Partner, Gibson Dunn; Advisory Board Member, International Women’s Media Foundation; Advisory Board Member, Reveal, Center of Investigative Reporting; Steering Committee Member, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr.
Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr. is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and a member of the firm’s Executive and Management Committees.
As The New York Times has noted, Mr. Boutrous has “a long history of pushing the courts and the public to see the bigger picture on heated issues.” The American Lawyer named Mr. Boutrous the 2019 “Litigator of the Year, Grand Prize Winner” and the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals in 2021 named him a “Top Lawyer of the Decade.” According to The National Law Journal, which in 2013 named him one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America,” he “is known for his wise, strategic advice to clients in crisis and is a media law star.”
Mr. Boutrous has represented clients in the federal and state appellate courts throughout the nation in a wide spectrum of cases. He has argued more than 160 appeals, including before the Supreme Court of the United States, 12 different federal circuit courts of appeals, 10 different state supreme courts and a multitude of other appellate and trial courts in complex civil, constitutional and criminal matters. He has successfully persuaded courts to overturn some of the largest jury verdicts and class actions in history. In 2011, he successfully represented Walmart before the Supreme Court of the United States in the Dukes case, which unanimously reversed what had been the largest employment class action in history and established important standards governing class actions (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes). In 2013, he successfully represented the prevailing party in obtaining a unanimous Supreme Court decision enforcing the Class Action Fairness Act (Standard Fire Insurance Co. v. Knowles). Also in 2013, Mr. Boutrous successfully represented plaintiffs in the Supreme Court in a case invalidating California’s prohibition on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8 (Hollingsworth v. Perry), in which he also served as one of the lead trial lawyers and architects of the legal strategy that led to this landmark victory. Mr. Boutrous is currently handling a lawsuit on behalf of actor Ashley Judd against Harvey Weinstein seeking redress for the career-changing harm Mr. Weinstein caused when he defamed Judd to filmmakers in retaliation against Ms. Judd for having rejected Mr. Weinstein’s sexual advances. And Mr. Boutrous successfully represented Cable News Network, Inc. and reporter Jim Acosta in bringing First Amendment and Due Process claims against then-President Donald Trump and other White House officials, forcing the White House to restore Mr. Acosta’s press credentials. Months later, Mr. Boutrous represented Brian Karem, Playboy’s White House Correspondent, bringing similar First Amendment and Due Process claims and again prevailing in the district court, and then on appeal, in forcing the restoration of Mr. Karem’s press credentials. Mr. Boutrous also represented Mr. Karem in the D.C. Circuit, which affirmed in full in a published opinion establishing precedent confirming the First Amendment and Due Process rights reporters have in government-issued press passes. Karem v. Trump, 960 F.3d 656 (D.C. Cir. 2020).
As both a crisis management strategist and a seasoned appellate and media lawyer, Mr. Boutrous has extensive experience handling high-profile litigation, media relations and media legal issues. He routinely advises clients in planning how to respond, and in responding, to crises and other especially significant legal problems that attract the media spotlight. The Hugh M. Hefner Foundation awarded him with the First Amendment Award in 2019. He also received the 2020 Freedom of the Press Award from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Distinguished Leadership Award from PEN America in 2019 for his leadership in advancing First Amendment rights and protecting freedom of expression.
Numerous profiles of Mr. Boutrous and his practice have appeared in the media. Prominent mentions include: “Litigator of the Year Grand Prize Winner” The American Lawyer (January 2020); “Litigator of the Week: Gibson Dunn’s Theodore Boutrous Jr. Scores Another Win for the Fourth Estate,” The American Lawyer (September 6, 2019); “Lawyer of the week: Theodore Boutrous Jr, attorney in White House press pass victory,” The Times of London (November 29, 2018); Litigators of the Week: Gibson Dunn’s Two Teds Score for the Free Press,” The Am Law Litigation Daily (November 30, 2018); Ted Boutrous, CNN’s Champion, Is Fired Up,” Law.com (November 30, 2018); “Litigator of the Week,” The Am Law Litigation Daily (April 27, 2017); “Litigator of the Week,” The Am Law Litigation Daily (September 8, 2016); “Practice Group Performs In Spotlight and Under Pressure,” Los Angeles Daily Journal (March 2012); “Litigator of the Week,” The Am Law Litigation Daily (June 2011); “Lawyer of the Week,” The Times of London (June 2011); “Appellate Lawyer of the Week,” National Law Journal (March 2011); “Litigation Department of the Year, The American Lawyer (January 2016); “Litigation Department of the Year,” The American Lawyer (January 2012); “ Litigation Department of the Year,” The American Lawyer (January 2010); and “ He’s a Hired Gun of the Highest Caliber,” The Los Angeles Times (June 24, 2007).
Mr. Boutrous is a member of the American Law Institute. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. The Hollywood Reporter recently featured him in Power Lawyers 2021: Hollywood’s Top 100 Attorneys, declaring that “Boutrous is there when an industry’s future rides on a big argument.” In 2021, the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals named Mr. Boutrous one of the 100 best lawyers in California for the 18th year in a row. He has been named a California “Litigation Star” in Benchmark Litigation, as well as a “National Practice Area Star” and a “Labor & Employment Star.” Chambers USA ranks him as a leading lawyer in four different categories, describing him as “an absolute star” and clients prizing his skills as “an amazing orator” and his “incredible knack of picking the winning argument and his oral advocacy skills are peerless. He picks the right point in response to every question without even blinking.” Legal 500 named Mr. Boutrous a “Leading Lawyer” for Supreme Court and appellate litigation, calling him a “renowned advocate” and “the preeminent authority on punitive damages defenses in the U.S.” In 2015, The National Law Journal named Mr. Boutrous to its “Trailblazers–Litigation” list, and the San Francisco Recorder named Mr. Boutrous to its 2015 “Groundbreakers” list. In 2012, Mr. Boutrous was named an “Attorney of the Year” by both the California Lawyer and the San Francisco Recorder. In naming him to its list of the 500 Leading Lawyers in America, Lawdragon called him
“one of the best media and appellate attorneys in the nation,” and the Los Angeles Business Journal describes him as “one of the nation’s most prominent appellate attorneys.” Mr. Boutrous is a frequent commentator on legal issues. His articles include: Spare the ‘Dreamers’ a Nightmare by According Them Due Process,” Wall Street Journal (May 2, 2017); “Poor Children Need a New Brown v. Board of Education,” Wall Street Journal (August 28, 2016); “A First Amendment Blind Spot,” Wall Street Journal (May 27, 2014); “California Kids Go to Court to Demand a Good Education,” Wall Street Journal (January 28, 2014); “A Radical Departure on Press Freedom,” Wall Street Journal (May 23, 2013); “A Killer’s Notebook, a Reporter’s Rights,” New York Times (April 9, 2013); “Broadcast ‘Indecency’ on Trial,” Wall Street Journal (January 17, 2012). Mr. Boutrous is a member of the Advisory Board of the International Women’s Media Foundation and was named its 2015 Leadership Honoree. He serves on the Advisory Board of Reveal for the Center of Investigative Reporting and the Steering Committee of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
Mr. Boutrous received his law degree, summa cum laude, from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1987, where he was Valedictorian and Editor-in-Chief of the San Diego Law Review.
Mr. Boutrous is admitted to practice in California, New York, and the District of Columbia.