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Cate Stetson

Washington, D.C.

Cate Stetson

Cate Stetson is an elected member of the firm's Global Board and the co-director of its nationally acclaimed Appellate Practice Group.

A Chambers-ranked appellate lawyer, Cate handles high-stakes and complex appeals in federal and state courts across the country. She has argued upwards of 80 cases, including multiple arguments before the United States Supreme Court, in all but one of the 13 federal circuits, in state appellate courts ranging from New York to California, and in district courts spanning the country from Alaska to Vermont. In recognition of her talent and experience, Cate in 2017 was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, an honor reserved for experienced appellate advocates who have demonstrated the highest skill level and integrity in their practice.

Cate's appellate practice cuts across many jurisdictions, industries, and subject matters, including administrative law and procedure, antitrust law, the False Claims Act, class certification, civil procedure, and constitutional, contract, copyright, employment, energy, environmental, food and drug, healthcare, insurance, patent, telecommunications, and tort law.

Previously, Cate clerked for Circuit Judge David S. Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and for District Judge Stanley S. Harris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

"The 'tough and smart' Cate Stetson is hailed as an 'excellent appellate writer and excellent oral advocate' by clients who recognize the skill she brings to significant cases at all levels of appeal..."

Chambers USA 2016

Representative experience

Briefed and argued multiple constitutional challenges to federal and state laws in various trial and appellate courts.

Briefed and argued a seminal civil procedure case in the United States Supreme Court.

Briefed, argued, and won a federal preemption case of first impression in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Briefed, argued, and won multiple precedent-setting damages appeals on behalf of energy utilities in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

Handled multiple patent appeals in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

Successfully sought discretionary review of, argued, and won an insurance coverage issue in the highest court of New York State.

On behalf of numerous industry groups, handled several challenges to United States EPA regulations in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Pro bono and on behalf of a number of government employees, briefed, argued, and won an important class-action appeal in the D.C. Circuit.

Briefed, argued, and won a high-profile en banc Ninth Circuit case involving religious freedom and environmental issues.

Handled a major appeal from an arbitration award on behalf of an international client.

Successfully fended off a petition for certiorari filed by the Solicitor General of the United States in a multibillion-dollar Medicare matter.

Handled multiple party and amicus briefs for major health and hospital associations in the Supreme Court and the D.C. Circuit.

Briefed, argued, and won cases against challengers presenting multiple environmental and procedural attacks on a client's energy facilities.

Handled multiple appeals on False Claims Act issues for pharmaceutical and medical clients.

Handled a major copyright appeal for a performing-rights group in the Second Circuit.

Briefed, argued, and won an antitrust appeal on behalf of a client in the Sixth Circuit.

Pro bono and on behalf of a national not-for-profit group, briefed, argued, and won a challenge to national parks regulations in the Ninth Circuit.

On behalf of a major energy industry group, handled multiple D.C. Circuit appeals on environmental and related issues.

Education and admissions


  • J.D., Order of the Coif, University of Virginia School of Law, 1994
  • B.A., cum laude, Duke University, 1991


  • Board Member, Historical Society of the D.C. Circuit
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, D.C. Circuit Advisory Committee on Procedures
  • Member, Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court  
  • Member, National Chamber Litigation Center Constitutional and Administrative Law Advisory Committee
  • Member, The Women's Bar Association of the District of Columbia

Bar admissions and qualifications

  • District of Columbia

Court admissions

  • District of Columbia Court of Appeals
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court


Appellate Law (Nationwide)

Chambers USA


Dispute Resolution: Appellate: Supreme Court (Federal and State)

Legal 500 US



Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers


Energy Litigation: Oil and Gas

Legal 500 US


The Best Lawyers in America


Top 45 Under 45

The American Lawyer


Top 40 Under 40

The National Law Journal


Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation

Legal 500 US


The Young Litigators Fab Fifty

The American Lawyer


Top 40 Under 40


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