John Elwood

Partner, Vinson & Elkins LLP
John Elwood

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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Publications and Multimedia
Courthouse Steps: NLRB v. SW General, Inc - Podcast
Litigation, Federalism & Separation of Powers, and Labor & Employment Practice Groups Podcast
November 08, 2016
Supreme Court Preview: What Is in Store for October Term 2015? - Audio/Video
Co-Sponsored by the Faculty Division and the Practice Groups
September 30, 2015
Hands Off My Raisins: Supreme Court Decides Horne v. Department of Agriculture - Podcast
Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Podcast
June 25, 2015
Elonis v. United States - Post-Decision SCOTUScast
SCOTUScast 6-11-15 featuring John Elwood and Kent Scheidegger
June 11, 2015
Supreme Court Rules on Facebook Threats – Elonis v. United States - Podcast
Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
June 09, 2015
Horne v. Department of Agriculture - Post-Argument SCOTUScast
SCOTUScast 4-24-15 featuring John Elwood
April 24, 2015
Raisin Growers Back in the Supreme Court – Horne v. USDA - Podcast
Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Podcast
April 23, 2015
National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning Post-Argument SCOTUScast
SCOTUScast 1-16-14 featuring John Elwood
January 16, 2014
Recess Appointments in the Supreme Court: Noel Canning - Podcast
Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Courthouse Steps Podcast
January 14, 2014
Recess Appointments: Implications of Noel Canning - Event Audio/Video
2013 National Lawyers Convention
November 20, 2013
The Supreme Court Rules: Collection of DNA - Podcast
Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
June 25, 2013
The Limits of Recess Appointment Authority - Podcast
Federalism & Separation of Powers, Financial Services & E-Commerce, Labor & Employment Law, and Litigation Practice Groups Podcast
April 12, 2013
Your DNA: Maryland v. King - Podcast
Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
April 03, 2013
Zivotofsky v. Clinton - Post-Decision SCOTUScast
SCOTUScast 04-03-12 featuring John Elwood
April 03, 2012
M.B.Z. v. Clinton - Post-Argument SCOTUScast
SCOTUScast 11-18-11 featuring John Elwood
November 18, 2011
Honest Services Fraud: What's Left? - Event Audio
Chicago Lawyers Chapter and Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group
March 14, 2011