chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.

Steve Reiss is a recently retired partner of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, a Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School, author to numerous books and articles on jury instructions and white collar crime, and serves as General Counsel to The Brennan Center. He has received numerous accolades both for his litigation skills and his dedication to pro bono work.

During his time at Weil, he was an internationally recognized litigator known for his expertise in complex civil, criminal and international matters, especially those with multi-national or parallel civil and criminal components. In recent years, he represented companies in many of the major international antitrust investigations and litigations, including those involving airlines, auction houses, auto parts, carbon fiber, cargo, chemicals, EPDM rubber, freight forwarders, graphite electrodes, helicopter services, lysine, military insignia, milk, MSG, orthopedic implants, and vitamins industries.

He also had extensive experience in representing companies and individuals in a variety of other high stakes/high profile matters – including major constitutional litigation – at trial and on appeal.  He headed the Firm’s appellate practice and successfully argued in the U.S. Supreme Court. Representative clients for whom Mr. Reiss handled significant matters included: American Airlines, Apple, Avon, BMW, Bovis Lendlease, Bridgestone, Credit Suisse, Empire Blue Cross, Ericsson, the European Union, ExxonMobil, General Electric, General Motors, Tommy Hilfiger, Hughes, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal, Oracle, the New York State Assembly, Panasonic, Schindler Elevator Corp., Sotheby’s, Sumitomo Chemical, Elizabeth Taylor, the Television Music License Committee, and Toray.

Mr. Reiss was named a “recommended” lawyer by Legal 500 in four categories: Antitrust: Cartels, Antitrust: Civil Litigation and Class Actions, Appellate: Supreme Court, and Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense. He was also recognized by The Best Lawyers in America, Benchmark Litigation, Who’s Who Legal, and Chambers USA, where clients referred to him as an “outstanding expert in his field” who is “incredibly service-oriented” and recognized him for his “ability to assess and analyze complex situations and to drive toward a conclusion.”

Mr. Reiss has served on the boards of The Brennan Center, The Innocence Project, Oxfam America, Volunteers of Legal Services, and Modern States, an organization dedicated to making college education more affordable.  He currently serves as General Counsel to the Brennan Center.  He has litigated significant cases for numerous civil rights organizations, including The Brennan Center, The Innocence Project, The Center for Constitutional Rights, The Center for Reproductive Rights, The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, the ACLU and The Vance Center.  He has been honored by numerous organizations for his pro bono work, and was the recipient of The Law & Society Award given by New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.

Prior to joining Weil in 1989, Mr. Reiss was a tenured professor of law at New York University Law School, where he taught criminal law, constitutional law, evidence, and trial advocacy. He is currently a Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School teaching an advanced seminar on “U.S. Civil and Criminal Enforcement of International Cartels.” He has published numerous books and articles and co-authored Modern Federal Jury Instructions, a standard reference work on jury instructions and practice in the federal courts. He was the Reporter for Second Circuit Judicial Conference Committee on Juries.

Mr. Reiss served as a law clerk to Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. of the United States Supreme Court and to Judge John Minor Wisdom of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He is a graduate of Stanford Law School, where he was articles editor of the Law Review, and Vassar College, where he has served as a trustee.


The Virtual 2020 John H. Pickering Award presentation was presented during the Virtual ABA Annual Meeting on July 29, 2020. 


  • Weil
  • WilmerHale


The John H. Pickering Achievement Award is co-sponsored by the ABA Senior Lawyers Division, Commission on Law and AgingSection of Civil Rights and Social JusticeStanding Committee on Pro Bono and Public ServiceStanding Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants.