Jonathan Y. Ellis Partner

Jonathan is a co-chair of the firm’s Appeals and Issues Team and a member of the firm’s Complex Commercial Litigation Department. He focuses his practice on briefing and arguing appeals and dispositive motions, as well as counseling clients on complex legal issues. Jonathan has argued nine cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and has also handled appeals and dispositive motions in other federal courts and state courts across the country. Jonathan has significant experience nationally in assisting clients in formulating appellate strategy both in pending appeals and at the trial court level before judgment.

Before joining McGuireWoods, Jonathan served in the Office of the Solicitor General in the U.S. Department of Justice as an Assistant to the Solicitor General. During his tenure, Jonathan briefed and argued Supreme Court cases involving patent and copyright law, constitutional law, administrative law, ERISA, international arbitration, telecommunications, securities regulation, and other areas of federal law. His arguments include Facebook, Inc. v. Duguid, Thryv, Inc. v. Click-to-Call Technologies, LP, and Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v., LLC.

Jonathan graduated first in his class from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and has served as a lecturer at the school. After graduation, Jonathan served as a law clerk to John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States, and to Judge A. Raymond Randolph of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He also previously served as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from North Carolina State University.


PennEast Pipeline Co., LLC v. New Jersey, 141 S. Ct. 2244 (2021) (scope of eminent-domain power under the federal Natural Gas Act)

United States v. Arthrex, Inc., 141 S. Ct. 1970 (2021) (constitutionality of the appointment of administrative patent judges)

United States v. Gary, 141 S. Ct. 2090 (2021) (plain-error review of errors in criminal plea colloquy) (argued)

Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid, 141 S. Ct. 2063 (2021) (constitutionality of California labor law regulation)

Facebook, Inc. v. Duguid, 141 S. Ct. 1163 (2021) (scope of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s restrictions on autodialers) (argued)

Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 140 S. Ct. 2183 (2020) (constitutionality of tenure protection for the CFPB Director)

GE Energy Power Conversion France SAS, Corp. v. Outokumpu Stainless USA, LLC, 140 S. Ct. 1637 (2020) (requirements for enforcing international arbitration agreements under the New York Convention) (argued)

Thryv, Inc. v. Click-to-Call Technologies, LP, 140 S. Ct. 1367 (2020) (scope of judicial review of inter partes review proceedings before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) (argued)

Retirement Plans Committee of IBM v. Jander, 140 S. Ct. 592 (2020) (requirements for proving a breach of the duty of prudence by ERISA plan fiduciaries) (argued)

Knick v. Township of Scott, 139 S. Ct. 2162 (2019) (requirements for asserting a Fifth Amendment takings claim against a local government in federal court)

McDonough v. Smith, 139 S. Ct. 2149 (2019) (statute of limitations for civil rights claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983)

Return Mail, Inc. v. U.S. Postal Service, 139 S. Ct. 1853 (2019) (scope of post-issuance review of patents by the U.S. Patent and and Trademark Office)

Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v., LLC, 139 S. Ct. 881 (2019) (registration requirement for commencing a copyright-infringement suit) (argued)

Jam v. International Finance Corp., 139 S. Ct. 759 (2019) (scope of immunity from suit enjoyed by public international organizations under the federal International Organizations Immunity Act) (argued)

Rosales-Mireles v. United States, 138 S. Ct. 1897 (2018) (plain-error review for criminal sentencing errors) (argued)

  • University of Pennsylvania Law School, JD, summa cum laude, 2010
  • North Carolina State University, BS, magna cum laude, 2003

Barrister, Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court

Member, Appellate Rules Committee, North Carolina Bar Association

Member, Appellate Practice Section Council, North Carolina Bar Association

  • North Carolina
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • Moderator, U.S. Supreme Court Preview: Current Trends and Cases of the 2022-2023 Term, October 17, 2022
  • Speaker, "Supreme Court Update," Council for Christian Colleges and Universities International Forum, February 2022
  • Panelist, "Notable Developments in Administrative Law," Federal Circuit Bench & Bar Conference, June 24, 2021
  • Organizer, "Effective Appellate Litigation: Improving Your Practice in State and Federal Courts of Appeals," North Carolina Bar Association, June 3-4, 2021
  • Panelist, "U.S. Supreme Court Round-Up," Federal Bar Association, July 20, 2020
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