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Samantha Chaifetz


Co-Chair, Appellate Advocacy Practice


Samantha Chaifetz is co-chair of the firm’s Appellate Advocacy practice. She has extensive appellate litigation experience in civil cases involving constitutional, statutory and administrative law.

Prior to joining DLA Piper, Samantha was an award-winning appellate attorney for the US Department of Justice’s Civil Division. There, she served as appellate counsel in more than 100 matters, fully briefed more than 65 cases in federal courts of appeals across the country and personally argued more than 35 cases before 10 federal circuits. Samantha also drafted successful Supreme Court filings, including petitions for certiorari, briefs in opposition and merit-stage briefs, and negotiated settlements to resolve longstanding disputes. Her work spanned agencies and practice areas, including Medicare and Medicaid, the Privacy Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the Federal Tort Claims Act, the False Claims Act, the Federal Arbitration Act and the First Amendment.

Samantha leverages both the breadth and depth of her knowledge to ensure clients’ success on appeal – beginning with strategic advice and forward-thinking issue identification in anticipation of appellate litigation in complex disputes. She is also able to offer cross-cutting strategic counsel based on her past work in the White House and on the Hill. Most recently, she served as deputy counsel to the Vice President. Previously, she served as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law.

Bar admissionsNew YorkDistrict of Columbia
CourtsSupreme Court of the United StatesUnited States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the First CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Second CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Fourth CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Fifth CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Ninth CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh CircuitUnited States District Court for the Southern District of New YorkUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of New York


Before joining DLA Piper, Samantha was a distinguished member of the Appellate Staff of the Civil Division at the United State Department of Justice (DOJ). She worked with each of the 15 federal executive departments and numerous other federal entities, addressing their needs at all stages of litigation – from pre-litigation strategic planning through post-litigation compliance. In addition to briefing cases across the country, Samantha presented oral arguments in cases before the US Courts of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Federal, First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits. During her tenure, she earned significant wins in a wide variety of practice areas, including the following recent litigation outcomes: 

  • Successfully obtained the reversal of district court rulings invaliding a regulation issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services regarding the calculation of Medicaid’s disproportionate share hospital adjustments.
  • Defeated a state legislature’s challenge to a state Medicaid plan requirement on jurisdictional grounds.
  • Successfully defended a US$30.5 million summary judgment for false Medicare claims.
  • Obtained the vacatur of a district court decision ordering the disclosure of government documents protected by the presidential communications privilege.
  • Successfully defended the withholding of government records under the consultant corollary to the deliberative process privilege. 
  • Settled a putative class action against the Social Security Administration and Department of the Treasury that had been ongoing for six years. 

During her DOJ tenure, Samantha was detailed to both the White House and the Hill. Most recently, she served for one year as the deputy counsel to the Vice President, advising on matters of compliance, policy and oversight. Her portfolio included providing legal counsel to the Vice President in her role as chair of the National Space Council. For more than a year, Samantha worked for the Senate Judiciary Committee, serving as a counsel to Senator Franken on the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law. Earlier, Samantha worked with the White House’s Office of Communications in support of judicial nominations and other domestic policy initiatives.  

Additionally, Samantha clerked for Judge Betty B. Fletcher of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Judge Louis H. Pollak of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

  • J.D., Yale Law School
    Yale Law Journal
    Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics, co-Editor-in-Chief
  • B.A., Harvard University, magna cum laude
    Phi Beta Kappa


  • Attorney General’s Exceptional Service Award and DOJ Civil Division’s Special Commendation for her work in successful defense of the Affordable Care Act, 2013
  • DOJ Environment and Natural Resources Division Award for Excellence for her representation of the Division in litigation under the Freedom of Information Act, 2013
  • DOJ Civil Division Special Commendation for her successful defense of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, 2012
  • Federal Bar Association’s Younger Federal Lawyer Award for achievements in her first five years as a justice department attorney, 2012 
  • DOJ Civil Division Award for her role in a successful class action defense, 2008

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Barrister, Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court, 2019-present
  • CLE presenter, “Judicial Review of Agency Rules,” ABA Administrative Law Conference, 2020-2022