Will Expand Firm’s Nationally-Recognized Litigation Capabilities and Appellate Practice
September 6, 2017
Hunton & Williams LLP is pleased to announce that Stuart A. Raphael and Elbert Lin have joined the firm as partners in the Litigation practice in its Washington and Richmond offices. Stuart rejoins the firm after serving as Virginia Solicitor General since January 2014; Elbert, the first Solicitor General of West Virginia, has served in that capacity since 2013.
“Together, Elbert and Stuart bring an immense breadth of appellate experience to the firm’s nationally-recognized Litigation practice. We know of no other firm that has simultaneously welcomed two outgoing state solicitors general to its partnership,” said Samuel A. Danon, head of the firm’s Litigation practice. “We look forward to Elbert and Stuart continuing the high-caliber practices each led as their state’s chief appellate lawyer, as well as to the many opportunities that will arise out of their unique collaboration.”
As Solicitor General of West Virginia, Elbert was responsible for overseeing all civil and criminal appeals, federal litigation, and Attorney General Opinions. In more than four years in that role, Elbert won several critical victories in federal courts, including a U.S. Supreme Court stay of the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan,” which was the first ever stay by that court of a federal agency rule still under review in the lower courts (West Virginia v. EPA). He was previously a partner in the appellate and communications litigation groups of a national law firm, where he successfully challenged in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit the FCC’s first attempt at a “net neutrality” order (Comcast v. FCC).
Earlier in his career, Elbert clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court and for Judge William H. Pryor Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School and his B.A., magna cum laude, from Yale College.
“Elbert is a tremendous lawyer, writer, and oral advocate, whose talent and work ethic won him respect in the courtroom, in the office, and throughout the community,” said West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. “For more than four years, he played a leading role in many of this Office’s successes, in matters of national and local importance. West Virginia is better off because of his and his family’s public service. I am grateful for his counsel and for his friendship, and wish him the very best in the next chapter of his career.
As Solicitor General, Stuart represented Virginia in a number of high-profile matters, including the 2014 litigation involving the constitutionality of same-sex marriage (Bostic v. Schaefer) and the 2016 congressional redistricting case in the U.S. Supreme Court (Wittman v. Personhuballah). He recently obtained summary reversal by the Supreme Court of a decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that would have disrupted Virginia’s criminal sentencing system for juvenile offenders (Virginia v. LeBlanc).
Before his government service, Stuart led the firm’s energy and environmental litigation team. He joined Hunton & Williams in 1989 after graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law; he received his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard University.
“Stuart has been a trusted advisor for me and an incredible courtroom advocate for the people of Virginia,” said Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring. Herring added that Stuart “has overseen some of my team’s most important cases, including the fight for marriage equality and our successful challenge to the President’s travel ban. Stuart has rightly earned the trust and respect of his colleagues in the legal profession including state and federal judges and his fellow attorneys, even when they’re sitting on the other side.”
Hunton & Williams’ team of more than 200 litigators draws upon decades of experience to handle all aspects of disputes with the goal of achieving successful results, whether in the boardroom or a courtroom. The firm’s litigators serve as national or worldwide coordinating counsel for many clients, often engaging in precedent-setting cases, class actions, complex commercial disputes, multidistrict litigation and coordinated state law proceedings.
Elbert was appointed the first Solicitor General of West Virginia in 2013. His many victories in federal court on behalf of the state include obtaining a nationwide stay from the Sixth Circuit of the Waters of the United States rule promulgated by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (In re EPA). His notable wins in state court include persuading the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals to rule that a vacant state Senate seat had to be filled by a member of the same party as the person vacating the seat, averting the possibility of an evenly divided state Senate and a constitutional crisis (State ex rel. Biafore v. Tomblin).
As Solicitor General, Elbert argued 22 cases before state and federal appellate courts, including two before en banc sessions of the D.C. Circuit and the Fourth Circuit, and authored more than 25 briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Prior to his government service in West Virginia, Elbert was a partner in the appellate and communications litigation groups of Wiley Rein LLP. Earlier in his career, Elbert was a Trial Attorney in the Civil Division’s Federal Programs Branch at the U.S. Department of Justice.
Elbert has served as a law clerk at all three levels of the federal judiciary: for Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court, for Judge William H. Pryor Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and for Senior Judge Robert E. Keeton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
Elbert earned his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Yale College and his law degree from Yale Law School, where he was Managing Editor of The Yale Law Journal. He has been named a Rising Star (2013) by the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Greater Washington area, and a member of the Generation Next 40 Under 40 (2015) by the West Virginia State Journal. He is licensed in the District of Columbia, West Virginia, and Massachusetts, and is in the process of applying for admission in Virginia.
Stuart A. Raphael
Stuart was appointed the Solicitor General of Virginia in January 2014. As Virginia’s chief appellate lawyer, he authored more than 75 briefs and presented oral argument more than 30 times in federal and state court. Stuart argued successfully in the Fourth Circuit that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage violated the Fourteenth Amendment, which led to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Virginia eight months before the Supreme Court conclusively settled the question in Obergefell v. Hodges. Stuart’s amicus brief for Virginia in Obergefell earned a “Best Brief” award from the National Association of Attorneys General.
Stuart also presented oral argument for Virginia in the Fourth Circuit in King v. Burwell, which rejected the second major legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act, a decision affirmed 6-3 by the Supreme Court. He also won the first preliminary injunction against President Trump’s seven-country travel ban (Trump v. Aziz).
Stuart has argued two cases in the Supreme Court of the United States, including Virginia v. Maryland, an original action in which the Court held in 2003 that Virginia has the right to use the Potomac River, free of regulation by Maryland.
Before serving as Virginia’s Solicitor General, Stuart was a partner at Hunton & Williams and led its energy and environmental litigation practice. He joined the firm in 1989 and was admitted to the partnership in 1997. He is a member of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers.
Stuart earned his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard University and his law degree from the University of Virginia. He is admitted to the bars of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia.