Neal Katyal | Washington, D.C. | Hogan Lovells

Neal Katyal

Partner Litigation, Arbitration, and Employment

Katyal Neal

Neal Katyal
Katyal Neal
  • Overview
  • Experience
  • Credentials
  • Insights and events

Neal Katyal, the former Acting Solicitor General of the United States, focuses on appellate and complex litigation. In December 2017, American Lawyer magazine named him The Litigator of the Year; he was chosen from all the lawyers in the United States. In 2023, American Lawyer named him Litigator of the Year once again. At the age of 54, he has also already argued more Supreme Court cases in U.S. history than has any minority attorney, recently breaking the record held by Thurgood Marshall. He has argued 51 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Neal has extensive experience in matters of constitutional, technology, corporate, patent, securities, criminal, employment, and tribal law. In the 2022-23 Supreme Court Term, he argued five separate cases (nearly 10% of the docket), including winning the landmark voting case Moore v. Harper, which Judge Michael Luttig described as “the most important case for American democracy in the almost two and a half centuries since America’s founding.” His cases include successfully striking down the Guantanamo military tribunals, successfully defending the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act, and successfully defending the Peace Cross in Maryland. His 2017 win in Bristol Myers Squibb v. Superior Court was a landmark victory for personal jurisdiction law and his 2006 win in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld was described by former Acting Solicitor General Walter Dellinger as “simply the most important decision on presidential power and the rule of law ever. Ever.” He is a best selling New York Times author, and has spent the last three years serving as Special Prosecutor for the State of Minnesota in the murder of George Floyd.

Prior to joining Hogan Lovells, Neal served as Acting Solicitor General of the United States, where he argued several major Supreme Court cases involving a variety of issues, such as his successful defense of the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, his victorious defense of former Attorney General John Ashcroft for alleged abuses in the war on terror, his unanimous victory against eight states who sued the nation's leading power plants for contributing to global warming, and a variety of other matters. As Acting Solicitor General, Neal was responsible for representing the federal government of the United States in all appellate matters before the U.S. Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeals throughout the nation. He served as Counsel of Record hundreds of times in the U.S. Supreme Court. He was also the only head of the Solicitor General's office to argue a case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, on the important question of whether certain aspects of the human genome were patentable.

Neal has also served as a law professor for over two decades at Georgetown University Law Center, where he was one of the youngest professors to have received tenure and a chaired professorship in the university's history. He has also served as a visiting professor at both Harvard and Yale law schools.

After graduating from Yale Law School, Neal clerked for The Honorable Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit as well as for The Honorable Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court. He also served in the Deputy Attorney General's Office at the Justice Department as National Security Advisor and as Special Assistant to the Deputy Attorney General during 1998-1999. Neal has published dozens of scholarly articles in law journals (including several in the Harvard Law Review and Yale Law Journal), as well as many op-ed articles in such publications as the New York Times and the Washington Post, and has testified numerous times before various committees of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

Neal is the recipient of the very highest award given to a civilian by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Edmund Randolph Award, which the Attorney General presented to him in 2011. The Chief Justice of the United States appointed him in 2011 (and again in 2014) to the Advisory Committee on Federal Appellate Rules. 

Among other honors, Neal was named one of the top 200 lawyers in the United States by Forbes Magazine (in 2024); one of the 500 Leading Lawyers by LawDragon Magazine (one of 4 lawyers so named for every single year since 2005 to 2024); one of the 500 Most Influential People in Washington DC by Washingtonian Magazine (2022 and 2023); Appellate MVP by Law360 numerous times; winner of Financial Times Innovative Lawyer Award in two different categories (both private and public law) (2017 and again in 2023), one of GQ’s Men of the Year (2017), 40 Most Influential Lawyers of the Last Decade Nationwide by National Law Journal (2010), and 90 Greatest Washington Lawyers Over the Last 30 Years by Legal Times (2008). Neal also won the National Law Journal's pro bono award in 2004. He has appeared on virtually every major American news program, as well as on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show. He has also performed on Netflix’s House of Cards and Showtime’s Billions (where he played himself in both series).

In 2021, Neal was named a Trustee of Dartmouth College. In 2022, he was named a Trustee of the Whitney Museum in New York City. In 2023, he was named Vice President and Trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society.

After graduating from Yale Law School, he worked as a summer associate with Hogan Lovells' legacy law firm, Hogan & Hartson.

Representative experience

Preemption/Mass Torts

Counsel of Record and oral advocate in Learjet v. Oneok (2015) (United States Supreme Court) (natural gas preemption)

Counsel of Record and oral advocate in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting (2011) (United States Supreme Court) (challenge to Arizona immigration statutes)*

Counsel of Record and oral advocate in American Electric Power v. Connecticut (2011) (United States Supreme Court) (global warming and common law tort of nuisance/federal preemption)*

Counsel of Record for United States in Mazda v. Williamson (2011) (United States Supreme Court) (federal preemption of state safety belt standards)*

Data Privacy/Cyberlaw

Counsel of Record and oral advocate in NASA v. Nelson (2011) (United States Supreme Court) (privacy rights of employees)*

Counsel of Record and oral advocate in Quon v. City of Ontario (2010) (United States Supreme Court) (privacy rights over explicit text messages)*

Intellectual Property

Counsel of Record and oral advocate in B&B v. Hargis (2014) (US Supreme Court) (trademark/TTAB)

Counsel of Record and oral advocate in Highmark v. Allcare (2014) (US Supreme Court) (Patent Act Section 285 awards)

Counsel of Record and Oral Advocate in Garcia v. Google/Youtube, (2014) (en banc, 9th Circuit) (copyright of actor’s performance)

Counsel of Record for United States in Microsoft Corp v. i4i Limited (2011) (United States Supreme Court) (whether patent challengers must establish invalidity by clear and convincing evidence)*

Counsel of Record for United States in Board of Trustees of Stanford University v. Roche Molecular Systems (2011) (United States Supreme Court) (interpretation of who owns inventions under the Bayh-Dole Act)*

Counsel of Record at certiorari stage for United States in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus (2011) (United States Supreme Court) (patentability of natural phenomena, medical tests)*

Counsel of Record and oral advocate for United States in Association for Molecular Genetics v. Myriad Genetics, Fed Cir (2011) (whether individual genes in the human genome can be patented)*

Government Contracts

Counsel of Record and oral advocate in General Dynamics v. United States (2011) (United States Supreme Court) (over $6 billion at stake, contractual dispute over A12 fighter)*

Counsel of Record for United States in Astra USA v. Santa Clara County (2011) (United States Supreme Court) (pharmaceutical pricing agreements and breach of contract actions)*


Counsel of Record and oral advocate in US Airways v. McCutchen (2012-13) (United States Supreme Court) (ERISA actions under rules of equity)

Counsel of Record and oral advocate in Genesis Health v. Symcyzk (2012-13) (United States Supreme Court) (Mooting of class actions under FRCP 68)

Counsel of Record in Glatt v. 21st Century Fox (Second Circuit 2015) (FLSA standards for interns)

Counsel of Record and oral advocate in Lewis v. City of Chicago (2010) (United States Supreme Court) (statute of limitations for 20,000 person class action of firefighters)*

Counsel of Record and oral advocate in New Process Steel v. NLRB (2010) (United States Supreme Court) (quorum rules for NLRB)*

Counsel of Record for United States in Thompson v. North American Stainless (2011) (United States Supreme Court) (whether Title VII creates a cause of action for retaliation against third parties)*

Counsel of Record for United States in Kasten v. St-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp (2011) (United States Supreme Court) (Fair Labor Standards Act – scope of anti-retaliation provision)*

Counsel of Record and oral advocate in Engquist v. Oregon (2008) (United States Supreme Court) (intersection of employment law and equal protection law)*

Securities Regulation/Bankruptcy

Counsel of Record and Oral Advocate in Law v. Siegel (2014) (United States Supreme Court) (bankruptcy act)

Counsel of Record for United States in Erica P. John Fund v. Halliburton (2011) (United States Supreme Court) (class actions – loss causation and class certification)*

Counsel of Record for United States in Janus Capital Group v. First Derivative Traders (2011) (United States Supreme Court) (securities fraud – who makes an untrue statement)*

Counsel of Record for United States in Mattrixx Initiatives v. Siracusano (2011) (United States Supreme Court) (materiality in securities fraud)*

Some Others

Counsel of Record and oral advocate in DHS v. MacLean (2014) (United States Supreme Court) (whistleblower Act)

Counsel of Record and oral advocate in Kansas v. Cheever (2014) (United States Supreme Court) (compelled self incrimination)

Counsel of Record and oral advocate in Ashcroft v. Al Kidd (2011) (United States Supreme Court) (liability for Attorney General Ashcroft in allegedly authorizing abuses of civil liberties in the war on terror)*

Counsel of Record and oral advocate in Northwest Austin v. Holder (United States Supreme Court) (constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965)*

Counsel of Record and oral advocate in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006) (United States Supreme Court) (constitutional and international law challenge to the military tribunals at Guantanamo)*

Counsel of Record and oral advocate in Thomas More Law Center v. Obama (6th Cir. 2011) (constitutional challenge to the new healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act)*

Counsel and oral advocate in Al Malaqi v. Gates (DC Cir. 2010) (habeas corpus rights for individuals detained in Afghanistan)*

*Matter handled prior to joining Hogan Lovells.


  • Honorary Degree, Masters of Arts, Dartmouth College, 2021
  • Honorary Degree, Doctor of Law, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 2019
  • Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, The City University of New York, 2018
  • Honorary Degree, Doctor of Law, Lewis & Clark Law School, 2012
  • J.D., Yale Law School, 1995
  • A.B., Dartmouth College, with highest honors, 1991
Bar admissions and qualifications
  • District of Columbia
Court admissions
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit


Appellate: Courts of Appeal, Hall of Fame

Legal 500 US

Litigator of the Year, Grand Prize Winner

American Lawyer

Acritas Star

Acritas Stars Independently Rated Lawyers

Top 500 Lawyers in America; one of 41 nationwide to win every year; recognized on Legends list

Lawdragon Magazine

Appellate Law (Nationwide)

Chambers USA

Appellate Attorney of the Year

Benchmark Litigation

Dispute Resolution: Appellate: Supreme Court (Federal and State), Leading Lawyer

Legal 500 US

Appellate MVP


2013-2014, 2017
10 Most Innovative Lawyers

Financial Times

Edmund Randolph Award (highest award DOJ can give a civilian)

Department of Justice

Lawyer of the Year

Lawyers USA

Lawyer of the Year, Runner-up

National Law Journal

Dispute resolution: Appellate, Hall of Fame

Legal 500 US

Dispute resolution: Appellate, Recommended

Legal 500 US


Published Works

"Active Avoidance." 128 Harvard Law Review 2109 (2015) (with Thomas Schmidt)

23 September 2014 "Hogan Lovells' Washington Wunderkind: Neal Katyal."by Gavin Broady, Law360

2012 "Academic Influence on the Court." 98 Virginia Law Review 1189 (2012)

2012 "Stochastic Constraint." Harvard Law Review

07 September 2011 "Courtside: Katyal's path to Hogan Lovells."Supreme Court Insider, The National Law Journal

2008 "The Surprisingly Stronger Case for the Legality of the NSA Surveillance Program: The FDR Precedent." Georgetown Law Faculty Papers, Georgetown University Law Center

11 July 2007 "The Terrorists' Court." Op-ed Contributors, The New York Times

27 April 2007 "Equality in the War on Terror." Vol. 59, No. 5, p. 1365, Stanford Law Review

27 March 2007 "Prosecution Complex." Opinion, The New York Times

27 January 2007 "We Want Tough Arguments." No. 4, Legal Times

16 November 2006 "Disregarding Foreign Relations Law." Vol. 116, p. 1230, Yale Law Journal

2006 "Hamdan v. Rumsfeld." The Legal Academy Goes to Practice, Harvard Law Review

2006 "The Dark Side of Private Ordering: The Network\Community Harm of Crime." The Law and Economics of Cybersecurity

2006 "Internal Separation of Powers: Checking Today’s Most Dangerous Branch from Within." 115, The Yale Law Journal

27 October 2005 "Enough Already: It's time to rein in special prosecutors."

2005 "Executive and Judicial Overreaction in the Guantanamo Cases.", Cato Supreme Court Review

2005 "Community Self Help." Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. Paper 533., J.L. Econ. & Pol'y

13 January 2004 "Digital Architecture as Crime Control." Vol. 112, The Yale Law Journal

2004 "Sunsetting Judicial Opinions." Vol. 79, Page 1237, Notre Dame Law Review

2004 "Updating the Study of Punishment.", Stanford Law Review

2003 "The Promise and Precondition of Educational Autonomy." HeinOnline, Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly

23 November 2002 "Conspiracy Theory." Vol. 112, Yale Law Journal

28 February 2002 "Waging War, Deciding Guilt: Trying the Constitutionality of the Military Tribunals." Vol. 111, No. 6, pp. 101-152, Yale Law Journal

04 December 2001 "Architecture as Crime Control." Vol. 111, Yale Law Journal

2001 "Legislative Constitutional Interpretation." Vol. 50:1335, Duke Law Journal

05 January 2001 "Criminal Law in Cyberspace." Vol. 149, University of Pennsylvania Law Review

04 January 1998 "Judges As Advice givers." Vol. 50, Stanford Law Review

09 August 1997 "Deterrence's Difficulty." Vol. 95, No. 8, Michigan Law Review

09 April 1995 "Our Unconventional Founding." Vol. 62, No. 2, The University of Chicago Law Review