, Michigan Law Review; Winner, Campbell Moot Court Competition, 1994
  • Harvard College, A.B., 1990 (Social Studies): cum laude

Professional Activities


  • Honorable Bruce M. Selya, US Court of Appeals, First Circuit


  • Co-Chair, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Supreme Court Amicus Committee
  • Barrister, Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court

Co-Founder and Co-Director

  • HLS Supreme Court and Appellate Advocacy Clinic, Harvard Law School

Representative Supreme Court Matters

  • Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Inc. v. Manning, No. 14-1132 (2015) — Co-author of successful petition for certiorari in federal securities-law case; argument to be heard in this year
  • Wellness Int’l Network, Ltd v. Sharif, 135 S. Ct. 1932 (2015) — Argued bankruptcy jurisdiction case
  • Tibble v. Edison Int’l, 135 S. Ct. 1823 (2015) — Argued ERISA case involving statute of limitations for fiduciary breaches
  • Kurns v. Railroad Friction Products Corp., 132 S. Ct. 1261 (2012) — Argued federal preemption case under Locomotive Inspection Act 
  • Snyder v. Phelps, 131 S. Ct. 1207 (2011) — Co-author of bipartisan amicus brief for US Senators in military funeral case
  • Matrixx Initiatives, Inc. v. Siracusano, 130 S. Ct. 3411 (2010) — Argued securities case involving disclosure of “adverse event reports” by pharmaceutical companies
  • Skilling v. United States, 130 S. Ct. 2896 (2010) — Co-author of merits briefs in appeal of criminal conviction of former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling   
  • Alabama v. North Carolina, 130 S. Ct. 2295 (2010) — Author of merits brief on behalf of the State of North Carolina in original jurisdiction action involving interstate compact dispute
  • Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker, 128 S. Ct. 2605 (2008) — Co-author of merits briefs in multi-billion dollar maritime punitive damages case arising from Valdez oil spill 
  • Cuellar v. United States, 128 S. Ct. 1994 (2008) — Co-author of merits briefs in federal money laundering case
  • Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. v. Glenn, 128 S. Ct. 2343 (2007) — Co-author of amicus brief for industry and business organizations in ERISA fiduciary case 
  • Philip Morris USA v. Williams, 127 S. Ct. 1057 (2007) — Author of amicus brief for US Chamber of Commerce in case challenging constitutionality of punitive damages award 
  • Gonzales v. Carhart, 127 S. Ct. 1610 (2007) — Co-author of amicus brief for Cato Institute in case challenging federal partial-birth abortion statute 
  • LULAC v. Perry, 126 S. Ct. 2954 (2006) — Co-author of amicus brief for Center for American Progress in case challenging Texas congressional districting scheme 
  • Intel Corp. v. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., 542 US 241 (2004) — Author of merits brief in case involving international discovery statute 
  • Aetna Corp. v. Davila, 542 US 200 (2004) — Author of merits briefs in case involving federal preemption under ERISA statute 
  • Lawrence v. Texas, 539 US 558 (2003) — Co-author of amicus brief for national and state gay rights and civil rights organizations in constitutional challenge to sodomy laws 
  • Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 US 306 (2003) — Co-author of amicus brief for Law School Admissions Council in case involving affirmative action in law school admissions 
  • Utah v. Evans, 536 US 452 (2002) — Author of merits brief in case challenging US Census statistical methodology 
  • Easley v. Cromartie, 532 US 234 (2001) — Author of merits briefs in case challenging congressional redistricting plan 

Representative Appellate Matters

  • Balintulo v. Ford Motor Co., 796 F.3d 160 (2d Cir. 2015)  — Briefed and argued precedent-setting Alien Tort Statute appeal 
  • KeySpan Gas E. Corp. v Munich Reins. Am., Inc., 23 N.Y.3d 583 (2014) — Briefed and argued precedent-setting appeal concerning timing of insurance coverage defenses 
  • Westgate Ford Truck Sales v. Ford Motor Company, 971 N.E.2d 967 (Ohio Ct. App. 2012) and Westgate Ford Truck Sales v. Ford Motor Company, 25 N.E.3d 410 (Ohio Ct. App. 2014) — Briefed and argued appeals in breach of contract class action; won reversal of $2 billion judgment and reversal of subsequent JNOV 
  • Tussey v. ABB, Inc., 746 F.3d 327 (8th Cir. 2014) — Briefed and argued appeal in ERISA fiduciary case; obtained reversal of multimillion dollar judgment
  • Renfro v. Unisys Corp., 671 F.3d 314 (3d Cir. 2011) — Briefed and argued appeal involving 401(k) plan fees; obtained affirmance of judgment dismissing claims
  • Hewlett-Packard Co. v. ACE Property & Cas. Ins. Co., 2010 WL 1896464 (9th Cir. 2010) — Briefed and argued insurance coverage appeal; won reversal of US$51 million judgment
  • ACE American Ins. Co. v. RC2 Corp., 600 F.3d 763 (7th Cir. 2010) — Briefed and argued insurance coverage appeal; won complete reversal of multi-million dollar coverage judgment
  • Hecker v. Deere & Co., 569 F.3d 708 (7th Cir. 2009) — Briefed precedent-setting appeal in ERISA action challenging 401(k) fees
  • Miller v. Bank of America, 207 P.3d 531 (Cal. 2009) — Authored briefs in successful challenge to trial court ruling prohibiting industrywide banking practice of balancing overdrafts and fees against Social Security deposits; won complete reversal of class-action judgment worth more than US$1 billion 
  • BASF, Inc. v. Great American Assurance Co., 522 F.3d 813 (7th Cir. 2008) — Briefed and argued appeal insurance coverage appeal; won complete reversal of US$140 million insurance coverage determination 
  • Henry v. Champlain Enters., Inc., 445 F.3d. 610 (2d Cir. 2006) — Authored briefs in ERISA appeal involving ESOP trustee duties; won reversal of US$15 million judgment
  • Mike’s Train House v. Lionel LLC, 472 F.3d 398 (6th Cir. 2006) — Briefed and argued appeal involving trade secret law and expert testimony rules; won reversal of US$40 million judgment
  • Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. v. Entertainment Distrib., 429 F.3d 869 (9th Cir. 2005) — Briefed and argued appeal involving validity of copyright to General Eisenhower’s memoir Crusade in Europe; won affirmance of judgment securing client’s copyright