Erik R. Zimmerman

North Carolina

Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A.
1450 Raleigh Road
Suite 100
Chapel Hill, NC 27517

Tel: 919.328.8826


Erik Zimmerman guides clients through complex litigation and appeals. He has helped companies, universities and individuals navigate antitrust suits, class actions and other high-stakes disputes in courts across the country. Erik’s recent experience ranges from helping a large financial institution win dismissal of a proposed class action concerning its account fees to filing an amicus brief on behalf of four former North Carolina governors in a constitutional challenge to partisan gerrymandering.

Erik has particular experience in appellate litigation, drawing on his experience as a law clerk for Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the Fourth Circuit. He has argued appeals in the Fourth Circuit and the North Carolina appellate courts, and has filed briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court and appellate courts nationwide. Erik also co-chairs the firm’s Appeals Practice Group and serves on the North Carolina Bar Association’s Appellate Rules Committee and Appellate Practice Section Council.

Before joining Robinson Bradshaw, Erik practiced with Gibson Dunn in Washington, D.C.

Honors & Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America, commercial litigation, 2021-22
  • Business North Carolina, Legal Elite, appellate, 2019-21; antitrust, 2021
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers, appellate, 2021; Rising Star, 2018
  • Benchmark Litigation, Top Litigator Under 40, 2018-22
  • Mecklenburg Access to Justice Pro Bono Partners Program, Pro Bono Honor Roll, 2021
  • North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society, 2016-20
  • Stanford University, J.D., with distinction, 2007, Order of the Coif; Articles Editor, Stanford Law Review, 2006-07
  • Harvard College, B.A., summa cum laude, 2004, Phi Beta Kappa; Detur Prize; John Harvard Scholarship
  • Argued appeals in the Fourth Circuit, the North Carolina Supreme Court and the North Carolina Court of Appeals on a variety of issues, including issues of constitutional law.

  • Represented North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper in litigation challenging the legislature’s ballot language relating to proposed amendments to the North Carolina Constitution. Successfully argued a motion for preliminary injunction before a three-judge panel.

  • Submitted several amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court, including a brief for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law about judicial review of partisan gerrymandering.

  • Submitted an amicus brief in North Carolina court on behalf of four former North Carolina governors in a constitutional challenge to state legislative districts that were politically gerrymandered.

  • Successfully represented a federal contractor in the U.S. Supreme Court in a False Claims Act case.

  • Filed several petitions for writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court, including a petition for a medical device manufacturer on an issue of federal preemption of state law.

  • Successfully appealed a judgment of nearly $100 million to the Fourth Circuit in an insurance contract dispute.

  • Persuaded the D.C. Circuit to overturn an FCC ruling against a cable television provider under the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

  • Filed a petition for discretionary review in the North Carolina Supreme Court in a pro bono matter involving a landlord-tenant dispute.

Winning on appeal demands clear thinking and a tailored strategy. It also requires special skills. Today’s appellate courts expect — and reward — crisp writing and focused arguments.

The appellate team at Robinson Bradshaw has the experience that appellate work demands. We put our expertise to work in the U.S. Supreme Court, the federal appellate courts and state appellate courts in North and South Carolina. Our team includes:

  • Two U.S. Supreme Court clerks,
  • The most recent solicitor general of North Carolina,
  • Dozens of former clerks for federal appellate judges,
  • Newly minted clerks from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the North Carolina Supreme Court and the South Carolina Supreme Court,
  • A state bar-certified specialist in appellate practice,
  • Multiple members and the former chair of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Appellate Rules Committee, and
  • A former chair of the American Bar Association’s Appellate Practice Committee.

Robinson Bradshaw’s appellate team often serves as new or additional counsel on appeal. We help parties who have suffered an adverse result in an earlier court, as well as appellees who seek us out for our skills and experience. We also craft amicus briefs for clients with an interest in pending appeals, including appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Although most clients retain Robinson Bradshaw for the full life cycle of an appeal, our appellate engagements have a flexible scope. We often advise clients on whether an order is appealable and, if so, whether an appeal makes strategic sense. We also serve as pre-appeal advisers during trials and other proceedings that can generate later appeals. In these roles, our attorneys can offer a fresh and dispassionate perspective — a perspective that reflects our experience arguing before and clerking with appellate judges and justices.