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, criminal law and constitutional issues. He also regularly advises clients on copyright, trademark, new media and First Amendment matters, as well as global strategy, policy matters and risk management.

Mr. Sloan also has represented numerous companies and individuals in some of their most important litigation cases and appellate matters, including:

  • a U.S. Supreme Court victory in a case regarding protection for the intellectually disabled in capital cases (Moore v. Texas);
  • the representation of a pharmaceutical company in a U.S. Supreme Court case regarding the intersection of antitrust and patent law (Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis, Inc.);
  • a U.S. Supreme Court argument regarding the scope of the Double Jeopardy Clause (Blueford v. Arkansas);
  • an en banc ruling 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 ruling for Rosetta Stone in its trademark infringement claims, 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 victory 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 successful 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);
  • a victory in litigation regarding a commercial arbitration agreement (A-1 A-Lectrician, Inc. v. CommonWealth REIT);
  • the successful representation of a former vice chair of the joint chiefs of staff regarding a presidential pardon;
  • the representation of a former U.S. senator in a campaign finance investigation;
  • the representation of a former CEO in a criminal securities fraud trial; and
  • the successful defense of a global professional services company in litigation regarding a government contract.

Mr. Sloan served 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 efforts 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.

Earlier in his career, 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. He currently serves as chair of the board of the Public Welfare Foundation, and on the boards of the National Center for State Courts, the National Security Archive and the American Constitution Society.

As a result of Mr. Sloan’s appellate victories, his work has been recognized by The National Law Journal’s 2017 “Appellate Hot List.” In 2017, Mr. Sloan received the Frederick Douglass Human Rights Award from the Southern Center for Human Rights, the Light of Justice Award from the Texas Defender Service and the Catalyst Award for Legal Advocate of the Year by The Arc.

Mr. Sloan has been selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, The Best Lawyers in America and The Legal 500 U.S. He has been described as “a high-powered Washington lawyer with extensive government experience” (The Washington Post), “a top Washington lawyer” (ABC News), “an esteemed Washington lawyer with diverse government and private sector experience” (Washingtonian Magazine) and “Appellate Lawyer of the Week” (National Law Journal). 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.

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 was selected in 2007 as one of Min Magazine’s “21 Most Intriguing People in Publishing.”

Mr. Sloan is the co-author of The Great Decision, a book about the historic Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison (Public Affairs, 2009), which was named a History Book of the Month Club selection.

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