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Samuel C. Kaplan

Washington, DC

t: 202.274.1163
f: 202.237.6131
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Areas of Practice




Constitutional Law and First Amendment / Mass Media


Harvard Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 1996

University of Texas at Austin, B.A., Plan II/History Honors Program, 1992


Chief Judge Richard S. Arnold, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit


District of Columbia

Maryland (inactive)

Sam Kaplan is a partner in the firm's Washington, DC office.  His main practice areas are complex commercial litigation, antitrust, intellectual property, and constitutional law, at the trial and appellate levels.  He rejoined the firm in 2011 after serving as a trial attorney with the United States Department of Justice, Civil Litigation Division (2001-2007), and as Assistant Deputy Attorney General for Civil Litigation with the District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General (2007-2011).  He has represented clients in a number of trials and evidentiary hearings and argued numerous dispositive motions.

While with the Department of Justice, as lead counsel, Mr. Kaplan successfully represented numerous federal agencies in cases involving complex issues of first impression, including a challenge to the federal nursing-home enforcement regulations and standard survey protocol brought by the largest nursing-home chain in the country; a lawsuit asserting the unconstitutionality of the copyright-restoration provisions of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act; attempts by participants in the adult-entertainment industry to enjoin age-verification and record-keeping requirements; lawsuits involving military policies governing the resignation of officers; and the first major lawsuits involving the so-called unfunded mandates provision of the No Child Left Behind Act and the interaction between that Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  Mr. Kaplan also served as lead counsel in a successful lawsuit brought by the Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act against more than 20 individual and corporate defendants arising out of a major land sales fraud scheme.  He received awards for performance in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006.

While with the District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General, Mr. Kaplan supervised a wide range of civil litigation and also served as lead counsel in federal trials and a number of other important matters.  In the year prior to joining the firm, Mr. Kaplan successfully obtained decertification of a major class action brought against the District of Columbia and also successfully defended against a fair-cross-section challenge to the District's jury-selection system and attempts to overturn District same-sex marriage legislation via a proposed initiative and referendum.  In 2010, he received the Office's Distinguished Service Award.

During his time at the firm, representative matters have included:

  • ongoing antitrust litigation involving rail-freight transport of coal and petroleum coke;
  • an antitrust challenge to a major tobacco company's retail-merchandising program;
  • a breach-of-contract lawsuit involving the acquisition of electrical generating assets;
  • post-trial motions challenging a jury's award of over $50 million in compensatory and punitive damages against PBS; and
  • Supreme Court litigation involving the constitutionality of restrictions on access to information about arrestees and the retention of interest earned on improperly forfeited property.

Mr. Kaplan also has taught courses at the University of Miami School of Law and American University Washington College of Law, and following graduation from law school, served as a law clerk to the Honorable Richard S. Arnold, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.  He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Texas at Austin in 1992 and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1996.


"Grab Bag of Principles' or Principled Grab Bag? The Constitutionalization of Common Law," 49 S.C. L. Rev. 463 (1998)

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Government Service

Trial Attorney, United States Department of Justice, Civil Litigation Division, Federal Programs Branch (2001-2007)
Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, Civil Litigation Division (2007-2011)