Paul Hughes is a partner in Mayer Brown’s Supreme Court & Appellate practice in Washington DC. He briefs and argues complex appeals, and he develops legal strategy for trial litigation. Paul is also a Visiting Clinical Lecturer in Law at the Yale Law School, where he co-directs Yale’s Supreme Court Advocacy Clinic.

Paul has argued more than 30 cases in courts throughout the country, including five times in the US Supreme Court, before en banc sittings of the Fifth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits, and several arguments before panels of the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, DC, and Federal Circuits. Paul has handled over 250 appellate matters, including 20 merits cases at the US Supreme Court.

In 2018, Law360 named Paul an “MVP.” Law360 (2017 and 2018) and the National Law Journal (2017) both recognized Paul as an “Appellate Rising Star.” Placing Paul on its “Under 40 Hotlist,” Benchmark Litigation (2017) identified him as among “the most promising emerging talent.” Paul has been quoted by a wide array of national media outlets.

Paul often handles immigration matters. Paul recently won summary judgment against the Department of Homeland Security, invalidating its delay of the International Entrepreneur Rule. In 2017, he was an American LawyerLitigator of the Week” in connection with his work relating to the travel ban. Paul is currently defending the Optional Practical Training program and challenging new rules regarding the unlawful presence calculation for F, J, and M visa-holders.

Paul also focuses on intellectual property litigation. He authored the winning Supreme Court briefs in Impression Products v. Lexmark, 137 S. Ct. 1523 (2017), a landmark victory defining the scope of patent exhaustion. Per the Washington Post, this decision has “enormous implications for the economy” and “real ramifications for America’s way of life.” Paul argued a trademark matter in the US Supreme Court, Hana Financial, Inc. v. Hana Bank, No. 13-1211. Paul has argued eight cases at the Federal Circuit. Recent victories there include Zuili v. Google, 722 Fed. A’ppx 1027 (2018), Capital Security Systems, Inc. v. NCR Corp., 714 Fed. App’x 1017 (2018), and Travel Sentry, Inc. v. Tropp, 877 F.3d 1370 (Fed. Cir. 2017).

Paul often litigates appeals involving the financial sector. In June 2018, he unanimously won a bankruptcy matter at the Supreme Court (Lamar, Archer & Confrin, LLP v. Appling, 138 S. Ct. 1752). Other appellate victories include a closely-watched matter involving the Trust Indenture Act in the Second Circuit (Retirement Board of the Policemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund v. The Bank of New York Mellon, 775 F.3d 154 (2d Cir. 2014)); a bankruptcy reversal in the Fifth Circuit (Matter of Haler, 708 Fed. Appx. (2017)); and a transnational financial case in the D.C. Circuit (Toumazou v. HSBC, No. 14-7170). In 2018, Paul obtained an order from the Supreme Court granting, vacating, and remanding an Oklahoma state court decision for lack of personal jurisdiction (Murco Wall Products v. Galier, 138 S. Ct. 982).

Paul maintains an active pro bono practice; he regularly represents civil rights litigants, immigrants, and criminal defendants in appellate matters. In 2016, Paul prevailed before the Supreme Court in Ross v. Blake, 136 S. Ct. 1850 (2016). A critical decision with respect to the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Empirical SCOTUS identified Blake as one of five decisions from October Term 2015 that is “making waves in the lower courts” and that will have among “the greatest downstream effects.” In 2018, Paul persuaded the Supreme Court to grant, vacate, and remand a malicious prosecution matter, Sanders v. Jones, No. 17-263, and he subsequently prevailed on remand in the Sixth Circuit.

Prior to joining Mayer Brown, Paul served as a law clerk to the Honorable Diana Gribbon Motz, US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Paul received his JD from the Yale Law School, where he served as a senior editor of the Yale Law Journal and was the recipient of the C. LaRue Munson Prize and the Chubb Prize. He received his MA in International Law & Politics, with distinction, and AB, summa cum laude, from Georgetown University.

Spoken Languages

  • English


Yale Law School, JD

Georgetown University, MA, International Law & Politics

Georgetown University, AB


  • District of Columbia
  • New York


  • US Supreme Court
  • US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • US District Court for the District of Columbia
  • US District Court for the District of Maryland


  • Shaw Main Streets, Board Member
  • Adjunct Instructor, Georgetown University, 2009-Present
  • Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court
  • Lecturer, Johns Hopkins University, 2009
  • Acting Instructor, Yale University, 2007