Donald B. Verrilli, Jr.
Partner, Jenner & Block
Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. serves as Chair of the Firm's Telecommunications Practice and a Co-Chair of its Appellate and Supreme Court Practice. He is a member of the Firm's Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practice. He is also a member of the Firm's Policy Committee. Mr. Verrilli concentrates his practice on Supreme Court and appellate litigation, telecommunications, and First Amendment and media litigation.
Mr. Verrilli has argued numerous cases before the United States Supreme Court. Most recently, he argued on behalf of the entertainment industry in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., where he urged the Justices to hold software companies that build businesses on the illegal distribution of copyrighted material liable for copyright infringement. He also successfully argued General Dynamics Land Systems v. Cline, a case in which the Court ruled that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act does not authorize "reverse discrimination" suits, FCC v. Next Wave Personal Communications, a case in which the Court returned to NextWave billions of dollars worth of wireless phone spectrum licenses that the FCC had sought to repossess from NextWave while it was in bankruptcy, and Verizon Communications v. FCC, the most important case arising out of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. On a pro bono basis, he successfully defended the right to effective counsel in Wiggins v. Smith.
Mr. Verrilli has argued many cases in the federal courts of appeals and in state supreme courts on a range of issues, including cases involving constitutional law (involving the First Amendment, the Takings Clause and the Bill of Attainder Clause), statutory construction, administrative law, copyright and criminal law. As part of his active First Amendment practice he successfully represented the National Association of Broadcasters in a case involving a First Amendment challenge to the compulsory copyright provisions of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act. Mr. Verrilli was counsel to NAB in Turner Broadcasting System v. FCC, the landmark case upholding the must-carry provisions of the 1992 Cable Act. He was counsel in Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, the Supreme Court decision establishing the First Amendment rights of Internet speakers. Mr. Verrilli also represents the Recording Industry Association of America on matters arising out of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Mr. Verrilli received his J.D. with honors from Columbia University in 1983, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Columbia Law Review, and his B.A. with honors from Yale University in 1979. He clerked for Associate Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., of the United States Supreme Court, and Judge J. Skelly Wright of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He is an adjunct professor of constitutional law at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he has taught First Amendment law for the past 13 years. During 1994, he served as Special Counsel to the President, assisting on the confirmation of Justice Stephen Breyer. He is a member of the Board of Visitors of the Columbia Law School. In 2004, he received The Arthur von Briesen Award from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association for his volunteer contributions to the equal justice community.
Biography last updated August 19, 2005