Neil K. Sawhney
415.573.0336 | 100 Pine Street, Suite 1250, San Francisco, CA 94111

Neil K. Sawhney is an associate at Gupta Wessler PLLC, based in the firm’s San Francisco office, where he focuses on representing plaintiffs and public-interest clients in appellate, constitutional, and complex litigation. A Bay Area native, Neil was the firm’s first Fellow in Appellate and Constitutional Litigation (from 2015 to 2016) between his clerkships with the Honorable Marsha Berzon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the Honorable Goodwin Liu, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California.

While at the firm, Neil has presented oral argument in several high-profile cases, before both the federal courts of appeals and federal district courts. He has also been the principal author of numerous briefs filed at every level of the federal judiciary, including the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as California trial and appellate courts. Neil’s practice covers a wide range of cutting-edge legal issues, including consumer class actions, personal jurisdiction, data privacy, civil rights, forced arbitration, commercial speech, gun control, federal administrative law, and separation of powers.

Recent highlights of Neil’s experience include:

  • Presenting oral argument and briefing a successful appeal in the Seventh Circuit clarifying how and when companies can be held vicariously liable for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
  • Representing Miyoko’s Kitchen, a plant-based food company, in its groundbreaking First Amendment case against the State of California, in which Neil presented oral argument and successfully obtained an injunction preventing California from censoring the company’s ability to describe its products as “butter” and “dairy.

  • Representing Montana Governor Steve Bullock and presenting oral argument in a successful constitutional challenge to Trump Administration’s appointment of the Acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management.
  • Authoring brief in opposition to Facebook’s petition for certiorari on a novel question of the scope of the federal Wiretap Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately denied.

Before rejoining the firm, Neil was a Senior Staff Attorney in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Economic Justice Project in New Orleans, where he litigated impact cases on behalf of low-income communities throughout the Southeast. He was part of the legal team that successfully prevented the Trump Administration from allowing Arkansas and Kentucky to implement unprecedented Medicaid work requirements, preserving hundreds of thousands of individuals’ access to medical care. In addition, he worked on a groundbreaking federal class action representing New Orleans consumers against predatory for-profit bail companies and their underwriters, and he developed litigation challenging the constitutionality of the federal government’s wealth-based detention of immigrants in Georgia. At SPLC, Neil also advocated outside of court for systemic policy reform to protect consumers and low-income communities, testifying at the state legislature and submitting comments to state and federal agencies.

Neil graduated from Stanford Law School, where he spent two quarters in Stanford’s Supreme Court Clinic and received the Thelton Henderson Prize for Outstanding Performance in Supreme Court Clinic Practice. During law school, he also served as a senior editor of the Stanford Law Review, a board member of Stanford’s American Constitution Society chapter, and a co-founder of the Iraqi Legal Education Initiative. Neil received his B.A. in Social Studies and Near Eastern Languages & Civilization, magna cum laude, from Harvard University.