Laura Bladow

Ms. JD Presents: Women In Appellate Law

The U.S. Supreme Court, the Circuit Courts, State Supreme Courts - these are hallowed halls that make final decisions about where American jurisprudence is going next.  Who are the women who appear and argue before these courts? What is it like to prepare for an oral argument or finalize your first appellate brief?  If practicing appellate law is your goal, what are the steps you should take to get there?  Our distinguished panelists who practice appellate law in a variety of offices throughout Washington, DC will give you their insights and tell a few stories from their experiences along the way.

Please join us at O'Melveny & Myers LLP - 1625 Eye Street NW Washington, DC 20006 on Friday, January 31st from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm for lunch and a panel discussion.

Register Here

Moderator: Lola Kingo, Fellow, Georgetown Law Appellate Litigation Clinic

Judge Millett, DC Circuit Court of Appeals
Lori McGill, Partner, Latham & Watkins
Elizabeth Wydra, Chief Counsel, Constitutional Accountability Center
Dori Bernstein, Deputy Director, Supreme Court Institute at Georgetown University Law Center
Meaghan VerGow, Counsel, O’Melveny & Myers
Loren AliKhan, Deputy Solicitor General, District of Columbia

Lola Kingo received a B.S. in finance from Boston University in 2001 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2005. After law school, she served for two years as a law clerk to Judge Johnnie B. Rawlinson of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Following her clerkship, Lola was a litigation associate in the San Francisco office of Latham & Watkins LLP, and a member of the Supreme Court & Appellate and White Collar Defense & Investigations practice groups. At Latham & Watkins, Lola drafted briefs filed in federal appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Lola also participated in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Pro Bono Program, through which she argued and won pro bono appeals before the Ninth Circuit. She is now a supervising attorney and teaching fellow at Georgetown University Law Center's Appellate Litigation Clinic.

Judge Millett was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals on December 10, 2013. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (summa cum laude) in 1985 and from Harvard Law School (magna cum laude) in 1988. After working in a private law firm (Miller & Chevalier) for two years, she clerked for Judge Thomas Tang of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Following her clerkship, she worked for four years on the Appellate Staff of the Civil Division in the United States Department of Justice and for eleven years as an Assistant in the Office of the Solicitor General. In September 2007, she became a partner leading the Supreme Court and appellate practices at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. She has argued 32 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and holds a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. She is married and has two children.

Lori Alvino McGill is a partner at Latham & Watkins LLP, where she is a core member of the firm’s Supreme Court and Appellate Practice. Last year was a busy one for Alvino McGill, who was involved in some of the Supreme Court’s most high-profile and contentious cases. She represented the University of Texas at Austin in last Term’s affirmative action case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (alongside legendary Supreme Court advocate Maureen Mahoney and former Solicitor General Gregory Garre, who chairs Latham’s Supreme Court and Appellate Practice). She represented a group of leading constitutional law scholars as amici curiae in last Term’s marriage equality cases, Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor, arguing that heightened scrutiny should apply to laws that classify individuals based on their sexual orientation. She also represented the birth mother in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl—better known as the “Baby Veronica case”—which involved the fate of a little girl who had been taken at age two from her adoptive family because of a state court’s erroneous interpretation of a federal law called the Indian Child Welfare Act. After the Supreme Court decided 5-4 in favor of her client and the adoptive couple on the second-to-last day of the Term, Alvino McGill played a public and leading role on remand representing the adoptive couple in the Oklahoma Supreme Court and appearing on NBC’s TODAY Show and Fox News’ America Live with Megyn Kelly to discuss the case.      

Alvino McGill has recently played leading roles in several high-profile cases in the US Courts of Appeals and state courts, in a wide range of substantive areas, including securities, intellectual property, First Amendment, criminal law and procedure, the law of federal class actions, and the law of federal jurisdiction. She has handled numerous appeals involving administrative agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Surface Transportation Board and the Board of Immigration Appeals.

She serves on the Board of Visitors of Columbia Law School’s Center for Constitutional Governance, and is a Barrister of the Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court. Prior to joining Latham, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Before that, she was a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General of the United States and a law clerk to the Honorable Douglas H. Ginsburg, then-Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She earned her JD from Columbia Law School, where she was a Kent Scholar, winner of the Class of 1912 Prize, and Notes Editor of the Columbia Law Review.

Elizabeth B. Wydra is Constitutional Accountability Center’s chief counsel, representing the Center as well as clients including preeminent constitutional scholars and historians, state and local government organizations, and groups such as the League of Women Voters and the AARP. She frequently participates in Supreme Court litigation and her legal brief writing has been recognized as “exemplary” by the Green Bag Almanac & Reader. Elizabeth has also argued several important cases in the federal courts of appeals on a range of issues, including immigration law, habeas corpus, and sovereign immunity. She joined CAC from private practice at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in San Francisco, where she was an attorney working with former Stanford Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan in the firm’s Supreme Court/appellate practice. Previously, Elizabeth was a supervising attorney and teaching fellow at the Georgetown University Law Center appellate litigation clinic, a law clerk for Judge James R. Browning of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and a lawyer at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, a law firm in Washington. She has appeared as a legal expert for NBC, ABC, CNN, Fox News, the BBC, Current TV, and NPR, among other outlets. Elizabeth has been quoted extensively in the print media and is a regular contributor to the ABA’s Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases. Her writings have appeared in the New York Times, Reuters, USA Today, Politico,, Slate, and on numerous political and legal blogs, such as Huffington Post, SCOTUSblog, and ACSblog. She has also published in the UCLA Journal of Environmental Law & PolicySyracuse Law Review, The Cato Institute’s Supreme Court Review, and the Yale Journal of International Law. Elizabeth is a graduate of Yale Law School.

Dori Bernstein is Deputy Director of the Supreme Court Institute at Georgetown University Law Center. Ms. Bernstein previously served as an appellate litigator in the Office of General Counsel at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. She clerked for then-Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and worked as a staff attorney in the Office of the Chief Staff Counsel for the D.C. Circuit. Ms. Bernstein is a graduate of New York University Law School and earned an L.L.M. in appellate advocacy as a fellow/supervising attorney in the Appellate Litigation Clinic at Georgetown Law.

Meaghan McLaine VerGow is a counsel in O’Melveny’s Washington, D.C. office and a member of the Financial Services Practice. Meaghan represents financial services companies — including banks, insurers, and health care payors —in complex litigation implicating a range of subject matters including federal jurisdiction and procedure, federal preemption, ERISA, torts, bankruptcy law, insurance law, and contract law.

Meaghan also has extensive experience assisting clients with appeals in the U.S. Supreme Court, federal courts of appeals, and state appellate courts. Her appellate work includes Supreme Court briefing in a prominent criminal defense victory and federal appellate briefing on behalf of a multinational insurance company that resulted in the reinstatement of the client’s multi-million dollar claims. Meaghan has presented oral arguments in the D.C. Court of Appeals, the Maryland Court of Appeals, and the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. Committed to pro bono work, Meaghan has co-authored numerous briefs on behalf of indigent clients, counseled a local government on a major policy initiative, and counseled a nonprofit organization on a corporate restructuring. She co-authored the Supreme Court briefs that culminated in a unanimous victory in favor of the client in Abuelhawa v. United States, 556 U.S. 816 (2009).

Loren L. AliKhan is Deputy Solicitor General for the District of Columbia. Before serving as Deputy SG, Loren was a counsel with O’Melveny & Myers and a member of the Appellate Practice. Loren has drafted briefs to the US Supreme Court and lower federal courts on a variety of subjects including federal constitutional law, criminal law, civil procedure, and administrative law, and she has argued cases in the D.C. Circuit, Third Circuit, Sixth Circuit, and Maryland Court of Special Appeals. Loren has taught in O’Melveny’s Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Clinic at Harvard Law School and in the legal writing program at Yale Law School. She served on the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Amicus Curiae Committee. Loren was named to the Forbes Magazine “30 Under 30” list for Law & Policy in 2012, and she was selected as a “Rising Star” in appellate litigation by Super Lawyers in 2013. 

Prior to joining O’Melveny, Loren served as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General at the US Department of Justice, and as a Temple Bar Scholar in London, England, where she worked with Lord David Hope of Craighead, Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. She also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Louis H. Pollak, US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and to the Honorable Thomas L. Ambro, US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.


Georgetown University, J.D., 2006: magna cum laude; Order of the Coif; Executive Editor, The Georgetown Law Journal

Bard College at Simon’s Rock, B.A., Political Studies and Philosophy: summa cum laude

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