Microsoft boosted its legal team yesterday by hiring a law firm with Supreme Court expertise.

Attorney Carter Phillips and his law firm Sidley & Austin will help Microsoft argue that its antitrust case appeal should be heard by a Federal Appeals Court, and not sent directly to the Supreme Court for review. The new legal team will work alongside Microsoft's lead trial counsel, Sullivan & Cromwell, a Microsoft spokesman said.

The US District Court judge overseeing Microsoft's case, acting on a request from the US Department of Justice (DOJ), recommended that Microsoft's appeal be heard directly by the Supreme Court. It's up to the Supreme Court to decide whether it will actually accept the case.

The DOJ said the Supreme Court should hear the case directly because it’s in the public interest to resolve Microsoft's appeal quickly. Microsoft has argued that the appeal should be heard first by an Appeals court. The court in question has issued at least one ruling in Microsoft's favour earlier in the case.