Matthew McGill

Matthew McGill

Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Matthew D. McGill is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Co-Chair of the firm’s Judgment and Arbitral Award Enforcement and Betting and Gaming practice groups. He also is a member of the firm’s Appellate and Constitutional Law and Sports Law practice groups.

A three-time “Litigator of the Week” (The AmLaw Litigation Daily) Mr. McGill has been ranked by Chambers USA in Nationwide Appellate Law and recognized by The National Law Journal as a “Litigation Trailblazer” for his pioneering work enforcing judgments against foreign sovereigns.  In 2020, he successfully negotiated a $335 million resolution of terrorism claims against the Republic of Sudan arising from the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.  Previously, he successfully resolved NML Capital’s multi-billion dollar claims against the Republic of Argentina after what the Financial Times called “the trial of the century in sovereign debt restructuring.”  He currently represents clients in public enforcement matters against the governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Pakistan, Spain, and Venezuela.

An accomplished appellate advocate, Mr. McGill has participated in 23 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, prevailing in 17, including several high-profile triumphs over foreign sovereigns:

Opati v. Republic of Sudan (2020) – Mr. McGill successfully argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of victims of the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and secured a ruling that “unanimously reinstated as much as $4.3 billion in punitive damages awarded against Sudan” (New York Times) setting the stage for the resolution of the Embassy bombing claims and the United States’ delisting of Sudan as a state-sponsor of terrorism.

Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust (2016) – Arguing before the Supreme Court on behalf of creditors that found themselves on the leading edge of Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, Mr. McGill successfully defended an injunction invalidating Puerto Rico’s emergency municipal bankruptcy legislation.  The ruling protected bondholders against the “chance that the territory could write its own bankruptcy plan” (Wall Street Journal) and ensured that Congress would retain control over Puerto Rico’s fiscal rescue.

Bank Markazi v. Peterson (2016) – In this important separation-of-powers case, Mr. McGill represented victims of the 1983 Beirut Marine Corps Barracks Bombing who hold judgments against Iran.  Ruling in favor of the Beirut Marines, the Supreme Court rejected arguments from Iran’s central bank that Congress had impermissibly invaded the province of the Judicial Branch by authorizing victims of terrorism to seize certain central bank assets.  The ruling allowed nearly $2 billion to be distributed to Iran’s victims.

Argentina v. NML Capital, Ltd. (2014) – The Supreme Court’s decision in this case confirmed the availability of broad discovery to enforce judgments against foreign sovereigns, empowering creditors to seek information concerning the debtor nation’s assets anywhere in the world.

At the intersection of sports and gaming, Mr. McGill led the effort of the Governor of New Jersey to legalize sports wagering in the Garden State, culminating in the Supreme Court’s “historic decision” (Sports Illustrated) in Murphy v. NCAA that struck down the federal law that had prohibited states other than Nevada from legalizing sports betting.  By establishing that the federal government has no power to “dictate[] what a state legislature may and may not do,” this “landmark ruling” (USA Today) safeguards the power of States to govern themselves and cleared the path for States across the country to legalize sports wagering.

Later, when the U.S. government announced in 2019 that it was abandoning its longstanding position that the Wire Act of 1961 prohibits only certain forms of sports wagering, Mr. McGill led the legal challenge to the new government policy.  Representing the technology provider for the internet-based operations of the New Hampshire Lottery, Mr. McGill secured a judgment that the Wire Act covered only sports betting, and successfully defended that judgment on appeal.  The ruling safeguarded “the entire online gambling industry as well as multi-state lotteries such as Powerball” (Am Law Litigation Daily) from an arbitrary change in government policy.  For his work toward legalizing sports wagering and confining the Wire Act to its intended scope, Mr. McGill has been recognized by Law360 as a Sports Law “MVP” and “2020 Sports & Entertainment Trailblazer” by The National Law Journal.

Mr. McGill also maintains an active pro bono practice.  He currently represents three adoptive couples in a constitutional challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act, and he represents persons born in American Samoa in their constitutional challenge to a federal statute that designates them “non-citizen nationals.”

Prior to joining Gibson Dunn, Mr. McGill served as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice.  He clerked for the Hon. Joseph M. McLaughlin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the Hon. John G. Roberts, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Mr. McGill earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, from Dartmouth College in 1996.  In 2000, he graduated from Stanford Law School, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif.

Mr. McGill is licensed to practice in New York and the District of Columbia and he has been admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, District of Columbia, and Federal Circuits, and the United States District Courts for the District of Columbia and the Southern District of New York.


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