Daniel F. Attridge is not your typical Dean or Professor of Law. He began his service as Dean at Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law on February 1, 2013. Before that, he spent 32 years practicing law at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, a highly regarded law firm serving global clients with 1,500 lawyers. Dean Attridge has practiced in the area of trial and appellate litigation, handling a wide variety of cases in many different substantive areas and venues around the country. For 14 years, he also served as the managing partner of Kirkland’s Washington office.
Educational Background. Dean Attridge received his B.A. degree, magna cum laude, in 1976 from the University of Pennsylvania. He received his J.D. degree, cum laude, in 1979 from the Georgetown University Law Center, where he was Executive Editor of the Georgetown Law Journal. After law school, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Oliver Gasch on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Law Practice at Kirkland & Ellis. Dean Attridge began practicing law in the Washington office of Kirkland & Ellis in 1980. He was a Kirkland partner from 1985 to 2013 and currently is of counsel there. Kirkland is well known for its representation of global clients in complex litigation, corporate, intellectual property, restructuring, and tax matters from ten offices located in the United States, Europe, and Asia. The law firm is built on a meritocratic culture of excellence.
As a trial and appellate lawyer, Dean Attridge has litigated cases before federal and state courts, administrative agencies, and arbitration panels throughout the United States. He has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America (under Commercial Litigation, Antitrust Litigation, and Intellectual Property Litigation), America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (under Intellectual Property), and Super Lawyers (under Business Litigation and Intellectual Property Litigation); rated “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell (“the highest level of professional excellence”); and listed in Who’s Who in American Law, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in the World. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, the State of Texas, and before the Supreme Court of the United States, ten U.S. Courts of Appeals, and three U.S. District Courts. He also has been admitted pro hac vice in courts located in 30 different states.
Management Responsibilities at Kirkland. In addition to his full-time law practice, Dean Attridge served as the managing partner Kirkland’s Washington office from 1998 to 2013. In that capacity, he oversaw the operations of the office, with 230 attorneys and 200 staff. His management experience covers many areas such as budgets, business development, client relations, performance review, recruiting, strategic planning, and so on.
Litigation Experience. Dean Attridge’s law practice has focused on litigation of commercial and intellectual property matters. His cases have involved a wide variety of substantive legal areas, including patents and trademarks; insurance coverage and discrimination; commercial and government contracts; antitrust and unfair competition; corporate and securities; labor; environmental; bankruptcy; and products liability. A few cases are illustrative of his career:
Insurance: Dean Attridge tried and won the first Hurricane Katrina insurance coverage case to go to trial in Mississippi. This was a closely watched, groundbreaking “test case” challenging the validity and applicability of the standard flood exclusion in homeowners’ insurance policies. The New York Times reported that if his client had lost, the insurance industry “could have been forced to pay out untold billions … required to cover damage from flooding caused by the storm … and might have led some to withdraw from the home insurance business.” The victory was featured in the National Law Journal’s annual “Defense Hot List,” as well as the American Lawyer’s award to Kirkland for “Litigation Department of the Year.”
Patents: Dean Attridge represented a generic drug manufacturer in its successful effort to invalidate a competitor’s patent that was precluding entry into the market for desmopressin acetate oral tablets. In a precedent-setting ruling, he won summary judgment for the client in New York on inequitable conduct grounds and an affirmance from the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. The victory enabled the client to enter the $175 million a year market to provide consumers with a lower cost, generic alternative for these tablets.
Government Contracts: Dean Attridge represented a major government contractor in successfully forestalling a disappointed competitor’s attack on the Federal Aviation Administration’s sole-source award of a $475 million contract for satellite navigation systems at airports. The FAA’s contract award to his client was upheld based on proof that it was the only company that could complete the work critically needed for air transportation safety on time and on budget. The competitor’s claims before the FAA were completely rejected and its appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals was dismissed.
Unfair Competition: Dean Attridge successfully defended a drug manufacturer in Massachusetts in a massive series of RICO and unfair competition class actions that challenged the pharmaceutical industry’s use of average wholesale prices in connection with the sale of certain medical products. Other defendants lost or settled for hundreds of millions of dollars. For his client, he won a complete dismissal of all claims.
Dean Attridge won a shareholder derivative case that sought $69 million in alleged short-swing profits from his client. He successfully persuaded the district court in New York and Second Circuit Court of Appeals that the plaintiff lacked standing to bring the suit. Years later, the Supreme Court unanimously reached exactly the opposite conclusion on the standing question.
Research and Writing
Dean Attridge has served as a speaker, faculty, or chair at numerous continuing legal education programs sponsored by the American Bar Association, the District of Columbia Bar, and the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, among others. He also has written practice-oriented commentaries on a variety of litigation, antitrust, and intellectual property topics.