Lena H. Hughes

Associate | New York

lhughes@mofo.com | (212) 336-4152

(212) 336-4152

Lena Hughes, a member of Morrison & Foerster’s Appellate and Supreme Court practice, handles appeals and critical motions in federal and state courts across the country. She has presented oral arguments in multiple federal courts of appeals as well as in New York state appellate courts.

Lena’s practice encompasses many issues important to businesses, including restructuring, class actions, securities, false advertising, arbitration, and trade secrets. She has briefed dozens of appeals in federal and state appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, the Second, Third, Fifth, Ninth, Federal, and D.C. Circuits, and the New York and California state courts. For example, Lena has secured multiple appellate wins on behalf of defendants in putative class actions in the federal courts of appeals. And she successfully petitioned the Supreme Court for review on an important securities-law statutory interpretation question.

Lena has particular experience in the Second Circuit, where she clerked on both the appellate and district courts, and in the New York state appellate courts. In one of her New York Appellate Division arguments, she successfully secured vacatur of a trial court order denying a permanent stay of arbitration.

Lena also has played substantial roles in major restructuring matters. For example, she represented the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors on appeal in one of the most successful reorganizations of a coal company in recent times, and she currently represents the Ad Hoc Group of Constitutional Debtholders in the Puerto Rico bankruptcy.

Lena is an editor of Morrison & Foerster’s Left Coast Appeals blog, which keeps tabs on the Ninth Circuit and its decisions.

Before joining Morrison & Foerster, Lena served as a law clerk to Justice Elena Kagan of the U.S. Supreme Court. Lena also served as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the U.S. Solicitor General in the U.S. Department of Justice, where she participated in litigation by the United States in the Supreme Court, advised on government appeals, and presented a successful oral argument in the D.C. Circuit. Before her fellowship, Lena clerked for Judge Gerard Lynch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of New York.

Lena earned her J.D. in 2012 from Columbia Law School, where she received the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Prize for academic achievement and the Wilfred Feinberg Prize for Federal Courts work. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago, with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies.

Appellate Arguments

  • In re: Peabody Energy Corporation (26:05)
    (8th Cir.) Successfully argued on behalf of Committee of Unsecured Creditors in defense of reorganization plan against challenges by hold-out creditors.
  • 215–219 W. 28th St. Mazal Owner LLC v Citiscape Bldrs. Group Inc. (03:18:46)
    (New York Appellate Division, First Department) Successfully argued for vacatur of order denying permanent stay of arbitration.
  • Cohen v. Cohen (01:18:33)
    (New York Appellate Division, Second Department) Successfully argued for reversal of parental visitation order that unconstitutionally required parent to adopt religious practices as condition of visitation.
  • United States v. Stubblefield (10:54)
    (D.C. Cir.) Briefed, argued, and won appeal for the United States on ineffective assistance of counsel.

Additional Representative Matters

  • Pivotal Software Inc., et al. v. Superior Court of California, et al. 
    (S. Ct.) Secured certiorari for Pivotal Software (part of VMware) on question whether federal law requires stay of discovery in federal securities law actions in state court until the complaint survives a motion to dismiss.
  • McMorris v. Carlos Lopez & Associates, LLC et al.
    (2d Cir.) Secured affirmance of judgment dismissing putative class action involving alleged data breach for lack of Article III standing.
  • Cho et al. v. BlackBerry Limited et al.
    (2d Cir.) Successfully defended judgment on the pleadings dismissing named plaintiffs’ individual securities claims on res judicata grounds in putative securities class action.
  • William Paulus v. Ocera Therapeutics, Inc.
    (9th Cir.) Successfully secured dismissal of putative securities class action involving a tender offer.
  • Raytheon Company v. Indigo Systems Corporation
    (Fed. Cir.) Defeated attempt to upend jury verdict of no-liability in long-running trade secrets case.
  • In Re: Pacific Fertility Center Litigation
    (9th Cir.) Obtained appellate reversal of district court decision refusing to compel arbitration in case involving fertility clinic in California.
  • Kurtz v. Costco Wholesale Corporation
    (2d Cir.) Successfully petitioned for review of a class certification decision, then obtained a remand for the district court to reconsider its certification decision, and an eventual reversal on an injunctive class certification decision.


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