John Elwood

John Elwood

Partner, Vinson & Elkins

Mr. Elwood, a partner in the firm’s Appellate practice group, has argued nine cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, and argued before most federal courts of appeals. He has briefed and argued cases in “a broad cross-section of areas” (Chambers USA, 2013), and has particular experience in the areas of environmental law, the False Claims Act, administrative law, government contracting, and federal criminal law.

Mr. Elwood’s work has earned him recognition as one of Washington’s top Supreme Court lawyers (Washingtonian, 2013), as one of “a small group of lawyers” with an “outsized influence at the U.S. Supreme Court” (Reuters, 2014), and as one of the country’s most innovative lawyers (Financial Times, 2014). Chambers USA reports that “[t]he much-admired John Elwood is praised for his advocacy skills” (2013), and describes Mr. Elwood as “phenomenal” (2014), “incredibly talented” (2012), and “a much-loved and widely respected lawyer who is quick on his feet” (2010).

Before joining the firm, Mr. Elwood served in senior-level positions in the U.S. Department of Justice. Beginning as an Assistant to the Solicitor General, and continuing with the firm, he has briefed more than 20 merits cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, and has briefed approximately 135 cases at the certiorari stage. As the senior Deputy in the Office of Legal Counsel, he advised the White House and federal agencies on a range of constitutional, statutory, and regulatory issues.



  • Yale Law School, J.D., 1993 (Senior Editor, Yale Law Journal)
  • King's College, M.A. with distinction, first in class, 1990
  • Princeton University, A.B. summa cum laude, 1989 (Phi Beta Kappa)
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Supreme Court Preview: What Is in Store for October Term 2015? - Audio/Video

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October 5th will mark the first day of the 2015 Supreme Court term. Thus far,...