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Deepak Gupta is the founding principal of Gupta Wessler, where his practice focuses on Supreme Court, appellate, and complex litigation on behalf of plaintiffs and public-interest clients. He is also a Lecturer at Harvard Law School, where he teaches the Harvard Supreme Court Litigation Clinic and seminars on forced arbitration, the civil justice system, and public interest entrepreneurship.
Over more than two decades, Deepak has led high-stakes litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court, all thirteen federal circuits, and state supreme courts from Alaska to West Virginia. He has also testified before the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court. Much of Deepak’s advocacy has focused on ensuring access to justice for consumers, workers, and communities injured by corporate or governmental wrongdoing. His varied clients have included national nonprofits, labor unions, state and local governments, public officials ranging from federal judges to members of Congress, professional athletes, distinguished artists and scientists, and people from all walks of life.
Deepak is “known as a skilled appellate lawyer” (New York Times) and “an all-star progressive Supreme Court litigator” (Washington Post) and has been described as “one of the emerging giants of the appellate and the Supreme Court bar,” a “heavy hitter,” a “principled” and “incredibly talented lawyer” (Law 360), and a “progressive legal rock star.” (New York Law Journal). Chambers USA cites his “impressive” and “highly rated appellate practice,” describing him as “an incredible oral advocate” who “writes terrific briefs” and maintains a “vibrant appellate practice focused on public interest cases and plaintiff-side representations.” Deepak is consistently ranked as one of the “Best Lawyers” for Supreme Court cases by Washingtonian magazine; he is the only non-corporate lawyer on that list. Fastcase has honored Deepak as “one of the country’s top litigators,” noting that “what sets him apart” is his legal creativity. The National Law Journal has singled out Deepak’s “calm, comfortable manner that conveys confidence” in oral argument. And Empirical SCOTUS cited one of Deepak’s briefs as the single most readable in a recent U.S. Supreme Court term.
Deepak’s Supreme Court and appellate advocacy has been recognized with several national awards, including the 2022 Appellate Advocacy Award from the National Civil Justice Institute, which “recognizes excellence in appellate advocacy in America,” the Steven J. Sharpe Award for Public Service from the American Association for Justice, and the President’s Award from the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges.
Deepak is a veteran advocate before the U.S. Supreme Court, where he has filed over one hundred briefs and regularly presents oral argument. Highlights include:
Deepak recently argued and won a landmark victory for access to justice in Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District, 141 S. Ct. 1017 (2021), in which the Supreme Court ruled that people injured by mass-market products can establish personal jurisdiction to sue out-of-state corporations where their injury occurred, bucking a trend of jurisdiction-limiting decisions stretching back four decades.
In Smith v. Berryhill, 139 S.Ct. 1285 (2019), Deepak argued at the Court’s invitation in support of a judgment left undefended by the Solicitor General. He is the first Asian-American to be appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court to argue a case.
In 2017, Deepak’s firm was counsel for parties in three argued merits cases before the Court; he was lead counsel in two, prevailing in both. In Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman, 137 S.Ct. 1144 (2017), he successfully argued a First Amendment challenge to a law designed to keep consumers in the dark about the cost of credit cards. And in Hernández v. Mesa, 137 S.Ct. 2003 (2017), he represented the family of a Mexican teenager killed in a cross-border shooting by a border patrol agent, successfully obtaining reversal of the Fifth Circuit’s 15-0 en banc ruling that the officer was entitled to qualified immunity.
Deepak argued AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, 131 S.Ct. 1740 (2011), a watershed case on corporations’ use of forced arbitration to prevent consumers and workers from banding together to seek justice.
As an appellate advocate, Deepak is frequently sought out by trial lawyers to defend their most consequential victories or resurrect worthy claims on appeal—often after years of hard-fought litigation. He is currently defending several nine-figure and eight-figure verdicts on appeal, including $275-million and $185-million verdicts against Monsanto (over toxic chemical exposure), and a $200-million verdict against UnitedHealth (over insurance bad faith). He also serves as outside counsel to the American Association for Justice.
In addition to his appellate advocacy, Deepak designs and prosecutes class actions and other legal challenges from the ground up. Highlights include:
In National Veterans Legal Services Program v. United States, Deepak is lead counsel in a nationwide class action in which he persuaded the Federal Circuit that the federal judiciary has been charging people millions of dollars in unlawful fees for online access to court records. The case recently culminated in a $125 million settlement that reimburses the majority of PACER users by 100 cents on the dollar.
In another one-of-a-kind class action, Deepak represented all of the nation’s bankruptcy judges, recovering $56 million in back pay for Congress’s violation of the Judicial Compensation Clause. The American Lawyer observed: “it’s hard to imagine a higher compliment than being hired to represent federal judges.”
Deepak also frequently leads high-stakes administrative and constitutional cases involving the federal government. In recent years, he has:
persuaded the D.C. Circuit to issue a rare emergency injunction halting an attempted government takeover of the Open Technology Fund, an internet-freedom nonprofit;
represented environmental groups in a successful procedural challenge to a midnight rule that would have crippled the ability of the incoming EPA leadership to rely on science in setting public-health standards;
obtained a ruling striking down the Trump Administration’s decision to halt IRS collection of nonprofit donor information by dark-money groups;
established that the Acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management had been serving unlawfully for 424 days; and
persuaded the Second Circuit, in Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics v. Trump, that President Trump’s competitors in the hotel and restaurant industry had standing to sue him for accepting payments in violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clauses.
Before founding his law firm in 2012, Deepak was Senior Counsel for Litigation and Senior Counsel for Enforcement Strategy at the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. As the first appellate litigator hired under Elizabeth Warren’s leadership, he launched the new agency’s amicus program, defended its regulations, and worked with the Solicitor General’s office on Supreme Court cases.
For seven years previously, Deepak was an attorney at Public Citizen Litigation Group, where he founded and directed the Consumer Justice Project and was the Alan Morrison Supreme Court Assistance Project Fellow. Before that, Deepak worked on voting rights at the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice; prisoners’ rights at the ACLU’s National Prison Project; and religious freedom at Americans United for Separation of Church and State. He clerked for Judge Lawrence K. Karlton of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California and studied law at Georgetown, Sanskrit at Oxford, and philosophy at Fordham.
Deepak is a member of the American Law Institute and the Administrative Conference of the United States. He sits on the boards of the National Consumer Law Center, the Alliance for Justice, the Open Markets Institute, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the People’s Parity Project, the Civil Justice Research Initiative at UC Berkeley, the Biden Institute, and the Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies. He is a judge of the American Constitution Society’s Annual Richard D. Cudahy Writing Competition on Regulatory and Administrative Law.
Deepak’s publications include Arbitration as Wealth Transfer, 5 Yale L. & Pol’y Rev. 499 (2017) (with Lina Khan), Leveling the Playing Field on Appeal: The Case for a Plaintiff-Side Appellate Bar, 54 Duq. L. Rev. 383 (2016), and The Consumer Protection Bureau and the Constitution, 65 Admin L. Rev. 945 (2013), as well as shorter pieces for The New York Times, SCOTUSblog, and Trial magazine. He has appeared in broadcast and print media including CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, ABC’s World News and Good Morning America, NPR’s All Things Considered and Marketplace, and The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.