Lecturer on Law
Deepak Gupta is the founding principal of Gupta Wessler PLLC, a law firm with a focus on Supreme Court, appellate, and complex litigation on behalf of plaintiffs and other public-interest clients.
At Harvard Law School, Deepak co-teaches the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic and, for the past several years, has taught a seminar on forced arbitration and the American civil justice system (next offered in Spring 2023). In Fall 2022, he taught a new reading group on entrepreneurship in public interest law. He was a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow at Harvard in 2018-19 and has taught courses on appellate advocacy and public interest law at Georgetown and American universities.
Much of Deepak’s two-decade legal career has focused on securing access to justice for consumers, workers, and communities injured by corporate or governmental wrongdoing. He has handled a wide range of cutting-edge cases before all thirteen federal circuits, several state supreme courts, and numerous trial courts, and has testified before the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court.
Deepak is a veteran advocate before the U.S. Supreme Court, where he has filed more than one hundred briefs and regularly presents argument. Highlights include:
- In 2021, Deepak prevailed in Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District, in which the Supreme Court ruled that people injured by mass-market products can sue out-of-state corporations where their injury occurred, bucking a trend of jurisdiction-limiting decisions stretching back four decades.
- In 2019, Deepak argued at the Justices’ invitation in support of a judgment left undefended by the Solicitor General; he is the first Asian-American to be appointed by the Supreme Court to argue a case.
- In 2017, Deepak’s firm represented parties in three argued merits cases; he was lead counsel in two, prevailing in both. In Hernández v. Mesa, he represented the family of a Mexican teenager killed in a cross-border shooting by a border patrol agent, successfully obtaining reversal of the Fifth Circuit’s 15-0 en banc ruling that the officer was entitled to qualified immunity. And in Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman, he successfully argued a constitutional challenge to a law designed to keep consumers in the dark about the cost of credit cards.
- In 2010, Deepak argued AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, a watershed case on corporations’ use of forced arbitration to prevent consumers and workers from banding together to seek justice.
Among other honors, Deepak is the recipient of the 2022 Appellate Advocacy Award from the National Civil Justice Institute, which “recognizes excellence in appellate advocacy in America,” the Steven J. Sharpe Award for Public Service from the American Association for Justice, and the President’s Award from the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges.
As an appellate advocate, Deepak is frequently sought out by trial lawyers to defend their most consequential victories or resurrect worthy claims on appeal—often after years of hard-fought litigation—and he is currently defending several nine-figure or eight-figure verdicts in both state and federal courts. He also works with co-counsel to design class actions and legal challenges from the ground up:
- In National Veterans Legal Services Program v. United States, Deepak recently persuaded the Federal Circuit that the federal judiciary has been charging people hundreds of millions of dollars in unlawful fees for online access to court records.
- In another one-of-a-kind class action, Deepak represented all of the nation’s bankruptcy judges, recovering $56 million in back pay for Congress’s violation of the Judicial Compensation Clause. The American Lawyer observed: “it’s hard to imagine a higher compliment than being hired to represent federal judges.”
Deepak also frequently leads high-stakes administrative and constitutional cases involving the federal government. In recent years, he has:
- persuaded the D.C. Circuit to issue a rare emergency injunction halting the U.S. Agency for Global Media’s attempted takeover of an internet-freedom nonprofit;
- represented environmental groups in a successful challenge to a midnight rule that would have crippled the EPA’s ability to rely on science in setting public-health standards; and
- obtained a ruling striking down an IRS decision to stop collecting donor information from campaign-finance groups;
- established that the Acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management had been serving unlawfully for 424 days; and
- persuaded the Second Circuit, in Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics v. Trump, that competitors of President Trump’s hotels could sue him for accepting payments in violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clauses.
Before founding his law firm in 2012, Deepak was Senior Counsel at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. As the first appellate litigator hired under Elizabeth Warren’s leadership, he launched the new agency’s amicus program, defended its regulations, and worked with the Solicitor General’s office on Supreme Court cases. For seven years previously, he was an attorney at Public Citizen Litigation Group, where he founded and directed the Consumer Justice Project and was the Alan Morrison Supreme Court Assistance Project Fellow.
Deepak is a member of the American Law Institute and the Administrative Conference of the United States and sits on the boards or advisory boards of the National Consumer Law Center; the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights; the Open Markets Institute; the Alliance for Justice; the People’s Parity Project; the Civil Justice Research Initiative at the University of California, Berkeley; the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware; and the Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies. He is a judge of the American Constitution Society’s Annual Richard D. Cudahy Writing Competition on Regulatory and Administrative Law.
- Deepak Gupta & Lina Khan, Arbitration as Wealth Transfer, 5 Yale L. & Pol’y Rev. 499 (2017).
- Deepak Gupta, Leveling the Playing Field on Appeal: The Case for a Plaintiff-Side Appellate Bar, 54 Duq. L. Rev. 383 (2016).
- Deepak Gupta, The Consumer Bureau and the Constitution, 65 Admin L. Rev. 945 (2013).