Gibson Dunn

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Gibson Dunn
Gibson Dunn
HeadquartersWells Fargo Tower
Los Angeles, California
No. of offices20
No. of attorneysApproximately 1,400
Major practice areasGeneral practice
Key peopleBarbara L. Becker, Managing Partner[1]
RevenueIncrease US$2.0 billion (2019)[2]
Date founded1890
Company typeLaw firm

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is an American multinational law firm headquartered in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1890, the firm includes approximately 1,900 attorneys and 1,000 staff located in 20 offices around the world, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The firm is known for its litigation practice, and in particular its strength in appellate law.[3][4][5]


The firm was founded in May 1890 by Republican corporate attorney John Bicknel and Democratic litigator Walter Trask. In 1897, Judge James Gibson joined the firm. Six years later, the firm merged with another law firm, belonging to former Los Angeles city attorney William Ellsworth Dunn and assistant city attorney Albert Crutcher. The merger gave the firm its name, which it still uses today.[6]

In 2009, Theodore B. Olson, a partner of the firm, successfully argued the case Citizens United v. FEC (2010) in its favor.[7] The verdict sanctioned businesses' limitless campaign spending, which promoted corruption and black money.[8]

Gibson Dunn is also actively involved in homeless encampments-related cases.[9] In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the firm represented West Side Community Organization (Westco), an organization that advocated for the relocation of homeless persons from Upper West Side to a downtown hotel in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.[10] Randy Mastro, a partner of the firm who represented it, was criticized for taking up the lawsuit and his home was vandalized in protest in October 2020.[10]

Gibson Dunn has also defended Chevron in court against Steven Donziger, the attorney who won the $8.6 billion judgement against Chevron in Aguinda v. Texaco, Inc. for the company's dumping of toxic oil waste in Ecuador.[11] To counter Donziger, the firm has employed private investigators to follow him, publishing a periodical to defame him, and use of hundreds of lawyers to fight against him.[11] As a result Donziger has faced fines and increased legal costs.[11]

In November 2023, amid a wave of antisemitic incidents at elite U.S. law schools, Gibson Dunn was among a group of major law firms who sent a letter to top law school deans warning them that an escalation in incidents targeting Jewish students would have corporate hiring consequences. The letter said "We look to you to ensure your students who hope to join our firms after graduation are prepared to be an active part of workplace communities that have zero tolerance policies for any form of discrimination or harassment, much less the kind that has been taking place on some law school campuses."[12]

Notable cases[edit]

The firm is best known for its litigation practice, which has been named the top "Litigation Department of the Year" in the United States by The American Lawyer in several biannual rankings, most recently in 2020.[13] The firm is also known for its land use and real estate practices.[14] The firm's attorneys have argued more than 100 cases before the United States Supreme Court.[15]

Some of the firm's notable cases include:

  • The firm is representing Chevron in its long-running, $27 billion environmental dispute in Ecuador.[16][17] According to The Intercept, Gibson Dunn has hired private investigators to track Steven Donziger and created "a team of hundreds of lawyers to fight him".[18] This resulted in a boycott launched in April 2021 by the student group Law Students for Climate Accountability.[18][19]
  • The firm represented George W. Bush in Bush v. Gore, the litigation contesting certification of Florida's results in the 2000 United States presidential election.[20] Theodore Olsen, the partner who argued the case for Bush in the Supreme Court,[21] went on to serve as solicitor general in the Bush administration.[22]
  • The firm represented Apple, Inc. in its patent infringement suit against Samsung (Apple v. Samsung) relating to the Galaxy Nexus smartphone, and won an injunction in June 2012 blocking the sale of the Galaxy Nexus phone in the United States.[23] The injunction was vacated in October 2012 based on the results of the trial.[24][25] It also represented Apple in Epic Games v. Apple, a lawsuit related to Apple's practices in the App Store and the removal of Fortnite from the App Store.[26]
  • The firm is representing Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, in a $17 billion contract dispute with purported seed money financier Paul Ceglia.[27]
  • The firm is defending Intel against several multibillion-dollar antitrust lawsuits filed by AMD and the European Union.[28]
  • The firm is representing CNN in its lawsuit against President Trump and many of his staff on the basis of Jim Acosta's right to a "hard pass", a clearance to enter the White House.[29]
  • The firm is representing the Dole Food Company in a multibillion-dollar toxic tort suit in Nicaragua involving allegations of farmworker sterility stemming from Dole's use of certain pesticides. After the firm uncovered substantial evidence of fraud and a conspiracy between the plaintiffs and Nicaraguan judges to extort Dole out of billions with manufactured claims, courts in the United States dismissed multiple related suits against Dole and refused to enforce several Nicaraguan judgments.[30]
  • In 2009, the firm represented NBC Universal in its contract dispute with Conan O'Brien.[31]
  • The firm represented Viacom in its billion-dollar copyright infringement lawsuit against Google and YouTube in Viacom International Inc. v. YouTube, Inc.[32] After multiple rulings at the District Court and Appellate Court, the case was settled in 2014.[33]
  • Governor Chris Christie hired Gibson Dunn attorney Randy Mastro to conduct an internal investigation of the circumstances surrounding the Fort Lee lane closure scandal and representing the Governor in a later federal investigation.[34] The firm was later criticized by U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton for its methods of record keeping, and accused the firm of "opacity and gamesmanship."[35]
  • Gibson Dunn provided advice to the private prosecutor responsible for conducting the criminal contempt case against Steven Donziger. Since Gibson Dunn also acts for Chevron, The Nation wrote that the collaboration raised issues of fairness.[36]
  • Gibson Dunn represented the plaintiffs in Haaland v. Brackeen pro bono in seeking to overturn the Indian Child Welfare Act. This has led to accusations that Gibson Dunn is seeking to weaken federal protections for Native American tribes overall, opening the way for corporate exploitation of natural resources or Native American gaming.[37]

Notable transactions[edit]

Political contributions[edit]

According to OpenSecrets, Gibson Dunn was one of the top law firms contributing to federal candidates during the 2012 election cycle, donating $1.45 million, 55% to Democrats.[43] Since 1990, Gibson Dunn contributed $6.15 million to federal campaigns.[44]


In an article published by the Amazon Defense Coalition FDA, on August 15, 2018, on the digital media platform Corporate Social Responsibility where it stated:

"The law firm engaged in practices based on the Gibson Dunn marketing playbook which involves what the firm calls the “kill step” to defeat the enforcement in the U.S. of civil money judgements obtained from foreign courts. The article states: The “kill step” usually involves accusing opposing counsel of “fraud” and other misconduct to try to intimidate them into withdrawing, thereby leaving the corporation's victims defenseless and unable to continue with their cases."[45]

In 2007, the Montana Supreme Court found that Gibson Dunn "acted with actual malice"[46]: 88  in suing an art expert Steve Seltzer, who said that a painting signed by Charles Marion Russell was actually created by his grandfather Olaf Carl Seltzer, thus reducing its value. The Supreme Court said "GDC's use of the judicial system amounts to legal thuggery"[46]: 92  and found that Gibson Dunn "blatantly and maliciously tried to intimidate Seltzer with the apparent power, prestige, and resources of a large, nationally prominent law firm coupled with an ominous lawsuit that they knew threatened to ruin and devastate him professionally, personally, and financially".[46]: 85–86 [47]

Gibson Dunn has been accused of unethical litigation tactics, and has been covered in the legal press for facing nearly one-million dollars in punitive sanction fees for facilitating discovery misconduct by Facebook.[48] Gibson Dunn, defending Facebook for its illegal disclosure of data to Cambridge Analytica, engaged in objective "bad faith" and continued to do so notwithstanding federal judge Vincent Chhabria's discussion that Gibson Dunn should behave more ethically.[49]

Gibson Dunn's pro bono efforts in the Brackeen v. Haaland case have been questioned.[50][51][52] Gibson Dunn is attempting to repeal a landmark law supported by Native Americans.[51] Matthew McGill, a partner at the firm, has argued that the Indian Child Welfare Act discriminates against non-Native People who wish to adopt Native children.[51][53] Gibson Dunn lost the case on June 15, 2023 when the United States Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of upholding the law.[54]

Notable former and present attorneys and staff[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Becker, Barbara L."
  2. ^ "The 2020 Global 200: Ranked by Revenue".
  3. ^ "Ranking Tables USA - Nationwide Appellate Law". Chambers and Partners. Retrieved 2022-11-30. [Gibson Dunn] [m]aintains its premier standing in the appellate arena...
  4. ^ "Best Law Firms for Appellate Litigation". Vault. Retrieved 2021-09-15.
  5. ^ "Appellate Group of the Year: Gibson Dunn". Law360. Retrieved 2021-09-15.
  6. ^ "Our Story". Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
  7. ^ "U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Restrictions on Corporate and Union Campaign Speech". January 22, 2010.
  8. ^ "How Does the Citizens United Decision Still Affect Us in 2022?". Campaign Legal Center.
  9. ^ "A legal powerhouse takes on homeless encampments". Los Angeles Times.
  10. ^ a b "Gibson Dunn's Randy Mastro says vandals 'picked the wrong guy' as NYSBA decries atty harassment". WestLaw Today.
  11. ^ a b c Lerner, Sharon. "Law Students Denounce Chevron's Law Firm Over Steven Donziger Case". The Intercept.
  12. ^ Sorkin, Andrew Ross; Mattu, Ravi; Warner, Bernhard; Kessler, Sarah; Merced, Michael J. de la; Hirsch, Lauren; Livni, Ephrat (2 November 2023). "Law Firms Warn Universities About Antisemitism on Campus". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 November 2023.
  13. ^ "Challenge Accepted: Gibson Dunn, Litigation Department of the Year Winner ", The American Lawyer via, December 29, 2019. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
  14. ^ "Real Estate Group Of The Year: Gibson Dunn", The American Lawyer via, January 17, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  15. ^ ""Gibson Dunn Attorneys Argue Their 100th Case Before The U.S. Supreme Court",". Archived from the original on 2017-03-29. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
  16. ^ "".
  17. ^ Chevron accuses Ecuadorean plaintiffs of extortion
  18. ^ a b Lerner, Sharon (April 7, 2021). "Law Students Denounce Chevron's Law Firm Over Steven Donziger case". The Intercept. Archived from the original on April 22, 2021.
  19. ^ Sloan, Karen (April 7, 2021). "Law Student Climate Change Activists Target Gibson Dunn". American Lawyer Media.
  20. ^ "The Two Teds - Episode 2 - Bush v Gore and Election Litigation". Gibson Dunn. 2021-03-18. Retrieved 2022-04-11.
  21. ^ "oyez html5 player". 2015-09-24. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 2022-04-11.
  22. ^ "Olson, Theodore B." Gibson Dunn. Retrieved 2022-04-11.
  23. ^ "Judge Blocks Sales of Samsung Phone That Apple Says Infringes Patents". 2012-06-29. Retrieved 2014-09-28.
  24. ^ Samsung to appeal US Galaxy Tab 10.1 injunction after tablet ruled innocent [Update: Request filed],, August 27, 2012. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
  25. ^ Diane Bartz (Oct 11, 2012). "U.S. court clears Samsung phone, setback for Apple". Reuters. Retrieved Oct 11, 2012.
  26. ^ "Apple enlists Gibson Dunn to fight Epic Games suit, law firm previously retained in Samsung battle". AppleInsider. Retrieved 2021-05-07.
  27. ^ Hill, Kashmir (May 27, 2011). "Gibson Dunn Goes Medieval on Facebook Plaintiff - Above the LawAbove the Law".
  28. ^ "A.M.D. and Its War With Intel". New York Times. 21 June 2008.
  29. ^ "CNN sues President Trump and top White House aides for barring Jim Acosta". CNN. 13 November 2018.
  30. ^ "".
  31. ^ Hill, Kashmir (January 19, 2010). "'Bye, everybody, bye!': An End in Sight for the Conan-Leno-NBC Debacle? - Above the LawAbove the Law".
  32. ^ "Viacom Taps Ted Olson for YouTube Appeal".
  33. ^ Stempel, Jonathan (March 18, 2014). "Google, Viacom settle landmark YouTube lawsuit". Reuters.
  34. ^ "Hiring by Christie Suggests He May Be on the Defensive". New York Times. 16 January 2014.
  35. ^ Porter, David (8 August 2016). "GWB Closure Defendants Want to Put Christie Lawyers on Stand". NBC 4 NY. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  36. ^ North, James (27 January 2022). "Chevron's Prosecution of Steven Donziger". The Nation. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  37. ^ a b Chen, Vivia (2021-11-23). "Gibson Dunn Pro Bono Case Draws Ire of Some Native Americans". Bloomberg Law. Archived from the original on 2023-01-13. Retrieved 2023-01-13.
  38. ^ October 16, Zach Lowe |; AM, 2008 at 12:00. "Tobacco litigation means work for Gibson Dunn, Jones Day, others". National Law Journal. Retrieved 2021-04-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  39. ^ "H-P Plans to Spin Off PC Business - WSJ". Wall Street Journal. 19 August 2011.
  40. ^ "Dealmakers of the Week:Barbara Becker of Gibson Dunn and Sarah Jones of Clifford Chance". The American Lawyer.
  41. ^ "Cleary, Gibson Dunn Slake M&A Thirst With $7.6 Billion Beer Deal".
  42. ^ "Billionaire Harlan Crow, Benefactor to Justice Thomas, Rebuffs Senate on Ethics Probe". 2023-05-23.
  43. ^ "Lawyers & Lobbyists: Top Contributors to Federal Candidates, Parties, and Outside Groups". OpenSecrets.
  44. ^ "Organizations: Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher". OpenSecrets. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  45. ^ "Report Shows Chevron Lawyers at Gibson Dunn Falsified Evidence to Target Steven Donziger in Ecuador Pollution Case – Press Releases on". Retrieved 2020-04-29.
  46. ^ a b c "W. Steve Seltzer v. Steve Morton, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP, and Dennis A. Gladwell" (PDF).
  47. ^ Paul (March 13, 2007). "Gibson Dunn Used 'Legal Thuggery,' Say Montana Supremes". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on February 24, 2021.
  48. ^ Frankel, Alison (4 April 2022). "Facebook, Gibson Dunn face $854K sanctions demand in Cambridge Analytica class action". Reuters.
  49. ^ "Federal Judge Considers $854K Sanctions Against Gibson Dunn for Bad Faith Conduct". 8 April 2022.
  50. ^ Patrice, Joe (November 8, 2022). "Most Firms Don't Advocate Cultural Genocide Pro Bono, But This Biglaw Firm Will! - Above the LawAbove the Law".
  51. ^ a b c "Gibson Dunn Pro Bono Case Draws Ire of Some Native Americans".
  52. ^ Kriegman, Michele (November 8, 2022). "The Supreme Court May Ensure Native Kids' Ancestry Is Erased—Just Like Mine Was" – via
  53. ^ "Why Gibson Dunn's 'Best Interest of the Child' Has a Dark Side".
  54. ^ "Supreme Court preserves law that aims to keep Native American children with tribal families". AP NEWS. 15 June 2023.
  55. ^ "Preet Bharara - Biography". NYU School of Law. Archived from the original on 2023-01-13. Retrieved 2023-01-13.
  56. ^ "Bonner, Robert". Gibson Dunn. Archived from the original on 2006-10-21. Retrieved 2023-01-13.
  57. ^ "Former Fifth Circuit Judge Gregg Costa Joins Gibson Dunn as Co-Chair of the Global Trial Practice Group in Houston". September 7, 2022. Retrieved January 6, 2024.
  58. ^ "Former U.S. District Judge George Hazel to Join Gibson Dunn in Washington, D.C." March 1, 2023. Retrieved January 6, 2024.

External links[edit]