Attracts praise for his ‘amazing advocacy style’ and ‘broad strategic view’” and is “recognized by peers as being one of the most talented appellate attorneys in California.
Chambers USA

Kevin Fong has helped shape the law for more than four decades—establishing important precedent in numerous fields, including environmental law and banking law.

A former president of the prestigious California Academy of Appellate Lawyers, Kevin has appeared in 125 published decisions in California and federal appellate courts, won five of six California Supreme Court arguments, and handled several groundbreaking matters. He authored briefs for the lead petitioner in Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case and “the most cited case in modern public law.”

Representative Experience

  • Convinced the Ninth Circuit that Union Pacific Railroad’s emission of diesel particulate matter does not constitute “disposal” of solid waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
  • Achieved precedent-setting win for the Chehalis Tribe, with the Ninth Circuit holding that state and local governments may not tax permanent improvements on land held by the U.S. in trust for an Indian tribe.
  • Obtained a California Supreme Court reversal of a $6 million libel judgment against a newspaper that published articles asserting misconduct in conviction of a Chinatown gang murderer.

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  • Environmental
    • Authored cert. petition and briefs on merits in Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, 465 U.S. 837 (1984), a landmark administrative law case on deference to statutory interpretation by an agency.
    • Argued Pakootas v. Teck Cominco Metals, Ltd., 830 F.3d 975 (9th Cir. 2016), which held that the owner of a smelter cannot be liable under CERCLA for cleanup costs for emissions that are blown downwind.
    • Represented Union Pacific in Association of American Railroads v. South Coast Air Quality Management District, 622 F.3d 1094 (9th Cir. 2010), which held that Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act (ICCTA) preempts local rules on emissions from idling trains.

Professional Highlights

  • Honored by Chambers USA for Appellate-California (2000–2021).
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers (published by BL Rankings LLC), Appellate Practice (2007–2022).
  • Featured speaker at national and regional conferences on issues of constitutional law, appellate advocacy, health care, real estate, diversity and career development.

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  • Honors & Awards
    • Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association, Annual Dinner Honoree (2009)
    • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Trailblazer Award, (2008)
    • Asian Law Caucus, Annual Dinner Honoree (2006)

Education

  • J.D., Harvard Law School, 1979
    cum laude, Editor-in-Chief, Harvard Civil Rights - Civil Liberties Law Review

    A.B., Harvard College, 1976
    magna cum laude

Admissions

  • California

Clerkships

  • Law Clerk to Chief Judge Constance Baker Motley of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York