Jessica Ellsworth
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Jessica Ellsworth

Partner | Washington, D.C.

Make it your purpose to be dynamic

Personal Growth 

I was a summer associate during my 3L summer and at the same time, I was studying for the Virginia bar at night. I remember everyone being very sympathetic that I was trying to both pass the bar and get an offer from the firm. Fortunately, both happened!

In 2003, I joined the firm as a junior associate. I first served as a judicial clerk to The Honorable Martha Craig Daughtrey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and The Honorable Rebecca Beach Smith of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. I wasn’t sure how long I would stay, but many years later, I’m still here.

Professional expertise

Today, I’m a member of the Litigation practice group, where I focus on Appellate and Supreme Court litigation. I work with nearly every one of our U.S. offices and practice groups, and I’ve argued in nearly every court of appeals and a number of state high courts too. Many of my cases involve white-collar litigation and administrative law, but I’ve had a wide mix of issues on other matters too. I love having a sharp learning curve for every new matter I take on.

Pro bono work has been a crucial part of my practice. I’ve worked on everything from a decade-long (successful!) asylum case to obtain a green card for an Iraqi woman, to Native Hawaiian land ownership, the impact of strip searches on domestic violence survivors, and unfairness in implementation of the death penalty. I once argued a case before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals for a client who was cheated out of her home through a mortgage foreclosure scam. This resulted in affirmance of one of the largest punitive damages awards upheld in the District.

High-quality opportunities

I’ve been amazed at the constantly high level of intellectual engagement that comes with practicing law. And I’ve been thrilled with the opportunities I’ve had to argue in court, to support our associates in their first arguments, and to pursue pro bono work. I love partnering with clients on strategic thinking and problem solving, both through litigation and through other avenues.