Photograph of Clifton S. Elgarten

Government Experience

  • Supreme Court—Law Clerk to Associate Justice William J. Brennan


  • City College of New York, B.A. (1975) magna cum laude
  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, J.D. (1979) summa cum laude


  • District of Columbia
  • New York
Clifton S. Elgarten, Partner Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1 202.624.2523
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004-2595

Clifton S. Elgarten, resident in the D.C. office and frequent visitor to the New York office, received his BA, magna cum laude, in 1975 from the City College of New York and his JD, summa cum laude, from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, in 1979. After graduating from law school, he was law clerk to the Honorable Louis H. Pollak, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and later to the Honorable William J. Brennan, Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court. He is a member of the bars of the State of New York and the District of Columbia.

Cliff's practice is diverse and includes appeals, arbitrations, and trial court work. Over the course of his career, appellate advocacy has been a primary practice area, covering the gamut of cases and appellate issues in the U.S. Supreme Court, many federal circuits, and in various state appellate courts, particularly in New York. He frequently advises as well on issues of constitutional law and appellate practice. He is listed as a Washington Super Lawyer for Appellate Litigation.

His trial work involves practice before arbitrators, judges and juries, on topics ranging from breach of contract and fraud, terminations, non-competition agreements, competitive bidding, teaming agreements, insurance and, in the international arena, expropriations and treaty violations. He has represented bankruptcy estates and, in 2008 concluded a representation of the Enron Creditors Recovery Corp., obtaining recoveries in excess of $1.6 billion from banks that were alleged to have contributed to Enron's collapse. In addition to domestic commercial arbitration cases, he has brought to final hearing cases involving Israel, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Egypt, including several investor-state cases.

In the realm of insurance coverage, he has litigated issues concerning late notice, allocation, the duty to defend, and bad faith, arising in cases involving products liability and environmental contamination. He has successfully handled appeals on a range of insurance and reinsurance topics in both state and federal courts, arising from products liability, environmental contamination, and construction accidents.

Finally, Cliff has long been deeply involved in the pursuit of claims on behalf of victims of international terrorism, both in federal court proceedings and before the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission.


Admitted to practice: District of Columbia, New York, U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas

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Oct.31.2017 The Best Lawyers in America 2018 Recognizes 40 Crowell & Moring Lawyers
Oct.06.2017 LITIGATION NOTE: DuPont Prevails in Antitrust Price-Fixing Lawsuit
Aug.04.2017 Crowell & Moring Partner Stuart Newberger Named American Lawyer’s Litigator of the Week for Winning Argument in Terrorism Ruling against Sudan
Jul.30.2017 Federal Appeals Court Affirms Multi-Billion Judgment for Victims of 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombings in Kenya and Tanzania
May.05.2017 Crowell & Moring Featured in Global Arbitration Review’s 10th Annual "GAR 100" List
Mar.14.2017 Litigation Note: Crowell & Moring Wins Appellate Victory Affirming Summary Judgment on Tying and Exclusive Dealing Case
Dec.16.2016 Litigation Note: Supreme Court of California Denies Appeal in Medivation, Inc. v. Aragon Pharmaceuticals
Aug.18.2016 The Best Lawyers in America 2017 Recognizes 38 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
Mar.22.2016 Crowell & Moring Featured in Global Arbitration Review’s 9th Edition “GAR 100” List
Oct.27.2015 Super Lawyers Recognizes 90 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
Aug.25.2015 The Best Lawyers in America 2016 Recognizes 39 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
Sep.30.2014 Super Lawyers 2014 Recognizes 90 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
Aug.28.2014 The Best Lawyers In America 2015 Recognizes 40 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
May.27.2014 Crowell & Moring's Insurance/Reinsurance Group Nominated for Chambers USA "Award of Excellence"
Sep.03.2013 The Best Lawyers In America 2014 Recognizes 41 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
Sep.01.2013 Super Lawyers 2013 Recognizes 64 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
Jun.10.2013 Litigation Note: Crowell & Moring Client General Motors Prevails in $3 Billion Suit
Sep.04.2012 The Best Lawyers in America 2013 Recognizes 44 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
Sep.01.2012 Super Lawyers 2012 Recognizes 42 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
Dec.08.2008 Credit Market Leaders Discuss What’s Next in Market Forces, Litigation, Regulation, Accounting & Tax
Jun.21.2007 Chambers USA Ranks 28 Crowell & Moring Attorneys and 13 Practice Areas
Aug.04.2006 Bread for the City to Dismiss Lawsuit against District of Columbia, Celebrates Victory for Area Patients
Jun.30.2006 Bread for the City Case Update: District Will Not Implement Requirements Any Sooner Than July 17, 2006
Jun.29.2006 Bread For The City Files Lawsuit Against District of Columbia to Protect Medicaid Patients
Mar.14.2006 Ambulatory Surgery Centers Petition Supreme Court To Overturn Gordon V. Lewistown
Apr.01.2004 Crowell & Moring Prevails Before U.S. Supreme Court in Long Running Western Mineral Rights Controversy