Veteran Supreme Court and appellate advocate Gene Schaerr is leaving Winston & Strawn to represent the state of Utah in defense of its constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
“We are pleased that he is so eager to represent our state and that he would leave his firm so he can focus on this case exclusively,” Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said in a press release announcing the hiring of Schaerr Thursday. Reyes said Schaerr has agreed to cap his fees at $200,000 for his work on the case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
Schaerr will lead the team appealing the December 20 decision in Kitchen v. Herbert in which a U.S. District Court judge struck down the Utah constitutional provision prohibiting same-sex marriage on equal protection and due process grounds.
“Gene Schaerr is an elite Supreme Court and appellate expert. He is from Utah. He understands our unique history and community,” Reyes said in the announcement, also noting that Schaerr used to work with the late U.S. solicitor general Rex Lee. Lee is a revered figure in Utah, where he also served as president of Brigham Young University. Schaerr worked with Lee at Sidley Austin before joining Winston in 2005.