Trent McCotter


Trent McCotter is a partner with Boyden Gray PLLC. Having served as Deputy Associate Attorney General of the United States and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Mr. McCotter has deep experience at every level of federal litigation and with every major federal agency.

Mr. McCotter maintains an extensive appellate practice. He has considerable experience identifying and briefing cases that draw the Supreme Court’s attention, having persuaded the Court to grant certiorari in numerous cases raising issues of sovereignty, constitutional rights, due process, and criminal law. He has authored and submitted over 70 briefs at the Court.

He has also personally argued more than fifteen federal appeals across the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, Eleventh, Federal, and D.C. Circuits—including once arguing three separate appeals in just four days. He has also twice argued before the 17-judge en banc Fifth Circuit. He has been counsel in over 50 other appeals raising matters from FOIA and the APA to constitutional rights and statutory construction.

As Deputy Associate Attorney General, Mr. McCotter oversaw DOJ’s Civil Appellate and Federal Programs branches, which are responsible for defending nearly all major litigation against the federal government. He formulated litigation strategy for high-profile administrative and constitutional matters involving the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Election Commission, Department of Commerce, Food & Drug Administration, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Education, among others.

During his three years as a federal trial attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia’s “Rocket Docket,” Mr. McCotter won the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service, was lead counsel in a multi-million-dollar trial, argued dozens of dispositive motions on matters ranging from administrative law to intellectual property, and first-chaired over 30 depositions, including a dozen expert witnesses.

During his DOJ tenures, Mr. McCotter also assisted with the confirmations of two Supreme Court justices and over a dozen lower-court judges.

Mr. McCotter served as an inaugural clerk to the Hon. Steven J. Menashi on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and also clerked for the Hon. R. Lanier Anderson III on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Mr. McCotter graduated summa cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a degree in economics, and graduated magna cum laude from the University of North Carolina School of Law, where he received eight book awards for the highest grade in a class and served as an Articles Editor on the North Carolina Law Review.

District of Columbia, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and D.C. Circuits
District of North Dakota
Southern District of Texas
Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia

Federalist Society
LGBT Bar Association