Summary of expertise:
Mr. Payton has most recently been a partner at the Washington firm of Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale and Dorr. His practice there has ranged from complex commercial matters to the most challenging of civil rights matters. He was the lead counsel for the University of Michigan in successfully defending the use of race in the admissions process at its undergraduate college and at its law school. Mr. Payton handled these two high-profile cases in the trial court, in the court of appeals and argued Gratz v. Bollinger in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court's decision represented the vindication of a strategy, devised and implemented over more than six years, to build a case to support the educational benefits of diversity.
In addition to the University of Michigan cases, he has extensive civil rights experience including defending the use of race-based measures to address continuing problems in our society. He represented Richmond in the Supreme Court in Richmond v. Croson and has filed
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