Cliff Sloan
Cliff Sloan has litigated cases at all levels of federal and state courts, including seven U.S. Supreme Court arguments, numerous arguments in the U.S. Courts of Appeals, and matters in trial and district courts across the country.


Mr. Sloan’s practice focuses on a wide range of litigation and appeals, including cases involving intellectual property, administrative law, commercial disputes, securities law, tax controversies and constitutional issues. He also regularly advises clients on copyright, trademark, new media and First Amendment matters, as well as global strategy and risk management.

Mr. Sloan rejoined the firm in 2015 after serving as special envoy for Guantanamo closure at the U.S. Department of State. In that role, he was responsible for negotiating with countries to accept the transfer of detainees and for navigating the various international relations, national security and humans rights issues that arose during the administration’s actions to close the detention facility. He also co-chaired an interagency working group that included the State Department, the Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. He was appointed to this post in 2013.

His experience at Skadden includes:

  • a U.S. Supreme Court victory in a case regarding protection for the intellectually disabled in capital cases (Moore v. Texas);
  • representing a pharmaceutical company in a U.S. Supreme Court case regarding the intersection of antitrust and patent law (Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis, Inc., et al.);
  • a U.S. Supreme Court argument regarding the scope of the Double Jeopardy Clause (Blueford v. Arkansas);
  • an en banc victory in a case he argued in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in an SEC matter on the scope of Section 10b-5 liability (SEC v. Tambone);
  • an appellate victory for Rosetta Stone in its trademark infringement claims against Google, in a case he argued in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (Rosetta Stone v. Google). His representation was recognized for his successful and innovative strategy in the 2012 Financial Times’ “US Innovative Lawyers” report;
  • a victory in a music copyright infringement lawsuit in which he was lead counsel for the band Bon Jovi, as well as more than a dozen media and entertainment defendants, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Steele v. Turner Broadcasting);
  • a dismissal on sovereign immunity grounds for the Principality of Monaco in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Eringer v. Principality of Monaco);
  • a victory in a constitutional challenge on Contract Clause and Equal Protection Clause grounds to a Hawaii statute targeting an out-of-state company in which he was lead counsel for the company (HRPT v. Lingle); and
  • a victory in U.S. District Court litigation regarding a commercial arbitration agreement (A-1 A-Lectrician, Inc. v. CommonWealth REIT).

Previously, Mr. Sloan served in other high-ranking positions in all three branches of the federal government, including as associate counsel to the president and assistant to the solicitor general. He also has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s Advisory Committee on Procedures.

Among his other activities, Mr. Sloan has been described as a leader in Internet litigation. The National Law Journal has described him as “an expert on cyberspace” and The New York Times singled out his amicus curiae brief in a landmark Supreme Court Internet case as “very likely” having a significant impact on the justices.

From 2000 to 2008, Mr. Sloan served as general counsel of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, The Washington Post Company’s online subsidiary. He was active in the in-house bar, serving on the board of directors of the Association of Corporate Counsel and on the advisory board of Corporate Pro Bono. From 2005 to 2008, he also served as publisher of Slate Magazine, which was acquired by The Washington Post Company in 2005. He has taught cyberspace law as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, George Washington University Law School and American University’s Washington College of Law.

Mr. Sloan has been selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and The Best Lawyers in America. He also has received numerous awards, including “Appellate Lawyer of the Week” by The National Law Journal in 2012 for his representation in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, and one of Min Magazine’s “21 Most Intriguing People in Publishing” in 2007.

Mr. Sloan is the co-author of The Great Decision, a book about the historic Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison (Public Affairs, 2009), and comments regularly on Supreme Court developments.

Media and Internet Experience

  • General Counsel, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive (2000-2008)
  • Publisher, Slate Magazine (2005-2008)
  • Vice President, Business Development, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive (2002-2005)



  • J.D., Harvard Law School (magna cum laude), 1984
  • B.A., Harvard College (magna cum laude), 1979


  • Illinois
  • District of Columbia

Government Service

  • Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure, United States Department of State (2013-2014)
  • Associate Counsel to the President of the United States (1993-1995)
  • Assistant to the Solicitor General, United States Department of Justice (1989-1991)
  • Associate Counsel, Office of Independent Counsel, Iran-Contra (1987-1988)
  • Law Clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens, United States Supreme Court (1985-1986)
  • Law Clerk to Judge J. Skelly Wright, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (1984-1985)
  • Executive Assistant, Congressman Sidney R. Yates (1979-1981)

Cliff Sloan

Partner, Litigation; Intellectual Property and Technology; Media and Entertainment; Congressional Investigations and Government Policy