Cate Stetson

Cate Stetson

Washington, D.C.

Email [email protected]​

Phone +1 202 637 5491

Fax +1 202 637 5910

Practice groupLitigation, Arbitration, and Employment

"The 'tough and smart' Cate Stetson is hailed as an 'excellent appellate writer and excellent oral advocate' by clients who recognize the skill she brings to significant cases at all levels of appeal..."

Chambers USA

Cate Stetson is the co-director of Hogan Lovells' nationally acclaimed Appellate practice group and has twice served as an elected member of the firm's Global Board.

Ranked Band 1 by Chambers for Appellate Litigation and hailed by clients as "immensely impressive," she has argued over 100 appeals and dozens of trial-court matters. Her respected practice sees her arguing a diverse range of high-stakes and complex cases, including multiple arguments before the Supreme Court, every federal circuit court of appeals, state appellate courts ranging from New York to California, and district courts spanning the country from Alaska to Vermont.

Clients and fellow appellate practitioners speak highly of her tremendous skills:

"She knows the law inside out and her substantive engagement with judges is just perfect. She argues intelligently using effective legal arguments, but her tone and demeanor enables her to get all her points across," (Chambers USA 2022).

"If I'm going to anyone in the country on an appeal of some importance, it's Cate Stetson," (Chambers USA 2021).

"She's highly respected by the judges, well liked by opposing counsel and her legal skills are exceptional. I enjoy litigating against her, but I would rather not have her on the other side as she's excellent," (Chambers USA 2020).

"An impressive attorney who counters the opponents' points and questions with devastating succinctness," (The Legal 500 2019).

Cate's practice cuts across many industries and subject matters, including administrative law and procedure, antitrust law, the False Claims Act, class certification, civil procedure, and constitutional, contract, copyright, employment, energy, environmental, food and drug, health care, insurance, patent, telecommunications, transportation, and tort law. Cate also devotes a significant amount of time to pro bono practice, including innocence cases, death-penalty challenges, qualified-immunity issues, and womens' rights.

Cate is an elected member of the American Law Institute; a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers; and serves on the D.C. Circuit's Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct.  She regularly is invited to speak on Supreme Court and appellate advocacy at judicial conferences, national bar association events, and law schools.

Awards and recognitions


Appellate Law (Nationwide)
Chambers USA


Acritas Star
Acritas Stars Independently Rated Lawyers


Dispute Resolution: Appellate: Supreme Court (Federal and State)
Legal 500 US


Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers


Energy Litigation: Oil and Gas
Legal 500 US


Dispute Resolution: Appellate, Recommended
Legal 500 US


Transport: Rail and Road - Litigation
Legal 500 US

Education and admissions


J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, Order of the Coif, 1994

B.A., Duke University, cum laude, 1991


Member, American Bar Association

Member, American Academy of Appellate Lawyers

Member, D.C. Circuit Advisory Committee on Procedures

Member, D.C. Circuit Judicial Ethics Committee

Member, National Chamber Litigation Center Constitutional and Administrative Law Advisory Committee

Member, American Law Institute

Bar admissions and qualifications

District of Columbia

Court admissions

District of Columbia Court of Appeals

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

Representative experience

Briefed and argued multiple constitutional challenges to federal and state laws in various trial and appellate courts.

Briefed and argued a seminal civil procedure case in the United States Supreme Court.

Briefed, argued, and won a federal preemption case of first impression in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Briefed, argued, and won multiple precedent-setting damages appeals on behalf of energy utilities in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

Handled multiple patent appeals in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

Successfully sought discretionary review of, argued, and won an insurance coverage issue in the highest court of New York State.

On behalf of numerous industry groups, handled several challenges to United States EPA regulations in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Pro bono and on behalf of a number of government employees, briefed, argued, and won an important class-action appeal in the D.C. Circuit.

Briefed, argued, and won a high-profile en banc Ninth Circuit case involving religious freedom and environmental issues.

Handled a major appeal from an arbitration award on behalf of an international client.

Successfully fended off a petition for certiorari filed by the Solicitor General of the United States in a multibillion-dollar Medicare matter.

Handled multiple party and amicus briefs for major health and hospital associations in the Supreme Court and the D.C. Circuit.

Briefed, argued, and won cases against challengers presenting multiple environmental and procedural attacks on a client's energy facilities.

Handled multiple appeals on False Claims Act issues for pharmaceutical and medical clients.

Handled a major copyright appeal for a performing-rights group in the Second Circuit.

Briefed, argued, and won an antitrust appeal on behalf of a client in the Sixth Circuit.

Pro bono and on behalf of a national not-for-profit group, briefed, argued, and won a challenge to national parks regulations in the Ninth Circuit.

On behalf of a major energy industry group, handled multiple D.C. Circuit appeals on environmental and related issues.

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