Portrait of

Government Experience

  • U.S. 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 diverse practice tends to focus on commercial disputes. In recent years, he has divided his time between appeals, arbitrations and trial court work. 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. 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 financial institutions that were alleged to have contributed to Enron's collapse.

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

More recently, in the arena of international arbitration, Cliff has brought cases to final hearing against Israel, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkey, including several investor-state cases.

Cliff has been a longstanding part of the firm’s practice in pursuing claims for victims of international terrorism. He has been involved both in court litigation and the claims process before the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, particularly in connection with the Libya claims recovery process.

Over the course of his career, appellate advocacy has been a primary practice area, covering the gamut of cases and appellate issues in both state and federal court. He was recently listed as a Washington SuperLawyer for Appellate Litigation.


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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May.27.2014 Crowell & Moring's Insurance/Reinsurance Group Nominated for Chambers USA "Award of Excellence"
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