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United States > Dispute resolution > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



The distinction between appellate and trial practices has been formally established in the US for over 20 years and sees firms focusing on the courts of appeals, state supreme courts and the US Supreme Court as separate practices. Appellate lawyers at the US Supreme Court place as great an emphasis on brief writing skills as they do on oral advocacy and an ability to argue a point of law. Many appellate practitioners work across a range of areas, and, like trial lawyers, often regard themselves as generalists, but individuals do often display levels of specialization in areas such as IP, product liability and employment. With only approximately 70 cases heard by the US Supreme Court per year - of which half are criminal - and with hundreds of appellate practices vying for floor time, competition in intense, and so getting a case heard at the Supreme Court is often half the battle. Only a small number of practitioners have honed the ability to get certiorari granted, and the vast majority of these are based in the home of the Supreme Court, Washington DC.

The rankings also highlight the broader appellate practices across the US involved in state and federal appeals. The number of cases heard in the federal circuits is considerably higher than at the US Supreme Court, however competition remains high. Additionally, there are firms that do not see the distinction between the trial and appellate level to be as clear cut and which instead consider subject matter expertise to be the main determinant; these firms typically handle cases from first instance through to court of appeals and even occasionally on to the Supreme Court.

Omnicare v Laborers District Council Construction Industry, which considered the scope of liability under Section 11 of the Securities Act 1993 for false statements of opinion, was a key case of 2014. Judgment was handed down in April 2015, which, on the whole, saw the court define the difference between opinion and fact, imposing a stricter standard of liability for securities fraud by making a statement of false opinion. In 2015, there was a string of landmark cases: Obergefell v Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage in all states; King v Burwell that considered the Affordable Care Act and Obamacare; Fisher v University of Texas, which was heard in June 2015 and is awaiting judgment, and which will establish the constitutionality of race considerations in university admissions; and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, which held 8-1 that the clothing store had unfairly discriminated against Samantha Elauf, a Muslim woman, in its employment choices. The courts of appeals have been dominated by IP and patent cases and Highmark v Allcare Health Management Systems was a standout case, which narrowed plaintiffs’ ability to bring a case without any merits.

With the majority of the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act now enacted as law, the market is seeing a significant volume and variety of litigation and enforcement actions, as the myriad regulatory agencies, emboldened by the enhanced powers bestowed upon them by the government, have placed increased scrutiny on financial services entities. Driven by public and political will, regulatory bodies have shown a heightened persistence and tenacity in their efforts to bring banks to account for their role in the financial crisis of 2007/8 through perceived excessive risk taking. There are still some residual cases flowing directly from the financial crisis and these are predominantly structured finance disputes brought across the country by institutional investors, primarily alleging that the banks, in selling or underwriting residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS), misrepresented the quality of the underlying collateral of the securities. While some of these cases remain ongoing, many of these have now reached a conclusion, and new ones in this format are unlikely to be brought due to statute of limitations restrictions - restrictions that were recently affirmed by the New York Court of Appeals.

There are, however, interesting variations on these structured finance cases, with a series of actions being brought by investors against the trustees of these RMBS, predicated on the allegation that they did not act on evidence that the banks failed to comply with underwriting criteria. With a later limitation period falling due on these cases, it looks likely to usher in a wave of further cases being brought against these trustees. Outside of the structured finance field, the regulators continue to scrutinize trading activity, and thus market manipulation investigations and related civil litigation have also been key drivers of work for the law firms listed in the ranking. Indeed, in the wake of the high-profile LIBOR investigations, other cases have followed, with allegations being made against a vast number of banks and senior bank employees involving claims that there has been a conspiracy in the setting of various other financial benchmarks, such as those relating to, among others, foreign exchange (FX), ISDAFIX and gold.

Of the various new regulatory bodies formed as a result of Dodd-Frank, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) has undoubtedly been among the most zealous in its pursuit of lenders that have fallen foul of regulations and laws aimed at protecting consumers. As a consequence, numerous firms have substantially bulked up their capabilities in this area, and have begun to place significant resources behind representing entities that are being pursued by the regulator.

Firms at the top of the ranking demonstrate a strong and overarching capability across a wide variety of disputes affecting the industry, and have the expertise to handle both the government enforcement action/investigation and the private litigation that invariably follows. Although firms are active throughout the US, New York remains the primary location for this work.

Although litigation stemming from the financial crisis continues to wind up, general commercial litigation remains steady. The main development is the increasing size and complexity of cases, with regulatory investigations frequently spinning off multiple civil lawsuits in various states. Securities and consumer class actions dominate many law firms’ caseloads, while antitrust litigation - both class actions and individual claims - continue to be filed.

Our general commercial disputes section recognizes those firms with strength across the board in commercial litigation and arbitration, with the knowledge and resources to handle complex disputes in forums across the US. The majority of claims are settled prior to a court hearing so the ability to resolve disputes quickly and efficiently is important, but strong trial capabilities are another crucial factor in the ranking.

International arbitration is a growing field, largely due to the acceleration of globalization and the rise of transnational non-state actors such as multinational corporations. Meanwhile, sovereigns continue to rely on the arbitral process in order to resolve disputes with other states and with foreign investors. In light of these trends, an increasing number of lawyers are being driven toward a specialization in international law and arbitrations.

Firms that excel in this practice area are historically internationally-focused, such as White & Case LLP, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and international behemoths such as King & Spalding LLP, Herbert Smith Freehills and Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP. There are also up-and-coming boutiques that specialize in international law and arbitration, such as Dan Tan Law, which was founded in 2011 by Dan Tan, formerly of Latham & Watkins LLP, O’Melveny and Myers LLP and Lovells. Three Crowns LLP, another top-notch boutique, was co-founded in 2014 by a group that includes Jan Paulsson, who is widely recognized as a legend in the field of international arbitration. The growth of international law specialists, outstanding international legal boutiques and dedicated international practices at major law firms is likely to continue into the foreseeable future.

The new international litigation category seeks to highlight firms with the reach and expertise to handle multifaceted, multi-jurisdictional disputes and/or US-based litigation involving foreign parties in cases that have significant international implications. This typically requires expertise in foreign laws and extraterritoriality, knowledge of conflict of laws, experience handling sensitive political issues, the ability to enforce or block foreign judgments, driving litigation to jurisdictions where the client will be treated preferably, seeking or fending off global discovery, and, ultimately, how to go on the offensive globally and avoid global legal attacks.

There are some firms that can do all of this, such as Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and Dechert LLP. Other firms provide a less comprehensive international litigation service, yet are extremely talented with respect to certain transnational subspecialties. These are often international behemoths, such as Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, that can leverage their huge, global networks of offices. Typical work includes representing foreign individuals and companies in relation to US government investigations and US civil and criminal proceedings, including Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (FCPA) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) matters, anti-money laundering, shareholder derivative actions, trade issues, asset recovery, and enforcement proceedings.

International trade is a multifaceted and diverse practice area and one which covers everything from sanctions and export control issues to trade remedies matters. Most of the firms in the ranking have a strong presence in Washington DC, which is indicative of the need - when handling work that, in many cases, involves policy as much as pure legal work - to be close to the seat of government and the key regulators. Indeed, many of the leading firms in the area are staffed with former high-ranking government lawyers, who provide critical insights to clients on the regulatory mindset, as well as potentially allowing for a more comfortable and fluid dialogue on issues that require negotiation. While not essential, having an international footprint can certainly be of benefit to clients in this area, and many of the leading firms have resources in key jurisdictions such as Brussels (of particular use in EU matters) and Geneva (the home of the WTO).

Sanctions work continues to be a booming area, and with the ever more draconian fines meted out by regulators for violations, the importance of ensuring strong compliance measures are in place cannot be overstated. US and EU led sanctions against Russia continue to account for a significant volume of work in this field, while the US’ historic deal with Cuba in 2014 to restore diplomatic ties and relax commercial and travel restrictions has seen Cuba-related work soar. Going forward, the recent relaxing of sanctions with Iran will be one to watch for 2016. The extensive reach of the UK Bribery Act and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) has led to understandable caution by companies, which are now increasingly seeking law firms with strong anti-corruption expertise to represent them in compliance audits as well as in enforcement actions should potential violations occur.

Despite increased liquidity in the market, global economic growth has been modest during 2015, and unevenly spread among the primary global economies; with the US showing relative strength, the EU a degree of resilience despite significant Eurozone issues, and China slowing down relative to its recent massive growth. Consequently, trade remedies work has diminished somewhat, however, as a caveat to that, there has been significant countervailing and anti-dumping mandates, particularly in relation to Asian companies importing into the US. The relative strength in the US economy continues to grow, which in turn has seen more deals analyzed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews the national security implications of foreign investments in US companies or operations. In this regard, it is often the case that firms that have strong corporate and private equity practices pick up a correspondingly large proportion of CFIUS work.

Trial lawyers often stand out for their ability to turn their hands to any case; they have excellent advocacy skills, an ability to connect with a jury, and are extremely prepared, reading and condensing vast amounts of information. Many practitioners are self-described generalists, although there is some movement towards specialization in certain key areas.

In terms of distinguishing between the tiers, there is generally a greater weight placed on adaptability and breadth practice, as well as, of course, the scope of the work; the wider the significance of the cases, the more notable it is from our perspective.

Reported litigation trends for 2015 included a continued IP focus (particularly in the field of technology patents), as well as employment disputes and environmental cases relating to oil and gas. Another key trend for trial lawyers is the step up in regulatory cases and fraud investigations, with different states and courts questioning the extent to which certain bodies can regulate the actions of companies. Related antitrust cases have also been prevalent this year. Fallout from the financial downturn remains, with investigations into high-ranking CEO’s and financial services providers plentiful. There are also ongoing residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) cases in many states, with those practitioners who hold expertise in financial services spending a considerable amount of time in this area.

In the US, the vast majority of M&A deals over $100m result in litigation, usually filed in Delaware. The Delaware Court of Chancery is, however, clamping down on disclosure-only settlements, which generate lawyer fees even in less meritorious cases, and this has resulted in a growing focus on more substantive cases. This move has encouraged a creative plaintiff bar to file more cases in other jurisdictions, but Delaware remains the epicenter for M&A disputes.

Large New York-based or national firms such as Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz are highly active, having often represented their clients in the original transaction, but they must use local counsel in the Delaware courts, so specialist Delaware firms such as Richards, Layton & Finger, P.A. and Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP have a key role in this practice area. Renowned technology and life sciences firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati opened a new Delaware office in late 2014, with former chancellor of the Court of Chancery William Chandler joining as a partner.

A particularly hot topic in the product liability and mass tort sphere is in the aviation and aerospace arena, specifically with regard to the proliferation of drones and unmanned aerial systems (UAS). As UAS technology continues to improve, numerous companies are turning to aviation specialists for regulatory and legal advice on the burgeoning market. As ever, a large number of wrongful death and personal injury litigation and mass torts have followed on from aircraft crashes and other accidents, leading carriers and aircraft or aircraft component manufacturers to call on aviation litigation specialists for representation.

Outside of aviation, the product liability and mass tort arena has stayed fairly consistent. The major trend is that courts are becoming stricter in terms of personal jurisdiction, as plaintiffs, particularly within the pharmaceutical and medical devices arena, are increasingly attempting to file claims in plaintiff-friendly states such as California, even if neither the plaintiff nor the matter has any connection to the state.

Firms are generally seeing plaintiffs becoming more creative and aggressive in filing suits, although this may be offset by clients becoming proactive in lowering the risks of litigation; and indeed several firms have recently established advisory programs with the sole purpose of identifying and lowering any litigation risks regarding new products, particularly those involving cybersecurity and data.

On the plaintiff side, legacy firm Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik, which was well known for representing victims now suffering from exposure to toxic fumes in 9/11, recently split into two firms: Napoli Shkolnik PLLC and Bern Ripka LLP.

Outside of the US, product liability work has grown in significance, as an increasing number of foreign clients are beginning to seek representation in the US.

The slow but steady tailing off of cases relating to mortgage-backed securities and other remnants of the financial crisis has seen a return to more traditional types of shareholder litigation, in particular matters relating to financial misstatements. There is a rising tide of 10b-5 class actions as market volatility drives stock drop cases, but also on the radar are complex matters involving the alleged manipulation of LIBOR and other financial benchmarks. With oil prices remaining low, the energy sector is set to be fertile ground for litigation, and the high volume of merger activity within the pharmaceutical and life sciences sector is bringing that industry under the spotlight for litigators. Investigations by the SEC, which often lead to securities litigation, reached a record high in 2015, so firms are placing a greater emphasis on the synergy between litigation and regulatory enforcement capabilities.

White-collar criminal defense lawyers have reported a busy 2015. The DOJ and the SEC have continued to aggressively investigate and prosecute a broad range of companies for Foreign and Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations. Firms have also reported increased cooperation between regulators, both within and across borders, with the result that clients are now often facing multiple investigations for the same activity.

September 2015 saw the delivery of the so-called ‘Yates Memo’: a statement from DOJ Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates that the most effective way to combat corporate misconduct is to go after the individuals who are alleged to have perpetrated the wrongdoing, rather than companies. The memo also sets out a strategy for success in these prosecutions. This announcement has created a stark division of opinion among white-collar criminal defense lawyers. While some dismiss it as a public relations exercise or as old wine in new bottles, others are convinced that the DOJ means business, and that the individual clients will be forced to seek representation more often in future. Some lawyers have expressed concern regarding the memo’s claim that, in order for a company to receive any consideration for cooperation under the Principles of Federal Prosecution of Business Organizations, it must disclose all relevant facts about individual misconduct. The worry is that this clause will force defense attorneys acting for companies to become an extension of the DOJ, having to inform on clients’ employees to avoid punishment. Questions have been raised about whether this development is compatible with the principle of attorney-client privilege.

False Claims Act (FCA) investigations have also kept firms busy, with the healthcare sector remaining especially fertile territory since the inception of the Affordable Care Act. Many firms have also handled benchmarking investigations, and some report that the hitherto LIBOR-focused authorities have started to broaden their gaze to include other benchmarks.

Many firms are acting for one of the individuals charged in relation to the FIFA corruption scandal.

Significant personnel moves in the white-collar space included Mark Mukasey’s move from Bracewell LLP to Greenberg Traurig, LLP, where he will chair the practice. McGuireWoods LLP took on Robert Bittman, Todd Steggerda and George Terwilliger from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.


Index of tables

  1. Appellate: Supreme Court (federal and state)
  2. Appellate: courts of appeals
  3. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s appellate practice is at ‘the top of the game’ and is commended for its work at the Supreme Court as well as in state and federal appeals courts. The highly reputable, former US Solicitor General Theodore Olson represented the plaintiffs in the Bank Markazi case heard at the Supreme Court, which questioned the constitutionality of turning over assets worth $1.75bn to the families of the victims of the 1983 Beirut marine barracks bombing. The practice now houses a sports law practice and its standout work in this area includes defending Tom Brady in the Second Circuit’s ‘deflategate’ appeal brought by the NFL. Mark Perry has an excellent track record in IP cases, especially landmark patent cases; the ‘first-class’ Miguel Estrada, former assistant to the US Solicitor General, has an outstanding US Supreme Court reputation. The ‘stellar’ Theodore Boutrous is based in Los Angeles, while practice head Caitlin Halligan - who joined the practice in 2014 after serving as general counsel to the New York County District Attorney’s Office - is New York-based. Since publication, Thomas Hungar was appointed the new general counsel of the US House of Representatives.

Jones Day’s team is often involved in pivotal Supreme Court cases and 2015 proved to be another strong year. Shay Dvoretzky, former US Supreme Court law clerk, acted for Abercrombie & Fitch in the closely watched case regarding ‘look policy’ and religious accommodations; Glen Nager, also a former US Supreme Court law clerk, handled a major antitrust case, representing North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners; and Michael Carvin was active in the King v Burwell and Halbig v Burwell cases, where he represented two groups affected by the IRS regulations on the Affordable Care Act. The team has also been granted certiorari in five Supreme Court cases for upcoming terms. Its significant appellate presence follows through into the lower courts of appeals, both federal and state, with the ‘excellent’ Beth Heifetz leading the appeal for the City of Detroit in a highly complex municipal bankruptcy case. Gregory Katsas is frequently engaged by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and had recent success in a major preemption case.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s appellate practice is ‘a top contender’ for Supreme Court cases, with three upcoming appeals in the next term. Most notable among these is the highly anticipated and controversial case of Fisher v University of Texas, with practice head and 44th Solicitor General of the United States Gregory Garre defending the university against claims that its race-conscious admissions policy is unconstitution; this long-running appeal is still awaiting a decision. Other notable Supreme Court highlights include Florida v Georgia, which concerned a longstanding environmental dispute over water rights, and Campbell-Ewald v Gomez, a major class action pertaining to unsolicited text messages advertising the US Navy. Other clients include Ford Motor Company and online games service provider WildTangent; the team defended the latter in a major patent infringement case in the Federal Circuit, obtaining a complete win for the client. Maureen Mahoney, founder of the firm’s appellate practice, retired in 2015.

Mayer Brown’s team is ‘among the top appellate practices’ and ‘works on high-quality appellate cases in an extremely efficient manner’. The team is undertaking advocacy in some of most notable cases of the year, including the closely watched Supreme Court case of Spokeo v Robins, which relates to the publication of incorrect material online and will determine the question of whether individuals who have not suffered an injury have sufficient standing to bring a claim; Andrew Pincus is leading the team representing Spokeo, an online information aggregator. Recently promoted partner Michael Kimberly is acting for the plaintiff in Shapiro v McManus, which pertains to redistricting. Other clients include Medtronic, which the firm is defending in medical devices litigation, and BNY Mellon, where the team is handling high-profile financial disputes. Practice head and founder of the Supreme Court and appellate litigation group Stephen Shapiro is another name to note.

Sidley Austin LLP’s team can ‘turn its hand to any case’, with the group active in six Supreme Court cases in 2015 alone. It is able to draw on a deep bench, and its practitioners advocate in the Supreme Court as well as state and federal courts of appeals, handling both civil and criminal cases. On the civil side, Carter Phillips defended Tyson Foods in a class action bought by employees, which is awaiting a decision. Criminal justice cases constitute part of the practice, with Jeffrey Green appearing before the Supreme Court in this area. While at the court of appeals level, Constantine Trela successfully appealed on behalf of AstraZeneca at the Federal Circuit in a claim against Apotex for patent formulation infringement; the client was awarded a mammoth $99m in damages. Peter Keisler is another key figure and has an ‘excellent’ appellate practice.

The appellate team at WilmerHale is headed by well-known Supreme Court advocate Seth Waxman, who has won landmark cases such as Boumediene v Bush, where the court held that foreign detainees at Guantanamo Bay were able to challenge the terms of their detention. The group is currently handling several high-profile cases before the Federal Circuit, the highest patent court in the US, and the Supreme Court. The team secured a major victory for Bank of America in the Supreme Court in a case that questioned the paying-off of second mortgages on underwater homes; the court held that mortgages of this kind cannot be waived during bankruptcy declarations; Danielle Spinelli led the arguments. In a key case for technology giant Apple, Mark Fleming and William Lee overturned a jury verdict requiring Apple to pay $368m. Other standout work for the group includes Thomas Saunders’ successful representation of Marvel, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, in a patent royalties dispute over a Spider-Man toy. This success has extended to cases in the federal courts of appeals, with a notable victory for The Boeing Company in the Ninth Circuit, where the court found that the California Senate Bill 990, regulating the clean-up of Santa Susana Field Laboratory, was too onerous. Paul Wolfson co-chairs the Supreme Court and appelate practice and is another key name.

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP’s team is led by highly reputable appellate practitioner Lisa Blatt, who has an extremely impressive record, having won 32 of the 33 cases she has argued. Blatt is representing the Washington Redskins in an ongoing high-profile defense of the team’s controversial trademarks. Another key client is Philip Morris, which the firm successfully represented in state supreme court in matters concerning antitrust, product liability and catastrophic injury. The group works across the country in federal appeals and Howard Cayne and Michael Johnson are part of a team that secured several victories for the Federal Housing Finance Agency in financial services litigation. Anthony Franze is another name to note.

Covington & Burling LLP’s appellate practice was involved in some of the most notable cases of the year. Supreme Court highlights included filing amicus briefs for the HCA in King v Burwell, a key healthcare subsidiaries case; and in the landmark same-sex marriage case, Obergefell v Hodges, the group filed on behalf of Conflict of Law Scholars. In the Seventh Circuit, practice chair Robert Long successfully defended Samsung in an antitrust suit pertaining to the alleged cartel price fixing of LCD screens. John Hall and Mark Mosier successfully dismissed claims bought against Chiquita under the Alien Tort Statute in the Eleventh Circuit.

Hogan Lovells US LLP’s appellate practice has an ‘excellent knowledge of the Supreme Court and its procedures’. Neal Katyal, former acting Solicitor General, is a superb Supreme Court practitioner, and has secured a string of successes, including a unanimous victory for Highmark in the closely watched patent appeal of 2014, Highmark v Allcare Health Management Systems. In the federal courts of appeals, ‘highly recommended’ co-head Cate Stetson successfully argued before the DC Circuit on behalf of an employee plaintiff in a high-profile discrimination case relating to secret service promotions; the case is progressing as a class action and the firm is representing African-American Secret Service agents. Desmond Hogan successfully defended the Ford Motor Company in a class action suit for breach of contract by heavy truck dealers. Other clients include energy provider Dominion Transmission, for which the team is handling a regulatory appeal, and Google and YouTube, for which the team secured an en banc Ninth Circuit win in a copyright and freedom of speech case.

Jenner & Block LLP has ‘one of the strongest appellate practices in the nation’, according to one client. The Washington DC-based team has a diverse case load and, in May 2015, it secured a significant victory at the Supreme Court on behalf of the plaintiff in Wellness International Network v Sharif, which questioned the scope of bankruptcy judges’ powers. The group achieved further success serving as co-counsel for the Alabama Democratic Conference in a case pertaining to Alabama’s voting policy for new district boundaries; ‘masterful’ practice head Paul Smith led the team. The group has also worked in human rights, environmental, energy and securities cases on a range of merits and amicus briefings, including the landmark same-sex marriage case Obergefell v Hodges, where it filed on behalf of the American Psychology Association, among others. In the federal courts of appeals, the group is working across the country on tax, patent and energy matters, most notably representing the Authors Guild in proceedings against Google.

The Washington DC-based litigation firm Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel, P.L.L.C. has a strong appellate practice. In 2015, David Frederick successfully represented members of an ERISA plan in the Ninth Circuit, bringing a claim for breach of fiduciary duty. Scott Angstreich acted for the appellants in a novel case in the Fourth Circuit, Johnson v American Towers, pertaining to a telephone signal in a prison, where a contraband phone was used to order an attack on a prison guard; although it was found that the telecoms providers were not liable, it was the first of its kind. Aaron Panner is another key contact at the firm.

King & Spalding LLP had a strong year and maintained their ‘top-notch service levels’ and ‘excellent business acumen’. Top appellate advocate Ashley Parrish argued in both the Supreme Court and federal courts of appeals on major cases. In the commercial sphere, Parrish represented appellant Electric Power Supply Association in the DC Circuit in a case over the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s authority to regulate ‘demand response’; the case has now been granted certiorari for the Supreme Court. Practice head Daryl Joseffer successfully reversed a patent infringement suit against Avon Products at the Federal Circuit, ending a longstanding dispute over ‘shopping-cart’ technology and confirming that these patents had already been invalidated. The group also handle bet-the-company litigation and was recently successful in reversing a $40m civil contempt sanction for Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals. In 2014, the firm represented Google in a landmark copyright case against Oracle concerning the use of a Java computer code for Android phones; the case was ultimately denied a hearing at the Federal Circuit.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP has a strong appellate practice, with a truly national presence. Christopher Landau’s successful representation of DirecTV in an important arbitration enforcement dispute is testament to the firm’s abilities; the case, heard in the US Supreme Court, also has implications for the sovereignty of federal law over state law. In a federal court of appeals case, the firm represented Facebook in the dismissal of derivative actions bought by directors in the wake of its $16bn IPO in 2012. Highlights for Jay Lefkowitz include successfully defending Teva Pharmaceuticals in personal injury. Following publication, the firm subsumed the practice of leading Supreme Court law firm Bancroft PLLC. Those joining include ‘prolific’ practice head and former US Solicitor General Paul Clement, who had appeared at the Supreme Court over 75 times prior to 2015 - a number he added to over the course of the year in several major cases. In December, Clement argued the closely watched Supreme Court appeal for Franchise Tax Board of California in a case pertaining to the sovereignty of states in competition statutes. In October, Clement was retained by the appellant, the NFL, in the headline ‘deflategate’ litigation, which concerns the suspension of star quarterback Tom Brady for his knowledge of deflated footballs used in a game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts; this case is ongoing. The legacy practice is also highly active in the federal courts of appeal, with HSBC a prestigious new client win; Clement successfully cleared a $2.5bn jury verdict concerning allegations that HSBC executives had misrepresented various company practices, including lending and accounting.

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s ‘very strong’ appellate practice is headed by the ‘exceptionally talented and incredibly dedicated advocate’ Deanne Maynard and Joseph Ralmore, who is ‘an expert in healthcare and telecoms’. IP litigation is a key area for the firm, which represented Sandoz in a landmark Federal Circuit case against Teva Pharmaceuticals. Further success was achieved in the IP space for Sotheby’s in a case concerning royalties, where an en banc Ninth Circuit ruled that the California Resale Royalties Act violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution by regulating sales beyond the state of California. The firm also handles product liability litigation and recently successfully represented 16 food manufacturers in a labelling dispute with the Environmental Law Foundation; Michèle Corash argued the case.

Practice head Jonathan Hacker at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, along with the highly reputable Walter Dellinger and Deanna Rice, is representing Merrill Lynch in proceedings before the Supreme Court pertaining to allegations of short selling. The team also filed amicus briefs in Obergefell v Hodges and King v Burwell. In July 2015, Hacker and Anton Metlitsky obtained a major victory in the Second Circuit in Balintulo, a case which set the scope of the Alien Tort Statute and held that the actions of a subsidiary of Ford were beyond the statute; this concluded over a decade’s worth of litigation.

The highly esteemed Joshua Rosenkranz leads the team at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, which was bolstered by the addition of Thomas Bondy, former deputy general counsel for the FBI, in September 2015. The group has a strong Supreme Court practice and, at the end of 2014, acted for the City of Los Angeles in a dispute with a motel owner, with the court ultimately finding that motel owners cannot be required to keep a guest register available for police due to its incompatibility with the Fourth Amendment. In another case heard before the Supreme Court, the firm successfully represented Marlene June in a case against the State, with the court ruling that the Federal Tort Claims Act needs to allow greater flexibility for deadlines to bringing a claim. Highlights in the state courts included a major victory for DirecTV in a constitutional challenge to Florida law, which imposes higher taxes on satellite TV users. The practice is also active in IP cases and data privacy, representing clients such as Microsoft and Oracle.

Preeminent’ appellate attorney Kathleen Sullivan chairs the practice at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP. The team has a strong focus on patent appeals and represented Marvell Technology Group in appealing a patent infringement ruling concerning the extraterritorial application of US patent law. Although the Federal Circuit found that Marvell had infringed the patent, the judgment was lowered from $1.5bn to $278m. Another key client is Samsung, which the team is acting for in a case against Apple. The firm’s involvement in Supreme Court cases included a unanimous win for Randy Shauers in Warger v Shauers, which resulted in the ruling that juror testimony about events that occur in jury deliberation is not admissible ‘during an inquiry into the validity of a verdict’; Sheila Birnbaum led the oral arguments. The firm also handled personal injury and licensing cases in the highest courts of the state of New York.

Litigation boutique Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner & Sauber recently added to its successful track record at the Supreme Court, securing a unanimous decision in Harris v Viegelahn, in what was a key case for the financial services industry; recently promoted partner Matthew Madden argued the case for the petitioner, with the court holding that ‘a debtor who converts to Chapter 7 bankruptcy is entitled to return of any post-petition wages not yet distributed by the Chapter 13 trustee’. Another key win for the firm was on behalf of aerospace and defense technology company Northrop Grumman, in which the team appealed the bidding process for a contract to build a new $19.5m long-range radar; Northrop is now able to re-bid for the project. Co-founder Roy Englert is a key name for the appellate practice, which was bolstered by the arrival of Michael Bromwich, former Inspector General for the Department of Justice, in June 2015.

Williams & Connolly LLP’s ‘expert team’ provides ‘reasoned advice’, according to sources. Kannon Shanmugam, who is ‘incredibly talented’ and an ‘eloquent writer and oral advocate’, heads the appellate team and focuses on the US Supreme Court. Shanmugam handled three oral arguments in the 2014/15 term: firstly, representing Omnicare alongside co-counsel Winston & Strawn LLP in a closely watched case regarding the scope of liability under the ’33 Act for false statements of opinion; secondly, acting for appellant Warger in a case questioning the admissibility of testimony about jury deliberations; and finally, in Coleman v Tollefson, in a case regarding criminal justice the Prison Litigation Reform Act’s ‘three strikes’ provision. In the Second Circuit, the group is defending Bank of America against alleged breaches of contractual warranties relating to mortgages sold in the wake of the mortgage crisis, worth over $1.2bn; oral arguments were held in December 2015.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP’s appellate practice has ‘gone from strength to strength’ and includes a number notable names, including ‘outstanding’ Supreme Court advocate Pratik Shah, and Rex Heinke, who has a strong following in California. The group works on the full scope of cases, with a recent Supreme Court appearance achieving an important victory for four Somali citizens who had been victims of human rights abuses. The group also acts on commercial cases and Donald Livingston successfully defended Freeman in a discrimination class action in the Fourth Circuit that has important implications for EEOC policy. Another key case was in the California Supreme Court, where Shah served as co-defense counsel to brewing company Anheuser-Busch in successfully defending claims of non-compliance with California’s recycling program. Other clients include Ernst & Young and subsidiaries of Balfour Betty and FiberTower Spectrum.

Bracewell LLP’s team is experienced across the full scope of appellate matters, with its clients typically drawn from the energy, military and financial services sectors. A major highlight is the team’s ongoing defense of KBR in a case regarding alleged exposure to sodium dichromate; Warren Harris led arguments in the Ninth Circuit. Other recent highlights include representing Federation of Petanque USA (FPUSA) in a patent infringement case, which saw the Federal Circuit partially reverse the injunction imposed on FPUSA in the Texas state court; Jeffrey Oldham was the lead partner. Other clients include BP products, Prosperity Bancshares and also ASARCO, which Oldham successfully represented before the Fifth Circuit and the Supreme Court in a case involving a dispute over whether Section 330(a) of the Bankruptcy Code authorizes the client’s bankruptcy counsel to recover $5m in legal fees; in this case it worked in conjunction with Bancroft PLLC’s Paul Clement.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has a clear focus on commercial disputes and houses advocates who are able to make the shift between trial and appellate practices. Evan Chesler, whose practice straddles both the trial and appellate space, successfully acted for ABC and ESPN in class action proceedings that alleged a conspiracy to limit student athletes’ compensation. Other highlights included its involvement in United States v American Express, where the team defended the latter in long-running antitrust class action proceedings. The group counts Credit Suisse as a client and represented it in several appeals pertaining to RMBS cases; Richard Clary leads on this work.

High-quality appellate firmGoodwin Procter LLP has a ‘strategic approach’, as evidenced by the landmark victories achieved in 2014. The group was instrumental in Teva Pharmaceuticals v Sandoz, a precedent-setting patent case, and B&B Hardware v Hargis Industries, a trademark infringement case, both in the Federal Circuit. The firm is defending Teva Pharmaceuticals against product liability claims in several federal courts of appeals. William Jay handled several certiorari petitions and is a ‘superb writer and extremely analytical’. Other highlights included successfully overturning a $109m disgorgement ruling for PHH Corporation; Thomas Hefferon co-led the case with attorneys from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP’s appellate team appeared before the US Supreme Court in 2015, representing The Florida Bar in Williams-Yulee v The Florida Bar, a case concerning redistricting and the regulation of judicial elections across different states. Barry Richard, who wrote the brief and argued the case, prevailed for the client, with the original ban on judicial fundraising remaining in place. The team regularly appears in the federal courts of appeals and has several important wins under its belt; most notably its success for Lorillard Tobacco in 2014. The group is frequently retained by clients in the pharmaceutical and insurance sectors on high-value appeals; examples include Teva Pharmaceuticals and Zenith Insurance. Elliot Scherker, Mark Solomons and Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick chair the team.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s appellate group has notable expertise in class actions, tax disputes and IP matters. The team has a strong representation for handling cases involving the healthcare industry and, in December 2015, practice head Miller Baker successfully petitioned for a Supreme Court hearing on behalf of Universal Health Service pertaining to whistleblowing; the case will clarify the complex regulatory requirements on when knowledge of a failure to adhere to the law constitutes fraud against the government. Tax appeals are another area of strength for the group, which successfully represented Johnson & Johnson in a First Circuit appeal concerning the tax implications of its operations in Puerto Rico, while the group also successfully handled several disputes for internet travel company Orbitz.

MoloLamken LLP’s team has ‘great strength and depth’ and practitioners that are ‘highly skilled in courtroom advocacy and briefing’. The group represented economist Dr. Alexander Mirtchev and his company Krull Corporation in securing a major victory in a RICO and defamation suit in the DC Circuit; ‘superb lawyer’ and practice head Jeffrey Lamken, who is based in Washington DC, argued the case. Lamken is also due to represent Bank Markazi in a Supreme Court case concerning compensation for the victims of the 1983 Beirut bombings, which will have significant implications for the separation of powers over foreign affairs; he also adept at handling patent infringement cases, and recently defended d.b.a. Planet Blue in the Federal Circuit. Financial services cases remain a focus of the firm, which acted for Bank Melli in the Ninth Circuit. Robert Kry in Washington DC and name partner Steven Molo in New York and are other key names.

The ‘excellentMorgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP’s team has a strong reputation at the Supreme Court, particularly within the employment sphere. Allyson Ho secured a ‘game-changing’ result for M&G Polymers, and employers in general, with the Supreme Court decision in January 2015 that employers no longer have to provide unalterable lifetime benefits when there is no clear promise to do so in the initial contract; the court unanimously decided that when a contract has no set duration for retiree benefits, it cannot be inferred that the parties intended to confer the benefits for life, which has huge implication for both employers and former employees. The team represented Mortgage Bankers Association in an employment dispute concerning overtime pay. Other areas of strength include consumer disputes and web technology, and the group acted for eBay and PayPal in the Ninth Circuit in separate consumer complaints. The team, which is experienced in environmental cases, successfully represented Elementis Chromium, a specialty chemicals company, in a precedent-setting case that saw the reversal of a $2.5m penalty for an alleged failure to comply with regulations.

Paul Hastings LLP’s appellate practice has seen recent victories at the Supreme Court, with Neal Mollen and Stephen Kinnaird prevailing in pharmaceuticals and sentencing cases respectively. The firm has also been successful in the California Court of Appeals, where it defended L’Oréal in Adjamian v L’Oréal against an attempted class action; Katherine Murray led the arguments. The group handles cases nationwide and successfully represented Fujifilm Medical Systems in a discrimination and tortious interferences case brought by a former employee in the Second Circuit; the team has also been active in the Ninth Circuit. San Francisco-based Paul Cane and Stephen Kinnaird in Washington DC head the practice.

Proskauer Rose LLP has a clear strength in patent appeals, which was in evidence in 2014 as it secured a favorable ruling in Nautilus v Biosig, with the US Supreme Court vacating the Federal Circuit’s decision and remanding the case for the further consideration. Practice co-head and former US Supreme Court clerk Mark Harris led on this and continued the representation of Biosig in 2015 in the Federal Court. The team won a major victory in the Second Circuit for Sprint-Nextel in a case involving allegations of a breach of fiduciary duty and legal malpractice, among other claims; the Second Circuit vacated the district court’s decision that the claims could be brought as a class action. Other highlights included representing telecoms providers in contractual disputes, acting for employers on the legality of unpaid interns, and handling antitrust cases for sports clients.

Kim Watterson chairs the appellate practice at Reed Smith LLP, which is ‘always available and provides an excellent service’. It has a national presence with a particular focus on appeals in the Ninth and Second circuits. The group acts on the full range of cases and has achieved recent success in defending antitrust and RICO claims. Clients include equity funds, manufacturers and insurers. It successfully defended a tort claim brought by employees against health insurance provider Anthem Blue Cross. Margaret Grignon has left to set up her own practice.

Ropes & Gray LLP saw an uptick in work in the IP space in 2015 and is handling several ongoing patent appeals. James Batchelder, Steven Baughman and Douglas Hallward-Driemeier defended SAP America in five patent infringement claims brought by Versata, which marked an end to long-running litigation in what was a landmark win for the client. The group has considerable success in shareholder disputes across a range of sectors, but most notably in the life sciences space. On behalf of Columbia Laboratories, it recently secured a ruling from the Third Circuit, which affirmed the dismissal of a shareholder class action filed in 2012 in the wake of the FDA’s denial of approval of an application by the client to market a drug for the prevention of pre term birth; the unanimous decision marks a growing trend towards the disclosure of FDA interactions.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP was kept busy in 2015 handling several key cases and has been active in appeals surrounding RBMS, patents and insurance. ‘Excellent and skilled advocate’ Mary Kay Vyskocil excels in both trials and appeals, and secured a win for Travelers against Western MacArthur’s reinsurers in a coverage dispute. David Woll successfully defended DB Structured Products against claims that mortgages failed to comply with contractual representations and warranties, which was an important ruling in the financial services sector. Sarah Razi has a particular focus on antitrust matters.

The highly reputable Jeffery Wall in Washington, DC, leads Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s ‘pragmatic, responsive and client-focused’ team, which had a strong year doing ‘excellent work’. Robert Giuffra and Garrard Beeney are acting for the plaintiff in a US Supreme Court case, Stryker v Zimmer, which concerns damages awards for patent infringement; arguments are set for February 2016. In addition to its IP focus, the firm has a strong financial services practice, and successfully represented Banco Central de la Republica Argentina in a Second Circuit appeal; Joseph Neuhaus led the advice. Other clients include Standard Chartered Bank, JPMorgan Chase and BP.

Vinson & Elkins LLP’s team, which has a ‘full understanding of the appellate procedure’, is jointly headed by Marie Yeates, whose ‘oral arguments bring the other side to its knees’, and Thomas Leatherbury. John Elwood led the defense of KBR in the Supreme Court in a case involving allegations of fraudulent action under the False Claims Act. The firm also acted on criminal sentencing cases in the Supreme Court in 2014. Unsurprisingly for a firm based in Texas, it has a strong focus on the energy sector, and frequently acts for energy companies in high-profile and high-value appeals. Of note is the team’s representation of oil and gas handling company Valerus in tax proceedings in Texas.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s appellate practice is headed by former assistant solicitor general for New York Gregory Silbert and former US Supreme Court clerk Steven Reiss. The team represented publisher Simon & Schuster in antitrust proceedings against Apple regarding the alleged price-fixing of certain e-books; the Second Circuit ultimately found against Apple. The appellate practice includes a patent sub-group, which is led by Edward Reines in the Silicon Valley office; recent highlights include its successful defense of Microsoft in the Federal Circuit against allegations of patent infringement brought by Allvoice Developments.

Wiley Rein LLP’s team has seen considerable activity in the telecoms sector in 2015, representing clients such as the United States Telecom Association, The Wireless Infrastructure Association and Neustar. Practice head Andrew McBride and his team secured an important victory in the Third Circuit for T-Mobile regarding the siting of a wireless tower. In another recent highlight, Brett Shumate, Eve Reed and McBride are representing the joint petitioners in United States Telecoms Association v Federal Communications Commission and United States of America and have filed a petition at the DC Circuit arguing that the FCC net neutrality orders pose a challenge to the First Amendment.

Winston & Strawn LLP’s ‘excellent appellate practice’ has a strong track record at the Supreme Court. Alongside co-counsel Williams & Connolly LLP, a team including practice chair Linda Coberly secured a major win for Omnicare in 2014 in what was a long-awaited decision; the case concerned the scope of liability under Section 11 of the ’33 Act for false statements of opinion. The firm was kept busy in 2015 handling the run-on litigation relating to this decision. Steffen Johnson, who is ‘quick on his feet with persuasive arguments’, has notable expertise in IP matters, and successfully represented the defendant in Tyco v Mutual Pharma in a case that straddled both patent and antitrust law; the court ruled in favor of Mutual Pharma in finding that filing a lawsuit under the Hatch-Waxman scheme can give rise to antitrust liability.

Financial services: litigation

Index of tables

  1. Financial services: litigation
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP provides an ‘outstanding service’ to a range of financial institutions including investment banks, accountancy firms, regional banks and private equity funds in many of the most important and sensitive disputes affecting their businesses. Able to mobilize ‘cohesive intellectual firepower’ and praised for its ‘superb teamwork’, the firm continues to be involved in disputes flowing from the credit crisis, including its ongoing work as national coordinating counsel to Credit Suisse on all its RMBS litigation, as well as for JPMorgan and related entities (including Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns) in a raft of lawsuits brought by plaintiffs, primarily alleging that the bank misrepresented the quality of the underlying collateral of the structured products that it underwrote or sold. ‘The highly intellectual and personableRichard Clary and Daniel Slifkin are key members of the team and have been leading the firm’s efforts on the aforementioned structured finance cases for Credit Suisse and JPMorgan. In addition, along with Michael Paskin, Slifkin has been representing Morgan Stanley, as one of the defendants, in an antitrust case brought by numerous hedge funds alleging that it had colluded with other banks to block the emergence of exchange trading of credit default swaps (CDS) in order to maintain the over-the-counter (OTC) market. Michael Reynolds, the ‘scarily smartRobert Baron and ‘legendary trial lawyerEvan Chesler are also recommended.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP provides an ‘outstanding service’ to financial services clients in reputation-threatening litigation and government enforcement actions and investigations. Head of the firm’s overall litigation department, the ‘absolutely superb’ James Rouhandeh continues to defend Morgan Stanley against civil actions brought by plaintiffs against the bank regarding its sale and marketing of RMBS and CDOs. Rouhandeh’s aggressive litigation of RMBS cases has resulted in favorable settlements for Morgan Stanley, including a $95m class action settlement, which represented approximately 1% of the combined value of RMBS purchases for which the putative class was seeking to recover. Able to field a multi-disciplinary and cross-office team of litigators, corporate and regulatory lawyers, the firm has also been representing RBS, as one of the defendants, in worldwide regulatory investigations and civil litigation surrounding its alleged involvement in Forex market manipulation. Linda Chatman Thomsen has excellent credibility before the regulator, chiefly as a result of her former position as director of enforcement at the SEC, and recently represented credit rating agency, Standard & Poor’s, before the SEC in an investigation surrounding its approach to rating RMBS. The ‘solution-oriented’ Jennifer Newstead is another former government attorney, and as part of her broad expertise in the area, is regularly involved in criminal, regulatory and internal investigations of alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) as well as economic sanctions. Former prosecutor Carey Dunne specializes in white-collar and regulatory enforcement mandates for financial companies and their executives, and has been involved in sensitive inquiries relating to FCPA matters in numerous jurisdictions. Other recommended partners include Lawrence Portnoy and Raul Yanes.

Led by the ‘experienced and accomplishedBrad Karp out of New York, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP has a long and distinguished track record representing domestic and international financial institutions in their bet-the-company investigations and enforcement proceedings, as well as in parallel civil litigation. Karp has been a pivotal member of the team, also including Susanna Buergel, that has achieved a number of favorable results for Citigroup in litigation and regulatory investigations relating to matters stemming from the credit crisis; including successfully resolving a non-criminal investigation concerning alleged misrepresentation and omissions in RMBS offering materials, and securing a relatively less onerous fine than other defendants, as a result of its decision to reach an early settlement with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) regarding its offer and sale of RMBS to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Formerly deputy director of the SEC’s division of enforcement, Walter Ricciardi has deep insight into agency behaviour and was a key member of the team that successfully resolved, on behalf of Deutsche Bank, various regulatory investigations into its role in LIBOR manipulation. Richard Rosen, Daniel Kramer, Bruce Birenboim and Charles Davidow are also recommended.

Somewhat of an anomaly for this ranking, focusing as it does on plaintiff representations, litigation boutique Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP justifies its top spot through its unparalleled representation of sophisticated institutional plaintiffs in high-profile cases against the world’s largest money-center banks. The ‘superb’ Philippe Selendy has a ‘fantastic reputation in the market’, thanks in part to his dogged representation of FHFA in its pursuit of virtually the entire banking industry. After having achieved 16 settlements under his stewardship, Selendy was also pivotal to securing an $806m judgment against Nomura and RBS following a four-week bench trial. Jonathan Pickhardt is recommended for his experience in structured finance litigation, recently exemplified by his victory in a FINRA arbitration, where he acted for National Australia Bank (NAB) in a case brought against Goldman Sachs alleging that it fraudulently misrepresented the quality of CDOs it sold to NAB in advance of the impending implosion of the US subprime market. Daniel Brockett is also a key member of the team and has been active representing various plaintiffs in market manipulation cases relating to LIBOR, the gold markets and ISDAFIX. Other recommended partners include Andrew Rossman and Peter Calamari, who is ‘very knowledgeable in complex financial services matters

Jointly led from the New York office by Paul Curnin and Thomas Rice, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s ‘exceptional’ 16-partner team is praised for its ‘practical and commercial approach’, which ensures that it is frequently retained by many major banks and private equity firms in high-stakes disputes. The team is recognized for its trial-ready approach and recently represented RBS Securities in a four-week trial, defending claims brought by the FHFA against the bank in its role as underwriter in Nomura’s $2bn sale of RMBS to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The firm is also currently acting for Bank of America in numerous cases brought against its Countrywide subsidiaries by monoline insurer Ambac in fraudulent inducement claims relating to different RMBS deals. Rice has been at the forefront of the aforementioned cases. Alongside David Woll and Washington DC-based Jeffrey Knox, he is also representing Deutsche Bank, as one of numerous defendants, in class actions alleging market manipulation for US Treasury securities. Peter Kazanoff and Jonathan Youngwood are also recommended and both regularly act for underwriters in a variety of securities-related matters.

Based out of New York and aided by a significant national and international network, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is well-placed to represent major financial institutions in their largest and highest-stakes litigation in the market, as well as the overlapping internal investigations, derivative actions and investigations by the SEC and other federal or state regulators. The firm has been at the vanguard of the wave of structured finance-related disputes arising in the aftermath of the credit crisis and has represented banks including Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, RBS and BNP Paribas in cases brought in state and federal courts and FINRA arbitrations. The ‘excellent’ Jay Kasner and ‘likeable and authoritative’ Scott Musoff have been pivotal to many of these cases and along with Robert Fumerton recently secured a notable summary judgment victory for UBS when the judge of the SDNY rejected the ‘pervasive breach’ theory regularly invoked by plaintiffs in RMBS litigation, in turn reducing the case against the bank to a small fraction of what the plaintiffs had asserted. Leveraging the firm’s global platform as well as its deep bench of government enforcement counsel, the firm represented JPMorgan Chase in domestic and foreign parallel criminal, civil and regulatory investigations, as well as related class action suits regarding its role in Forex manipulation. John Carroll led on the aforementioned matter. Led out of Washington DC by Joseph Barloon and Anand Raman, the firm is also frequently engaged in significant consumer finance actions.

The team at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP employs a generalist approach, ensuring it can be nimble when dealing with disputes requiring overlapping subject matter knowledge and can be retained by clients across many different forums including government investigations/enforcement actions and private litigation. The team is regularly engaged in many of the highest-profile disputes in the market including defending Barclays in global investigations relating to alleged Forex and ISDAFIX market manipulation. David Braff led this work for Barclays, which recently resulted in the settlement of both investigations. Jeffrey Scott has also secured a number of recent successes for Barclays in cases brought against the bank arising out of high-frequency traders’ actions in its dark pools, or private securities exchanges. Former government lawyer Robert Giuffra is very well regarded across a raft of major commercial disputes including high-stakes financial matters. In a closely watched case by the banking industry, he recently represented the New York Bankers Association in obtaining a federal court order striking down as unconstitutional the New York City’s Responsible Banking Act. The ‘practical and pragmatic’ white-collar partner Karen Seymour is noted for her ‘intuitive sense of when to push back and when to concede on points before the regulator’, a trait which has served her in good stead, particularly when acting for banks facing probes into alleged economic sanctions breaches. Sharon Nelles and Richard Klapper are also recognized for their expertise handling complex financial services disputes and have both been pivotal to the firm’s successful track record defending clients in RMBS cases.

Employing a multi-disciplinary approach which utilizes practitioners from the firm’s New York and Washington DC offices, in addition to its global network, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is well positioned to represent financial institutions in many of the highest profile enforcement actions and related civil actions brought against them. Recognized for its ‘deep industry knowledge’ and ‘overall bench strength’, recent highlights for the team include representing numerous major global banks including Citigroup and Goldman Sachs in coordinated global investigations and related civil actions regarding alleged market manipulation across various benchmark rates including LIBOR, Forex and ISDAFIX. Led by Robin Bergen, the ‘very thoughtful’ Lewis Liman and the ‘knowledgeable and responsive’ Giovanni Prezioso, the group has defended numerous banks including Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch in enforcement actions and private litigation brought against them for their roles in the structuring and marketing of structured products including CDOs and RMBS. Meredith Kotler successfully defended Barclays against allegations made by Aozora Bank that it, and several other banks and collateral managers, misrepresented the credit ratings of the CDOs and the selection process for the CDOs’ collateral that it invested in. As well as being heavily involved in the aforementioned market manipulation matters, former federal prosecutor David Brodsky also recently represented Commerzbank in its resolution of various US criminal and regulatory matters related to alleged deficiencies in its internal controls, including its AML program.

Able to call upon a significant pool of expertise out of the firm’s east and west coast offices, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP continues its upward trajectory in the market and is active for a range of financial institutions in civil and criminal regulatory investigations, as well as private litigation. Aric Wu has been involved in numerous structured finance-related disputes and acted alongside Robert Serio as national coordinating counsel for UBS in all its RMBS litigation. Wu also successfully defended RBS against allegations of fraud and negligent misrepresentation relating to the sale of RMBS. Mark Kirsch and Christopher Joralemon successfully defended TCW, as collateral manager, in matters relating to CDOs underwritten by Deutsche Bank. The firm has ‘really made a play in relation to the antitrust issues affecting the industry’, and Lawrence Zweifach continues to represent UBS in market manipulation related litigation brought against it by investors for alleged damage caused by the fixing of various benchmarks including Forex and LIBOR.

Led out of Washington DC by the ‘fantasticDavid Freeman, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP’s team is noted for its ‘very robust investigatory offering’, although it can effectively handle work across the life cycle of a dispute including private litigation should that arise. Howard Cayne continues to represent the FHFA and successfully secured the dismissal of multiple actions brought against it by shareholders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac challenging its contract with the Treasury Department. Michael Mierzewski is ‘excellent at consumer finance work’ and is regularly involved in mandates which involve an antitrust complexion, such as his defense of VISA against class actions challenging its interchange rate setting practices.

Based out of Chicago and New York, but also benefiting from a strong nationwide presence, Sidley Austin LLP’s practice has significant ‘bench strength’ and therefore the critical mass to handle a tremendous range of enforcement actions and litigation affecting financial institutions. Lawyers out of New York - including Andy Stern, Nick Crowell and Alan Unger - have been active in numerous market manipulation cases including defending Standard Chartered Bank in Forex fixing claims. In addition, the firm continues to represent JPMorgan in its MBS litigation. The ‘excellentRobert Pietrzak was involved in the aforementioned case and along with Alex Kaplan continues to represent online brokerage firm TD Ameritrade in a trading dispute which alleges that it deviated from its ‘best execution’ responsibilities regarding the routing of clients’ orders. Former high-ranking SEC official Barry Rashkover and Susan Merrill, who was formerly head of enforcement at FINRA, are two of a number of former agency alumni at the firm, who provide significant insight to clients facing agency investigations or enforcement actions. Washington DC-based Neal Sullivan is recommended for his broker-dealer regulatory knowledge, while the ‘very experienced’ Chicago-based David Graham combines ‘thoughtfulness with a very strategic approach’ across a range of litigation affecting financial institutions.

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz handles financial services litigation out of its broader commercial litigation function. Nevertheless, that should not detract from the ‘sheer quality’ of work handled by this New York behemoth. The firm continues to handle numerous mandates for JPMorgan, including as a defendant in claims brought by Lehman Brothers following its bankruptcy and in connection with all aspects of the litigation and regulatory inquiries that arose in the wake of Bernie Madoff’s historic fraud. Stephen DiPrima and David Anders are representing Santander Consumer USA in multiple government and regulatory investigations, as well as follow-on civil litigation, relating to the origination and securitization of subprime auto loans. Other highlights included Jonathan Moses and Elaine Golin’s work for PNC Bank in the defense of claims brought by Residential Funding Company concerning mortgages it was sold by mortgage originators including PNC. John Savarese and of counsel Lawrence Pedowitz are also recommended.

Led by Bruce Yannett, the ‘responsive and strategic’ team at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is ‘as good as it gets for SEC and DOJ investigations and regulatory matters’. Jonathan Tuttle continues to represent JPMorgan Chase in state and federal investigations into its RMBS practices. Sean Hecker has a strong reputation and has been representing numerous individuals in US and UK criminal and regulatory investigations regarding alleged Forex manipulation. Along with Yannett, Hecker has also been acting for four separate Swiss banks in connection with the DOJ’s program designed to encourage Swiss banks to cooperate with the DOJ’s investigations into the use of foreign bank accounts by US citizens and residents to commit tax evasion. Eric Dinallo, the ‘tenacious but balanced litigatorMatthew Biben and the ‘intellectual, thorough and knowledgeableMary Beth Hogan are also names to note.

Able to call upon lawyers from within its securities litigation, white-collar and SEC enforcement groups, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP is well covered across the spectrum of civil and criminal actions facing banks and their executives. White-collar group head Steven Witzel successfully represented a founding member of a New York-based broker-dealer against criminal and civil charges brought against him for alleged FCPA violations. Witzel has also been engaged in numerous antitrust cases and alongside Evan Barr and Lawrence Gerschwer, continues to represent individuals from numerous banks in parallel, cross-border criminal and civil enforcement investigations relating to their alleged role in the market manipulation of various benchmarks in financial instruments. William McGuinness and Israel David also regularly handle financial services litigation as part of their broad-ranging commercial litigation expertise; both represented numerous banks, including Goldman Sachs and UBS, accused of negligently failing to properly vet the underlying loans relating to $26bn worth of RMBS which they underwrote.

Goodwin Procter LLP has ‘a strong reputation for handling financial services litigation’. The team continues to represent Countrywide and its successor company, Bank of America, in numerous MBS cases arising in the aftermath of the credit crisis, including defending it in various actions alleging $3bn damages as a result of alleged fraud and breach of contract representations as to the quality of the RMBS it insured. Brian Pastuszenski has been at the forefront for much of the work for Bank of America/Countrywide and recently secured summary judgment in a $200m MBS case brought against it by German bank IKB Deutsche Industriebank. ‘Formidable’ Washington DC-based Thomas Hefferon chairs the firm’s consumer finance litigation practice and is representing Quicken Loans in the defense of a False Claims Act investigation (and related civil litigation) by the DOJ and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Based out of Silicon Valley, Grant Fondo has ‘developed a great reputation in the digital currency space after handling a few really high-profile investigations’; he recently secured a favorable settlement for Sand Hill Exchange in an SEC enforcement action brought against it for illegally offering complex online derivatives products to retail investors, who were able to participate using bitcoin. Other recommended partners include David Permut, for consumer finance litigation, and Richard Strassberg, who ‘is well known for defending clients in the financial services industry, especially high-profile individuals such as CEOs and CFOs’.

Although the firm lacks a dedicated financial services litigation group, Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s ‘top-notch’ general commercial litigation offering, with strength and depth on the east and west coasts as well as out of its Chicago head office, ensures that it is regularly engaged in high-profile disputes for entities in the industry, that are appreciative of the firm’s trial-ready approach. Los Angeles-based Alexander Pilmer continues to represent RBS in RMBS-related disputes brought by the National Credit Union Administration Board following the $129.6m settlement over claims that sales of these structured finance instruments led to the failure of two credit unions. Andrew Clubok is representing UBS in a series of nationwide cases alleging losses stemming from naked short selling. Kenneth Lench and Robert Khuzami were both formerly at the SEC and provide significant insight into government investigations.

Able to draw on resources from the firm’s nationwide securities litigation, white-collar defense and general commercial litigation practices, the ‘knowledgeable, responsive and practical’ team at Latham & Watkins LLP regularly acts for financial services clients in the defense of government enforcement actions and in private litigation. Richard Owens and Jeff Hammel continue to represent the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) on all its US LIBOR litigation; recently securing a notable victory for it before the SDNY when the court dismissed the BBA as a party in the sole class action in which it was named. Owens has also been one of the key partners representing Deutsche Bank in the defense of RMBS-related matters brought against the bank. Miles Ruthberg and Jamie Wine are recommended for their expertise in the accountancy industry and have had numerous successes for Ernst & Young in litigation arising out of Lehman Brothers’ collapse. Most recently they helped secure a favorable settlement for the auditor in an action brought by the New York Attorney General relating to its advice surrounding the bank’s notorious “Repo 105” transactions made prior to its insolvency. Former federal prosecutor Christopher Clark provides ‘no-nonsense litigation expertise’, which is underscored by ‘practical advice’. Other recommended partners include James Brandt and Kathryn Ruemmler. Since publication, Joshua Hamilton has joined in Los Angeles from Paul Hastings LLP.

Led out of New York by Mark Hanchet and Matthew Ingber, Mayer Brown’s 30-partner global group provides ‘value for money and a client-oriented service’ to a compelling mix of financial institutions during domestic issues, as well as cross-border matters, where the firm is particularly strong at providing guidance on the extra-territorial effect of US regulations. The firm’s recent work for cornerstone client HSBC is illustrative of the diversity of mandates handled by the group, including as it does representation of the bank in numerous cases brought against it in the US for its RMBS exposures and also as one of a number of banks that are being sued under the Anti-Terrorism Act. Ingber has been particularly active representing The Bank of New York Mellon in various disputes arising out of its role as trustee of RMBS. Other highlights included the firm’s continued representation of Société Générale as a defendant in LIBOR-fixing cases. Hanchet is praised for his ‘ability to navigate complex financial services matters’, and is recommended alongside the ‘responsive and practical’ Matthew Wargin and ‘the articulate and knowledgeableChristopher Houpt.

Washington DC-based financial services boutique Buckley Sandler LLP sets the ‘gold standard’ for consumer finance-related regulatory enforcements/investigations and private litigation. A destination firm for entities engaged in CFPB investigations, the team has developed a strong degree of expertise across many of the most scrutinized areas in the industry including mortgage origination regulations and securitization issues, fair lending, and consumer privacy matters. Name partner Andrew Sandler has a ‘fantastic reputation’ and is regularly at the forefront of the most significant mandates handled by the firm, including his representation of HSBC in so-called “reverse redlining cases” brought by two municipalities alleging that the bank targeted minority borrowers and communities for unaffordable and discriminatory mortgage loans. Also recommended are Benjamin Klubes and Los Angeles-based partner Richard Gottlieb.

The Chicago-based team at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP benefits from an in-depth familiarity across the spectrum of exchange-traded and OTC financial products, as well as the markets they are traded on. David Bohan recently represented UBS as one of the defendants in a case brought by institutional investors alleging that numerous banks colluded to prevent the trading of CDS from the OTC market to electronic exchanges. Christian Kemnitz is also regularly involved in high-profile disputes affecting participants in the financial services industry and is representing RBC Capital Markets in LIBOR litigation. Other names to note include the ‘experienced and skilledArthur Hahn, for futures matters, and David Goldberg, for broker-dealer disputes.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has a strong practice across its national network of offices and provides significant bandwidth across many of the most significant mandates affecting financial institutions. Michael Kraut and John Rosenthal are key members of the team and continue to represent numerous banks, including Deutsche Bank, in litigation brought by institutional investors against them in their capacity as trustees to RMBS trusts. Michael Blanchard is also recommended and represented Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company in litigation arising from the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme. Jami Mckeon and Kenneth Kliebard are recognized for consumer finance matters, while the firm also has significant capability on the agency enforcement/investigation side which is led by Michele Coffey and also includes former director of the SEC’s Chicago office Merri Jo Gillette.

Headed out of New York and San Francisco by David Fioccola and James McGuire respectively, Morrison & Foerster LLP’s 14-partner team is particularly accomplished at handling consumer finance litigation and agency investigations/enforcements. Along with Jim McCabe, McGuire is representing Capital One in enforcement actions brought by the Attorney General relating to alleged unfair and deceptive practices it engaged in regarding the sale of payment protection insurance. The duo also successfully concluded litigation for Capital One and US Bank in class actions relating to alleged excessive overdraft fees. Michael Agoglia is recommended for his ‘tactical nous’ and along with the recently promoted Angela Kleine concluded the representation of JPMorgan Chase in its high-profile mortgage modification litigation.

O’Melveny & Myers LLP provides a ‘practical’ service to financial services entities facing scrutiny within the consumer finance sector. The firm has handled numerous matters for mortgage servicers, including Ditech Financial, for which it recently negotiated the first joint settlement and consent order between a mortgage servicer, the CFPB, and the Federal Trade Commission. The arrival of Pamela Miller from Arnold & Porter LLP in May 2015 strengthens a 50-strong team that includes Brian Boyle, ERISA expert Shannon Barrett and Jonathan Rosenberg, who excels at securities fraud and white-collar matters.

Based out of New York but aided by a significant presence in California and in other key cities nationwide including Houston and Chicago, Paul Hastings LLP’s practice has considerable strength in depth and is thereby able to provide a ‘strong level of expertise’ to financial institutions in commercial disputes, as well as in matters involving specific financial products including CDOs. Barry Sher, Douglas Flaum and James Bliss successfully represented UBS in a complex case brought by two insurance companies involving a CDO transaction known as ‘NS Repack’. Los Angeles-based William Sullivan has secured numerous favorable rulings for two former Countrywide Financial senior executives who had signed registration statements for offerings of MBS. Since publication, Los Angeles-based Joshua Hamilton has moved to Latham & Watkins LLP.

Led solely from its Washington DC office by the ‘vastly experienced’ John Villa and Dane Butswinkas, the team at Williams & Connolly LLP provides a ‘responsive and efficient’ service to financial institutions and high-ranking executives across a range of litigation and enforcement actions. Known for its trial-ready approach, the firm handles high-stakes commercial litigation for clients from a range of industry sectors, including financial services. An uptick in mandates from banks have included work for UBS, which the firm represents in numerous matters including a recently settled case brought by Pursuit Partners and Pursuit Investment Management alleging UBS made misrepresentations in the sale of CDOs. In addition, the firm continues to handle a number of cases for Bank of America, including appealing a $1.27bn judgment delivered against the bank for claims under FIRREA. The firm also benefits from an ‘appellate group that is as good as it gets’. Other recommended partners include Enu Mainigi and Brendan Sullivan, whose ‘national reputation as a leading trial lawyer is well deserved’.

The Washington DC-based team at WilmerHale has a traditionally strong reputation representing financial institutions that are subject to regulatory investigations and enforcement actions, where it is able to call upon the expertise of a ‘deep bench’ of practitioners who previously held high-ranking governmental positions. For example, William McLucas was former director of enforcement at the SEC. The team also benefits from some high-calibre litigators including New York-based Fraser Hunter, whose diverse caseload includes his continued representation of RBS in all of its LIBOR-related US civil litigation. Based out of Boston, Andrea Robinson successfully handled numerous cases for Bank of America relating to disclosures made by the bank in connection with the sale of RMBS.

General commercial disputes

Index of tables

  1. General commercial disputes
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

New York-based Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has a ‘well-deserved reputation’ as ‘one of the finest law firms in the world’. In an illustration of both its reputation in the financial services space and its geographic reach, the team acts as lead counsel to Credit Suisse in ongoing RMBS litigation in nine states across the country. ESPN is another active client; J Wesley Earnhardt, Roger Brooks* and ‘brilliant advocateEvan Chesler represented it and other network defendants in a putative class action filed in Tennessee by student athletes regarding compensation; the court granted a motion to dismiss, which has been appealed by the plaintiffs. Sandra Goldstein is representing Mylan in a consolidated class action in Pennsylvania. On the plaintiff side, David Marriott is representing Alcon Laboratories in an action challenging the constitutionality of a state statute concerning pricing policies, which is on appeal before the Tenth Circuit. *Since publication, Roger Brooks has retired from the firm's litigation practice.

The highly regarded litigation department at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is regularly engaged in high-profile and complex commercial disputes, securing a number of dismissals and favorable settlements for its clients in 2015. Carey Dunne and Frances Bivens are representing key client Con Edison in an investigation and related litigation surrounding a gas explosion in Manhattan’s East Village in 2015, as well as consolidated litigation concerning a steam rupture in Manhattan in 2007, and a host of civil suits arising from Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Other key figures in the team include Benjamin Kaminetzky, who is a key name for commercial and bankruptcy litigation, and Paul Spagnoletti, who is noted for his expertise in legal malpractice claims. Michael Carroll was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2015.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s New York-based team is considered ‘outstanding for bet-the-farm litigation’, particularly in the healthcare and financial services sectors. Recent highlights include Maeve O’Connor and Edwin Schallert’s representation of Prudential Financial in numerous class actions across the country, and Mark Goodman and Sean Hecker’s defense of a major pharmaceutical company in a breach of contract claim. The team of ‘technically excellent litigators’ includes the ‘scalpel sharp’ Maura Monaghan, Shannon Rose Selden, who has a strong private equity client base, and John Kiernan, whose broad practice spans contract disputes, derivatives and consumer class actions.

Randy Mastro chairs Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s sizeable commercial litigation practice, which was further bolstered by numerous lateral hires and partner promotions in 2015. It is regularly engaged in cases with over $1bn in dispute; Washington DC-based Matthew McGill and Theodore Olson’s representation of BlueMountain Capital Management in litigation pertaining to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s debt restructuring is one recent example; after prevailing in the District of Puerto Rico, the decision was affirmed by the First Circuit. Orin Snyder and Josh Krevitt are representing Square co-founders Jack Dorsey (also co-founder of Twitter) and Jim McKelvey in a claim concerning an alleged breach of an oral joint venture agreement. Recent highlights for the buoyant class action practice include representing Uber in putative class actions brought by drivers in Massachusetts and California, and BNSF Railway in a price-fixing class action brought against four major rail companies. All partners are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Among the best in the country’, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is ‘thorough, reliable and accurate’ and is considered a ‘go-to firm for highly complex commercial and regulatory litigation disputes’. The department is regularly engaged in disputes involving numerous regulatory bodies and civil litigation parties; recent examples include representing Deutsche Bank in enforcement investigations and concurrent class actions surrounding the alleged price-fixing of foreign exchange rates. The team acts for market leaders across the pharmaceutical, energy and TMT sectors; James Hurst successfully represented AbbVie in a breach of contract case in Lake County, Illinois, and Richard Godfrey and Mark Filip serve as lead counsel to BP in the sprawling litigation arising out of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Praise is also levelled at the ‘first-rateMark Holscher in Los Angeles, and James Gillespie, Eugene Assaf and Winn Allen in Washington DC. All partners are based in Chicago unless otherwise stated.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP was engaged in high-stakes litigation throughout 2015, often handling cases with a commercial litigation component and parallel regulatory investigations. For key client Citigroup, teams led by Brad Karp have recently handled international arbitration proceedings brought by a sovereign wealth fund concerning a $7.5bn investment, closely watched litigation concerning an SEC settlement, which concerned the scope of judicial review of regulatory settlements, as well as a host of litigation connected with RMBS sales. Karp and a team that included Theodore Wells and Bruce Birenboim represented the NFL in a landmark concussion settlement with former NFL players. Media and entertainment is another area of strength, where Jay Cohen and Allan Arffa are particularly prominent. Daniel Beller and Leslie Fagen are also recommended. All partners are based in New York.

Household-name companies frequently seek out Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP’s well-known trial expertise, which regularly sees it handling arbitration proceedings and state and federal court cases. Financial services litigation is a mainstay; the latest victory in its ongoing representation of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) came in 2015, when FHFA won an $806m judgment against Nomura and RBS for securities violations; Philippe Selendy in New York took the lead role. Other major cases in 2015 included Washington DC-based William Burck and Jenny Durkan’s representation of FIFA in the US and Swiss investigations into allegations of bribery and corruption, and Chicago-based Stephen Swedlow’s representation of Uber in a federal lawsuit in Houston surrounding false advertising claims. Key contacts in Los Angeles include John Quinn, Christopher Tayback and A William Urquhart, who works across the Washington DC and Los Angeles.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has its forte in complex disputes that spawn multiple lawsuits, and its primarily New York-based team handles cases across the country. Recent examples include its defense of Fairfield Greenwich in Madoff-related litigation; in one recent development, a team led by Mark Cunha and Peter Kazanoff obtained the dismissal of certain of Madoff’s trustees’ claims against foreign Fairfield Greenwich entities in federal bankruptcy court. Insurance is another major strength and Nicholas Goldin and Los Angeles-based Deborah Stein represented Berkshire Hathaway Insurance and Cyprus Insurance in a cybersecurity class action suit in California. Jonathan Youngwood and Paul Curnin jointly chair the litigation department. Thomas Rice is hugely experienced and another key name. In Washington DC, antitrust expert Sara Razi was promoted to partner, as was New York-based Susannah Geltman.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s sizeable and renowned litigation practice is frequently retained by major clients embroiled in multiple lawsuits and regulatory investigations. In the New York office, Jonathan Frank acted for Queens Development Company in two separate actions concerning the planned $3bn development of Willets Point in Queens, New York, and Lauren Aguiar represented Fresh Del Monte Produce in multiple false advertising and breach of contract suits in the Southern District of New York. Thomas Nolan heads the West Coast litigation practice, where key litigators include Lisa Gilford, who has a buoyant class action practice, and Jason Russell, whose broad business litigation expertise takes in IP and sports law; all three are based in Los Angeles. Maura Barry Grinalds in New York is also recommended.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP acts for blue chip companies and leading financial institutions, and was retained by a number of new clients in 2015 in the automotive, energy and financial services sectors. Barclays remains a major client for David Braff; recent cases include a LIBOR-related individual action alleging false advertising and federal antitrust violations; in January 2015, the court granted Barclays’ motion for summary judgment and dismissed the case. Key litigator Robert Giuffra’s recent caseload includes the successful representation of Cablevision and its board of directors in a shareholder derivative suit filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery. Other recent successes for the department include its work for BP in securities fraud and derivative class actions stemming from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, where Richard Pepperman II and Daryl Libow had key roles. Sharon Nelles’ practice takes in civil and regulatory investigations and litigation; her clients include Moody’s, Standard Chartered and JPMorgan Chase.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s ‘consistently excellent’ commercial litigation practice services a global client base that includes financial institutions and energy, media and consumer products companies. For CBS, the team achieved two important victories in Tennessee and California in cases brought by current and former student athletes concerning the right of publicity; James Quinn and Yehudah Buchweitz took lead roles. Edward Soto in Miami handles product liability multidistrict litigation (MDL) for key client Procter & Gamble, and David Lender represented Credit Suisse in multiple cases concerning real estate loan disputes. Other significant wins include David Yohai’s successful defense of Farmers Insurance in a RICO class action. Above-named lawyers are based in New York unless otherwise stated. Diane Sullivan is the key contact in Princeton, New Jersey, and ‘aggressive advocate and strategic tacticianChristopher Cox heads the California litigation practice from Silicon Valley.

Washington-DC based litigation firm Williams & Connolly LLP is highly rated by peers and clients. Dane Butswinkas secured numerous victories for his blue-chip client base, including obtaining a favorable verdict for AstraZeneca in a federal jury trial in a case concerning antitrust, patent, and food and drug law. Elsewhere, Butswinkas and First Amendment expert Kevin Baine successfully defended HBO in a defamation case brought by Mitre Sports International. Robert Van Kirk is representing the Carlyle Group in litigation brought by investors and liquidators of Carlyle Capital Corporation. Other recent successes for the team came in Colorado, Nevada and California, where John Villa and a team have been representing directors and officers of failed banks in receivership lawsuits. Ryan Scarborough is also recommended.

Standout areas for Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP’s strong litigation practice include antitrust, securities and professional liability. The team offers ‘unmatched expertise’ for First Amendment issues; recent highlights in this space include Floyd Abrams and Joel Kurtzberg’s representation of Amarin in a case challenging the constitutionality of FDA restrictions on off-label promotions. Abrams and a team including Tammy Roy and Penny Windle are representing McGraw Hill Financial and Standard & Poor’s in suits across the US concerning securities ratings. ‘First-rate litigatorJonathan Thier and the ‘superlatively intelligent and creativeCharles Gilman and ‘amazingly responsiveThomas Kavaler are recommended.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is a popular choice for financial institutions in securities, commercial and antitrust cases. Its work for financial services clients in Madoff-related litigation is indicative of its reputation in this sector: most recently, the team secured victories for Bank of New York Mellon in three actions in the New York State Supreme Court alleging breaches of fiduciary duty and professional negligence. Clients outside of this space include 3M, which retained a team including Leah Brannon in Washington DC and Lawrence Friedman and Arminda Bepko in New York in patent infringement, monopolization and false advertising litigation. New York-based Thomas Moloney is another noted name.

Dechert LLP has significant geographical reach with resources in cities across the US and internationally. The highly regarded David Bernick was part of a cross-office team which represented AbbVie in product liability litigation that includes an MDL and individual actions in four states. The class action practice remains active; San Francisco-based Joseph Escher is representing Golden Living in two class action cases in California and Arkansas. Other major cases that continue to keep the department busy include its representation of NML Capital in ongoing litigation against the Republic of Argentina to recover debts; Robert Cohen, Steven Engel and Dennis Hranitzky have key roles. Andrew Levander and Los Angeles-based William Oxley are also recommended. Above-named partners are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Offering ‘a wealth of subject area expertise’, Greenberg Traurig, LLP has a broad commercial disputes practice that sees it representing clients across the financial services, TMT and energy sectors, among others. At any given time, the sizeable team is handling numerous class actions; recent highlights include New Jersey-based co-chair Philip Sellinger’s representation of Marriott Vacations Worldwide in multiple class actions brought by owners of timeshares at Marriott and Ritz-Carlton resorts. Co-chair Alan Mansfield in New York, Miami-based Ian Ross, Glenn Goldstein in Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles-based Jeff Scott are other names to note.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s ‘very effective’ litigation department secured multiple victories for its clients in 2015 in cases spanning IP, securities and employment law. Christina Guerola Sarchio in Washington DC and Los Angeles-based Valerie Goo successfully defended Whole Foods in a false advertising class action in the Southern District of Florida, where the pair obtained dismissal of all but one claim, which was stayed. In another example of cross-office collaboration, the ‘extraordinarily gifted’ Peter Bicks and Elyse Echtman in New York and William Molinski in Los Angeles led the defense of Dish Network in copyright and breach of contract claims brought by four broadcast networks. Deputy practice head Richard Jacobson in New York has a strong financial institution and corporate client base.

Paul Hastings LLP achieved another series of successes for its blue-chip client base in 2015, with a recent caseload spanning consumer class actions, trade secrets litigation and breach of contract and fraud claims. Global chair Barry Sher and vice-chair Kurt Hansson are based in New York. Key figures elsewhere include Los Angeles-based Dennis Ellis, whose clients include American Apparel, chair of the San Francisco office John Phillips, and Samuel Cooper in Houston.

San Francisco-based Raymond Cardozo chairs Reed Smith LLP’s litigation practice, which has a substantial presence in cities across the US and abroad. A cross-office team including Kurt Peterson in Century City and Los Angeles-based Kenneth Smersfelt is representing Anthem Blue Cross in the California Supreme Court in a case concerning questions of alleged negligence and liability. Vice-chair Jack Nelson, who splits his time between San Francisco and Silicon Valley, is well versed in consumer class actions and unfair competition claims. Privacy and data security issues are another area of expertise, particularly for Mark Melodia in New York, who recently represented a multinational company in claims concerning alleged privacy violations.

Operating primarily from the New York office, Shearman & Sterling LLP’s broad litigation practice represents clients in high-stakes litigation and arbitration across the US. Among its recent successes was its representation of Daimler in a purported age discrimination class action; a team including Jaculin Aaron, Alan Goudiss and Daniel Lewis secured dismissal in the Eastern District of Michigan; the case is pending appeal. In the financial services space, Jeffrey Resetarits, Richard Schwed and global litigation head Adam Hakki acted for Bank of America in antitrust class actions alleging conspiracy in the foreign exchange market. Stuart Baskin is also recommended.

Sidley Austin LLP added to its already sizeable litigation department with a number of significant lateral hires in 2014 and 2015, including Bruce Braun, who joined the Chicago office from Winston & Strawn LLP. Recognized for its ‘professionalism’ and ‘proven successes’, the department receives work from major domestic and multinational companies. Yvette Ostolaza and Angela Zambrano in Dallas are ‘reserved and analytical when appropriate, but can also be aggressive and persuasive’. Praise is also levelled at Joseph Tompkins and Mark Guerrera in Washington DC and Supreme Court and appellate expert Mark Haddad in Los Angeles.

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz maintains a strong transactional litigation practice, and is a popular choice among financial institutions for corporate, commercial and antitrust litigation. John Savarese has been leading the charge for key client JPMorgan in ongoing litigation surrounding the Madoff fraud, and recently defeated a related shareholder derivative action in the Delaware Court of Chancery. The team has seen an uptick in post-merger appraisal litigation, and successfully defended in a claim brought by hedge funds seeking an award far in excess of the merger price; William Savitt and Stephen DiPrima led the team. Elsewhere, Herbert Wachtell and Jonathan Moses are representing a foreign telecoms company in international arbitration proceedings concerning an IT outsourcing agreement.

White & Case LLP is noted for its ‘very good strategic sense in how to approach and resolve litigation matters’. It excels in international arbitration and complex litigation with an international element. Highlights included obtaining a series of victories on behalf of TNK-BP in cases Norex brought in the US after litigation in Russia; Owen Pell and Scott Hershman in New York handled the suits in New York state and federal courts, working alongside colleagues in Moscow. On the West Coast, Los Angeles-based Bryan Merryman and Rachel Feldman, who made partner in 2016, represented Gerber in a putative class action brought in the Northern District of California, securing the dismissal of class certification and summary judgment of the individual claim. New York-based Heather McDevitt is another key litigator, and heads the pharmaceutical and healthcare group.

Howard Shapiro chairs the litigation department at WilmerHale, which benefits from a strong appellate and international arbitration practice. The white-collar defense group was further bolstered by a number of hires, including former US attorney for the District of Columbia Ronald Machen, who rejoined the firm in 2015. Securities and consumer class actions are an area of strength; Matthew Martens and a team that includes Jonathan Paikin and Los Angeles-based Christopher Casamassima is representing Target in an MDL involving 17 putative consumer class action complaints, and David Ogden and New York-based Noah Levine recently defeated class action certification in a case brought against client Morgan Stanley alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act. All partners are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.

The New York-based litigation practice at Allen & Overy LLP is heavily concentrated on the financial services sector. Financial institutions and individual executives turn to the department in high-stakes litigation stemming from regulatory investigations and enforcements, as well as standalone commercial disputes. Pamela Chepiga and Andrew Rhys Davies are representing Deutsche Bank in RMBS litigation in Texas and New York, and Jacob Pultman is acting for Ernst & Young as monitor of Nortel Networks and Canadian entities of Nortel Group in bankruptcy proceedings being tried simultaneously in Delaware and Ontario. Practice head Michael Feldberg is also recommended.

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP was born on January 1, 2017 via the combination of legacy firms Arnold & Porter and Kaye Scholer. It is regularly entrusted with high-stakes and high-value litigation, particularly class action lawsuits. Data breach litigation is a mainstay for practice head Kenneth Chernof in Washington DC, who recently defended a client in the healthcare sector in two class actions arising out of the theft of a laptop. Also in the Washington DC office is William Bosch, who has an active real estate and hospitality litigation practice. Los Angeles-based James Speyer has particular expertise in franchisee class action litigation, and experienced trial and appellate lawyer Timothy Macdonald is a key contact in Denver. The legacy Kaye Scholer firm brings additional expertise in financial services and life sciences, as well as in energy, electronics, engineering and real estate. Notable practitioners include New York-based James Herschlein, Michael Rogoff and Vincent Sama.

The ‘easy-to-work-with’ and ‘efficient and effective’ team at Dentons saw further expansion following the merger with McKenna Long & Aldridge, and also added to its ranks with a number of lateral hires and partner promotions. Its significant insurance sector clients turn to the team in high-stakes disputes; recent victories include New York-based Sandra Hauser and Patrick Gennardo’s successful representation of MetLife in multiple class action suits. Other areas of strength include video privacy protection and unclaimed property litigation. Roger Heidenreich and Tami Azorsky head the department from St Louis and Washington DC respectively.

Jenner & Block LLP’s commercial disputes practice services household-name clients across the media, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, and energy sectors, which benefit from the team’s trial expertise, including at the appellate and Supreme Court level. David Bradford and Craig Martin chair the department from Chicago; key figures in the New York office include Brian Fischer, whose broad commercial and regulatory disputes practice takes in fraud, IP and contract law, and Katya Jestin, who represents companies and individuals in regulatory and congressional investigations.

Possessing tremendous business acumen and understanding’, Jones Day’s team ‘fights hard for its clients and produces excellent results’. Atlanta-based Stephanie Parker and Gregory Katsas in Washington DC are part of a team handling multiple lawsuits for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco surrounding the Engle progeny litigation; the group secured a significant victory in the Eleventh Circuit in a decision that could impact thousands of Engle class members. In San Francisco, Robert Mittelstaedt, David Kiernan and Craig Waldman defended Adobe Systems in antitrust litigation brought by current and former employees of hi-tech companies.

Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP is retained by plaintiffs and defendants in high-profile disputes, with recent highlights including its work for FHFA in settlements with numerous financial institutions in disputes surrounding RMBS, where Marc Kasowitz had a key role. Other plaintiff-side work includes Ronald Rossi and Aaron Marks’ representation of Veleron in a federal securities claim and related state action against Morgan Stanley. Litigation arising out of enterprise resource planning (ERP) business software is another area of strength for the department, which is regularly retained to prosecute claims against software integrators and developers.

Highly skilled’ and ‘very sophisticated’, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP in New York maintains a broad commercial litigation practice, which sees it handling patent, trade secrets and transactional disputes, among others. In addition to its strong client base of financial institutions and companies, the team also represents individuals; recent highlights include Barry Berke and Eric Tirschwell’s Third Circuit victory for three family members in which the federal government was ordered to return confiscated Double Eagle gold coins. Michael Dell is noted for his ability to ‘anticipate how the other side will react’. Daniel Goodman is also recommended.

Mayer Brown added several significant partners to its ranks in 2015; among others, arbitration specialist B Ted Howes joined in New York from McDermott Will & Emery LLP, and cybersecurity expert Rajesh De re-joined the Washington DC office after serving as general counsel to the National Security Agency. Its appellate practice is particularly strong; a cross-office team recently acted for Spokeo in a Fair Credit Reporting Act case in the Supreme Court. Leading figures in the team include Lori Lightfoot in Chicago, Reginald Goeke in Washington DC and Los Angeles-based Bronwyn Pollock.

The ‘strategically focused’ department at McDermott Will & Emery LLP is spread across numerous offices throughout the country, and is headed by Lazar Raynal in Chicago. It remains dominant in the healthcare sector, with recent highlights including Silicon Valley-based Daniel Alberti’s successful resolution of a breach of contract case on behalf of a healthcare management company against a hospital, and Washington DC-based Mark Churchill’s defense of a teaching hospital in a class action suit, which was dismissed with prejudice. Tax litigation is another major strength.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP maintains a busy practice representing both corporate clients and major financial institutions. Scott Edelman and Daniel Perry act for key client Citigroup in numerous disputes, including actions brought by Simmtech concerning foreign exchange options, in which the team recently secured a dismissal. Former co-director of enforcement at the SEC George Canellos heads the global arbitration and litigation department. Other key figures include David Gelfand, who is active in securities and bankruptcy litigation, and Alan Stone, who has a broad corporate and business disputes practice. All named partners are based in New York.

Proskauer Rose LLP has a strong stable of clients that engage it in high-stakes litigation. Among these are Diageo, which Brendan O’Rourke has been representing for over ten years, and for which O’Rourke and Kevin Perra recently achieved a jury trial victory in a trademark infringement and dilution action. The sports litigation practice continues to thrive; Bradley Ruskin and Jennifer Scullion are currently representing MLB in a purported class action suit. Above-named lawyers are based in New York; patent litigation expert Steven Bauer is a key contact in Boston.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP receives plaudits for its ‘excellent insight’ and ‘prompt turnaround time’. The team expanded in Chicago in 2015 with the arrival of three partners, including Michael Dockterman, who draws on 40 years of experience. The department is called upon by clients across the TMT, consumer products, energy and utility sectors in high-stakes litigation, and is also a popular choice for law firms in malpractice suits. William Abrams in Palo Alto represented SK Hynix in a trade secrets case against SanDisk and Toshiba. In New York, Michael Miller is an ‘excellent trial lawyer who handles both civil and criminal matters, domestically and internationally’. Seong Kim left the firm in May 2016 and joined Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP's Century City office.

Stephen D’Amore and George Lombardi in Chicago chair Winston & Strawn LLP’s ‘top-notch’ litigation department, which remained busy throughout 2015 in high-stakes litigation spanning issues of unfair competition, negligence, defamation and consumer fraud, among others. Harvey Kurzweil and Kelly Librera in New York are representing Virginia Surety in multiple class action lawsuits surrounding accident and health insurance policies. Other recommended partners in the New York office include Michael Elkin, Thomas Lane and Seth Spitzer. Neal Marder, moved to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

Chadbourne & Parke LLP’s recent caseload includes securities derivative actions, environmental litigation and a successful petition to vacate an arbitral award. Strong praise is levelled at the ‘exceptionally user-friendlyThomas Hall. New arrivals include former US ambassador to Uruguay and international arbitration expert Julissa Reynoso, and counsel Jenny Kramer, who joined following nine years as an assistant US attorney in the District of New Jersey. Above-named partners are based in New York.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is noted for its ‘great business acumen’, ‘responsiveness’ and ‘outstanding experience in complex financial litigation and investigations’. Among the firm's recent successes was the defense of Formula One and CVC Capital in the Supreme Court of New York, which dismissed claims of tortious interference, unjust enrichment and conspiracy. Other key figures include ‘very skilled and successful litigatorMarshall Fishman and ‘excellent communicatorTim Harkness. Senior associate David Livshiz is also recommended. Since publication, Michael Lacovara has joined Latham & Watkins LLP.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP saw significant changes in 2015, with the arrival of new litigation chair James Wareham in Washington DC from DLA Piper LLP (US), and other lateral hires that significantly bolster the firm’s white-collar criminal defense practice. Recent cases for the team in New York include Peter Simmons’ representation of York Risk Services in a RICO claim, and Stephen Juris’ defense of BMO Harris Bank in litigationcameron arising out of the Thomas Petters Ponzi scheme.

Therese Doherty and Ronald Levine head the litigation practice at Herrick, Feinstein LLP, which services a solid client base of well-known corporations and financial institutions. Real estate litigation is a particular strength; highlights in this space included Kevin Fullington and David Feuerstein’s representation of the Rent Stabilization Association of NYC and Community Housing Improvement Program in a case challenging the legitimacy of New York’s Tenant Protection Unit and new rent regulations.

With commercial litigators based across several offices, K&L Gates’ size and geographic reach makes it well equipped to handle litigation and arbitration proceedings throughout the country. Thomas Birsic chairs the department from Pittsburgh, where insurance expert Paul Del Vecchio, as well as John Sylvester and Michael Lynch are also based. In Dallas, Paul Genender has a broad disputes practice representing both plaintiffs and defendants. Key contacts in Newark include Christopher Carton and Charles Rysavy.

Kobre & Kim’s conflict-free model sees it acting as special litigation counsel in high-stakes litigation for a variety of well-known clients. With a presence in the US, Hong Kong, London and offshore jurisdictions, it excels in cross-border disputes. Steven Kobre and Carrie Tendler were part of a team that successfully negotiated a second settlement on behalf of Chevron in a dispute with a UK-based litigator funder. Danielle Rose heads the financial products and services litigation practice.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s size and breadth allows it to handle a range of disputes in court and in arbitration forums across the country. Areas of strength include sports litigation, where recent highlights include representing Illinois High School Association in a high-profile putative concussion class action; Chicago-based Thomas Heiden took the lead role. Recommended partners in the Washington DC office include Gregory Garre and Edward Shapiro. Since publication, Michael Lacovara has joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.

Based in New York, Linklaters LLP’s team has a strong international disputes and investigations practice, where it is a popular choice for leading financial institutions. Paul Hessler and Lance Croffoot-Suede are part of a multi-office collaboration working alongside colleagues in Europe to assist a global financial services client with a regulatory investigation. In the antitrust litigation space, James Warnot represents KLM, Martinair and Air France in an individual action brought by Schenker alleging conspiracy to fix prices of air cargo services.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has a particularly strong track record representing clients in highly regulated sectors, with recent highlights including a series of successes for Cephalon and Teva in cases surrounding medicine marketing; Philadelphia-based J Gordon Cooney led the team. Practice head Susan DiCicco in New York, who is one of several new arrivals from Bingham McCutchen, maintains a broad securities and commercial litigation practice. Tera Heintz in San Francisco and Chicago-based Tinos Diamantatos made partner in 2015.

Ropes & Gray LLP has a strong private equity client base, and also represents companies in the healthcare and life sciences sectors. Other clients include Target, which a cross-office team including Douglas Meal and Richard Batchelder in Boston and Michelle Visser in San Francisco represented in an MDL in the District of Minnesota. Robert Jones and Christopher Green in Boston and San Francisco-based Rocky Tsai were part of a team that secured the dismissal of a case arising out of bankruptcy litigation for key client Bain Capital.

The ‘responsive, thoughtful and thorough’ team at Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP has particular strength in bankruptcy, antitrust and M&A litigation, and is frequently engaged by a variety of financial services sector clients. New York is the main hub, where Robert Abrahams is based, along with key litigators Robert Ward and Alan Glickman. William Gussman is also recommended. Charles Clark joined the Washington DC office from Kirkland & Ellis LLP in 2015.

The majority of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP’s litigation partners are spread across the Miami and New York offices, with additional resources in Washington DC and Los Angeles. Clients include the Associations of Supreme Court Justices of the State of New York, which Alan Klinger is representing in litigation concerning healthcare contributions, and Grant Thornton, which James Bernard is acting for in a high-stakes MDL.

Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP has experience representing household-name clients in high-profile litigation, with past work spanning product liability, breach of contract, patent and antitrust actions in forums across the US. Rebecca Bacon is a leading figure in the Chicago office, with particular expertise in the pharmaceutical sector. Sean Grimsley and Eric Olson are key contacts in Denver.

Bracewell LLP’s stellar client base of leading energy companies engages the team in a broad range of high-value disputes. Sean Gorman joined in 2015; he successfully obtained dismissal of tortious interference claims against client Eni, which was later affirmed on appeal. Stephen Crain leads the team, which is primarily based in Houston.

Brown Rudnick LLP’s team is spread across the New York, Boston and Orange County offices, from which it handles tort, contract, fraud and bankruptcy litigation. Past cases include Orange County-based Ronald Rus’ representation of a major waste management company in a dispute concerning the misappropriation of funds owed in a joint venture.

Cooley LLP maintains its reputation for high-stakes litigation in the technology sector, with recent successes including its representation of Sony in a class action concerning the Video Privacy Protection Act. In that matter, San-Diego based Michelle Doolin and Mike Rhodes in San Francisco obtained a dismissal which was subsequently affirmed in the appellate court. Michael Attanasio in San Diego chairs the practice.

Crowell & Moring LLP maintains a busy litigation and arbitration practice, and is particularly well regarded for healthcare disputes. Gregory Call in San Francisco represents the Regents of the University of California and professor Michael Jung in litigation surrounding prostate cancer treatment. Los Angeles-based Jennifer Romano is recommended.

McGuireWoods LLP’s team is noted for its ‘excellent response times’ and ‘great depth of knowledge’ and achieved a series of victories for its clients throughout 2014 and 2015. Highlights included Richmond-based Bryan Fratkin’s successful representation of Capital One in an MDL in the Northern District of Georgia. David Hartsell and Marta Stein in Chicago are recommended.

Michelman & Robinson, LLP secured several wins for its clients during 2015. Highlights included its successful defense of Rightscorp in a putative class action alleging numerous statutory violations; Orange County-based Mona Hanna and Sanford Michelman in Los Angeles led the team. Todd Stitt is particularly active in the insurance sector; he leads the class action and complex litigation practice from Orange County.

The ‘expert and efficient’ lawyers at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP have experience in litigation and arbitration across a range of industries, with recent clients spanning the TMT, financial services and transport sectors, among others. Deborah Baum ‘thinks, writes, argues and strategizes at the highest level’. Matthew MacLean and ADR expert Michael Jaffe are also recommended.

The ‘strong team’ at Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP is noted for its ‘pragmatic approach’ and ‘proactive service’. Clients include individuals, companies and leading law firms. David Daniels and Matthew Riccardi are representing Black Diamond Capital Management in an action against Barclays concerning a $1.5bn total return swap. Brian Fraser is ‘candid with his evaluative work, often saving you meaningful money by honestly pointing out the weaknesses in your position’.

The ‘seasoned team’ at Sullivan & Worcester LLPmakes you feel like an important client and not just “a number within many”’. Its recent caseload spans complex contractual claims, sovereign debt collections, insolvency and tax litigation. Andrew Solomon chairs the practice from New York, where Harry Rimm and Franklin Velie are also based. Paul Summit and Patrick Dinardo are key names in Boston.

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is noted for its ‘creative analysis, arguments and writing’. The department’s insurance offering was further bolstered by the arrival of Michael Nelson and his team from Nelson Brown & Co. Other areas of strength include accountants’ liability, where Amelia Rudolph is a key figure. Rocco Testani is also recommended.

Energy sector clients frequently engage Vinson & Elkins LLP, which is noted for its broad trial expertise. Highlights included the successful representation of Gastar Exploration in two lawsuits in Pennsylvania and West Virginia concerning fracking activities; James Thompson and Phillip Dye led the team. Clients outside of this space include eBay, Software AG and UBS Securities.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP acts for blue-chip clients and financial institutions across a broad spectrum of disputes, with recent cases spanning antitrust, tax, bankruptcy and RICO litigation. Kevin Clark co-chairs the practice from Washington DC, where recommended partner David Murray is also based. Co-chair Mitchell Auslander in New York is another name to note.

International arbitration

Index of tables

  1. International arbitration
  2. Leading lawyers

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s international dispute resolution team is ‘supremely professional’ and among the premier international arbitration practices in the world. The New York and Washington DC offices, which handle commercial and investment treaty arbitrations and public international law, work closely with the firm’s teams in key arbitration centers such as London, Paris and Hong Kong. Group co-chair David Rivkin is the current President of the International Bar Association (IBA), a testament to his outstanding reputation in the field, and in April 2016 Donald Donovan began a two-year term as President of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA). Donovan is praised for his ‘breadth of knowledge, legal skill and ability to understand people at all levels’. Mark Friedman - whose expertise is in investment treaty cases - is representing energy company Perenco in a $4bn-plus dispute with Ecuador. In another highlight, Donovan and Friedman joined Natalie Reid and Dietmar Prager to represent Tethyan Copper Company in an International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) arbitration against Pakistan and an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitration against the Pakistani province of Balochistan. Other clients include sovereign states such as South Korea, financial investors, healthcare companies and major manufacturers.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is a ‘leader in international arbitration, with a dedicated team and practice that throughout the years has established a deep-rooted culture of excellence’. The firm’s success has a lot to do with the expertise of Washington DC-based Nigel Blackaby and with its considerable profile in Latin American-related disputes. Work highlights included Blackaby and Elliot Friedman representing Burlington Resources, a subsidiary of ConocoPhillips, in a multibillion-dollar dispute against Ecuador regarding expropriation claims. Friedman and the ‘exceedingly talented’Brian King represented ConocoPhillips against Venezuela in a multibillion-dollar ICSID arbitration regarding expropriation claims by several of its Dutch subsidiaries. Noiana Marigo, who is dual qualified in Argentina and New York, represents corporations and investors throughout Latin America. She was lead partner when the firm represented GDF Suez in two arbitrations against Argentina, one of which resulted in a $405m award in favor of the company. Oil and gas is a notable area of strength for the group, which also counts Petrobras, Tenaris, Repsol, Pan American Energy and Wood Group among its recent clients.

The team at King & Spalding LLP is a market leader for cross-border energy and oil and gas disputes as well as pharmaceutical and IP-related arbitration. The 34-partner US group (which is primarily based in Houston and secondarily New York) is integrated into the firm’s broad international network. As an example, Houston-based Reginald Smith teamed up with colleagues Ken Fleuriet in Paris, James Berger in New York and Thomas Sprange in London to represent an investor group in its effort to enforce a $500m Swedish arbitration award obtained against Kazakhstan. Elsewhere, Houston-based Doak Bishop and New York-based Edward Kehoe were among those who represented Chevron in its high-profile dispute with Ecuador concerning alleged breaches of settlement and release agreements under the US-Ecuador bilateral investment treaty (BIT). The group also features ‘exceptional’ attorneys such as John Bowman and Wade Coriell in Houston and Henry Burnett and the ‘intelligent, experienced and poised’ Eric Schwartz in New York. Other key clients include Texaco, Reliance Industries and The Renco Group.

Paul Friedland is among the top international arbitration specialists in the world and continues to lead White & Case LLP’s superb practice. The team of 12 partners and approximately 50 associates excels with respect to investor-state arbitrations and energy and construction-related disputes. Major state clients include Russia, Peru, Bulgaria, Georgia and Uzbekistan. The group is spread across the New York and Washington DC offices, the latter of which is home to eight partners, including Abby Cohen Smutny and Carolyn Lamm. Smutny and Lamm represented the Philippines in two separate arbitrations, one of which resulted in a major victory when an ICSID tribunal unanimously dismissed a German construction company’s claims against the state in what had been a long-running dispute. In another matter, Lamm worked with the firm’s London and Paris teams during their representation of a construction company in a $2bn dispute with the Panama Canal Authority. In September 2015, Matthew Secomb relocated to Singapore, indicating an increased focus there. The firm is also expanding its capabilities in Sub-Saharan Africa, where cases are typically led by the Paris office.

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP is known for its outstanding representation of states in investment treaty disputes. Practice head Paolo di Rosa has a vast amount of experience handling Latin America-related matters, which includes high-stakes arbitrations such as defending Costa Rica in two ICSID arbitrations with a combined value of more than $600m. Leading lawyer Jean Kalicki is representing South Korea in one of the largest investment arbitrations ever asserted against an Asian state and the first treaty-based investment arbitration filed against the country; the claims, worth more than $4bn, are related to alleged unfair treatment by Korean tax authorities. Kalicki is also representing Bulgaria in three separate treaty disputes, and recently reached a favorable settlement in her defense of the Kyrgyz Republic. Houston-based Thad Dameris achieved a successful outcome for one of the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers in an international commercial arbitration. John Roesser, who specializes in complex commercial arbitrations, joined the firm’s New York office in December 2014. The firm’s long list of state clients includes Hungary, Chile, the Czech Republic and the Dominican Republic.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s international arbitration group excels in a variety of commercial and investor-state matters. Christopher Moore, who splits time between the New York and London offices, achieved an important victory for Greece when an ICSID arbitration - initiated by a Slovak bank and its former Cypriot shareholders - dismissed all claims against the state due to lack of jurisdiction. Lawrence Friedman and Matthew Slater act as lead counsel to the Russian Federation in multiple arbitrations related to claims brought by former shareholders of Yukos Oil Company regarding its dissolution. In another highlight, Jonathan Blackman and Jeffrey Rosenthal secured a major victory in mid-2014 when a United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) tribunal issued an approximately $131m award in favor the firm’s client, Tatneft, one of Russia’s largest oil companies. The group also represents Argentina, Egypt, Telecom Italia, DP World and Rosneft.

Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP’s international arbitration practice is ‘simply excellent in all areas’. In early 2015, the arbitration and alternative dispute resolution group - which is co-chaired by John Townsend in Washington DC and John Fellas in New York - commenced the first of five arbitrations against the Russian Federation under the Russia-Ukraine BIT to recover losses by a group of Ukrainian investors related to interests in Crimea. Alexander Yanos, who chairs the investment treaty group with Townsend, made news with his representation of BG Group when the US Supreme Court refused to give Argentina another chance to contest a $185m investment treaty arbitral award. The breadth of the practice is impressive, with the team handling a mix of commercial and investor-state disputes in industries such as energy, shipping, mining, construction, engineering and pharmaceuticals.

Sidley Austin LLP’s international arbitration team handles both commercial and investor-state arbitrations and has a client base that includes states, financial institutions, and mining and oil and gas companies. The US group - which consists of 16 partners and counsel based across New York and Washington DC - complements the firm’s highly rated teams in London and Canada. Stanimir Alexandrov - who serves as a practice head along with Louis Kimmelman - is representing affiliates of Philip Morris International in an ICSID arbitration against Uruguay challenging tobacco packaging regulations. The widely publicized case has implications for health regulations, WTO rules and IP rights. In another highlight, Kimmelman successfully represented a global telecoms company in a standard essential patents dispute. Other clients of the group include Belize Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago, and the states of Costa Rica, Peru and Turkey.

Baker Botts L.L.P. has a ‘strong practice with impressive senior arbitration practitioners’ who handle investment treaty disputes, commercial arbitrations and matters of public international law. Michael Goldberg heads the group of 14 partners and 18 associates, which operates out of the firm’s Houston, New York and Washington DC offices. Goldberg is a ‘terrific leader of the firm’s group and an excellent arbitrator’. The US team - which works closely with teams based in the Moscow and London offices - has longstanding associations with a number of sovereign states, including Russia and Costa Rica. On the commercial side, New York-based Edward Schorr and Andrew Behrman teamed up with London-based Jay Alexander to represent a major LNG corporation in a $1bn-plus dispute concerning a price review clause in a long-term contract. The group’s forte is in energy-related matters, but it also handles disputes arising in industries such as real estate, construction and manufacturing. Goldberg and Alexander chair the firmwide practice.

Chaffetz Lindsey LLP is a top-notch New York disputes firm that primarily focuses on international arbitration. The group of eight partners and 17 associates is ‘extremely responsive and the overall service is outstanding’. It handles arbitrations arising from disputes in industries such as insurance, energy, construction, hospitality and pharmaceuticals. James Hosking, who is a ‘passionate advocate for the client’, represented the owners in a $1bn-plus ICC arbitration arising out of a construction and project finance dispute related to a power plant in Central America. David Lindsey teamed up with Yasmine Lahlou to represent a large Brazilian construction company in an ICC arbitration against a major oil company regarding the construction and re-fitting of a vessel. Hosking and Anibal Sabater represented the subsidiary of a large European energy company in an arbitration against an international contractor over the construction of a power plant in Central America. Major clients include AEI, AIG, HCC International Insurance, Samwhan Corporation, Iran and Liberia.

Covington & Burling LLP’s international arbitration group, which consists of 14 partners mainly based in the firm’s Washington DC and New York offices, is ‘highly competent’ at handling investor-state and commercial arbitrations. Co-chair Marney Cheek and five other partners represented pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly in an investment treaty arbitration against Canada under NAFTA alleging expropriation of its patent rights. Cheek is ‘very knowledgeable about investment arbitration’. Miguel López Forastier represented a Mexican food conglomerate against Venezuela in an ICSID arbitration arising out of alleged violations of the Spanish-Venezuelan investment treaty. In another highlight, Forastier represented Tidewater, a major provider of maritime services to the oil industry, against Venezuela in an ICSID arbitration arising out of the expropriation of the client’s investments. The firm prevailed in the matter and continues to represent the client. The other co-chair of the group, Allan Moore, is ‘very strong in international insurance matters’.

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP has an extensive list of state clients that includes Turkmenistan, Vietnam, India, Indonesia and Cyprus and is ‘recommended for host governments that are faced with arbitration demands by foreign investors’. The group works from the firm’s New York and Washington DC offices. Firm chairman George Kahale III and his colleague Bernard Preziosi, both in New York, act as lead counsel to Venezuela on a slew of disputes that have significant geopolitical and international legal implications. These two esteemed lawyers successfully defended Venezuela in an arbitration commenced by ConocoPhillips regarding allegations of expropriation and violation of fair and equitable treatment obligations under the Dutch-Venezuelan BIT. Kahale is ‘brilliant and extremely dedicated to the interests of his clients’, as well as an ‘excellent manager of the teams he assembles for cases’. The firm is also defending India against a $2.6bn tax-related claim brought by Vodafone under the India-Netherlands BIT.

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP’s global practice, co-headed by Houston-based Mark Baker, mainly handles international commercial arbitrations for private companies such as AECOM, Advanced Metal Works, ExxonMobil, Mawarid Holding and RTKL. Baker and Houston-based Kevin O’Gorman acted on behalf of a major energy corporation in a matter related to the exploration and operation of projects in a Middle Eastern country. O’Gorman also represents the Canadian affiliate of an international oil field services company in an international arbitration under the UNCITRAL rules. The group, which also has partners in Washington DC and New York, represents a smaller batch of clients in investor-state disputes. Matthew Kirtland, for example, represented Gold Reserve Inc. in conjunction with US enforcement of a $750m ICSID award against Venezuela related to the expropriation of mining investments. The Nigerian National Petroleum Company and Kazakhstan are among the firm’s other state or state-owned clients.

Shearman & Sterling LLP’s US international arbitration group might be relatively small in size, but the three-partner team has a strong reputation and works closely with the firm’s market-leading overseas offices. New York-based Henry Weisburg heads the US group, which also includes Jonathan Greenblatt, Christopher Ryan and counsel Katia Yannaca-Small, all of whom are based in Washington DC. The team handles arbitrations in industries such as energy, construction, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure and telecoms. Weisburg and Paris-based global group head Emmanuel Gaillard represented 13 investment companies and two individuals in a $15bn ICC claim brought against a major European telecoms company. In another highlight, Greenblatt, Ryan and two of the group’s 15 associates represented a state-owned Latin American oil and gas company as respondent in a $60m ICC arbitration against a contractor regarding the expansion of a refinery.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLPrates very high’ in regard to complex commercial arbitration and is ‘respected’ for its expertise in Asia-related disputes. New York-based group co-head Robert Smit recently helped client MatlinPatterson resist enforcement of a $55m arbitral award. Washington DC-based co-head Peter Thomas has a ‘particularly strong track record servicing pharmaceutical companies’, and successfully represented Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma in a supply dispute with a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. Counsel Janet Whittaker, who focuses on energy, infrastructure and insurance cases, is ‘excellent’.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s US-based international arbitration specialists are mainly based out of New York. The team includes John Gardiner and Timothy Nelson, who represented the Indian company Devas Multimedia against an Indian state-owned entity in a $1.6bn ICC arbitration arising from the alleged wrongful termination of a satellite contract. Julie Bédard and Timothy Nelson are known for their expertise in Latin American-related disputes and recently represented Gambrinus, a Barbados-incorporated investor, in ICSID proceedings under the Barbados-Venezuela BIT relating to the expropriation of a urea producer.

In 2014, Three Crowns LLP’s six founding partners all left market-leading practices to set up this ‘top-notch’ international disputes firm. Co-founder Jan Paulsson - former co-head of the international arbitration and public international law groups of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP - is a ‘leading arbitrator and intellect in the field who should make everyone’s list of the top ten in the world’. He and co-founder Luke Sobota represented ConocoPhillips in a $20bn ICSID arbitration against Venezuela arising out of the expropriation of the client’s upstream assets in the Orinoco oil belt. Sobota is a ‘younger partner who is extremely smart and a great strategic thinker’ and is an ‘excellent draftsman’. Paulsson and Sobota work from Washington DC and operate in unison with the firm’s other founding partners: Constantine Partasides and Gaëtan Verhoosel in London and Georgios Petrochilos and Todd Wetmore in Paris. The group services a number of global energy giants, including BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Occidental Petroleum and Hess Corporation.

Baker McKenzie LLP’s US international arbitration team, which is spread across multiple offices, benefits from the firm’s impressive global reach. Key domestic locations include New York, where North America practice chair Grant Hanessian is based, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, San Francisco, Miami and Washington DC. The San Francisco office was strengthened when the firm brought Maria Chedid over from Arnold & Porter LLP in February 2015. Chedid co-leads the representation of Karkey Karadeniz Elektrik Uretim, a Turkish energy company, in a $2bn-plus ICSID dispute arising from the company’s investment in a rental power project in Pakistan. Elsewhere, Harnessian teamed up with colleagues in the firm’s Moscow and Almaty offices to represent Consolidated Exploration Holdings, a mining company that sought to develop one of the largest gold mines in the Kyrgyz Republic. He also worked with lawyers in the Caracas office when he represented Longreef AVV, an Aruban corporation, in a $500m-plus ICSID arbitration regarding Venezuela’s alleged refusal to fairly compensate the company post expropriation. Attorneys across the US handle complex commercial arbitrations: Luis O’Naghten in Miami; Justin Marlles in Houston; Mark McCrone in Washington DC; and Michael Morkin and Matthew Allison in Chicago.

Chadbourne & Parke LLP’s international arbitration team is based in the firm’s office in New York, where it services a wide variety of global companies and sovereign states involved in major international disputes, particularly in emerging markets. Global group head Mark Beckett, based in the firm’s New York office, led the firm’s representation of Koch Minerals and Koch Nitrogen International as claimants in a $650m ICSID arbitration against Venezuela related to the expropriation of a fertilizer plant and a related offtake agreement. Marc Suskin and Rachel Thorn represented the Republic of Congo in its defense against two enforcement actions brought in the District Court of Washington DC. Other major clients include Engie, INVISTA and TCR Sports Broadcasting.

Dechert LLP made great strides toward becoming an international arbitration powerhouse when Arif Ali and Alexandre de Gramont left Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP to join the Washington DC office in August 2015. Ali, who co-chairs the group, represents parties around the globe in commercial and investment treaty arbitrations in a wide variety of industries. In one work highlight, he and de Gramont represented Hungary against claims by EDF related to the government’s termination of power purchase agreements that were allegedly required due to the state’s accession to the EU. Ali represents the Czech Republic in UNCITRAL arbitration proceedings against a group of investors regarding a dispute that arose from the privatization of a state-owned enterprise. Other key clients include Ecuador, Bolivia, MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas and major corporations in the software and pharmaceutical industries.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s international arbitration group traditionally focuses on disputes in Europe and North America, with some activity in South America, South Asia and the Middle East. The team provides clients with ‘heavy partner involvement in all of the cases and a lot of face time’. Global group head Elliot Polebaum and Joseph LoBlue, who along with the rest of the US team are based in the firm’s Washington DC office, represented Total in an ICSID arbitration against Uganda. Polebaum is considered ‘one of the best advocates in the field’ and LoBlue provides ‘very good, concise advice’. The group also represents Cerner UK, Dassault Aviation, EDF, Northrop Grumman, Prufrock Management and RUSAL.

The Herbert Smith Freehills international arbitration team is headed by Laurence Shore, who is widely considered one of the foremost experts in international arbitration. The group, which handles commercial and investor-state arbitrations, has ‘good response times and is quick to catch up on industry knowledge’. Shore recently represented Costa Rica against a group of American investors in arbitration proceedings related to the development of a residential and hotel project that was shut down by the environmental agency for encroachment into wetlands. Christian Leathley is now based in the firm’s New York office, having spent numerous years in the firm’s London and Madrid offices. He is known for his expertise in Latin American-related matters and has a client list that includes Spain, Suzano Papel and BHP Billiton. Chris Parker, who is a ‘passionate and good advocate with a refreshing personality’, returned to the UK in September 2015 following a three-year stint in New York.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP primarily handles investment treaty disputes and has at least one international arbitration specialist in each of the firm’s US offices, including Washington DC, New York and Los Angeles. Washington DC-based David Orta worked with New York-based Tai-Heng Cheng to represent Spentex Netherlands in a $133m ICSID arbitration arising out of the company’s claims that Uzbekistan violated the Netherlands-Uzbekistan BIT and other agreements. Orta is ‘excellent and takes all possible efforts to prepare well’. A. William Urquhart, who slits time between Washington DC and Los Angeles, has represented DP World in a number of international arbitrations over the past decade, including an ongoing case being heard in London in which Djibouti sought to rescind a concession to build and operate the Doraleh Container Terminal.

WilmerHale’s US international arbitration team is led by John Pierce, Rachael Kent and John Trenor, all of whom have ‘deep knowledge in a variety of areas and are very responsive to tight timelines for delivery’. The three attorneys spent years working with the firm’s impressive London team, which is led by Gary Born, who is among the ‘premier international arbitration and litigation experts in the world’. Pierce, who is based in New York, has represented a wide range of companies in arbitrations in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and North America. Kent has served as counsel in ad hoc and institutional arbitrations seated in both common law and civil law jurisdictions. Senior counsel James Carter has more than 40 years’ experience acting as arbitrator or counsel in international commercial and investment treaty cases.

Winston & Strawn LLP’s international arbitration team is largely based in Washington DC, although ‘masterful, absolutely outstanding’ group chair Ricardo Ugarte now splits his time between London and Chicago. He moved to the US in 2015 following the closure of the firm’s Geneva office and its reallocation of resources to London and Paris due to the centralization of arbitrations in those cities. Ugarte was part of a team that represented Ecuador in a multibillion-dollar UNCITRAL arbitration initiated by Chevron and Texaco regarding alleged violations of the Ecuador-US BIT. Other key members of that team were Eric Bloom and Tomás Leonard. With the exception of the Ecuador case, which was significant, the firm typically handles commercial disputes. Mark Bravin moved to Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp.

International litigation

Index of tables

  1. International litigation
  2. Leading lawyers

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s dispute resolution team is among the best in the world for handling commercial litigation, enforcement proceedings and government investigations on behalf of multinational companies, states and state-owned entities. New York-based Donald Donovan and London-based Lord (Peter) Goldsmith QC are lead counsel for insurance company Cigna in the US courts, and for Cigna’s parent company, ACE, in the Cayman Islands and before the Privy Council. The case, which stems from denied coverage claims regarding alleged losses incurred during the Liberian civil war, concerns the enforcement of competing awards obtained in multiple jurisdictions. Goldsmith, the firm’s co-managing partner and chair of the European and Asian litigation team, is ‘very professional and particularly experienced’. Bruce Yannett, head of the white-collar practice and a ‘leading FCPA lawyer’, represents financial institutions, manufacturers, retail chains and other types of company in government investigations. Other esteemed members of the group include David Rivkin, Sophie Lamb, Mark Friedman and David Bernstein.

Dechert LLP’s US-based international litigation team is ‘super sharp, practical and thorough’, and represents individuals, corporations, financial institutions and investors across the globe. The US team works closely with the firm’s offices in London, Paris, Moscow, Hong Kong and Singapore. Dennis Hranitzky and Robert Cohen, both based in New York, have decades of experience handling complex international commercial disputes and enforcement proceedings against foreign governments and government agencies. The two recently teamed up with Andrew Hearn in the London office and Xavier Nyssen in the Paris office to represent NML Capital in a $3bn dispute regarding defaulted sovereign bonds issued by Argentina. Litigation and parallel enforcement proceedings are ongoing in the US, UK, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Ghana. In another highlight, Allan Brilliant and Hranitzky were lead counsel to an ad hoc group of noteholders in connection with cross-border restrictions placed on $1.6bn in defaulted senior notes issued by Mexico’s largest glass manufacturer. Washington DC-based Jeremy Zucker focuses on regulations and investigations, and is well versed in areas such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the anti-money laundering provisions of the Patriot Act.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s transnational litigation group is well placed to defend foreign clients in the US courts and US clients in jurisdictions around the world. The team is made up of lawyers who, with regard to clients’ real and potential legal predicaments, ‘think about problems from a global perspective and consider the global options and implications’. In 2014, in what some have called the ‘case of the century’, Randy Mastro, a former mob prosecutor and current co-chair of the litigation group, led the firm’s successful representation of Chevron in a racketeering case that ultimately exposed criminal activity in the Ecuadorian courts as well as a major US law firm. Mastro worked with colleagues across the nation on the high-profile dispute, including members of the firm’s Washington DC, Denver and Los Angeles offices. In another highlight, Patrick Dennis and Perlette Jura defended Philip Morris and Altria Group against a transnational toxic tort suit brought by Argentine tobacco farmers who claimed that exposure to herbicides caused birth defects. The group represents corporations and financial institutions such as NML Capital, Daimler AG, World Fuel Services, Petrobras and Rosneft.

Allen & Overy LLP’s litigation team is adept at handling cross-border disputes, particularly in the financial realm and/or those with an Asia element. For instance, David Esseks and Michael Feldberg are advising a British company regarding anti-bribery laws related to its US subsidiary’s communication technology business in Asia. Esseks is also advising a major financial in enforcement and private damages actions relating to the Forex scandal. Pamela Chepiga is advising a financial organization in a US regulatory investigation regarding the global trading of sovereign and supra-sovereign debt. Laura Hall, who focuses on complex cross-border litigation and especially bankruptcy matters, was promoted to partner in May 2015. In July 2015, patent and trade secret expert Paul Keller moved to Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s international litigation practice excels at handling matters for multinational and domestic financial institutions and corporations, sovereign governments and state-owned institutions. The firm has had an international presence since the opening of its Paris office in 1949, and today’s international litigation and arbitration team tries cases under US and foreign laws for clients in the US, Europe, Russia, Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Jonathan Blackman, who splits his time between New York and London, is particularly adept in international litigation, securities litigation and letters of credit. Washington DC-based Matthew Slater often represents clients in international arbitration-related litigation in US courts, and has expertise in, among other things, government regulatory and enforcement actions, securities law and product liability. New York’s Howard Zelbo often represents international bidders and targets in takeover litigation.

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP has recently bolstered its international litigation practice with several additions to its already talented team. Paul Keller, who focuses on patent and trade secret litigation, joined the firm’s New York office from Allen & Overy LLP in July 2015. Robin Adelstein, former counsel to the generics division of Novartis, arrived in the New York office in the same month. David Navetta and Boris Segalis, cybersecurity experts based in Denver and New York respectively, came on board in November 2014. These four joined Houston-based Gerard Pecht, the global head of dispute resolution and litigation, and Louis Strubeck, who splits his time between New York and Dallas. In a recent highlight, Bill Leone represented a former managing director in JPMorgan’s chief investment office in various proceedings brought by regulatory enforcement agencies in the US and elsewhere, including the DOJ, the SEC and the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority. The firm services global corporations such as AT&T, General Electric and Shell.

Shearman & Sterling LLP represents multinational corporations and financial institutions and excels with respect to Asia-related cases, particularly securities matters involving China. Indeed, the firm has represented parties in more than 50 disputes involving lawsuits filed by shareholders of Chinese companies listed in the US. Among the group’s many clients involved in such suits are China-Biotics, China Electric Motor, China Green Agriculture, China Integrated Energy, China Natural Gas, China XD Plastics and JinkoSolar. The firm represents many of these companies in shareholder derivative actions related to securities class actions. On a different tack, New York-based global litigation head Adam Hakki is representing Japanese bank Mizuho in a putative class action related to alleged manipulation of yen LIBOR and ‘euroyen’ TIBOR rates.

Baker McKenzie LLP benefits greatly in this arena from its broad international network and its longstanding relationships with major oil and gas companies. Standout cases include Brendan Cook’s representation of a Bangalore client pursuing claims in the US concerning the ownership of a database used in the oil and gas industry. Cook was also lead counsel for a Norwegian investor and its Texas-based downhole oilfield tool company in a dispute concerning the misappropriation of trade secrets and violation of non-compete agreements. San Francisco-based Colin Murray worked with colleagues in the firm’s Kuala Lumpur office in the representation of three Hewlett-Packard entities in a case filed by a Singaporean subcontractor over work performed for a bank in Malaysia. The New York office brought in William Devaney from Venable LLP in December 2014. Devaney is a former US district attorney who specializes in white-collar criminal defense, investigations and compliance.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP handles a variety of cross-border matters for international clients and excels with respect to investigations and litigation involving allegations of financial accounting violations, securities fraud, insider trading, options backdating, cartel and other anti-competitive activity, and FCPA matters. Marshall Fishman recently represented a financial institution in class actions involving claims of market manipulation and has handled matters arising from the Madoff investment scandal. Elliot Friedman focuses on international litigation and arbitration related to energy and natural resources. His past work includes energy-related disputes regarding long-term contracts, joint venture agreements, construction contracts, distribution agreements and intellectual property. Friedman also regularly represents companies in transnational litigation in US courts, especially the enforcement of arbitral awards. Senior associate Leah Friedman specializes in multi-jurisdictional disputes and advises clients on antitrust, corporate, criminal, Alien Tort Statute, financial services and IP matters. All lawyers mentioned are based in New York.

King & Spalding LLP has a huge international footprint and an impressive FCPA and related anticorruption investigations practice. The US-based group is spread across the firm’s Houston, Atlanta, New York and Washington DC offices, and works closely with the London and Paris teams. The firm has an exceptional reputation for its handling of international arbitrations and frequently represents clients in related litigation in the US and abroad. James Berger, for example, represents Harbour Victoria Investment Holdings, a Mauritius-based entity owned by JPMorgan Chase, in an attempt to confirm an English arbitral award in the US courts. Esteemed arbitration specialists Edward Kehoe and Doak Bishop, based in New York and Houston respectively, frequently handle related litigation.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s global policy and litigation strategy lawyers provide a comprehensive crisis management service and litigate high-profile disputes around the world. The firm handles, among other things, compliance and regulatory issues, government investigations, and government and political relationships. It is experienced in the US and UK trial and appellate courts and assists counsel in various jurisdictions regarding public and private international law. New York-based Julie Bédard has handled various suits in Brazil arising from joint venture disputes between Brazilian, Uruguayan and US companies. Washington DC-based Gary DiBIanco has experience handling matters related to the FCPA and UK Bribery Act, as well as global investigations, responses to multinational governmental inquiries and due diligence in connection with complex transactions. Of counsel Gregory Craig, also in Washington DC, is another name to note.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP regularly handles matters involving international trade issues, in particular the defense of organizations and individuals facing anti-money-laundering investigations and anti-corruption allegations. New York-based Nicolas Bourtin frequently represents non-US companies and individuals in connection with US investigations related to accounting fraud, antitrust, insider trading, money laundering, and securities and tax fraud. Darrell Cafasso, also in New York, litigates for multinationals and financial institutions in complex commercial cases related to securities law, ERISA, employment, consumer financial products and contracts. Theodore Edelman, who splits his time between New York and London, counsels corporate clients on disputes related to commercial contracts, commercial banking, securities, insurance and annuities, intellectual property and M&A.

White & Case LLP is best known for its expertise in international arbitration, but the firm also has a strong commercial litigation group that caters to corporate clients as well as some states and state-owned entities. Owen Pell, for instance, defended Tyumen Oil Company (TNK-BP) in a case brought by Norex Petroleum alleging misappropriation of its shareholder interest in a Russian oil company that became a TNK-BP subsidiary. The claims were dismissed in August 2015 by the New York Supreme Court. Elsewhere, Washington DC-based Christopher Curran and Nicole Erb were lead counsel for the Sudan in several lawsuits in the US regarding the provision of resources to militants responsible for the bombings of two American embassies in 1998 and the USS Cole in 2000. In another highlight, Pell and Gregory Starner represented Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank in a securities fraud case in the Southern District of New York.

Litigation boutique Williams & Connolly LLP often defends foreign companies and individuals involved in US-filed lawsuits. The firm, which is run out of a single office in Washington DC, was lead counsel for News Corp regarding a DOJ investigation into alleged bribery of public officials and interception of voicemail by its subsidiary in the UK. Elsewhere, Ana Reyes represented a former president of a country in Latin America in a US civil case that involved principles of international law such as head-of-state immunity and proportionality of military response. Joseph Petrosinelli and counsel David Kendall are representing an individual in an FCPA investigation and Peter Kahn is representing a multinational corporation in US civil RICO litigation.

International trade

Index of tables

  1. International trade
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

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Based out of the firm’s Washington DC headquarters, Covington & Burling LLP is ‘excellent across the board’ and advises major international corporates on ‘long-term strategic issues’ and important international trade matters. With a significant international footprint, which includes lawyers on the ground in China and Brussels, the team is often consulted by corporates looking to grow into Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. It combines a compelling mix of legal and policy strengths, and is able to assist with navigating potential risks and capitalize upon investment and trade opportunities in these locations. On the trade policy front, the firm provides ‘top-notch advice’ and has numerous practitioners who held previously high-ranking governmental positions including former US ambassador to the EU Stuart Eizenstat and John Veroneau, who was a former deputy United States trade representative. The team is praised for its ‘ability to spot government enforcement and compliance trends’ and is ‘very good at interacting with federal government agencies’. Mark Plotkin and David Fagan provide ‘critical insight and informed counsel on complicated deals’ and lead the firm’s efforts on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) front. Both recently assisted GlobalFoundries, which is indirectly wholly owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, with achieving the national security-related approvals for its proposed acquisition of IBM’s semiconductor manufacturing business. Plotkin and Fagan also advised Publicis and Sapient on securing approval from CFIUS and the US Department of Defense for Publicis’ $3.7bn acquisition of Sapient. The team is also ‘superb at export controls and economic sanctions matters’ for clients in a range of potentially sensitive industries including finance, aerospace, and oil and gas. In this space, Peter Lichtenbaum and Peter Flanaganare at the very top of the Washington DC Bar hierarchy’ and are recognized for providing ‘innovative legal analysis with superb business judgment’. The practice is rounded out by Steve Fagell and Donald Ridings, who provide ‘superb advice’ on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) front; Kimberly Strosnider, who heads up the trade controls sub group; and the ‘superbCorinne Goldstein, who has ‘sheer subject matter mastery’ across export controls and economic sanctions.

Based out of Washington DC and aided by a vast international network, Hogan Lovells US LLP’s ‘business savvy’ and ‘highly professional’ 14-partner international trade team has the strength in depth and critical mass to handle the gamut of trade issues relating to the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa. Practice co-head Deen Kaplan is currently representing Emirates Airline Group in a high-profile trade subsidy dispute with a coalition of US airline groups led by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. The firm has also had a longstanding involvement with the government of Ontario, assisting with a range of major trade matters with the US; alongside Mark McConnell, Kaplan is advising it on policy and strategic issues following the recent expiration of the US-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement, and also defending it in the supercalendered paper countervailing duty case. Anthony Capobianco recently helped secure CFIUS clearance for ALSTOM on the $17bn sale of its thermal power and renewable power and grid business to General Electric, and on the $800m acquisition of the rail signalling business of General Electric. The firm is also at the vanguard of the developing policies relating to export controls and economic sanctions and represents major corporates including Carnival Cruise Lines, IBM and Airbus in ensuring compliance with these multilateral policies. ‘Hugely knowledgeable’ practice co-head Beth Peters has been central to many of these sanctions matters and is a key member of the team that also includes recommended practitioners Ajay Kuntamukkala, Craig Lewis, Jonathan Stoel, Jeanne Archibald, Stephen Propst and T Clark Weymouth.

Headed out of Washington DC by ‘stalwartAndrew Shoyer, Sidley Austin LLP’s 14-partner group is ‘exceptionally strong on policy-related matters’, where it is ‘uniquely positioned to represent clients before the WTO’ by virtue of its Geneva office, and also on EU policy changes by dint of its Brussels offering. ‘A leader in the field’, Shoyer provides ‘nuanced and practical advice’ on export controls and economic sanctions. Neil Ellis and Geneva-based Iain Sandford are representing the government of China in a challenge to US zeroing and non-market economy anti-dumping methodologies. The team regularly handles trade remedies matters for Asian clients, where it is helped by a comprehensive network of offices in the region; it recently acted for China’s largest tire producer, in a US anti-dumping/countervailing duty petition brought by the United Steelworkers against imports of passenger-vehicle and light-truck tires from China. Robert Torresen has a focus on economic sanctions and export control matters and alongside Shoyer has been developing Cuba travel policies for companies following President Obama’s recent relaxation of Cuba sanctions. Torresen is also well versed in customs matters and alongside ‘excellent’ senior counsel Richard Belanger recently advised TransCanada on various US regulatory issues concerning the movement of natural gas and equipment through or into the US. Other recommended practitioners include the ‘practical and collaborativeJames Mendenhall and the ‘outstanding, responsive and effectiveRichard Weiner. The team was strengthened in May 2015 by the arrival of David Simon from the Department of Defense.

One of the best firms involved in trade work’, Steptoe & Johnson LLP has an ‘excellent track record’ across the full span of export controls, economic sanctions, FCPA and CFIUS matters. Aided by a presence in Beijing, the firm continues to broaden and deepen its China work and was recently the only foreign law firm selected by the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China to represent it in four named areas including on trade remedies and international investment matters. The firm also regularly picks up a significant flow of work for Chinese companies seeking representation in the US, as well as for US companies investing in China. ‘A prominent player in WTO disputes’, the firm recently scored a notable victory for the Argentinian government when the WTO panel rejected Panama’s claims that Argentina’s differential treatment of services and service providers located in “cooperative” and “non-cooperative” tax havens constituted prohibited discrimination under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Matthew Yeo and Pablo Bentes led on the aforementioned matter, and are key practitioners of the firm’s ‘superb trade remedies offering’. The team is also regularly engaged in an advisory and transactional setting, and as well as frequent CFIUS mandates from Asian and European corporates, is also regularly instructed by clients seeking robust risk management procedures to avoid problems in the future. Edward Krauland heads up the firm’s international regulation and compliance group and is noted for his export controls and economic sanctions expertise. Other recommended partners include Lucinda Low, who heads up the firm’s global anti-corruption practice; chair of the firm’s international trade and investment practice Susan Esserman, who has a significant focus on US-India and US-China matters; Mark Moran, who excels at trade litigation; trade remedies veteran Richard Cunningham, who is ‘widely considered one of the best in the business’; CFIUS expert Stewart Baker; the ‘phenomenal’ Meredith Rathbone; and the ‘effective and knowledgeable’ Joel Kaufman.

Led out of Washington DC by Hal Shapiro but also benefiting from key international offices in Geneva, Beijing and London, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP’s 14-partner team provides broad-ranging non-contentious and contentious international trade advice to an impressive cadre of clients including Dow Corning, United Parcel Services and Nike. Shapiro is particularly well regarded by corporates, trade associations and governments on policy issues and is representing Eastman Chemical on its Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations to achieve lower tariffs on chemical products. The team is ‘very strong on trade remedies’ and has handled a number of matters for the Canadian province of British Columbia including currently as a defendant in the US Department of Commerce’s countervailing duty investigation of supercalendered paper from Canada. Spencer Griffith handled this matter, as well as previous work for British Columbia in the longstanding lumber dispute, and is praised for his ‘ability to grasp the political issues that governments often deal with’. The ‘unassuming and patient’ Bernd Janzen was formerly at the Department of Commerce and is ‘accurately targets information in submissions to Commerce in hopes of achieving a favorable outcome as a result of his insights into the inner workings and psychology of the agency’. The firm also has an ‘excellent economic sanctions and export controls practice’, where Edward Rubinoff is the standout name. Other recommended practitioners include senior counsel Valerie Slater, for trade policy, and Lars-Erik Hjelm, for customs law. J David Park joined Arnold & Porter LLP in April 2015.

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP’s ten-partner Washington DC-based practice has excellent credibility in the market. The return of the ‘superb’ J David Park and several of his colleagues from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in April 2015 adds considerable weight to the team’s expertise, particularly in relation to US-Korea trade policy. Team head Lawrence Schneider is recommended for trade remedies matters and provides an ‘insightful service’ to companies, trade associations and governments in anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases. Schneider continues to represent Israel on international trade matters and is also advising the Province of Alberta in four arbitration proceedings relating to the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement between the US and Canada. John Barker has extensive export controls and economic sanctions experience, and is advising BAE on export compliance matters and the implementation of the State Department Consent Agreement. Other key names include John Bellinger and Jeffrey Smith, who are both recommended for export controls, economic sanctions and CFIUS matters; Michael Shor, for trade remedies; and Claire Reade, who rejoined the firm in October 2015 following a period in government, where she recently served as assistant US trade representative for China affairs.

Based out of Washington DC, the team at Baker McKenzie LLPprovides a superior service’, and can call upon a ‘deep bench in the area of trade compliance and knowledgeable attorneys in every major geographic area of the world’. Led by John McKenzie, Edward Dyson, the ‘experienced and practical’ Nicholas Coward, and ‘superstar’ Janet Kim, the firm is ‘very strong on export controls’ and trade sanctions work. San Francisco-based McKenzie gains particular plaudits from clients for his ‘unparalleled experience and breadth of knowledge’ as well as his ability to ‘cite both black-letter law and provide nuanced practical guidance on export control matters’. McKenzie is also involved in customs issues, where he receives strong support from Teresa Gleason and Ted Murphy. A smaller presence on the trade remedies front is headed out of Washington DC by Kevin O’Brien. Although the firm is active across the spectrum of industry sectors, it is ‘particularly strong in areas that affect hi-tech companies’, including Google, Intel Corporation and Veritas Technologies. The arrival of Ryan Fayhee in July 2015 from the DOJ adds further credibility to the practice, particularly on export controls and economic sanctions enforcement matters.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s four-partner team has a ‘prominent position in the market’ across the spectrum of international trade matters, where it is also aided on EU-related issues by offices in Brussels and London. The arrival in August 2015 of Adam Smith enhances the firm’s capability, particularly as they relate to economic sanctions matters, as a result of his prior tenure at the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Practice co-chair Judith Alison Lee is well regarded for economic sanctions matters and export controls; she is advising Carnival and its affiliate Princess Cruise Lines on both OFAC and EU economic sanctions issues relating to its cruise line operations in various parts of the world. Donald Harrison is advising Whirlpool Corporation on a range of customs issues involving its imports, particularly those subject to trade actions. Former Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs Jose Fernandez has significant credibility in the market and primarily focuses on CFIUS-related matters; notably, he recently secured CFIUS approval for Dresser-Rand Group, in connection with its $7.6bn proposed acquisition by Siemens’. Senior of counsel Ronald Kirk co-chairs the practice from Dallas and has strong experience in trade policy.

Primarily centered out of its Washington DC head office, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP’s ‘knowledgeable’ eight-partner team provides ‘timely and practical advice’, and has a particularly strong reputation for trade litigation work, where it regularly appears for petitioners before domestic forums and the WTO. Kathleen Cannon leads on many of the most significant mandates handled by the group and regularly acts for domestic companies in anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions. Cannon is particularly well regarded for her performances before the ITC and alongside Alan Luberda and Paul Rosenthal successfully secured a unanimous final decision from it on behalf of five of the six petitioners seeking recourse via anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions against Chinese wire rod imports. Practice head Eric McClafferty is recommended for export control matters across a range of industries and is advising the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International as the industry seeks to adapt to evolving export policy changes affecting both military and commercial drones. David Hartquist and John Hermmann continue to handle legislative work for US industries seeking to provide greater protection against unfairly traded imports.

Headed out of Washington DC by Stephen Orava, King & Spalding LLP’s seven-partner team is ‘exceptionally strong’ in its representation of US industries against unfairly traded imports through anti-dumping and countervailing remedies. Steve Jones and Joseph Dorn frequently combine to act for petitioners in trade remedies actions, recently teaming up on behalf of Domtar Corp, PH Glatfelter and Finch Paper in anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions before the ITC against imports of certain uncoated paper. As well as trade remedies work, Michael Taylor also acts for clients from a range of industries on regulatory compliance issues - particularly relating to customs and homeland security matters. The team is rounded out by Christine Savage, who handles CFIUS work as part of her broad international trade practice. The team is also able to leverage its international network including a key office in Geneva, which is of particular benefit to clients involved in WTO matters.

Headed out of Washington DC by William McGlone, Sarah Nappi, and the ‘responsive and personableLes Carnegie, Latham & Watkins LLP’s ‘well-rounded’ 22-strong team leverages a ‘strong domestic capability’ with a significant international network to provide a compelling offering to clients engaged in sanctions, export controls, CFIUS and customs matters. Recent highlights include the completion of its six-year representation of Schlumberger, the subject of multi-jurisdictional investigations and enforcement actions into its alleged violations of domestic sanctions laws. On the non-contentious front, the firm regularly develops and enhances compliance programs to ensure adherence to export controls, sanctions and customs laws. Benefiting from a significant array of institutional corporate and private equity clients, the group is also regularly called upon to secure CFIUS clearance on deals which may attract the scrutiny of the Committee. Carnegie regularly handles CFIUS work, as does Ed Shapiro, who recently secured clearance for Siemens on its $7.6bn strategic acquisition of Dresser-Rand Group.

Led out of Washington DC by the ‘excellent and practical’ Alan Price, Wiley Rein LLP’s ‘very experienced and accomplished’ eight-partner team acts for clients across a balanced array of trade litigation, OFAC and trade policy mandates. With an ‘excellent petitioner practice’, the firm is engaged in anti-dumping and countervailing cases before a range of forums including the ITC and the Department of Commerce, and is recognized as ‘having a very good record of success before the agencies’. The team is ‘very well known within the steel industry’, and is acting for Nucor as one of the petitioners in anti-dumping and countervailing cases brought in relation to alleged unfair importing from numerous countries including Brazil and China. Praised for his ability ‘to explain complicated matters in layman’s terms’, Timothy Brightbill also regularly handles trade remedies matters as part of his broader workload which also includes trade policy and customs advice. The ‘practical and responsive’ Maureen Thorson is ‘very good at customs advice’, and John Shane and Robert DeFrancesco are also recommended.

Led out of Washington DC by Charlene Barshefsky, Naboth van den Broek and Robert Novick, WilmerHale’s ‘wonderful’ nine-partner practice has ‘tremendous credibility’ before the regulators and is consequently instructed by major corporates, trade associations and governments in the highest profile trade policy, sanctions and export control matters. Former United States Trade Representative Barshefsky ‘has no parallel’ for advising companies as they seek to overcome potential obstacles to exporting to or investing in markets through Asia, Europe and Latin America. Novick and van den Broek are representing The Boeing Company in its high-profile WTO litigation with Airbus. Counsel David Ross is regularly retained by clients when there are high-level trade policy issues at stake; he is acting for trade association BRT in ongoing trade legislative activity. Other recommended practitioners include ‘knowledgeable, responsive and professional’ senior counsel Ronald Meltzer, for export controls and economic sanctions, and Benjamin Powell, for CFIUS issues. The whole team is praised for its ‘ability to translate complex issues into something more readily understandable by clients’.

Led by Matthew Nolan, the ‘knowledgeable’ Washington DC-based 12-partner team at Arent Fox LLP provides an ‘exceptional level of service’ to corporates and sovereign governments across an ‘increasingly broad spectrum of international trade work’, which includes an increased flow of sanctions and FCPA mandates. John Gurley is ‘very well versed in international trade law’ and alongside Diana Quaia continues to represent Trina Solar and other Chinese solar panel manufacturers as respondents in a major anti-dumping case brought against the Chinese solar industry. The team has also been increasingly active handling matters at the intersection of trade and arbitration, and recently represented the government of East Timor in a UNCITRAL arbitration surrounding taxes imposed on contractors involved in the exploration of natural gas fields in the Timor Sea. Other recommended partners include ‘amazing’ trade litigator Matthew Clark, customs expert David Hamill, and Kay Georgi, who is a ‘leading subject matter expert in the field of international trade compliance’.

Jointly led out of Washington DC by John Brew and Jeffrey Snyder and including offices in New York and Brussels, Crowell & Moring LLP’s 25-strong team has the strength in depth to handle a broad range of international trade mandates including customs, trade remedies, export controls and economic sanctions issues. The team has notched up numerous high-profile victories against the Customs and Border Protection and other governmental agencies including successfully persuading the CIT to reduce the duty on Schlumberger’s imports of proppants from 4% to free. Cari Stinebower is recommended for sanctions, export controls and anti-corruption matters.

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP represents clients in trade remedies matters across a range of forums including before the WTO. Headed by Daniel Porter and the ‘very accomplishedWilliam Barringer out of Washington DC and aided by a nascent office in Beijing, the firm has an excellent track record acting for companies and governments in the Asia Pacific region. Alongside James Durling, Porter is providing trade advice to the Korean government. The firm also acts for LG Electronics in a range of international trade work including in ongoing anti-dumping proceedings and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) appeals. Another key client is the Chinese Government, which it continues to represent across a range of WTO disputes, US countervailing duty cases and US court appeals. Matthew McCullough and counsel Christopher Dunn are also recommended.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is ‘truly excellent’ at advising financial institutions on sanctions compliance and in representing them in reputation-threatening sanctions cases. The ‘superb’ John Reynolds and Jeanine McGuinness continue to advise Goldman Sachs on sanctions compliance, from routine updates arising from changes in the law, through to potential matters that may arise in its role as an underwriter of global securities issues. Interdisciplinary in its approach, the team is also able to call upon the expertise of lawyers in the firm’s highly rated white-collar group, including New York-based Jennifer Newstead, who is often consulted on contentious FCPA and economic sanctions matters. Leveraging the firm’s array of corporate clients, the team is also regularly involved in international transactions requiring CFIUS clearance. The arrival in March 2015 of Charles Steele adds further weight behind the firm’s economic sanctions, AML and FCPA practice; he brings experience from his career at the government, which included a role as OFAC enforcement director.

Although it is active across a fairly diverse spread of international trade matters, Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP is perhaps best known for trade remedies and export control work. Typically representing respondents in litigation, the firm regularly acts for sovereign governments in anti-subsidy cases brought by domestic industries. Following her role as defense counsel to the Canadian government in the long-running softwood lumber dispute with the US, Joanne Osendarp is once again representing Canada - alongside ‘the knowledgeable and business-savvyMatthew Nicely - in the super calendered paper dispute, the first countervailing duty case that has been initiated by the US against Canada in 14 years. Team head Amanda DeBusk has an excellent reputation for export controls and sanctions matters. Newly promoted partner Melissa Duffy is also recommended. Other clients include the government of Mexico, Thyssenkrupp Steel Europe and Ocean Duke.

Headed out of Washington DC by Duane Layton and aided by a significant Asian presence, in particular, Mayer Brown provides a broad-ranging international trade service to governments, multinational corporates and trade associations. With a number of former government lawyers in its ranks, the team is well placed to provide high-level trade policy advice on WTO and international free trade agreements. On the trade remedies side, although it is traditionally best known for representing respondents, the firm recently secured a major mandate from US Steel as a petitioner in an anti-dumping case targeting US imports of certain hot-rolled steel from Japan. Sydney Mintzer has a strong reputation in the market and is providing global trade compliance advice to Federal Mogul Motorparts. Simeon Kriesberg is recommended for FCPA and CFIUS matters.

Led out of Washington DC by Carolyn Gleason, McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s team represents clients across the full range of transnational matters relating to global trade of goods, technology and services. The firm has an excellent track record for trade remedies work, particularly in litigation before the WTO, where the firm has never lost a case. Gleason and Pamela Walther are assisting Chiquita Brands with implementation issues relating to the historic WTO “banana litigation”. David Levine and Raymond Paretzky are recommended for export controls and trade sanctions matters.

Headed by Stephan Becker, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP’s three-partner Washington DC-based team is particularly well known for its export control/sanctions practice. As well as his export control expertise, Becker is also recognized as an authority on international trade agreements and is advising Mexico’s Secretary of Commerce on NAFTA and WTO matters. Former assistant secretary of commerce for export administration, Christopher Wall has significant gravitas in the industry and is regularly instructed by major multinational corporates, including Sony Pictures, on economic sanctions compliance. Public practices and public policy team head Nancy Fischer is also recommended. Leveraging the firm’s overall strength in the aerospace industry, the team handles work for clients including Airbus Group, BAE Systems and Roll-Royce.

Leveraging the firm’s ‘first-class’ pipeline of industrial and private equity M&A mandates, the international trade team at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is particularly well known for its ‘excellent CFIUS practice’. Ivan Schlager heads up the firm’s work in this area and has vast experience in securing clearance for industrial and private equity clients active in a broad spectrum of industries including technology, defense, and media and entertainment. Counsel Malcolm Tuesley has a growing reputation in the area, recently securing CFIUS clearance for Sprint Nextel on its $21.6bn sale to Softbank and being involved in the ultimately failed recent merger proposal between Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron. Robert Lighthizer heads the firm’s international trade practice and splits his time between trade litigation and policy advice. Of counsel James Hecht is also recommended for anti-dumping and countervailing work.

Based out of Washington DC and able to leverage the firm’s international network, the team at White & Case LLP is well placed to provide a ‘broad’ service to domestic and multinational corporates, as well as governments. Often working closely with its Geneva office, the group has a strong presence in the market on WTO matters; William Clinton and Walter Spak continue to advise Saudi Aramco on WTO rules relating to the energy trade. Recommended for his trade remedies expertise, Walter Spak recently secured a notable victory before the ITC for China International Marine Containers in an anti-dumping and countervailing duty case involving the importing of 53-foot domestic dry containers from China. Gregory Spak heads the six-partner team that was recently strengthened, particularly on the CFIUS front, by the arrival of the ‘excellentFarhad Jalinous from Kaye Scholer LLP.

Led out of Washington DC by the ‘excellentMelvin Schwechter, Baker & Hostetler LLP’s five-partner team has experience across a range of trade disputes, economic sanctions, export controls and customs issues. Led by the ‘experienced, articulate and knowledgeableElliot Feldman and the ‘talented and smartMichael Snarr, the firm is representing Siemens Energy, as lead counsel for all importers of utility scale wind towers in a countervailing and anti-dumping case before the US ITC and in subsequent appeals.

At DLA Piper LLP (US), Washington DC-based team head Richard Newcombdelivers well-articulated, business-focused and pragmatic advice’ to major multinational corporates including Coca-Cola, Nissan USA and Renault. As a former head of OFAC, Newcomb’s ‘knowledge and experience in the US administration are a powerful asset’, particularly in relation to economic sanctions issues. Other recommended partners include Thomas deButts and Lawrence Levinson, who provides ‘sharp and insightful advice’ across a range of issues including on CFIUS clearance.

With five US partners and global resources spread across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s newly configured global sanctions and trade group is well placed to provide a coordinated service to multinational corporates and financial institutions on their global sanctions and trade law matters. In unison with the London office, Kimberly Zelnick is advising a major global private equity firm on a range of economic sanctions and export control compliance matters including in relation to its portfolio companies. Global team head Robert Schlossberg is a ‘leader in the field of CFIUS work’ and represents clients from a range of sectors including oil and gas, financial services and defense. He recently advised global automotive supplier Continental on the CFIUS filing and US military export control (ITAR) filings for its $1.6bn acquisition of rubber and plastics company Veyance Technologies. Counsel Anahita Thoms provides ‘very usable advice, which gets to the heart of the problem’, and has particular expertise advising on EU sanctions and export controls.

Washington DC-based Miller & Chevalier Chartered is best known for its anti-corruption and FCPA capabilities, where it is frequently engaged by clients across a range of sectors to provide compliance, investigative and due diligence services. John Davis is a key name to note, and Homer Moyer also has ‘an excellent reputation’, not just for FCPA matters but also export control issues and international trade disputes. Other recommended partners include Larry Christensen, who specializes in export controls and sanctions under ITAR, and Kathryn Cameron Atkinson, who is chair of the firm’s international department.

At O’Melveny & Myers LLP, practice co-head Theodore Kassinger is ‘very highly regarded’ for CFIUS matters, and also has ‘broad experience in US sanctions law and its application’ - where he is able to bring to bear significant political insight gained through his previous tenure as deputy secretary of the department of commerce. Kassinger is representing Tireco, a US passenger vehicle hire importing company, in domestic trade remedy proceedings. Greta Lichtenbaum, who jointly leads the practice alongside Kassinger, is also recommended.

Although it is narrower than many of the practices in the ranking, Stewart and Stewart’s reputation in the market as ‘a good petitioners group’, regularly sees it instructed by US companies in anti-dumping proceedings. Managing partner Terence Stewart has vast experience across a mix of trade remedies and WTO litigation work, as well as trade policy matters. Elizabeth Drake and William Fennell are also recommended.

With seven former federal and state prosecutors within the firm’s criminal defense and investigations group, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is ‘an excellent choice on global investigations’ and compliance relating to economic sanctions, AML and FCPA. A leader in the financial services industry, the firm has been involved in many of the most significant OFAC settlements for banking institutions in recent years, and has also assisted many of them with their ongoing economic sanctions and AML compliance procedures. Outside of the banking sector, the ‘practical and pragmatic’ Karen Seymour recently settled anti-corruption charges brought against Dallas Airmotive alleging that various employees made improper payments to foreign officials to secure lucrative government contracts in Latin America. Eric Kadel regularly handles CFIUS matters for clients across a range of sectors.

At Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, Washington DC-based team head Theodore Posner has excellent credibility across a range of contentious and non-contentious international trade matters. During his many years of government service, Posner handled numerous arbitrations for the US Government, and that arbitration experience has also come to the fore for private parties including Repsol, which he recently secured a favorable settlement for in an arbitration with the Argentinian government arising out of its nationalization of energy company YPF and expropriation of its controlling stake of the Spanish investor in the company. Posner is also increasingly acting for the firm’s private equity clients in CFIUS clearance matters. Other clients include Philip Morris International, Chevron and Bank of America.

Leading trial lawyers

Leading trial lawyers

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David Boies - Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP: David Boies is ‘one of the most outstanding practitioners of the past 20 years’. With a stellar track record, he is able to turn his hand to any case, be it a trial or an appeal at the US Supreme Court. Major cases in his career include the historical Bush v Gore, in which he represented Al Gore in the US presidential election dispute, and the 2014 Supreme Court securities fraud case Halliburton v Erica John Fund. This year’s highlights included representing ex-AIG chief Maurice Greenberg in his claim against the Federal Reserve, arguing that the Federal Reserve had exceeded the scope of its power when it bailed the company out during the financial crisis; the case was initially deemed a lost cause but Boies secured a victory for Greenberg. Although no damages were rewarded, the judge agreed that the government did overstep its bounds and ‘did not have the legal right to become the owner of AIG’. This is a case which has implications for the scope of powers given to regulatory bodies.

John Keker - Keker & Van Nest, L.L.P.: Firm co-founder and ‘superb trial lawyer’ John Keker has numerous victories under his belt, including winning the widely discussed SEC v Stoker securities case. At the beginning of Keker’s career, he earned widespread recognition for his successful defense of lawyer Patrick Hallinan, who was accused of knowledge of a drug smuggling ring run by a client. Keker has been representing The San Diego County Water Authority in a long-running dispute with the Metropolitan Water District Southern California, and, in July 2015, he secured a $188m contract damages verdict on behalf of the client; the case involved allegations of illegal water charges between 2011 and 2014. In addition, Keker continues to represent high-profile CEOs in investigations by the SEC. He also has a strong record in IP disputes, and he and his firm have been acting for Google in the ‘World Series of IP cases’ between Oracle and Google. He is based in San Francisco.

Dan Webb - Winston & Strawn LLP: ‘First-rate trial lawyer’ and firm co-chairman Dan Webb has a reputation which precedes him. Over his 45-year career as a trial lawyer, he has cross-examined former president Ronald Reagan and represented major companies such as Microsoft and Philip Morris in trials across the country. Based in Chicago, he maintains a varied practice acting in financial services, product liability and regulatory cases, among others. In 2015, Webb took on the high-profile and complex trial concerning the Corn Refiners Association advertising campaign that describes corn sugar as ‘natural’ and ‘nutritionally the same as sugar’. Western Sugar Cooperative disputed this as false advertising and brought a claim in Los Angeles federal court; this closely watched, topical case closed in a confidential settlement.

Theodore Wells - Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP: The ‘superbTheodore Wells is ‘convincing, compelling and entertaining’. A top trial attorney, he has a reputation for handling the most significant cases on behalf of the most high-profile clients. Of particular note in recent times was his representation of the NFL in its substantial concussion class action, which saw Wells secure a favorable settlement for his client. Wells’ highlights in 2015 included numerous high-value disputes, with a particular focus on RMBS cases. He is currently acting as co-lead counsel to Citigroup in defending claims brought by AIB alleging Citigroup was complicit in a rogue trading scheme. These cases are some of the most closely watched in the financial services market.

Evan Chesler - Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP: New-York based Evan Chesler is a top litigator and chairman of what is hailed as a ‘leading litigation firm’. In 2015, he has continued to represent major corporations in a range of cases. A particular highlight was representing ESPN in a class action brought by student basketball players involving claims that broadcasters have attempted to limit student compensation; this ended in a major win for Chesler’s client, with a Tennessee federal court dismissing the case; the case is now on appeal at the Sixth Circuit.. American Express is another major client for Chesler, and he is currently acting for the company in its appeal over antitrust actions involving alleged breaches of Section 1 of the Sherman Act.

Robin Gibbs - Gibbs & Bruns LLP: Texas-based Robin Gibbs is ‘excellent in developing compelling trial themes and persuasively conveying these to the jury in commonsense terms’. He works on multibillion-dollar cases, and has particular expertise in environmental disputes. He has been representing Vantage Drilling in a longstanding and complex fraud and breach of fiduciary duty case against a shareholder; the case will now proceed to arbitration in June 2016. Another client is ERG Resources, a Houston oil and gas exploration company; Gibbs is defending the company in a dispute regarding the acquisition of oil and gas property in Colombia.

Daniel Petrocelli - O’Melveny & Myers LLP: The renowned Daniel Petrocelli litigates in a broad range of areas, but in 2015 he did particularly ‘excellent work in media and trademarks’. For example, he successfully represented 20th Century Fox and Fox Broadcasting in trademark litigation regarding its hit television show Empire. He also successfully defended Disney against allegations by the creators of the television show, Home Improvements, that the company deprived them of profits. Petrocelli is a strong contender for high-profile cases and is currently representing Bank of America in its lawsuit brought by NFL player Dwight Freeney alleging that the bank was complicit in a fraud scheme; the judgment in this case is hotly anticipated.

James Quinn - Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP: James Quinn has a broad practice and is an outstanding trial lawyer. Testament to his abilities was winning a headline jury verdict on behalf ExxonMobil at the beginning of his career concerning the royalties to be paid its business partner, Saudi Basic Industries; Quinn secured a $417m award to the oil and gas company. Quinn continues to act for ExxonMobil in environmental cases, including in actions bought in Vermont and New Jersey seeking damages for groundwater contamination from the use of MTBE, an additive in gasoline. Further accomplishments for Quinn include leading a team in a particularly large and complex shareholder class action brought against Vivendi; the team secured a dismissal of the $60m. John Quinn - Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP: Firm founder and ‘top advocate’ John Quinn has a broad business litigation practice covering white-collar crime, antitrust disputes, products liability and other cases. Highlights include representing Samsung in a series of disputes with Apple, including in the reversal of a $930m judgment against Samsung in relation to several iPhone-related patents; although disputes are ongoing, this judgment was a major victory for Samsung. Quinn also secured a major victory in Delaware for former investment banker Michael Milken and his related businesses in relation to claims by Harland Clarke that Milken had defrauded the company. Other clients for Quinn and the firm include major technology companies such as Uber, Samsung, Google and Pinterest.

Beth Wilkinson - Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz: 2015 saw the ‘excellentBeth Wilkinson leave Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and set up a new Washington DC-based trial boutique, Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz. Wilkinson has an extraordinary track record and success rate and she has secured victories for major companies and organizations, including Pfizer and Major League Baseball. With extensive experience in antitrust, financial litigation and product liability, Wilkinson recently achieved a complete defense victory for Pfizer in Philadelphia state court in the second highly sensitive and difficult Zoloft birth defects case. Wilkinson has a remarkable track record for Pfizer, winning four product liability trials in two years for the client.

David Beck - Beck Redden: David Beck co-founded his Texas litigation firm in 1992 and since then has repeatedly justified and enhanced his reputation as an excellent trial lawyer. He has a longstanding relationship with ExxonMobil and, in 2015, he secured victory at trial and on appeal for the oil and gas company; Beck successfully defending his client against claims brought by the Sierra Club and Environment Texas Citizen Lobby, entailing a possible $642m penalty, that it had breached Clean Air Act regulations. He has also defended Becton Dickinson against allegations of patent infringement brought by Retractable Technologies; the court found that although there was an infringement, it was not willful.

Richard Clary - Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP: Demonstrating ‘strong intellect, credibility and creative leadership’, Richard Clary has an excellent reputation for handling financial litigation, mainly on behalf of large banking groups. Highlights include working on numerous ongoing RMBS cases for Credit Suisse; in total, he and other members of the firm are representing the bank in 25 actions pending across ten different states. He has also acted for Credit Suisse in related bankruptcy cases regarding derivatives contracts that Lehman Brothers defaulted on in 2008. Clary also acts for Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank in a shareholder dispute over the failed acquisition of Huntsman by Momentive; the case went to the Texas Supreme Court and, in a major win, the court declined to hear arguments against the two banks.

Sandra Goldstein - Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP: Sandra Goldstein represents major companies in the pharmaceutical and manufacturing industries and does ‘excellent work in shareholder class actions and disputes’. Recently she successfully defended Mylan in claims brought by Perrigo challenging Mylan’s proposed acquisition of Perrigo; Perrigo sought injunctive relief for alleged violations of the ’34 Act in relation to disclosures regarding the tender offer. Other clients include Xerox, which Goldstein represents in a range of securities litigation, and The Williams Companies, which Goldstein is representing in shareholder disputes.

Marc Kasowitz - Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP: In 2015, firm founder Marc Kasowitz worked on various high-profile banking and securities cases. In New York, for instance, he represented the Federal Housing and Finance Agency in claims against major banks regarding residential mortgage-backed securities. In a case that is ongoing, he is defending affiliates of AMC Networks Entertainment over alleged unpaid compensation regarding the television series, The Walking Dead.

Abbe Lowell - Chadbourne & Parke LLP: Abbe Lowell has an outstanding reputation for white-collar criminal and regulatory investigations, and is noted for his representation of political figures. Highlights from 2015 included defending senator Robert Menendez against claims of political corruption, including bribery, brought by the Department of Justice. This ongoing, well-publicized case is testament to Lowell’s ability to take on challenging and highly sensitive litigation.

Randy Mastro - Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP: The ‘excellentRandy Mastro handles all types of commercial litigation. In 2015, he represented AIG affiliate Lavastone Capital as the plaintiff in a RICO claim in which Lavastone allege that Coventry Capital engaged in artificial price inflations; the case ended in a settlement in February 2016. Mastro was also instructed by numerous petitioners to argue against the City of New York’s ban on certain polystyrene foam food containers; he successfully argued the case and the ban is now to be lifted.

Gary Naftalis - Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP: Firm chairman Gary Naftalis has an excellent reputation as an advocate and has duly worked on behalf of numerous high-profile clients. His successful defense of Disney CEO Michael Eisner is a case in point; he secured a major victory for Eisner in shareholder litigation concerning the employment of Michael Ovitz. More recently, Naftalis successfully defended Sirius XM Radio against patent infringement actions relating to satellite navigation, satellite audio, and video distribution.

Kathy Patrick - Gibbs & Bruns LLP: The ‘wickedly smart and fearlessKathy Patrick has ‘excellent strategy development and case management’. With a focus on complex commercial litigation, particularly securities and institutional investor disputes, her recent trials have included multibillion-dollar RMBS cases. She is representing 22 institutional investors in a case concerning bad mortgages sold by Bank of America’s Countrywide. The matter concluded with an $8.5bn approved settlement, one of the largest reported since the mortgage boom and financial crisis.

William Price - Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP: William Price, co-chair of the firm’s national trial practice, has an excellent success rate. Indeed, at one point in his career, he achieved a 35-case winning streak on behalf of a variety of clients. Mostly working on the defense side, Price is a strong choice for bet-the-company cases. In a closely watched and high-profile case in 2013, Price represented Micron Technology in a $12bn antitrust suit brought by Rambus and helped secure a favorable settlement for the client.

Robert Van Nest - Keker & Van Nest, L.L.P.: Operating out of the technology center of San Francisco, firm co-head Robert Van Nest has gained a particular reputation for handling IP and technology-related cases. Testament to this is his work in the so-called ‘World Series of IP’ cases, Oracle v Google, in which Van Nest is representing Google in a patent and copyright battle over alleged infringement of the Java programming language that Google was using in its Android phones. The jury ultimately concluded that there was an infringement, but no damages were awarded to Oracle, a highly favorable outcome for Google.

Elkan Abramowitz - Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello P.C.: Elkan Abramowitz’s reputation for white-collar criminal matters is well known, with his successful defense against fraud claims on behalf of former US politician David Stockman testament to his capabilities. More recently, Abramowitz represented Steven Davis, the former head of law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf, in a trial which lasted just short of five months; claims involved misrepresentation of the firm’s financial situation and other alleged wrongdoings. In October 2015, the case was declared a mistrial; it is now due to continue. Abramowitz also has a solid track record in environmental disputes; for instance representing individual BP executives in litigation relating to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Philip Beck - Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP: Philip Beck has a reputation as an excellent and versatile trial lawyer. He has argued in major cases, such as Newsome v McCabe, a landmark damages verdict concerning wrongful imprisonment. More recently, Beck has acted on major technology patent cases, including winning a high-value case for United Technologies against Rolls-Royce.

Barry Berke - Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP: Co-head of the litigation group, New York-based Barry Berke has a strong reputation for sensitive and high-profile cases. In 2015, he successfully defended Michael Steinberg against claims of insider trading, winning dismissal of all charges against the former fund manager. In Los Angeles, Berke is representing boxing agent Al Haymon in an ongoing antitrust suit alleging Haymon sought to monopolize the market.

Jay Cohen - Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP: Jay Cohen has an enviable client base within the creative industries. Working at the forefront of developments in this area, he represented the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in a closely watched trial to determine a reasonable license fee for music used by the Pandora streaming service. Cohen was part of the team that successfully defended Citigroup in numerous courts and arbitration proceedings against claims by sovereign wealth fund ADIA alleging breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty, among other things.

Arturo González - Morrison & Foerster LLP: San Francisco-based practice head Arturo González has an excellent track record in high-stakes trials. He has won three damages awards of more than $1bn, most notably on behalf of Cypress Semiconductor, where he secured the dismissal of trade secrets allegations. Trade secrets is an area of strength and, in recent years, he has successfully defended a major health maintenance organization against trade secret misappropriation, breach of contract and other allegations. González has also worked on cases concerning antitrust, employment, constitutional and tax matters.

Susan Harriman - Keker & Van Nest, L.L.P.: California-based trial attorney Susan Harriman has extensive experience in copyright cases. Last year, she secured a major victory for Electronic Arts against claims that that it violated the terms of its contract with developer Robin Antonick when it used his codes on later games. Harriman showed that the games were not ‘virtually identical’, which resulted in the reversal of the original $11m damages and royalties award. More recently, Harriman also successfully repelled claims of age discrimination regarding membership pricing in a unique class action case brought against a chain of health clubs, Western Athletic Clubs.

Bill Isaacson - Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP: Bill Isaacson is an ‘outstanding trial lawyer’ who has numerous victories under his belt, which include successful verdicts on behalf of Apple. He also secured a $433m settlement on behalf of foam manufacturers concerning antitrust claims, and was successful in acting for former college athletes in a closely watched antitrust case that saw former NCAA athletes claim royalties from the NCAA for broadcasting material featuring the individuals involved; this ruling was ultimately overturned. In 2015, he represented Oracle in seeking a permanent injunction against software company Rimini Street to prevent it from downloading Oracle’s software.

Brad Karp - Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP: Brad Karp is ‘terrific with financial cases’ and has represented Citigroup in a vast range of contentious matters across the country, including regulatory investigations and litigation involving claims of fraud, breach of contract, and negligent misrepresentation. Another key client is AXA Equitable Life Insurance, which Karp defended in a class action case brought by individuals that claimed to have suffered loss as a result of alleged misrepresentation of their financial status; Brad secured a dismissal of all claims with prejudice.

Stephen Neal - Cooley LLP: Highly experienced in patent cases, Stephen Neal has represented pharmaceutical companies in numerous disputes. Most notably in 2015, he successfully represented Gilead Sciences in arbitration proceedings brought by Roche alleging exclusive rights to an earlier collaboration agreement concerning a drug for hepatitis C; this was a complete win for Gilead. He also represented land owner WVSV Holdings and Conley Wolfswinkel against claims of breach of fiduciary duty in a dispute over real estate developments which were never built.

Diane Sullivan - Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP: Diane Sullivan has a very good reputation for handling commercial litigation, tort cases and class actions. She was recently appointed lead counsel to Spanish energy company Repsol in a dispute over whether it is the parent company of Diamond Shamrock - the company that polluted the Passaic River in New Jersey - and accordingly whether it is liable. Sullivan is also defending manufacturer Toyobo in a lawsuit filed by the US government under the False Claims Act relating to bulletproof vests. Philip Morris is another key client for Sullivan.

M&A: litigation: defense

Index of tables

  1. M&A: litigation: defense
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in New York is ‘outstanding, with experts in all aspects of M&A who deliver high-quality services’. Sandra Goldstein, who is ‘superior at strategy and takes a practical and productive approach’, represented 3G Capital and Heinz Holding in cases brought in Virginia and Illinois relating to Heinz’s $60bn merger with Kraft Foods. Along with Richard Clary, Goldstein defeated claims against Credit Suisse Securities as lead financial adviser to Freeport-McMoRan in acquisitions totaling $9bn. The ‘deeply respectedGary Bornstein represented British American Tobacco in a class action arising from the $27bn acquisition of Lorillard by Reynolds American, in which the client held a substantial equity position. Prominent partner Robert Baron achieved a dismissal in one case and reached a settlement in another for Alliant Techsystems, which faced purported class actions from public shareholders of Orbital Sciences Corporation in the Delaware Court of Chancery alleging breaches of fiduciary duty. The firm is known for being ‘excellent at managing large public company M&A, where its responsiveness, expertise and deep experience are extremely valuable’.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s New York-based team continues to build upon a strong track record, with highlights including Yosef Riemer (‘certainly one of the leading lawyers in this area’) securing a major victory for Bain Capital and Golden Gate Capital in the largest statutory appraisal action ever to reach a post-trial decision in the Delaware Court of Chancery. Following the $6.9bn acquisition of BMC Software, the court ruled in favor of the firm’s clients in finding that merger price, rather than discounted cash flow, is the best indicator of fair value in the case of a robust and arm’s-length sales process. ‘Fine lawyerJay Lefkowitz, Matthew Solum and former director of enforcement at the SEC Robert Khuzami were part of a team that represented activist investor Pershing Square Capital Management in litigation arising from its joint bid with Valeant Pharmaceuticals to acquire Allergan and in a subsequent SEC inquiry. The firm also advised Vista Equity Partners in a class action arising from its acquisition of TIBCO Software, in which the target’s shareholders challenged the per-share valuation of the deal and alleged breach of fiduciary duty by the company’s board of directors.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s New York team ‘has a lot of experience in M&A litigation and is rightly ranked as one of the leading firms’, according to a source. It has a stellar track record in state and federal courts across the US. Peter Kazanoff and Paul Curnin - who co-chairs the litigation practice with Thomas Rice and is ‘one of the most hardworking lawyers in the market’ - obtained dismissal of shareholder claims for KKR arising from its $2.6bn acquisition of specialty finance company KFN in a case that saw the plaintiffs seek post-closing damages in the Delaware Court of Chancery. Joseph McLaughlin advised a special committee of independent directors of Clearwire in eight putative class actions filed in the wake of its $3.9bn acquisition by Sprint in the first case litigated under the standards for controlling stockholder transactions announced by the Delaware Supreme Court in its landmark MFW decision. Paul Gluckow’s highlights included representing Office Depot in nine putative class actions challenging its $6.3bn merger with Staples, with plaintiffs ultimately choosing to voluntarily dismiss the litigation. The firm has many highly regarded practitioners, including Jonathan Youngwood, Lynn Neuner and Craig Waldman.

New York’s Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is one of the leading transactional and merger litigation firms in the US. It has ‘exceptionally talented litigators, who fight on the issues and don’t waste time or money; the firm is top tier without question’. The firm continues its longstanding reputation for handling matters that set the doctrinal framework for mergers and acquisitions litigation, and litigation co-chair and ‘fantastic lawyerWilliam Savitt is active in big-ticket matters in the Delaware Court of Chancery and across the US. Savitt, who co-chairs the practice with the highly recommended Jonathan Moses, won a motion to dismiss shareholder lawsuits in the Delaware Court of Chancery challenging KKR’s $2.6bn acquisition of KKR Financial Holdings. The landmark decision saw the court dismiss a merger challenge on the pleadings, and affirm both the primacy of director authority and the significance of the vote of disinterested stockholders. Savitt and Stephen DiPrima won a victory for in an appraisal trial in Delaware against hedge funds seeking awards in excess of the merger price.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s litigation team, which is based in New York, is ‘at the top of its game and can easily manage complex matters at the top end of the market’. Meredith Kotler is one of the firm’s standout lawyers, and alongside Mitchell Lowenthal, she advised Family Dollar on a challenge to its sale to Dollar Tree and defeated the preliminary injunction bid. With Lawrence Friedman, she defended Google against challenges to its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, winning motion to dismiss in all claims. Roger Cooper is also a key player and he worked with Lowenthal to advise EVOQ Properties on a challenge to its sale to Atlas Capital Group and other investors.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP has ‘a very strong group that is very effective and understands the nuances of different jurisdictions’. The team has won roles in many high-profile matters in the increasingly important area of cases involving financial advisers to M&A deals. Lawrence Portnoy in New York and Neal Potischman in the Menlo Park office represented Credit Suisse Securities in litigation filed in California relating to the $344m acquisition of Celera Corporation by Quest Diagnostics. Potischman also acted for JPMorgan Chase as financial adviser in litigation and appraisal petitions arising from the $24bn acquisition of Dell Inc. by Michael Dell and Silver Lake Management. The firm also won a motion to dismiss in the Delaware Court of Chancery for most claims concerning earnout provisions in relation to Dialog Semiconductor’s $310m acquisition of iWatt, with the remaining claim settled on favorable terms.

Latham & Watkins LLP provides ‘good advice and good results’. Jeff Hammel and Christopher Clark in New York and Los Angeles-based Brian Glennon co-lead the practice, which is known for high-stakes deal-related litigation. A highlight was the dispute arising from the hostile bid for client Allergan by Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Pershing Square Capital Management, which involved Peter Wald in San Francisco, Orange County-based Michele Johnson, Blair Connelly in New York, who is very active in Delaware courts, and Colleen Smith in San Diego, who ‘does a great job managing litigation and handling court appearances’. Silicon Valley-based Patrick Gibbs (‘very solid on strategy, one of the leading M&A litigators in Northern California’) is defending Avago Technologies in suits arising from its $37bn acquisition of Broadcom. Samuel Isaacson in Chicago advised Globe Specialty Metals on four class actions following its $3.1bn merger with Grupo FerroAtlántica.

Megan Ward Cascio and Kevin Coen lead the team at Delaware firm Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP, which is ‘truly excellent and first class in every respect’. Clients describe the team as ‘smart, professional, service-oriented and at the very top of the Delaware Bar’. The firm has argued many landmark cases that established the principles of Delaware corporate law and defined directors’ fiduciary duties. Coen and David Teklits represented conflicts committees of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners and Kinder Morgan Management in a challenge to the energy company’s $27bn reorganization. Mark Hurd’s highlights included reversing the denial of the Delaware Court of Chancery’s motion to dismiss in Leal v Meeks for the special committee of Zhongpin. William Lafferty represented Nabors Industries in C&J Energy Services, Inc. v City of Miami General Employees’ & Sanitation Employees’ Retirement Trust, and on appeal reversed a preliminary injunction against the merger between Nabors and C&J Energy. Jon Abramczyk and Kenneth Nachbar are also recommended.

Delaware firm Richards, Layton & Finger, P.A.has a depth of bench greater than many other specialists in Delaware corporate litigation’, with 15 partners focused on M&A disputes. Gregory Williams leads a team that ‘understands what the court expects and can predict outcomes well’. Williams and John Hendershot represented Dell in its $24bn going-private litigation, seeing the case successfully dismissed after two motions for expedited discovery were denied. Gregory Varallo and Rudolf Koch acted for former US Vice President Al Gore and business partner Joel Hyatt in Gore v Al Jazeera America Holdings I, Inc., and successfully argued a motion for judgment on the pleadings in a case seeking the release of $65m in escrow funds set aside in a merger process. The ‘tremendously talented’ Raymond DiCamillo, who secured a motion to dismiss in Dent v Ramtron International Corporation; Blake Rohrbacher, who won full dismissal in Pulieri v Boardwalk Properties, LLC; and Catherine Dearlove are recommended.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has ‘a huge deal volume in M&A and handles a lot of litigation in this area’. Wilmington office head Edward Welch is active in the Delaware courts and assisted New York-based Lauren Aguiar with advising independent members of the board of directors of Time Warner Cable in multiple shareholder lawsuits in both Delaware and New York arising from its proposed $55bn deal with Charter Communications and its withdrawn $45bn merger with Comcast. Maura Barry Grinalds in New York is also prominent in key matters, including the defense of Bally Technologies in shareholder suits filed in Nevada and Minnesota state courts challenging the company’s merger with SHFL entertainment, and settling further challenges to Bally’s merger with Scientific Games regarding supplemental disclosures and confirmatory discovery. Robert Saunders leads the litigation team in Wilmington, where Edward Micheletti is highly recommended.

New York-based Brian Frawley and veteran litigator John Hardiman coordinate Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s practice with Robert Sacks in Los Angeles. The firm is ‘at the forefront of M&A transactions and litigation’. In one of the most high-profile cases in recent years, Sacks represented a special committee of directors of Dole Foods and persuaded the court in California to stay litigation against the company’s going-private deal in favor of Delaware, where the Chancery Court denied a motion for expedition and dismissed claims against the special committee. Sacks and Frawley also advised Valeant Pharmaceuticals against claims of disclosing inside information about its $55bn attempted takeover of Allergan. Hardiman’s highlights included representing Harris Corporation in a class action in Indiana concerning its $4.56bn merger with Exelis. Respected appellate and trial lawyer William Monahan in New York is also recommended.

The securities litigation team at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, which covers M&A disputes, is ‘one of the biggest groups dedicated to this area and its deep bench has terrific expertise’. The 65-lawyer team is led from New York by John Neuwirth and Joseph Allerhand. Neuwirth’s highlights included a significant victory for ATMI and its board of directors in a putative class action challenging its $1.15bn merger with Entegris, in which the Connecticut Superior Court granted a motion to strike all claims. He successfully defended Centerbridge Partners in a challenge to its $1.1bn acquisition of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro. Allerhand demonstrated his knowledge of master limited partnership (MLP) matters by winning a motion to dismiss claims arising from Kinder Morgan’s restructuring as a publicly traded C corporation. Also recommended is Greg Danilow, who is representing satellite broadcasting company DirecTV in litigation arising from its $67bn acquisition by AT&T.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is ‘as good as any M&A defense firm’, according to clients, and is active in stockholder and appraisal matters. In San Francisco, key partner Thad Davis represented Riverbed Technologies at trial in a case concerning its acquisition of Zeus Technology, and ‘superlative lawyer’ and rising star Brian Lutz prevented the $1.75bn hostile takeover bid for Depomed by Horizon Pharma. Meryl Young in Orange County is acting for DFC Global in appraisal actions in the Delaware Court of Chancery arising from its acquisition by Lone Star Funds. Jonathan Dickey in Palo Alto and Robert Serio and Adam Offenhartz in New York are prominent practitioners.

Paul Hastings LLP is ‘a reliable source of insight and perspective rather than rote recitation of the rules’. The firm was involved in high-profile litigation, including the defense of CMS Bancorp and directors in a stockholder class action challenging its acquisition by Putnam County Savings Bank. Another highlight is the representation of Dole Foods chairman and CEO David Murdock in putative class actions in Delaware and California following his $1.6bn move to take the company private. New York-based global litigation chair Barry Sher is ‘one of the best in the business’ and Douglas Flaum, Kurt Hansson and Kevin Logue are highly respected. The team spans the US, with Peter Stone in Palo Alto, William Sullivan in Los Angeles and Samuel Cooper in Houston all recommended.

Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP is ‘a terrific firm’ and the oldest practice in Delaware. It has an impressive client roster that includes Citibank, AT&T, Bank of America and General Motors. Donald Wolfe Jr is a popular choice for bet-the-company litigation, and his highlights in 2015 included Cornerstone Therapeutics, Inc. Stockholder Litigation, in which the court’s decision resolved a perceived split in Delaware authorities, holding that independent directors are entitled to the dismissal of stockholder claims for monetary damages unless the plaintiff pleads a claim against them. Peter Walsh is recommended as ‘a very fine trial lawyer’ and Myron Steele is a former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Delaware.

Reed Smith LLP focuses mainly on midmarket deals, often in matters outside New York and Delaware, but it also acts in matters relating to M&A mega deals. The firm is ‘one that plaintiff lawyers don’t want to contend with’, in part because of its willingness to go to trial with highly capable lawyers such as Roy Arnold in Pittsburgh, who is ‘the firm’s leading M&A litigator’. Arnold is advising the special committee of Caesars Entertainment Corporation on fiduciary duty and litigation issues linked to a $2.2bn casino transaction, and is acting for Mylan and its board in shareholder actions in Pennsylvania in a challenge to a potential $27bn hostile takeover bid by Teva Pharmaceuticals. Atlas Pipeline Partners and PNC Financial Services are also clients for class action and shareholder derivative lawsuits.

Ropes & Gray LLP has ‘a prominent M&A litigation practice’ and is particularly active in industries with a high volume of transactions, such as pharmaceuticals and life sciences. The firm has handled high-profile cases in the new wave of matters filed against financial advisers, and John Donovan in Boston represented Goldman Sachs in connection with Allergan’s $69bn tender offer for Valeant Pharmaceuticals. He is also acting for Pfizer in an investor lawsuit attempting to prevent its $17bn acquisition of Hospira. The firm also has a leading private equity practice and frequently represents some of the sector’s biggest names in deal-related litigation. Robert Jones in Boston is recommended and David Hennes - who recently joined from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP - is active in post-closing disputes.

In Adam Hakki’s New York team at ‘formidable litigation shopShearman & Sterling LLP, Alan Goudiss won dismissal of an aiding and abetting claim against financial adviser Merrill Lynch in the Delaware Court of Chancery arising from the $1.46bn merger of Zale Corp and Signet Jewelers. Goudiss and San Francisco-based Stephen Hibbard defended Zillow in four class actions filed in Delaware and California that claimed the company aided and abetted breach of fiduciary duty by the board of Trulia in its $3.5bn merger with Zillow. A team including Goudiss and Paula Anderson advised Liberty Global on shareholder actions arising from its $23bn acquisition of Virgin Media.

Sidley Austin LLP has a strong track record in M&A litigation and recently handled the successful defense of directors of Kenneth Cole Productions in matters arising from its going-private transaction. It also represented the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association in the high-profile Rural Metro stockholder litigation. New York-based Andrew Stern was central to both matters, with Robert Pietrzak involved in the latter. In Chicago, James Ducayet and Kristen Seeger are defending Con-way in a challenge to its acquisition by XPO, and David Graham advised Tellabs in class actions relating to its sale to Marlin Equity Partners. Chicago-based Hille Sheppard, San Francisco and Palo Alto based Sara Brody and former justice of the Delaware Supreme Court Jack Jacobs in New York are also recommended. The firm is known for ‘carefully crafted litigation strategies’.

Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP, headquartered in Wilmington, is a force in Delaware litigation. Corporate counseling and litigation chair Rolin Bissell advised Pershing Square Capital Management in the attempted takeover of pharmaceutical company Allergan by Valeant. Bruce Silverstein defended Dole Foods against shareholders challenging the $1.6bn deal to take the company private. The firm has ‘deep knowledge of the law and is more aggressive than some of its competitors’, and high-profile partner David McBride, best known for activist investor cases, is ‘one of the best in the business in Delaware’.

The team at Baker Botts L.L.P. in Texas successfully defended the Kinder Morgan audits and conflicts committee in litigation challenging the company’s $70bn corporate reorganization, and acted for Halliburton in matters challenging its $35bn merger with Baker Hughes. Houston-based litigation chair David Sterling and Danny David, who is very active in courts in Texas and Delaware, took the lead on both matters. The firm has won new clients in the form of Deloitte Tax LLP and Helix Energy Solutions, and has also represented longstanding clients such as Dell and Cobalt International Energy.

In Atlanta, King & Spalding LLP is ‘heavily tilted towards litigation’ and continues to expand its M&A litigation team. Michael Smith and Warren Pope defended the board of directors of Diversicare Healthcare Services against a challenge to its rejection of a potential acquisition, and in a matter brought in Georgia they represented AGL Resources against a challenge to a $12bn acquisition. Robert Thornton is also recommended.

Six-partner Delaware firm Ross Aronstam & Moritz LLP is ‘a great boutique for litigation’, although it recently lost Collins Seitz Jr, who became a justice of the Delaware Supreme Court. Bradley Aronstam represented Kinder Morgan in stockholder class actions challenging its acquisition of three energy companies for $75bn, and defended DirecTV against challenges to its $48bn acquisition by AT&T, working with Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in both instances. Garrett Moritz is also recommended.

Vinson & Elkins LLP remains highly active in M&A litigation relating to the energy sector, and it has substantial expertise in both MLPs and the legal processes of the Delaware courts. Jim Thompson in Houston and Dallas-based John Wander are co-heads of the complex commercial litigation practice, while Michael Holmes in Dallas and Steven Paradise in New York lead the securities group. Highlights included representing the general partner and directors of an MLP in litigation arising out of a multibillion-dollar merger alleging conflicts of interest.

M&A litigation: plaintiff

Index of tables

  1. M&A litigation: plaintiff
  2. Leading lawyers

New York firm Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP is ‘formidable’, according to sources, ‘undoubtedly a top-tier firm’, and it has a long history of litigating some of the most high-profile M&A and derivative cases. One of the most significant highlights for its corporate governance and shareholder rights litigation group was the recovery of $153m that it helped achieve in Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. Derivative Litigation, which was the second-largest shareholder derivative settlement in the history of the Delaware Court of Chancery. The ‘sharp, capableMark Lebovitch is ‘an especially talented lawyer, the real deal’. Lebovitch and David Wales acted as co-lead counsel in a successful challenge to ‘Dead Hand Proxy Puts’, which provide that if stockholders replace a majority of the incumbent board by nominating and electing their own director candidates, the company’s lenders can put the company’s debt into default. In Pontiac General Employees Retirement System v Ballantine, et al., Lebovitch and rising star Jeroen van Kwawegen represented Merrion Capital Investment Funds seeking appraisal of their shares in Safeway following its merger with Albertsons, in which they obtained a 26% premium over the initial merger price. The firm is considered to be ‘possibly the leading plaintiff side firm for shareholder litigation’.

The Wilmington office of Grant & Eisenhofer P.A. is ‘one of the real leaders for M&A litigation and has a very long and successful history in this space’. The firm has a track record that few others can match and is one of the most active plaintiff firms in the courts in Delaware. Stuart Grant is ‘a formidable lawyer and continues to be a major player on the plaintiff side’. Grant, Geoffrey Jarvis and Nathan Cook acted as co-lead counsel for public stockholders of Dole Food Company in a class action that alleged breaches of fiduciary duty by the company’s directors, its CEO and controlling stockholder David Murdock in connection with the going-private transaction initiated by Murdock for $13.50 per share. After a nine-day trial, the court held the defendants liable for $148m in damages plus interest. Grant and Michael Barry are engaged in the post-trial phase of re Appraisal of Dell, Inc., representing shareholders of Dell seeking appraisal of fair value of their shares following company founder Michael Dell’s $24.6bn management-led LBO. Another high-profile matter led by Grant and Barry was re Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc. Derivative Litigation, in which the Delaware Court of Chancery awarded a $153m settlement and the implementation of corporate governance enhancements in a matter arising from Freeport’s $20bn acquisition of McMoRan Exploration Co. and Plains Exploration & Production. The award is one of the largest cash settlements of a derivative action in Delaware.

Labaton Sucharow LLP is ‘a firm that defense counsel takes seriously, it litigates hard and has a great investigations team’. Wilmington-based Christine Azar, who chairs the corporate governance and shareholder rights litigation practice, is ‘smart, pragmatic and level-headed - a dedicated advocate who gets things done’. In re Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. Derivative Litigation, she acted as co-lead counsel in a challenge to what the plaintiffs saw as an orchestrated acquisition of a failing mining company, and helped secure a total settlement of $153m with Freeport’s board of directors and Freeport’s financial adviser in the deal, Credit Suisse, which represents the second largest derivative settlement in history of the Delaware Court of Chancery. Azar is also acting for Haverhill Retirement System in a shareholder class and derivative action relating to the Providence Service Corporation’s $400m acquisition of healthcare provider CCHN Group, alleging an improper financing arrangement by the chairman of Providence’s board of directors. In New York, Michael Stocker - who is lead strategist in the firm’s case evaluation team - and seasoned litigator Ira Schochet are recommended.

Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP is ‘the 800-pound gorilla, a real force on the plaintiff side’, according to sources. The firm has ‘earned its reputation as a serious player and its lawyers do an effective job at trial in sophisticated matters’. Randall Baron in San Diego is recognized as a leading practitioner and is ‘always highly active in this space’. The firm represented plaintiffs in a putative class action against ATMI and its board of directors challenging the company’s $1.15bn merger with Entegris, and also brought a challenge to Centerbridge Partners’ $1.1bn acquisition of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro. Baron also played a central role in re Kinder Morgan, Inc. S’holders Litig., in which plaintiffs won a $200m settlement in a class action lawsuit arising from the leveraged buyout of Kinder Morgan.

Based in San Diego, Robbins Arroyo LLP is known for ‘focusing on cases that bring positive results for shareholders’. It is highly regarded for prosecuting class actions on behalf of shareholders seeking to safeguard their economic and voting rights during corporate acquisitions, mergers or similar combination transactions. Stephen Oddo is the firm’s most prominent practitioner in M&A litigation, to which he has dedicated his practice for over ten years, and during which he has secured tens of millions of dollars of additional consideration for shareholders whose investments have been adversely impacted by corporate transactions. He is currently working on a case arising from the acquisition of Saba Software by private equity firm Vector Capital on the grounds that the $9 per share was not the result of a fair process to obtain maximum value and adequately compensate shareholders. Felipe Arroyo has over two decades’ experience in litigating complex matters and focuses much of his practice on shareholder rights litigation. Gregory Del Gaizo is also recommended.

Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP has a growing track record representing investors in M&A-related litigation and has secured significant settlements for shareholders. A recent highlight was the $148m awarded to stockholders of Dole Food Company in the wake of chairman David Murdock’s move to take the company private. Marc Topaz in Radnor, Pennsylvania, is the firm’s most prominent partner in this practice area.

Product liability, mass tort and class action: aerospace/aviation

Index of tables

  1. Product liability, mass tort and class action: aerospace/aviation
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Condon & Forsyth LLP’s ‘high-level’ team adopts a ‘personal approach’ to representation and its leading airline defense practice is regularly sought to handle aviation accident litigation and investigations. A Los Angeles-based team including Frank Silane, Jennifer Johnston and Scott Cunningham has been representing Asiana Airlines in cases stemming from the crash of Asiana Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport in 2013. The team’s broad engagement in the aviation industry is evidenced by its wider representation of airlines and manufacturers in commercial litigation spanning wrongful termination of contract, misrepresentation and unfair competition disputes. New York-based Christopher Christensen and Anthony Battista secured dismissals of putative class action suits against five airline carriers concerning compensation under European Union Regulation (EC) No 261, which stipulates the amounts owed to passengers in the event of cancellation or delays, while Stephen Stegich and Jane Sigda continued to represent Embraer in commercial and product liability matters. New York-based Desmond Barry, Bartholomew Banino and of counsel Stephen Fearon are also recommended.

The busy aviation practice at Morrison & Foerster LLP is active in airline accident and product liability litigation, and has expanded its practice to encompass regulatory advice on unmanned aerial systems (UAS); William O’Connor, who divides his time between Los Angeles and San Diego, is a key contact in this regard. O’Connor and San Diego-based practice co-head Don Rushing are defending Honeywell in a wrongful death suit following a Learjet 25 crash which caused the death of all seven occupants including well-known Mexican pop singer Jenni Rivera. The pair was also retained by Earthship Productions in a case concerning an allegedly defective Robinson R44 helicopter. San Diego-based James Huston is co-head of the practice alongside Rushing. Of counsel William Janicki moved to Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP in August 2015.

Perkins Coie LLP’s sizeable team is primarily based in Seattle, and is known for its strong relationships with major manufacturers, which it represents in domestic and international litigation. For key client Boeing, Bruce Campbell and John Dillow secured a significant ruling in the Seventh Circuit in a case surrounding the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport; on the basis of federal admiralty jurisdiction, the lawsuits have been transferred and consolidated as an MDL in the Northern District of California. Military aircraft accident litigation is another area of strength, in which Steve Bell and Michael Scoville are currently representing Boeing in two ongoing cases. VL Woolston and Christian Moller continue to defend Honeywell against claims stemming from aircraft and rotorcraft accidents in the US and abroad. Ronald McIntire is a notable figure in Los Angeles.

Holland & Knight LLP’s aviation litigation capabilities are complemented by the firm’s wider practice handling financial, commercial and regulatory issues in the sector. Key clients include Air France, UPS Airlines and Turkish Airlines, the last of which it has been defending against claims stemming from the crash of Turkish Flight 1951 in Amsterdam in February 2009; Randal Craft and Alan Reitzfeld in New York and Lyndall Lambert in Miami have been handling the pre-suit mediation and settlement conferences. Other recent work includes Washington DC-based Anita Mosner’s representation of Air Methods in a class action concerning billing practices, where Judith Nemsick in New York also had a key role. Other leading figures in the team include co-chair Christopher Kelly in New York and Gary Halbert in Washington DC, who is regularly instructed by manufacturers in air crash investigations.

Jones Day’s ‘very professional’ department remained busy throughout 2015, securing several victories for its aircraft and component manufacturer clients in litigation across the US spanning product defects, consumer fraud and other commercial disputes. A multi-office team including John Goetz in Pittsburgh and Erin Burke in Los Angeles resolved a complex claim regarding the crash of a Pilatus PC-12 Legacy aircraft in Montana in 2009 on favorable terms for client Pilatus Aircraft. Another cross-office collaboration saw Irvine-based John Vogt and Richard Bedell in Cleveland defending Champion Aerospace in a class action lawsuit concerning allegedly defective spark plugs. Former associate Stephanie Taylor recently joined West Virginia University as general counsel.

Nixon Peabody LLP continues to serve a diverse client base of domestic and international airlines, aircraft manufacturers, leasing companies and airports, which turn to it in matters spanning the full remit of aviation litigation from NTSB and FAA investigations to product integrity advice. In an illustration of its trial capabilities, the team successfully represented the manufacturer of a helicopter in a wrongful death and personal injury case in a Texas state court; the team included Joseph Ortego, who divides his time between New York and Long Island, New York-based Eric Strain and Long Island-based Thomas Mealiffe, who made partner in 2016. Other recent highlights include San Francisco-based Brian Dalrymple’s representation of Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority in the investigation into the Reno Air Races accident in 2011.

Operating from offices in New York and Princeton, Reed Smith LLP’s aviation litigation specialists handle cases and investigations across the US for airlines as well as aircraft and component manufacturers. The team continues to defend longstanding client United Airlines in personal injury cases arising from incidents on domestic and international flights, as well as claims stemming from aircraft accidents, where New York-based Oliver Beiersdorf and counsel Sara Kornbluh frequently take lead roles. Cirrus Design Corporation is another active client, which Kornbluh and Patrick Bradley defended in a product liability case concerning the crash of a Cirrus SR22 in Ohio in 2012. All named lawyers are based in Princeton unless otherwise stated.

At the tip of the spear in aviation law knowledge and experience’, Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP is regarded by clients as being a ‘go-to defense firm’ and a ‘value-plus organization’. Its robust litigation and appellate practice was reinforced by the recruitment of San Francisco-based William Janicki from Morrison & Foerster LLP. The team’s recent work for key client US Airways spans passenger claims in arbitration forums and state and federal courts across the US. On the manufacturing side, Washington DC-based Jonathan Stern was retained to represent Motorola in a liability suit stemming from the crash of AirAsia Flight 8501 in the Java Sea in 2014, and Philadelphia-based Denny Shupe and practice chair Robert Williams in Pittsburgh are acting as lead counsel to Rolls-Royce in litigation connected with the crash of a US Army special operations force AH-6M helicopter in Georgia in 2011. New York-based vice-chair of the aviation group Barry Alexander has extensive expertise, which includes insurance and air cargo claims.

Adler Murphy & McQuillen fields a sizeable team with broad experience across the full gamut of aviation litigation, including class action defense and FAA enforcement actions. Past successes include the dismissal of product liability claims against a component manufacturer in a case arising out of a fatal helicopter crash, where Michael McQuillen and Brian Maye had key roles. Tort litigation specialist Mark Susina is another key figure, and serves a large client base of airlines, aircraft component manufacturers and insurers. All partners are based in Chicago.

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP’s Thad Dameris is a well-known figure in the aviation sector and acts as lead counsel to Airbus in product liability, tort and commercial disputes. Recent instructions include representing Airbus in consolidated litigation stemming from a mid-air incident involving Qantas Airways Flight 72 and acting for Fairchild Controls Corporation in a personal injury claim in which the team won a motion to dismiss; the case has been transferred to the Southern District of Texas. Dameris is being supported by Washington DC-based product liability and class action expert David Weiner and Christopher Odell, who has experience in state and federal court and arbitration. All partners are based in Houston unless otherwise stated.

The busy aviation department at Bryan Cave LLP continues to receive instructions in product liability, wrongful death and personal injury litigation, and also maintains a buoyant product integrity advisory practice; clients include manufacturers, airports and fixed base operators. Irvine-based Shalem Massey has been representing an aircraft equipment and systems supplier in a property damage case in West Virginia. Recent work for Chicago-based Jeffrey Morof includes acting in multiple cases stemming from high-profile aircraft accidents in the US and internationally. Chicago-based Bruce Duffield is also recommended and has 35 years’ experience in product liability cases and class actions.

Cozen O’Connor is a well-known name in the market, and is particularly noted for its regulatory expertise. The broad aviation practice is instructed by airlines, airports, aircraft and aircraft component manufacturers and aviation insurers. The sizeable team is spread across multiple offices across the country; key names include William Walsh, who co-chairs the practice from Seattle, regulatory experts Donald Kassilke and Mark Atwood in Washington DC and Miami-based trial lawyer Richard Dunn.

Dentons inherited a strong aviation team from McKenna Long & Aldridge following the merger of the two firms and the aviation group continues to represent clients in aircraft accident investigations and litigation. The practice, which is led by Jim Williams , Mark McKinnon and Mark Dombroff, has complementary expertise in corporate, finance, IP and insurance issues in the aviation sector domestically and internationally. Thomas Almy is another key name, and brings to bear 30 years’ experience representing airlines, aircraft and avionics manufacturers and insurers. Dombroff and Dane Jaques lead the unmanned aircraft systems practice, as well as maintaining a wider aviation practice. All partners are based in Tysons, Virginia unless otherwise stated.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP complements its notable aviation bench in Chicago and Washington DC with a broad commercial disputes practice representing aviation industry players across a wide spectrum of cases throughout the US. In the Washington DC office, Matthew Papez and Craig Primis successfully represented Boeing in litigation following the crash of a Boeing 737 in Kazan International Airport in 2013. Delta Air Lines is another key client, on behalf of which the team secured a number of victories in putative class action suits during 2015, including the dismissal of a lawsuit seeking compensation for passengers affected by canceled or delayed flights.

At Paul Hastings LLP, the ‘highly intelligent and very articulate’ Sheila Sundvall has longstanding experience in the aviation sector, and has acted as lead counsel to GE in substantial litigation stemming from aircraft accidents in the US and internationally. Sundvall’s recent successes include representing GE in litigation brought by a cargo airline following an engine incident in Singapore; the team secured the dismissal of all claims in Cook County, Illinois, a decision which was subsequently affirmed on appeal. Associate Christopher Allen is another active member of the team, which is based in Chicago.

Product liability, mass tort and class action: automotive/transport

Index of tables

  1. Product liability, mass tort and class action: automotive/transport
  2. Leading lawyers

Bowman and Brooke LLP is ‘very deep and experienced in automotive product liability’, and continues to represent a number of major automotive manufacturers across the United States. Led by practice co-head and chairman Paul Cereghini, the group served as national counsel to Yamaha in litigation involving over 1,100 personal injury claims alleging defects in its Rhino off-road vehicles, with one personal injury claim amounting to $17m. Columbia-based Joel Smith is serving as national counsel to Honda in the high-profile Takata airbag litigation. San Jose-based practice co-head Vincent Galvin is also recommended. The team significantly expanded with the promotions of Nathan Marcusen in Minneapolis, Ryan McCarthy in San Jose, Marion Mauch in Los Angeles, Nathan Colarusso in Richmond and Tanya Scarbrough in Dallas. In 2016, the practice was augmented by the absorption of Florida-based Seipp, Flick & Hosley.

Noted for its strong trial experience, Boston-based firm Campbell Campbell Edwards & Conroy P.C. often defends automotive and truck manufacturers against product liability suits. Firm head James Campbell represented Honda in Berringer v Honda, in which the plaintiff claimed that the airbag was defective; the case was settled prior to trial. Trevor Keenan successfully defended Navistar in product liability arbitration regarding a bus fire. Other clients of the practice include Toyota, Ford and Harley-Davidson. Of counsel Richard Campbell and Berwyn-based William Conroy is also recommended.

Headed by chairman and co-founder Michael O’Donnell, Denver-based Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP’s practice has strong trial and appellate experience. Theresa Wardon recently obtained a reversal of a 2013 jury verdict against Ford in litigation that alleged liability and negligence concerning a collision in a 1998 Ford Explorer. Peter Herzog, who joined the firm in 2015 from Bryan Cave LLP, successfully moved the Third Circuit to revoke the certification of six statewide classes in a suit against Volvo alleging defects in the sunroof drains of vehicles manufactured from 2003 to the present. Michael Williams and Malcolm Wheeler are also recommended.

Among the ‘cream of the crop’, the Denver-based product liability and mass tort group at Ballard Spahr LLP is led by Neal Walters, who ‘provides timely, insightful, aggressive representation with a great result’. Walters and Michael Carroll have been representing Subaru in a number of class actions and related litigation, including a putative nationwide class action alleging consumer fraud arising from an engine defect that resulted in excessive oil consumption. Roger Thomasch and recently promoted partner David Stauss are currently serving as lead trial counsel for Goodyear in its tire product liability litigation across the United States. Other clients include Kia, Johnson Controls and Teleflex.

DLA Piper LLP (US)’s product liability and mass tort department is led by co-heads Raymond Williams in the Philadelphia office and Christopher Young in San Diego. The firm obtained decertification of a Florida class action against Porsche in a case of first impression regarding the susceptibility to theft of its vehicles’ high-intensity discharge headlights; William Kiniry is lead trial and appellate counsel. James Brogan and Baltimore-based Joel Dewey are also recommended. The firm also represents clients such as Goodyear. All partners mentioned are based in Philadelphia unless otherwise stated.

The product and consumer litigation department at McGuireWoods LLP is headed by Samuel Tarry, who continues to serve as national counsel for CSX Transportation in all punitive damages litigation. In 2015, Tracy Walker obtained reversal of a 2013 jury verdict against Hyundai in a $14m case alleging personal injuries sustained in a collision were caused by defective design of Hyundai’s Tiburon vehicle. Led by Tarry and Walker, the firm also continues to represent Ford as national counsel in class actions, product liability litigation and asbestos litigation. The aforementioned partners are based in Richmond. John Weisner retired.

At Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP’s Orange County office, Douglas Robinson and Janet Hickson successfully defended Los Angeles Truck Centers, LLC against a $58m product liability suit following a tour bus accident in Arizona. San Francisco-based Frank Kelly and Grant Law led the team in successfully representing Ford in a seven-week trial concerning the design of the Ford Taurus; the plaintiff claimed that Ford failed to conduct adequate safety testing. The practice includes Robert Adams and Ann Songer in Kansas City.

Headed by Sara Gourley and Maja Eaton in Chicago, as well as Debra Pole in Los Angeles, Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘excellent’ product liability team represented Ford in successfully obtaining a motion to dismiss a putative class action brought against Ford, General Motors and Toyota concerning their vehicles’ susceptibility to theft; Michael Mallow (Los Angeles) served as defense counsel to Ford. Mallow, along with Mark Campbell, Eric Mattson, Los Angeles-based Sean Commons, as well as Michael Andolina and Liv Kiser (both in Chicago) have an impressive track record of defending Honda against class actions, with recent victories including the denial of a class certification and the dismissal of a number of class actions alleging that Honda’s vehicles are defective. Delphi is another client of the practice. Catherine Barrad now practices in-house at California State University.

Bryan Cave LLP’s product liability group is highly experienced in leading and coordinating multi-district litigation (MDL) proceedings pertaining to the automotive and wider transport industry. In Chicago, practice head Bruce Duffield is experienced in advising manufacturers on reducing liability exposure, as well as representing clients in nationwide class actions. Bettina Strauss’ expertise includes defending automotive manufacturers in a wide range of proceedings, including class actions and MDL. Debra Behrendt, Stefan Mallen and Richard Cassetta are also recommended for their trial expertise. All partners mentioned are based in St Louis unless otherwise stated.

Washington DC-based Terri Reiskin heads Dykema Gossett PLLC’s products, class actions and professional liability practice, which is noted for its ‘strong reputation in automotive product liability’. Reiskin and Detroit-based John Thomas successfully filed a motion to dismiss a class action brought against Ford by plaintiffs across more than 30 states that alleged consumer fraud involving cracked tailgate appliqués on Explorer, Mountaineer and Aviator vehicles. Reiskin and Los Angeles-based Derek Whitefield served as co-lead defense counsel for Honda in a putative class action alleging defects in Honda’s airbag; they recently achieved a favorable settlement for the client. Detroit-based Michael Cooney has been appointed as director of the firm’s litigation department.

Hogan Lovells US LLP’s Washington DC-based team is experienced in representing clients in class actions and high-stakes litigation, such as federal MDL. Practice head Michael Kidney is defending Jaguar in a class action alleging defects in the electronic air suspension system in the 2003 through 2006 Range Rover sports utility vehicles. Jessica Ellsworth, who primarily handles Supreme Court and appellate briefs, successfully defended Ford in a number of product liability cases, including a defective airbag claim. Marty Steinberg joined the firm’s Miami office from Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP.

King & Spalding LLP’s deep trial bench has experience serving as state, regional and national counsel for major manufacturers in the automotive industry. Atlanta-based Philip Holladay heads the practice. In the same office, Andrew Bayman led the team’s defense of Kia against a product liability lawsuit alleging that Kia’s Optima vehicle was defective due to the lack of a fuel shut-off switch. The team saw a number of changes in 2015 and 2016: Alexander Calfo joined the San Francisco office from Barnes & Thornburg, while Washington DC-based Granta Nakayama and Joseph Eisert were hired from Kirkland & Ellis LLP; the firm also promoted five new partners. Frank Brannen and C Brannon Robertson moved to Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP and Fernelius Alvarez Simon PLLC, respectively.

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP’s practice often defends high-profile clients in high-stakes litigation. San Antonio-based department head Steven Jansma serves as national and regional coordinating trial and discovery counsel for manufacturers, distributors and automotive retailers. He acted as lead trial counsel for Cooper Tire & Rubber in a wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit arising from a high-speed rollover accident in California; the case was settled prior to trial. Houston-based Edward Adams serves as the lead counsel to United Airlines in a lawsuit brought by a plaintiff claiming the defendant failed to divert a flight to treat the plaintiff’s medical conditions. The firm’s client base includes Toyota and BP.

Led by co-chairs Richard Goetz in Los Angeles and Steve Brody in Washington DC, O’Melveny & Myers LLP’s team has experience of defending product liability and consumer fraud claims in mass tort proceedings, class actions and government enforcement actions for clients such as Ford. Goetz, Carlos Lazatin and of counsel Michael Reynolds led the team in successfully obtaining a motion to dismiss a complaint brought against Kia alleging a defect in the door latch mechanism of Optima vehicles from 2001 through 2006. Of counsel Brian Anderson in Washington DC is also recommended. All named lawyers are based in Los Angeles, unless noted otherwise.

The product liability, tort and insurance practice at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is headed by Paul Zevnik in Washington DC and Brady Edwards in Houston. Los Angeles-based David Schrader successfully defended Toyota in a class action alleging defects in the Toyota Smart Key System. In Houston, Craig Stanfield and Winstol Carter acted for Bell Helicopter as lead appellate counsel in successfully obtaining dismissal of the plaintiff’s wrongful death claims concerning a helicopter crash in Indonesia. The team expanded with the recruitment of Chicago-based Undray Wilks from McGuireWoods LLP and former New Jersey federal prosecutor Harvey Bartle IV in Philadelphia; Washington DC-based Brad Nes and Los Angeles-based Yardena Zwang-Weissman were promoted to partner.

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP represents a wide range of manufacturers in the automotive industries, such as vehicle, tire and component part manufacturers, with a particular expertise in investigation and accident reconstruction. Atlanta-based Patricia Britton’s litigation experience includes class actions, marketing issues and regulatory compliance. Charleston-based Deirdre McCool is highly experienced in representing foreign manufacturers in product liability litigation. Christopher Genovese is also recommended.

Snell & Wilmer LLP’s product liability team, which is experienced in defending major auto insurers in a broad range of class actions and product liability litigation, is led by Vaughn Crawford and Warren Platt in Phoenix. Crawford has experience serving as lead trial counsel for automobile manufacturers in both state and federal courts. Platt’s expertise includes defending national and international manufacturers in major product liability lawsuits. Denver-based Timothy O’Neill is also recommended.

Reed Smith LLP’s product liability department ‘provides solid legal work’ under the leadership of Robert Roth. Roth served as national and lead trial counsel to Johnson Controls in crashworthiness litigation, wherein the plaintiff alleged design defects in the automotive seating system of a 1999 Chrysler 300M vehicle. New York-based John Hooper led the team in representing Toyota in personal injury class actions alleging unintended acceleration. Other clients of the practice include BMW, Daimler Trucks and Volvo. Ricky Raven joined from Thompson & Knight LLP in 2015.

Thompson Coburn LLP’s St. Louis-based group often acts for manufacturers and dealerships in class actions and product liability litigation before state and federal courts. It also advises manufacturers such as Chrysler on transport regulatory matters. Other clients include Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Alamo Rent A Car. Richard Mueller and Kathy Wisniewski are key contacts.

Product liability, mass tort and class action: consumer products (including tobacco)

Index of tables

  1. Product liability, mass tort and class action: consumer products (including tobacco)
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Jointly led by Anand Agneshwar in New York and Eric Rubel in Washington DC, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP’s product liability litigation department specializes in representing clients before the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), as well as handling litigation concerning California Proposition 65. Rubel has been defending a number of manufacturers, importers and retailers in numerous civil penalty investigations conducted by the CPSC alleging regulatory violations. San Francisco-based Trent Norris has been acting for PepsiCo in nine federal consumer class actions alleging violation of consumer protection laws. The firm’s client base also includes ConAgra Foods, Costco and Danone. Ellen Reisman left to found Reisman Karron Greene LLP.

Goodwin Procter LLP’s ‘excellent’ practice defends clients across a broad range of sectors, such as food and beverages, and technology. Forrest Hainline often represents food and supplement industry clients in litigation involving product safety and labelling claims. In Washington DC, Mark Raffman is serving as national coordinating counsel for spray foam manufacturer Icynene in product liability suits across a number of states arising from claims that exposure to the defendant’s products resulted in property damage and personal injury. The practice is headed by New York-based Joanne Gray. Patrick Thompson joined Perkins Coie LLP in 2016.

Jones Day’s practice is considered to be ‘the standard by which product litigation firms should be measured’. Stephanie Parker in Atlanta heads the department. Gregory Katsas in Washington DC worked alongside Parker to assist RJ Reynolds with achieving a $43m settlement agreement to resolve all Engle progeny cases in the Florida federal courts after three years of litigation (cases pending in the Florida state courts are still ongoing). Frederick McKnight, Peter Davids, Kerry Fowler (all three in Los Angeles) and Pittsburgh-based Charles Moellenberg are representing over 20 wineries in lawsuits claiming risk of personal injury caused by trace amounts of arsenic in their wine. Elli Leibenstein joined Greenberg Traurig LLP in early 2016.

Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP has extensive experience of representing clients before federal and state agencies, including the CPSC, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). San Francisco-based Frank Kelly represents tobacco and various product manufacturers in a wide range of litigation, such as class actions, aggregated individual mass tort cases and catastrophic construction defect cases. Holly Smith in Kansas City has been serving as lead counsel in an MDL concerning consumer fraud and warranty allegations against a PVC decking manufacturer. Miami-based Kenneth Reilly is also recommended.

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘superb’ practice provides ‘outstanding client orientation’ and is ‘very thorough in analysis and preparation’. Sara Gourley and Maja Eaton share leadership of the practice with Los Angeles-based Debra Pole. Alycia Degen in Los Angeles is acting alongside Elizabeth Chiarello and Kara McCall, who ‘knows what it takes to win’, to represent cosmetic products manufacturer Beiersdorf against a putative class action alleging that the labelling of its Nivea Skin Firming Lotion is false and misleading. McCall and Chiarello are working with ‘excellent class action lawyer’ Robert Scarborough to defend Owens Corning against four putative statewide class actions concerning defects in virtually every aspect of Owens Corning’s Oakridge roofing shingle business. All named lawyers are based in Chicago, except where noted otherwise. Michael Davis retired.

Latham & Watkins LLP is highly experienced in defending clients in high-stakes complex litigation, with a particular expertise in handling product recalls. The practice co-heads are Thomas Heiden in Chicago, Michael Romey in Los Angeles and Gwyn Williams in Boston. Williams and Kenneth Parsigian served as co-lead counsel for Philip Morris in a consumer class action trial before the Suffolk County Superior Court in Massachusetts arising from claims of violations of the state’s consumer protection statute; they successfully secured denial of a class certification and the trial ended in 2015. Los Angeles-based Russell Sauer and of counsel Amy Quartarolo successfully represented the United States Soccer Federation in a high-profile concussion class action; the case was dismissed with prejudice in 2015.

At McGuireWoods LLP, Diane Flannery is leading a team that is currently serving as co-lead counsel to Lumber Liquidators in an MDL concerning allegations that the client knowingly sold Chinese laminate flooring containing unsafe levels of formaldehyde; proceedings are currently in the discovery phase. In other work, Stephen Busch successfully served as lead trial and coordinating counsel to leading tobacco company Universal Corporation in Hupan, et al v Alliance One International, as well as five related lawsuits pertaining to birth defects allegedly caused by exposure to hazardous herbicides and pesticides in Argentina; all six lawsuits were dismissed. Samuel Tarry is now head of the Richmond-based practice, having succeeded Terrence Bagley, who continues to play a full role in the practice.

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s product liability group is led by San Diego-based Erin Bosman, whose experience includes handling high-stakes consumer product recalls and investigations conducted by the CPSC. Bosman and James Huston are currently representing Fitbit in a putative class action claiming that Fitbit’s sleep-tracking function is not as accurate as sleep monitoring medical devices. San Francisco-based William Tarantino and Michael Steel are representing Lumber Liquidators in a major MDL comprised of over 130 class actions, as well as a number of investigations, regarding claims that Lumber Liquidators’ laminate flooring emitted unsafe levels of formaldehyde, which is in violation of the California Air Resources Board’s requirements. Other clients include Costco, California Natural Products and Sears Holdings.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP often represents clients in trial and appellate courts at the federal and state levels across the US, and has strong experience in MDL proceedings. In Washington DC, mass torts, insurance and consumer litigation group head John Beisner often defends clients before administrative agencies, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and CPSC. Los Angeles-based Lisa Gilford’s experience includes serving as trial counsel in product liability cases regarding claims of design and manufacturing defects across a wide range of consumer products, such as household appliances, food and nutritional supplements. Jessica Miller is also recommended in the firm’s Washington DC office. New York-based Kenneth Plevan is now of counsel, while Edward Crane retired.

Headed by Stephen D’Amore and George Lombardi, the Chicago-based practice at Winston & Strawn LLP is experienced in defending major US corporations in high-stakes class actions and product liability litigation. D’Amore, Neil Murphy, Dan Webb and Los Angeles-based Erin Ranahan represented the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) and the US manufacturers of high-fructose corn syrup as the defendants and counter-plaintiffs in a false advertising lawsuit brought by Western Sugar and a number of other sugar manufacturers and refiners alleging CRA’s description of high-fructose corn syrup in an educational campaign is false and misleading; the case was settled in 2015. Steve Grimes is now the director of compliance at Tenneco.

At DLA Piper LLP (US), San Diego-based Brian Foster continues to lead the defense of Lorillard as co-counsel in a product liability matter before the Los Angeles Superior Court alleging failure to warn, strict liability due to a design defect and negligent design; Lorillard has appealed the judgment. In the same office, practice co-head Christopher Young successfully obtained a number dismissals for Chattem regarding various consumer class actions in California and Florida alleging misrepresentation in the labelling of Chattem’s ACT line of mouthwash products. Fellow co-head Raymond Williams in Philadelphia is also recommended.

Dechert LLP’s product liability and mass torts litigation department has substantial trial and appellate experience, extending to class actions, mass torts and regulatory matters. Chicago-based Erik Snapp is currently defending Pfizer as trial counsel in a statewide consumer fraud class action in the Southern District of California alleging false advertising of prescription drugs Premarin, Prempro and Premphase. Other clients include Johnson & Johnson, Philip Morris and Union Carbide. Austin-based Amy Rudd and Chicago-based Nathan Hoffman are also recommended. Donald Le Gower is now in-house counsel at Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP’s practice is jointly headed by Francis Citera in Chicago and Robert Herrington, who divides his time between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Herrington is currently defending a variety of major corporations in class actions and product liability lawsuits. Global litigation co-chair Alan Mansfield continued to defend Lorillard in a Kansas consumer class action alleging a wholesale price-fixing scheme; after obtaining a defense victory in 2014, the Kansas Supreme Court denied review of summary judgment in 2015. In Miami, David Coulson and Adam Foslid have been defending water heater manufacturer Rheem in a number of putative nationwide class actions before federal courts in Arizona, New Jersey and Georgia arising from claims of breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty and violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA). Elli Leibenstein joined from Jones Day in early 2016.

The Washington DC-based team of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, led by Eugene Assaf and Michael Williams, is currently serving as national and lead trial counsel to BASF Catalysts in a number of high-profile product liability cases arising from the sale of talc by the defunct talc-mining operations of Engelhard. New York-based Jay Lefkowitz successfully obtained dismissal of all claims brought against Teva Pharmaceutical Industries alleging failure to warn regarding the drug Treanda, a case heard before the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Andrew McGaan is also recommended. Other clients include Honeywell and Union Carbide.

Denver-based Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP represents manufacturers and distributors across a broad range of industries at trial and appellate level. Led by Peter Herzog, the firm is now serving as regional trial counsel for Michelin in product liability and tire pattern litigation across 12 states. Malcolm Wheeler is also recommended. Michael Williams has deep experience across product liability and toxic tort cases consumer products manufacturers such as Whirlpool. The firm continues to serve as national trial counsel for clients such as General Electric and Pfizer.

Baker McKenzie LLP’s product liability and recall practice is headed by Chicago-based Michael Wagner. The group has experience across a wide range of industries, including food and beverages, electronics and industrial products. Mark Karasik (Chicago) was retained to defend Hubbell Power Systems against a product liability suit alleging manufacturing defects in products sold to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). In San Francisco, Tod Gamlen obtained dismissal of a product liability suit for Japanese cosmetic producer Pola following a mail order purchase by the plaintiff, a California resident. Washington DC-based Neil O’Flaherty is also recommended.

Headed by firm chairman Paul Cereghini in Phoenix, Bowman and Brooke LLP’s department is experienced in litigation across a wide range of sectors, from fitness products to household appliance manufacturers and fabrics. Robert Wise in Richmond has been leading the firm’s handling of various class actions against Makita alleging unlawful trade practices, false advertising, breach of express and implied warranty, and fraudulent misrepresentation pertaining to alleged defects in Makita’s 18-volt lithium-ion batteries. Mike Madokoro successfully represented Jo-Ann Stores in dismissing a suit alleging false imprisonment following shoplifting claims. Marion Mauch and Minneapolis-based Carli Pearson have been promoted to partner. Julian Senior joined from the defunct Senior Law PC in 2015. All named lawyers are based in Los Angeles, except where noted otherwise.

Chadbourne & Parke LLP’s team often represents major clients from the food and beverages, cosmetics and electronics sectors in class actions. In New York, Donald Strauber and practice head Mary Yelenick successfully defended Beam Suntory against nine nationwide class actions before federal courts across the US brought by plaintiffs alleging false advertising in the client’s cocktail product. Yelenick has been representing Clarins in a putative nationwide class action before the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Other key names include Robin Ball in Los Angeles and Kerrie Campbell in Washington DC.

Hogan Lovells US LLP’s practice is led by Washington DC-based Craig Hoover, whose expertise includes serving as lead counsel to major clients in the food and beverages industry - among others - in MDL proceedings and product liability litigation before federal and state courts. Trial veteran Phoebe Wilkinson in New York and Robert Hawk in Silicon Valley are also recommended.

Headed by Richard Schneider, the ‘tremendous’ tort and environmental group at King & Spalding LLP is ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ in all areas of product liability litigation. The firm continues to represent RJ Reynolds in a number of Engle progeny cases in Florida, with Atlanta-based Randall Bassett achieving two defense verdicts in 2015. Charlotte-based Jeffrey Furr is ‘a leader in strategic thinking’. Ray Persons is also recommended. The team was significantly bolstered by the arrivals of San Francisco-based Alexander Calfo from Barnes & Thornburg, as well as Washington DC-based Granta Nakayama and Joseph Eisert from Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Several new partners were promoted. Frank Brannen and C Brannon Robertson joined Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP and Fernelius Alvarez Simon PLLC, respectively.

O’Melveny & Myers LLP’s product liability group, which is jointly headed by Richard Goetz in Los Angeles and Steve Brody in Washington DC, has a strong track record of serving as lead or co-lead national counsel in MDL proceedings concerning allegedly defective products, as well as in defending clients in regulatory investigations and litigation brought by federal agencies. Goetz and Amy Laurendeau, who is based in Newport Beach, defended Johnson & Johnson and Neutrogena against two putative class actions alleging false advertising and misleading information regarding Neutrogena’s sunscreen; the team successfully argued that the claims were pre-empted by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and FDA regulations. Randall Edwards and Carla Christofferson, who are based in San Francisco and Los Angeles respectively, are also recommended.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s New York-based product liability and mass tort practice includes trial veteran Lynn Neuner, whose expertise includes defending clients in false advertising litigation, and Joe McLaughlin, who often represents clients in class actions and other aggregated proceedings in trial and appellate courts across the US, including the US Supreme Court. David Ichel retired.

The ‘outstanding’ product liability and mass tort group at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is led by the ‘well-prepared, tenacious and strategicArvin Maskin in New York. Maskin is currently representing Nortek as lead counsel in a number of putative state and nationwide class actions alleging manufacturing defects in the client’s heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. Princeton-based Diane Sullivan is serving as lead trial counsel for Philip Morris in a class action before the District of Massachusetts involving payment for medical monitoring on behalf of all Massachusetts smokers of Philip Morris cigarettes. Other clients include Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi.

Product liability, mass tort and class action: pharmaceuticals and medical devices - defense

Index of tables

  1. Product liability, mass tort and class action: pharmaceuticals and medical devices - defense
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

DLA Piper LLP (US)’s department ‘consistently delivers high value for money’. New York-based practice co-head Loren Brown - ‘who is as good as they come’, according to clients - has been leading the team’s representation of Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer in product liability litigation alleging injuries caused by the drug Eliquis. Fellow co-head Christopher Young, together with Brian Foster (both of whom are based in San Diego), are serving as national counsel to DJO Global in litigation alleging injuries and damage caused by the client’s cold therapy medical devices. Brown, Heidi Levine in New York and co-head Raymond Williams in Philadelphia recently won dismissal of all claims against Novo Nordisk pertaining to its Type-2 diabetes medication Victoza, the argument turning on grounds of pre-emption. Rodney Villazor joined the New Jersey office from Kaye Scholer LLP.

New York-based Arthur Brown and Lori Leskin are key members of the ‘top-notch’, recently combined team at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, which regularly acts as national counsel for major manufacturers in the pharmaceuticals industry in high-stakes litigation. Brown and Leskin were recently retained by Bayer as national and coordinating counsel in an innovator liability MDL alleging liability for generic moxifloxacin and ciprofloxacin antibiotics. Los Angeles-basedPamela Yates has been representing longstanding client Pfizer in various product liability cases, including litigation brought by Genetic Technologies alleging defects in Pfizer’s drugs Lipitor, Zoloft and Camptosar. Chicago-based Jeffrey Wagner is ‘a rare combination of a strong legal analyst and trial lawyer’. The above named lawyers are all from the legacy Kaye Scholer firm. The legacy Arnold & Porter group includes New York-based Anand Agneshwar and Washington DC-based Eric Rubel and Daniel Pariser.

Reed Smith LLP is ‘able to efficiently handle large, multi-district product liability and class action matters, as well as smaller matters’. Princeton-based Melissa Geist heads the practice and has been acting alongside ‘excellent strategist’ Thomas Yoo, who is based in Los Angeles, as national counsel to Merck & Co. in the NuvaRing litigation, which includes an MDL in the Eastern District of Missouri and a mass tort before the New Jersey Superior Court. John Hooper is currently representing GNC in a number of class actions arising from allegations that certain herbal supplement products did not contain the ingredients listed. Los Angeles-based Michael Brown has a ‘deep experience in products work, particularly with California litigation’. Kelly D’Auria was promoted to partner in the firm’s New York office. Mary Oppedahl retired.

Led by Madeleine McDonough in Washington DC, the team at Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP represents major pharmaceuticals and medical devices manufacturers in a wide range of litigation, including product liability cases. McDonough’s expertise includes serving as national discovery counsel for clients, as well as advising companies on FDA regulations and preventative litigation measures. Former leading lawyer Harvey Kaplan retired from legal practice in 2015.

The ‘result-driven’ group at Sidley Austin LLP is praised as having ‘a deep bench in the pharmaceutical and medical device area’. The practice is led by Debra Pole in Los Angeles, along with Chicago-based Sara Gourley and ‘outstanding trial lawyerMaja Eaton. Gourley and fellow Chicago-based lawyers Craig Knot and Eugene Schoon are representing Grünenthal as lead counsel in over 50 cases brought by plaintiffs alleging injuries resulting from their mothers’ ingestion of thalidomide during pregnancy. A team including Eaton - along with Alycia Degen in Los Angeles, plus Rebecca Wood and Robert Keeling in Washington DC - continues to serve as national counsel to St. Jude Medical in litigation alleging manufacturing and design defects in the client’s Riata ICD Leads, as well as failure to warn; approximately 950 cases have been resolved. Michael Davis retired.

Heidi Hubbard and Joseph Petrosinelli’s Washington DC-based team at Williams & Connolly LLP is highly experienced in representing pharmaceutical and medical device companies in federal MDLs, state coordinated proceedings and multi-plaintiff actions. Led by Hubbard, the firm is defending Pfizer as lead trial and strategy counsel in personal injury litigation regarding Pfizer products containing talc. Serving as lead national counsel, Douglas Marvin and Paul Boehm recently secured pre-emption victory for Merck & Co. in MDL and California state court proceedings regarding the client’s Type-2 diabetes treatment products Januvia and Janumet. Neelum Wadhwani and Ashley Hardin were promoted to partner.

Litigation boutique Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP has a strong track record of defending pharmaceutical companies in litigation, class actions and MDLs alleging personal injury litigation and/or consumer fraud, as well as in matters arising from product recalls. Chicago-based Rebecca Bacon has been serving as national and trial counsel for Bayer in YAZ/Yasmin litigation before a number of federal and state courts. Philip Beck is another notable figure. Sadly, co-founder Donald Scott passed away.

Bowman and Brooke LLP continues to defend major pharmaceuticals and medical devices manufacturers in high-profile litigation and mass torts. Minneapolis-based practice head Kim Schmid has been retained as trial counsel by Johnson & Johnson following a plaintiff verdict in Perry v Ethicon, which was the first bellwether pelvic mesh case in 2015 before the Superior Court of California. Austin-based Randall Christian is leading the team in its role as strategic counsel to Novo Nordisk concerning ongoing product liability litigation regarding a number of pharmaceuticals. Other clients include Breg, Enhancement Medical and American Medical Systems. Julian Senior and his team joined the Los Angeles office from the now defunct Senior Law PC. Minneapolis-based Molly Given and Carli Pearson were promoted to partner.

Butler Snow LLP’s extensive experience includes defending claims against a wide range of medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Birmingham-based Helen Downs’ recent experience includes acting for Johnson & Johnson as supporting trial counsel in Linda Batiste v Johnson & Johnson, et al., where the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas reversed the $1m verdict in the pelvic mesh trial due to insufficient evidence that the device caused the plaintiff injuries. Christy Jones (Jackson), who has a particular expertise in serving as lead counsel in bellwether trials, is also recommended.

At Covington & Burling LLP, Paul Schmidt, Phyllis Jones and Michael Imbroscio won defense verdicts for Eli Lilly in three separate trials brought by plaintiffs alleging the company’s failure to warn of physical and psychiatric symptoms following the plaintiffs’ discontinuation of Cymbalta drug therapy. Schmidt and Imbroscio represented Hoffmann-La Roche in a number of cases relating to Accutane, including one where they successfully moved the New Jersey Superior Court to rule that Accutane’s warnings were adequate. Keith Teel, Raymond Biagini and Shankar Duraiswamy are also recommended. All partners are based in Washington DC. Brian Stekloff moved to Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz.

Headed by Philadelphia-based Ben Barnett, Dechert LLP’s team continues to represent high-profile clients at trial and appellate levels. New York-based David Bernick is serving as lead trial counsel to AbbVie in national product liability litigation concerning the client’s testosterone replacement therapy drug AndroGel, which includes an MDL involving over 2,400 claimants alleging personal injury caused by the drug. Chicago-based David Kistenbroker is currently representing Endocyte and its CEO in claims alleging the defendants made false and misleading statements regarding the company’s experimental drug, Vynfinit. Donald Le Gower is now in-house counsel at Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Able to handle the most complex matters’, litigation boutique Goldman Ismail Tomaselli Brennan & Baum LLP continues to serve as lead trial counsel for major pharmaceuticals companies in top-end product liability cases. ‘Excellent trial lawyer and strategist’ Tarek Ismail, who is based in Chicago, has been retained by Merck & Co. in Vioxx class actions currently pending before state courts in Alaska, Montana and Utah. Ismail, together with colleagues Shayna Cook in Chicago and Joe Tomaselli in Dallas, is leading the team in its role as lead national counsel to Medtronic in litigation involving its SynchroMed implantable infusion; one case pending in Mississippi was recently dismissed on pre-emption grounds.

The ‘very responsive and incredibly knowledgeable’ team at Greenberg Traurig, LLP provides ‘top-notch service’ in all areas of pharmaceutical product liability litigation. Practice head Lori Cohen - who is ‘a brilliant trial strategist’ with ‘a deep drive for outstanding client service’ - is currently acting as lead counsel for Medtronic in a substantial number of cases; the firm obtained a complete dismissal of several cases on pre-emption grounds. Cohen also led the team in securing a jury verdict for Bard following a two-month trial wherein the jury found the client and Boston Scientific not liable in the plaintiff’s $28m suit alleging defects in the companies’ pelvic mesh implants. Of counsel Stephen Fowler joined the Washington DC office from Reed Smith LLP. All partners are based in Atlanta unless otherwise stated.

Robb Patryk and Diane Lifton head Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP’s department, which is ‘a pleasure to work with’ and is noted for its ‘in-depth knowledge, experience and excellence in the field’. The team’s track record includes serving as national counsel to pharmaceutical manufacturers in product liability and consumer class action lawsuits concerning pain relief and cholesterol-lowering medications, among others. Theodore Mayer has extensive experience as trial counsel and coordinating national counsel. Michael Tiger has a particular strength in defending clients in bet-the-company litigation. All partners are based in New York.

King & Spalding LLP’s ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ group has a strong track record of successfully defending pharmaceuticals companies against class actions, particularly in plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions. Led by Andrew Bayman in Atlanta, the firm successfully moved the Fifth Circuit to affirm a Louisiana federal court’s summary judgment in favor of GlaxoSmithKline regarding its anti-depressant drug Paxil on statute of limitations in McLaughlin v GlaxoSmithKline LLC. Peter Strotz, who divides his time between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and San Francisco-based Donald Zimmer are acting as national coordinating counsel to AstraZeneca in California state court litigation brought by more than 560 plaintiffs from the US and Puerto Rico regarding the company’s cholesterol-lowering medication Crestor. Atlanta-based Chilton Varner is highly recommended. The team expanded significantly with the recruitment of San Francisco-based Alexander Calfo from Barnes & Thornburg, and Washington DC-based Granta Nakayama and Joseph Eisert from Kirkland & Ellis LLP. The practice also promoted several new partners. Frank Brannen and C Brannon Robertson moved to Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP and Fernelius Alvarez Simon PLLC, respectively.

At Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, the product liability, tort and insurance group is jointly led by Paul Zevnik in Washington DC, Brady Edwards in Houston and John Lavelle, who heads the product liability sub-practice, in Philadelphia. Lavelle and Chicago-based Scott Schutte successfully obtained a motion for summary judgment for Medtronic from the Third Judicial Circuit of Illinois. Lavelle also has been representing Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Synthes in litigation concerning a tibial implant medical device; the case is pending before the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. The team was bolstered by the recruitment of Undray Wilks from McGuireWoods LLP in Chicago and former New Jersey federal prosecutor Harvey Bartle IV in Philadelphia.

Pepper Hamilton LLP’s Philadelphia-based group continues to defend a number of major players in the pharmaceuticals and medical devices industry, such as Bard, Medtronic and GlaxoSmithKline. Nina Gussack and Andrew Kantra have been representing Eli Lilly in various litigation, including a federal MDL and numerous state court product liability actions and consumer fraud cases concerning its antipsychotic medicine Zyprexa; the firm has won a number of summary judgment rulings. Practice head Sean Fahey continues to serve as national trial and coordinating counsel to Medtronic in litigation regarding several Medtronic product lines, including one where more than 1,000 cases have been filed nationwide.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP’s team ‘consistently delivers’ in the pharmaceutical and medical devices arena. Mark Cheffo, Sandra Bresnick and the ‘first-rate’ Sheila Birnbaum are serving as national and trial counsel for Forest Laboratories in 185 cases across the US in which plaintiffs allege that ingestion of certain Forest prescription antidepressants during pregnancy resulted in birth defects; the firm recently obtained dismissal of all six cases brought against Forest before New Jersey state court. Birnbaum and Cheffo continue to defend Pfizer in various litigation, including recently defeating all Effexor cases in the federal MDL, with only a small number of cases still pending before Pennsylvania state court. All partners mentioned are based in New York.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s group comprises industry experts who often represent healthcare and life sciences companies in a wide range of litigation. Group head John Beisner regularly handles appellate litigation and is experienced in defending clients before the Supreme Court. Stephen Harburg’s experience includes serving as national coordinating counsel in numerous MDL proceedings. Palo Alto-based Allen Ruby has been leading representation of Intuitive Surgical in litigation regarding its da Vinci robotic surgical equipment; in 2015, the Washington Appeals Court affirmed a defense verdict secured by the firm in 2013. Jessica Miller is also recommended. All partners mentioned are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.

One of the most respected product liability practices in the United States’, Venable LLP’s ‘excellent trial lawyers’ are ‘masters at scientific issues and working with experts’. The group served as national coordinating counsel for AbbVie in litigation concerning its hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medication. Bruce Parker and Jason Rose are currently representing Boehringer Ingelheim (BIPI) as national counsel in litigation concerning the client’s Parkinson disease treatment Mirapex. The client base also includes Merck & Co. and Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA. The primarily Baltimore-based practice is headed by Sally Bryan and Paul Strain, who divides his time between Baltimore and Washington DC. Stephen Marshall and Christina Gaarder are also recommended.

Headed by trial veteran Travis Sales in Houston, the team at Baker Botts L.L.P. is experienced in defending clients in litigation involving a broad range of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, including serving as national or regional coordinating counsel for a number of manufacturers. New York-based Earl Austin’s clients includes AstraZeneca, Novartis and Hoffman-La Roche. Houston-based Mike Bennett is also recommended. Aaron Davidson joined Klemchuk LLP in 2015.

Goodwin Procter LLP’s ‘overall level of service is simply excellent’ in the pharmaceuticals and medical devices field. The firm continues to represent Teva Pharmaceuticals in various product liability litigation, with Boston-based Richard Oetheimer serving as national counsel in more than 2,500 cases concerning the generic drug metoclopramide, which is the generic form of Reglan. In 2015, the firm won two motions to dismiss Missouri state court cases heard in St Louis due to the judge’s ruling that non-resident plaintiffs cannot establish personal jurisdiction over the defendant. The team, which is headed by Joanne Gray in New York, saw a number of changes in 2015 with Nilda Isidro and Sarah Frederick’s promotion to partner in the New York and Boston offices, respectively. Glenn Kerner is now head of the wider litigation department in New York.

The product liability practice at Hogan Lovells US LLP regularly defends major manufacturers in high-stakes litigation. The team includes Baltimore-based Lauren Colton, who is experienced in serving as national and regional counsel for biotechnology and medical devices manufacturers. Colton has been leading the defense of The Johns Hopkins University against nearly 800 claims alleging non-consensual medical research conducted by the US and Guatemalan governments in the 1940s. Michael Kidney in Washington DC has been leading the team in its role as national counsel to the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (MTF), the largest provider of allografts in the US, in litigation alleging personal injuries caused by the allografts. Los Angeles-based Barry Thompson is also recommended.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s deep bench of litigation experts recently achieved a significant number of victories for key clients in the pharmaceuticals and healthcare sectors. Chicago-based Michael Foradas secured summary judgment for AbbVie in the final pending case involving the client’s Humira drug. New York-based Jay Lefkowitz successfully obtained dismissal of all claims brought against Teva Pharmaceuticals regarding alleged failure to warn of side effects associated with Treanda, a cancer treatment, in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Other clients of the practice include Baxter and Abbott Laboratories. Washington DC-based Mike Brock is highly recommended and has extensive experience in top-end litigation.

Mayer Brown’s department co-head Henninger Bullock, who is based in New York, has been representing UCB and its subsidiary Schwarz Pharma in innovator liability litigation arising from use of generic versions of the drug Reglan; the Iowa Supreme Court, Missouri Court of Appeals and Florida First District Court of Appeal affirmed dismissals of claims against Schwarz Pharma. Fellow practice co-head Daniel Ring in Chicago, along with Andrew Tauber in Washington DC, have been leading the practice in its role as national counsel to Medtronic in numerous matters. In 2015, the team won a significant number of dismissals and appeals in litigation concerning Medtronic’s Infuse bone grafting device. Practice co-head Michael Olsen in Chicago is also recommended.

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s product liability group is headed by Erin Bosman, who has a strong experience in representing clients as national coordinating and trial counsel in class actions, as well as MDL proceedings. She and trial veteran James Huston continue to defend Fresenius against over 2,000 individual claims alleging the off-label use of psychiatric medication metoclopramide causes significant side effects. Senior associate Julie Park is also highly regarded. Clients of the practice include MicroPort Orthopedics and McKesson. All lawyers mentioned are based in San Diego.

The pharmaceutical and medical device litigation team at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP has a strong track record of handling complex cases and MDL proceedings, as well as class actions. Atlanta-based Richard North is highly experienced in serving as national counsel to medical devices manufacturers. The team promoted numerous partners in Atlanta and Columbia. Michael Anzelmo and Kristen Horne are now of counsel.

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP’s deep bench of trial experts regularly serves as national and regional coordinating counsel to key players in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry, such as GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Merck & Co. Led by Houston-based Gerry Lowry and Dallas-based Jonathan Skidmore, the team represented Bayer in its nationwide Yaz/Yazmin litigation alleging arterial blood clot injuries; Bayer agreed to pay $57m towards a settlement program to resolve remaining claims. In Los Angeles, the well-regarded Jan Dodd has a strong track record in defending clients in state and federal courts.

O’Melveny & Myers LLP’s extensive trial experience includes serving as lead or co-lead national counsel in MDLs, as well as litigation brought by federal agencies and state attorneys general. Los Angeles-based Charles Lifland, together with department co-head Steve Brody and Walter Dellinger (both in Washington DC), recently secured two significant victories for Johnson & Johnson in litigation involving the client’s antipsychotic drug Risperdal, having obtained reversal of a $330m jury verdict and $1.4bn award against the defendant in the supreme courts of Louisiana and Arkansas, respectively. Amy Laurendeau in Newport Beach, together with practice co-head Richard Goetz and Houman Ehsan (both in Los Angeles), are currently defending AstraZeneca subsidiary Amylin Pharmaceuticals in a federal MDL alleging personal injury involving its Type-2 diabetes drug Byetta. Other clients include Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Tucker Ellis LLP’s mass tort and product liability group often defends pharmaceuticals and medical devices clients before state and federal courts. In Los Angeles, practice head Mollie Benedict has served as national and lead counsel in California coordinated proceedings. Expert trial lawyer Robert Tucker’s experience includes serving as national coordinating counsel to pharmaceuticals companies, physicians and hospitals. Dustin Rawlin recently obtained summary judgment on statute of limitation grounds for a medical devices company in 31 bellwether cases that formed part of an MDL alleging personal injuries caused by transvaginal mesh. All partners listed are based in Cleveland unless otherwise stated.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s ‘outstanding’ practice is highly experienced in representing clients in high-stakes litigation. Princeton-based Diane Sullivan continues to serve as lead trial counsel to longstanding client Johnson & Johnson in mass tort litigation concerning its antipsychotic medication Risperdal. She is also serving as national counsel for Sanofi following the recall and subsequent litigation involving allergy injection Auvi-Q. New York-based practice head Arvin Maskin is ‘a legend at the defense bar’.

Specialist litigation firm Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP, which is based in Denver, continues to serve as national coordinating counsel to pharmaceutical products distributor McKesson against claims filed by over 3,000 plaintiffs alleging that the defendant’s cholesterol drug Lipitor leads to an onset of diabetes in some women; Habib Nasrullah is leading the matter. James Hooper obtained summary judgment for Pfizer in a Zoloft birth defect case in Philadelphia. Michael O’Donnell heads the department and Peter Herzog joined from Bryan Cave LLP in 2015.

Product liability, mass tort and class action: pharmaceuticals and medical devices - plaintiff

Index of tables

  1. Product liability, mass tort and class action: pharmaceuticals and medical devices - plaintiff
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C.’s ‘outstanding’ practice is headed by Michael Burg, who served as co-lead counsel in an MDL comprising more than 14,000 claims brought against Bayer regarding its oral contraceptive drug. In addition to serving on the plaintiffs’ executive committee in In re: Testosterone Replacement Therapy Products Liability Litigation, the ‘very knowledgeableSeth Katz continues to serve as a member of the plaintiffs’ steering committee in an MDL against DePuy Synthes concerning its recalled ASR XL metal-on-metal hip device and allegations of defects in its ASR XL Acetabular Hip System. Peter Burg is a member of the plaintiffs’ steering committee of the California Joint Coordinated Case Proceeding (JCCP) in the consolidated litigation regarding Wright Medical Group’s metal-on-metal hip implants, which plaintiffs alleged resulted in a risk of metallosis toxicity, as well as an increased risk of hip failure. All partners mentioned are based in Denver.

Herman, Herman & Katz LLC’s New Orleans-based team has substantial experience in handling pharmaceutical product liability litigation, with a particular expertise in electronic discovery. Leonard Davis, James Klick and of counsel Joseph Kott are leading representation of plaintiffs against DePuy Synthes concerning allegations of defects in its ASR hip implants in the Northern District of Ohio. The firm also filed numerous product liability claims on behalf of individuals against Fresenius regarding the kidney dialysis drug GranuFlo. Davis, Maury Herman and Russ Herman are also involved in litigation against numerous pharmaceuticals manufacturers such as AbbVie and Abbott Laboratories alleging defects in the defendants’ testosterone replacement therapy products.

With a particular expertise in handling personal injury lawsuits, Levin Papantonio Thomas Mitchell Rafferty & Proctor, P.A. is currently involved in a number of litigation concerning various defective drugs. The Florida-based team includes Timothy O’Brien, whose recent victories include achieving an $8m verdict for a plaintiff who suffered osteonecrosis of the jaw arising from use of the drug Fosamax. O’Brien is currently acting in litigation alleging that use of the drug Invokana causes side effects of kidney damage, heart attacks and ketoacidosis. Ned McWilliams has been leading the team in lawsuits against Janssen and Bayer concerning the anticoagulent drug Xarelto, which plaintiffs allege cause fatal internal bleeding. Mike Papantonio is a highly regarded trial lawyer.

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP continues to be involved in transvaginal surgical mesh litigation against various companies, among them Bard and Johnson & Johnson. The team includes Donald Arbitblit, who is experienced in serving on plaintiffs’ science and expert committees; he is a member of the plaintiffs’ steering committee in the Actos MDL. New York-based Wendy Fleishman has an impressive track record serving in leadership roles in significant MDLs in federal and state courts. The firm is currently representing clients in the first bellwether trial in the DePuy Pinnacle hip implant MDL. Other names to note are Elizabeth Cabraser and Robert Nelson. All partners are based in San Francisco unless otherwise stated.

The Lanier Law Firm has a strong track record in pharmaceutical and medical device personal injury litigation and is currently representing plaintiffs in various cases, such as Yaz/Yasmin lawsuits, testosterone therapy cases and the DePuy hip replacement litigation. W Mark Lanier served as co-counsel for plaintiffs in a two-month trial in the Western District of Louisiana arising from claims that use of the diabetes drug Actos caused plaintiffs to develop bladder cancer; the plaintiffs were awarded $9bn. Richard Meadow was also involved in successfully negotiating a $57m settlement with Bayer relating to claims that prescription birth control pills Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella caused life-altering side effects that include arterial blood clots. Robert Leone, Alex Brown and Los Angeles-based Lee Cirsch are also recommended.

Philadelphia-based Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, Frederick Longer is serving on the plaintiffs’ steering committee in the Xarelto litigation against the manufacturer Bayer and marketer Janssen arising from alleged failure to warn about risks. Michael Weinkowitz served as a member of the plaintiff negotiating committee in the Yaz/Yasmin litigation against Bayer, which resulted in a successful negotiation of a $57m settlement. Arnold Levin, Michael Fishbein, Howard Sedran and Laurence Berman are key figures.

New York-based Seeger Weiss LLP has a strong track record in a wide array of personal injury litigation involving defective pharmaceutical products and medical devices. It is representing plaintiffs against manufacturers in litigation concerning Accutane, Fosamax and Granuflo, among others, and is currently involved in medical device litigation regarding Mirena IUD, DePuy hip implants and transvaginal mesh. The well regarded David Buchanan, who has a particular expertise in electronic discovery, is currently serving in various leadership positions in coordinated litigation proceedings involving Accutane, DePuy hip implants and Yaz/Yasmin. Other key figures are co-founder Christopher Seeger and Jeffrey Grand, who has returned from Bernstein Liebhard LLP.

At Washington DC-based Ashcraft & Gerel LLP, trial veteran Michelle Parfitt is highly experienced in representing plaintiffs in numerous state and federal courts across the US. Christopher Tisi is leading the team in representing a plaintiff in the first trial against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary McNeil Consumer Healthcare regarding allegations that the defendants failed to adequately warn of risks of liver damage caused by taking high doses of Tylenol. James Green, whose experience includes arguing before the US Supreme Court, is also recommended. David LaCivita retired.

Montgomery-based Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C. is experienced in handling a broad range of litigation involving defective medical devices and unsafe medication. Navan Ward has been leading the firm’s involvement in the metal-on-metal hip implant litigation against Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Orthopedics, among others. Mass tort practice head Andy Birchfield is currently serving as co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs’ steering committee in the MDL concerning anticoagulant medication Xarelto. Frank Woodson and Matthew Teague are also recommended.

Product liability, mass tort and class action: toxic tort - defense

Index of tables

  1. Product liability, mass tort and class action: toxic tort - defense
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

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Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP’s practice - which is jointly headed by New York-based Anand Agneshwar along with Eric Rubel and Lester Sotsky in Washington DC - is experienced in serving as lead or national counsel to clients such as Philip Morris and Atlantic Richfield. Sotsky has been leading the team’s representation of international mining and fertilizer manufacturer Mosaic Company as national counsel in a wide range of environmental litigation, as well as regulatory matters. In 2015, the firm negotiated a significant settlement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to resolve allegations that Mosaic Company violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) during its waste management procedures. In Washington DC, Michael Daneker successfully defended Honeywell against personal injury claims alleging exposure to chromium ore processing residue during the expansion of the Dundalk Marine Terminal over 20 years ago. New York-based Philip Curtis is also recommended.

Jones Day’s department is headed by Stephanie Parker in Atlanta. Pittsburgh-based Paul Pohl, another key figure, has extensive trial and appellate experience. Head of the Houston office Nancy MacKimm acted alongside New York-based Sharyl Reisman and Washington DC-based Mary Ellen Powers in successfully representing IBM in resolving numerous claims alleging exposure to toxic emissions at a manufacturing facility. David DiMeglio in Los Angeles, along with Caroline Mitchell and of counsel James Dunlop in Chicago, are serving as lead counsel to Chevron regarding various proceedings arising from oil seepage that occurred off the coast of Brazil in 2011 and 2012; the team recently settled a significant number of the civil charges, and achieved dismissal of the entire criminal complaint.

King & Spalding LLP’s ‘invaluable’ team is headed by Atlanta-based Kevin Buster, who is experienced in defending cases involving a broad range of chemical substances, including pesticides, metals and petroleum-based products. The firm has been serving as trial counsel to key client Chevron in over 100 environmental lawsuits alleging groundwater, soil and sediments damage in Louisiana arising from historical oil and gas operations. A team led by Robert Meadows obtained a defense verdict for Chevron in a suit brought by Vermilion Parish School Board, which sought $115m in addition to punitive damages concerning the client’s oil and gas operations. Bruce Hurley led the team in moving the Western District of Oklahoma to deny the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification against Haliburton Energy Services in McCormick, et al. v Haliburton Energy Services, Inc., which involved claims of groundwater contamination and exposure to hazardous substances from historical missile cleaning activities on the defendant’s property.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP is serving as national and lead trial counsel to BASF Catalysts in high-profile cases arising from the sale of talc by legacy company Engelhard, which was acquired by the defendant in 2006. One case is currently pending before the US District Court for New Jersey, with Eugene Assaf and Michael Williams leading the team from Washington DC. Chicago-based Richard Godfrey and Mark Filip continue to serve as lead trial counsel for BP in all litigation arising from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Other clients include Boeing and Dow Chemical.

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP’s Houston-based department has a strong track record in representing clients before courts and regulators in a broad range of toxic tort matters. Otway Denny successfully defended Enterprise Products against nearly 100 plaintiffs alleging personal injuries arising from a fire at a storage facility in 2011; the team recently won summary judgment on remaining claims. Stephen Dillard is leading the practice’s representation of Chevron Phillips Chemical and ConocoPhillips in an MDL brought by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, which alleges contamination of waters by gasoline products containing harmful methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). Other clients include Cabot Oil & Gas, ExxonMobil and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). Practice head Steven Jansma divides his time between San Antonio and Houston.

Ty Buthod heads the practice at Baker Botts L.L.P., which continues to represent major clients in the chemicals and energy industries in toxic exposure and asbestos cases across the US. Buthod has been defending ExxonMobil in various litigation and recently obtained a significant summary judgment in Virgil Hood and Lorrie Hood vs ExxonMobil, et al. before the 160th Judicial District Court - Dallas County, Texas, where the plaintiff alleged that exposure to ExxonMobil petrochemical products caused the plaintiff to develop acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Kevin Jordan obtained a defense verdict for Union Carbide and Montello in a two-week trial in New Orleans, Louisiana brought by the plaintiff claiming exposure to asbestos as a result of the defendants’ negligence. Michael Cancienne was promoted to partner in 2015. The Houston-based team’s client base includes LyondellBasell, Merck & Co. and AstraZeneca.

Goodwin Procter LLP provides a ‘simply excellent overall level of service’. The ‘marvelousBill Hanlon, who is based in Washington DC, is heading the team’s representation of national counsel to longstanding client Dana Companies in asbestos-related personal injury and wrongful death litigation; recent victories include obtaining dismissal of claims in multiple states on grounds that the plaintiffs could not establish personal jurisdiction. Boston-based Mark Tully successfully defended Cumberland Farms against the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection action seeking to enforce a higher settlement agreement to resolve claims of MTBE-related pollution of natural resources arising from over 50 MTBE cases throughout the US. New York-based Joanne Gray heads the department.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP’s environmental and toxic tort practice regularly handles high-stakes litigation for a wide range of clients in the chemicals industry. Practice head David Weinstein and Christopher Torres continue to defend Coronet Industries against a variety of claims for wrongful death, personal injury, medical monitoring and property damage arising from alleged contamination of groundwater, surface water, soil and air in an area surrounding the defendant’s former manufacturing facility. The firm achieved a substantial reduction of the bundle of more than 1,100 claims, through moving the court to implement a Lone Pine order. Weinstein and Torres are currently representing Mosaic Company in a number of cases alleging hazardous exposure, including one where they successfully moved an action to federal court jurisdiction and obtained a dismissal. Paul Seby joined the Denver office from Holland & Hart LLP. Other partners mentioned are based in Tampa.

Latham & Watkins LLP is highly experienced in handling and winning bet-the-company litigation for major industrial companies and manufacturers. Chicago-based Thomas Heiden, Michael Romey in Los Angeles and Gwyn Williams in Boston are the practice co-heads. Heiden, along with Claudia Salomon in New York plus Peter Wald and Melanie Blunschi (San Francisco), are representing utility company Southern California Edison (SCE) in a $4bn ICC arbitration against Mitsubishi regarding a radioactive leak in steam generators which Mitsubishi supplied to a nuclear power plant operated by the client. Other clients include Philip Morris, Fluor Corporation and Rothmans, Benson & Hedges. The team was strengthened by the promotion of Kegan Brown (New York) to partner; Drew Gardiner (San Diego), Garrett Long and Michael Nelson (Chicago) were promoted to of counsel. Chicago-based Mary Rose Alexander is also recommended.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s ‘extremely responsive’ and ‘very knowledgeable’ practice regularly defends key clients in the chemicals industry in a broad range of toxic torts and product liability cases, including asbestos-related litigation. The team is national strategic and coordinating counsel to Honeywell in various asbestos personal injury cases involving its Bendix automotive friction material product, with work being led by New York-based Peter Sacripanti. ‘Excellent advocate’ Terrence Dee joined from Kirkland & Ellis LLP in 2015, and continues to defend Motorola in a series of cases - including class actions - claiming that cellphones cause adverse health effects. Other clients include the American Petroleum Association, ExxonMobil and IKO.

Headed by Paul Zevnik in Washington DC and Brady Edwards in Houston, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP’s practice has a strong track record of representing clients in the energy and manufacturing sectors in asbestos, chemical and environmental exposure cases. Zevnik has been serving as national asbestos defense counsel to ITT Corporation and achieved the dismissal of over 31,000 claims without payment during 2015, which significantly reduced the client’s inventory of pending cases. Los Angeles-based James Dragna is serving as national coordinating counsel to Anadarko Petroleum and its subsidiaries in relation to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and recently won dismissal of claims seeking penalties under state law. The practice recruited Chicago-based Undray Wilks from McGuireWoods LLP and former New Jersey federal prosecutor Harvey Bartle IV in Philadelphia); Brad Nes and Yardena Zwang-Weissman were promoted to partner in Washington DC and Los Angeles office, respectively.

Morrison & Foerster LLP regularly handles environmental and tort liabilities arising from chemical exposure, in addition to which it has strong experience in representing corporations in regulatory and enforcement matters. Los Angeles-based Peter Hsiao is currently representing Curtimade Dairy and the Dairy Industry Environmental Coalition in a lawsuit filed by the city of Corcoran under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) alleging groundwater contamination arising from the clients’ use of nitrate fertilizers. In San Francisco, Michael Steel, Michèle Corash and of counsel Robin Stafford successfully obtained summary judgment for over 30 clients dismissing an action alleging that titanium dioxide (a key ingredient in cosmetics and sunscreens) increases risk of cancer. Other clients include BASF, California Natural Products and Lumber Liquidators.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s ‘excellent’ mass torts and product liability practice produces ‘truly outstanding work’. New York-based practice head Laurie Strauch Weiss has particular expertise in advising clients on scientific claims brought by non-governmental organizations and consumer advocacy groups. The team recently achieved a number of significant victories for longstanding client Dow Chemical, including securing a favorable settlement before the New York Supreme Court in an action brought by the Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief, arising from alleged soil and groundwater contamination in over 300 wells; the key partners include Weiss, James Stengel, Morton Dubin, John Ewald, Kristen Fournier and San Francisco-based Christopher Vejnoska. Weiss, Stengel and Ewald also successfully represented China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) before the Central District of California in a case where the plaintiff claimed $5.2bn in damages under the Alien Tort Statute, California tort law and RICO rules, among other allegations. Other clients include Union Carbide.

At Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, Sheila Birnbaum in New York) continues to act as national co-counsel for Pfizer in various state and federal personal injury actions alleging occupational exposure to asbestos and silica products at sites maintained by the defendant’s former mining minerals divisions; the team successfully obtained dismissal of a significant number of these actions, as well as winning summary judgment for Pfizer in three state court actions. Led by Washington DC-based Michael Lyle and Eric Lyttle, the firm continues to represent Seacor Holdings and its subsidiaries in cases concerning the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, with the majority of the cases relating to the complex clean-up effort. The team recently obtained summary judgment in favor of Seacor and several of its subsidiaries, which dismissed the remaining post-explosion emergency response claim in the MDL. Faith Gay in New York is also recommended.

Reed Smith LLP’s ‘consistently very good’ team is headed by John Hooper in New York and trial veteran Robert Roth in Chicago, the latter of whom has experience of defending clients in groundwater and airborne contamination cases before the federal courts. Houston-based Stan Perry is serving as national counsel to Shell’s product liability litigation involving benzene, gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, solvents and consumer products; his recent victories include obtaining significant summary judgment for Shell in Burst et al v Shell Oil Co et al, where the plaintiff alleged that her husband’s exposure to benzene led to his death. Chicago-based Maryanne Woo continues to represent longstanding client Johnson Controls and its subsidiary York International in asbestos litigation. Ricky Raven joined the Houston office from Thompson & Knight LLP in 2015.

Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP’s Kansas City-based toxic tort team has seen an increase in regulatory interest from various US government agencies and attention from the press, as well as environmental activists. Practice head Mark Anstoetter is experienced in defending clients in citizen group and government enforcement actions under federal and state environmental statutes. David Erickson is also recommended.

Headed by the ‘outstandingMaja Eaton and Sara Gourley in Chicago) plus Debra Pole in Los Angeles, Sidley Austin LLP’s team is ‘a pleasure to work with’ and has ‘an excellent bench’. Eaton and Tim Kapshandy continue to serve as national coordinating counsel to General Electric in asbestos litigation; they recently obtained summary judgments and dismissals in all of its remaining cases in the asbestos federal MDL, which once comprised over 1,000 claims. In Washington DC, the well-regarded David Buente and Timothy Webster continue to represent Coronet Industries in negotiations with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) concerning site assessment and remediation arising from allegations of exposure to chemicals from the client’s historic phosphate mining operations. Other clients include NCR.

In 2015, Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s Chicago-based group expanded significantly with the recruitment of new practice head Robert Shuftan, Cal Burnton, Anthony Hopp, Derek Smith and Jeremy Goldkind from Locke Lord LLP. Los Angeles-based Daniel Blakey has been representing Monsanto in litigation brought by a plaintiff alleging that exposure to the client’s pesticide products resulted in the plaintiff’s development of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Jennifer Quinn-Barabanov in Washington DC) and of counsel Jennifer Bonneville in Los Angeles continue to serve as lead counsel for key client Shell in a putative class action over groundwater contamination in Florida. Lawrence Riff is now a judge at the Supreme Court of California.

Jeffrey Healy heads the team at Cleveland-based Tucker Ellis LLP, which is highly experienced for defending clients in a wide array of toxic torts, including asbestos, silica, coal dust, welding fume and mold litigation. Healy is currently serving as national coordinating, regional and local counsel for a number of corporations in asbestos and silicosis cases. Trial veteran Laura Hong’s experience includes having represented clients before state and federal courts across the US. Carter Strang regularly handles cases under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).

Andrews Kurth LLP’s toxic tort practice is headed by Houston-based Thomas Taylor, whose experience includes serving as regional counsel for a major oil company in toxic tort, chemical exposure and personal injury litigation. Dallas-based Joseph Blizzard has particular expertise in defending clients against product liability and toxic tort claims alleging personal injury and wrongful death. Houston-based Alexis Gomez is also recommended. The firm’s client base includes BP.

At DLA Piper LLP (US), Christopher Campbell (who is now head of the toxic tort sub-group) and Cara Edwards have been leading the New York-based team in representing Pfizer in various litigation, where the firm is serving as national co-counsel and trial counsel - they recently obtained summary judgment from the Superior Court of Alameda County, California for Pfizer in talc litigation involving hundreds of lawsuits across the US alleging that the talc mined and sold by Pfizer between 1962 and 1992 was contaminated with asbestos. Philadelphia-based Nancy Rappaport has been defending AM General in asbestos litigation across the US and recently obtained dismissal of a significant number of cases. Other clients include ExxonMobil and Northrop Grumman.

At Dechert LLP, Philadelphia-based Ben Barnett’s department has a strong track record in handling high-profile litigation on the trial and appellate level. Led by Nathan Hoffman, the firm continues to defend Pfizer in ‘apparent manufacturer’ asbestos litigation arising from the operations of its former subsidiary Quigley before a number of Pennsylvania state courts. The team includes Los Angeles-based William Oxley, who is ‘a very good trial lawyer’, and Philadelphia-based Meghan Kelly, who was promoted to partner. Donald Le Gower is now in-house counsel at Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s team has considerable experience in defending high-stakes product liability and mass tort litigation before federal and state courts, including the US Supreme Court. San Francisco-based Peter Modlin defended shipping company Matson against a number of criminal, civil enforcement and natural resource damage claims arising from an incident in 2013 where a significant amount of molasses escaped into Honolulu Harbor; in 2015, the team successfully resolved all criminal, civil and administrative claims brought by the state of Hawaii before any lawsuits were filed. Led by Thomas Dupree, the firm is representing CSX Transportation in a personal injury lawsuit arising from a train derailment, chemical spill and subsequent fire that occurred outside of Louisville, Kentucky in 2012. Other clients include Intel, BP and General Electric. Stacie Fletcher was promoted to partner. All partners listed are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.

At Mayer Brown, Chicago-based practice co-heads Michael Olsen and Daniel Ring are representing Union Carbide and its former subsidiary Amchem Products (now operating as Bayer CropScience) in asbestos litigation comprising thousands of cases across the country. Evan Tager and Miriam Nemetz in Washington DC, along with Chicago-based Mark Molen are defending CSX Transportation in more than 25 lawsuits involving over 1,200 individuals alleging personal injury and property damage arising from a train derailment in 2012, which resulted in the release of vinyl chloride from a breached tanker car. New York-based practice co-head Henninger Bullock is also recommended.

McGuireWoods LLP’s toxic tort and environmental litigation department is headed by Stephen Busch, who is currently serving as national trial and coordinating counsel for Carpenter Co in personal injury and wrongful death actions arising from catastrophic fires or alleged toxic exposure in connection to the use of certain products. Raleigh-based Mark Anderson represented Duke Energy in appealing a $25m fine imposed by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources for alleged environmental violations regarding coal ash at the client’s site in North Carolina; the firm obtained a $7m settlement with the state. Samuel Tarry and Tracy Walker are also recommended. All partners are based in Richmond unless otherwise noted.

Nixon Peabody LLP’s group has notable trial experience and a strong track record in defending clients across a wide range of industries. The firm obtained a complete defense jury verdict for American Eurocopter following a two-week wrongful death and personal injury trial before the Western District of Texas concerning a helicopter crash; the work was led by New York-based practice head Joseph Ortego, along with Eric Strain in New York and recently promoted partner Thomas Mealiffe in Long Island.

Headed by Arvin Maskin, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is highly experienced in handling toxic tort litigation for high-profile clients such as ExxonMobil and Seacor Holdings. Led by Diane Sullivan and Theodore Tsekerides, the firm is serving as lead trial counsel for ExxonMobil in a number of state and federal court cases arising from pollution caused by the use of MTBE as an additive in gasoline. Sullivan is also representing Spanish energy company Repsol in litigation regarding the pollution of the Passaic River in New Jersey. All partners mentioned are based in New York.

Product liability, mass tort and class action: toxic tort - plaintiff

Index of tables

  1. Product liability, mass tort and class action: toxic tort - plaintiff
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

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    • Russell Budd - Baron & Budd, P.C.
    • Robert Gordon - Weitz & Luxenberg PC
    • Perry Weitz - Weitz & Luxenberg PC

The Los Angeles-based group at Baron & Budd, P.C. continues to represent plaintiffs in a number of high-profile environmental and asbestos lawsuits across the US, including the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Environmental litigation practice head Scott Summy is currently representing a public school district in Massachusetts against Monsanto in a lawsuit alleging the company was aware of the dangers of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) as early as the 1930s but failed to warn of the severe dangers associated with PCBs and their use in common building materials. Laura Baughman and Thomas Sims are leading the firm’s California Proposition 65 litigation team in representing the Environmental Law Foundation (ELF) against numerous food companies in cases involving elevated levels of lead in food products marketed for children and babies. Steve Baron and Russell Budd are other key names.

Marc Bern and Alan Ripka head the team at Bern Ripka LLP, following the demerger of Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik LLP. The New York-based team is experienced in a wide range of toxic tort litigation, including asbestos exposure and carbon monoxide poisoning. Trial veteran Joseph Cappelli has particular expertise in identifying chemical-related workplace hazards in the rail industry. Edward Marcowitz has extensive experience of representing individuals who were exposed to toxic chemicals in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Paul Napoli (who is now of counsel) and Hunter Shkolnik founded Napoli Shkolnik PLLC following the demerger of Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik LLP. The firm’s strong environmental litigation team regularly handles litigation involving oil spills, water contamination, chemical explosions and pesticide use. It is currently representing individuals in high-profile litigation related to the ongoing Flint, Michigan Water Crisis (pertaining to lead in drinking water). New York-based Marie Napoli, Miami-based Louise Caro and Edwardsville-based Patrick Haines are also recommended.

At Weitz & Luxenberg PC, of counsel Robin Greenwald was recently appointed to a leadership role in the high-profile federal MDL against Volkswagen alleging that Volkswagen sold consumers diesel vehicles programmed to pass smog tests by cheating, which resulted in significant pollution and the substantial devaluation of the vehicles. Greenwald is also leading the firm in representing 25 families in a lawsuit against Southern California Gas co. (SoCalGas) and Sempra Energy before the Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles following a gas leak at SoCalGas’ Aliso Canyon gas storage facility, which exposed residents in the community to noxious odors, gases, chemicals and numerous other pollutants and contaminants. Co-founder Perry Weitz and trial veteran Robert Gordon are also recommended. All partners listed are based in New York.

Motley Rice LLC has an impressive track record in a wide range of asbestos and toxic litigation, including hazardous chemical exposure, burn pit exposure and lead poisoning. Anne Kearse often represents employees diagnosed with mesothelioma following asbestos exposure in the chemicals, electric power generation and construction industries, as well as victims of residential exposure. Led by Jodi Flowers, the firm continues to file claims on behalf of first responders, clean-up workers and residents exposed to toxic chemicals following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Joseph Rice is one of the lawyers appointed to the plaintiffs’ steering committee in the Volkswagen emissions fraud case in the Northern District of California. The team is based in Mount Pleasant.

Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman, LLC has extensive experience in handling asbestos and environmental litigation, with particular expertise in representing plaintiffs who have suffered property damage arising from the removal of asbestos from their homes or places of business. Karl Novak has a strong track record of filing claims on behalf of workers who developed cancer and lung disease as a result of asbestos exposure. Environmental experts Jerry Evans and of counsel Gordon Rhea successfully assisted the Virgin Islands with negotiating settlements amounting to over $125m arising from groundwater contamination caused by oil refineries along the southern coast of St. Croix. Barnwell-based J David Butler, Gregory Lofstead and Charleston-based Michael Brickman are also recommended. All lawyers are based in Mount Pleasant unless otherwise stated.

Simmons Hanly Conroy often represents clients in high-stakes complex litigation across its offices in Illinois, New York, California and Missouri. The highly experienced Jayne Conroy in New York acted as co-chair of the Environmental Testing Committee in the MDL arising from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which recently concluded with a total national settlement of $20.9bn. Founder John Simmons, who is based in Alton, Illinois, has an impressive track record of obtaining significant verdicts and settlements for plaintiffs in asbestos litigation. Paul Hanly in New York and Michael Angelides in Alton are also recommended.

Securities litigation - defense

Index of tables

  1. Securities litigation - defense
  2. Leading lawyers

Clients of New York firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP say that it is ‘always outstanding’. It is ‘very impressive, a top firm with great team players who are smart and practical’. Some remark that ‘no firm demonstrates better teamwork in complex litigation or can muster the same cohesive intellectual firepower’. The firm is acting for 3G Capital and Heinz in securities and derivative litigation in Virginia and Illinois, with the greatly respected Sandra Goldstein at the helm. Antony Ryan won a motion to dismiss for Deloitte and argued the appeal in a case arising from SRM Global Master Fund’s purchase of total return swaps. The firm has a strong track record in RMBS litigation, with Richard Clary (‘strong intellect and credibility and shows creative leadership’) winning significant victories for Credit Suisse in cases brought by Commerzbank, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and others. Evan Chesler and Karin DeMasi represented DreamWorks Animation in a class action brought by shareholders alleging misrepresentation of financial performance, and along with Robert Baron (‘scary smart with a rapier wit and a tremendous work ethic’) they are defending Merck in a federal case concerning pain drug Vioxx. Daniel Slifkin and David Stuart are defending Akorn against allegations of mispresenting its business and internal controls. J Wesley Earnhardt and regulatory enforcement specialists Rachel Skaistis, John Buretta and Benjamin Gruenstein are also recommended.

Elite New York firm Davis Polk & Wardwell LLPhas a long history in the securities litigation field’ and is ‘willing to push cases all the way’. James Rouhandeh and Lawrence Portnoy are co-chairs of the practice, which has a strong track record in high-stakes litigation for large financial institutions, accounting firms, hedge funds and corporates. Rouhandeh and Charles Duggan played a lead role in defending underwriters of the Facebook IPO, including Citigroup Global Markets and Credit Suisse Securities, in multidistrict litigation (MDL) brought by the company’s shareholders. The firm also won numerous victories for Morgan Stanley in litigation arising from the financial crisis, with Rouhandeh, Brian Weinstein, Edmund Polubinski, Neal Potischman and Daniel Schwartz among the many partners involved. The caseload included 35 RMBS class and individual actions, ten repurchase matters, five CDO-related cases and two structured investment vehicle matters. Another highlight was the motion to dismiss secured by Portnoy and Polubinski for Prosensa Holding in cases arising from its IPO.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is ‘getting stronger and making its presence felt’, according to clients. The team, which spans the country, is headed jointly by Thad Davis in San Francisco, Meryl Young in Orange County, Jonathan Dickey in Palo Alto and Robert Serio in New York, and the firm earns praise for ‘a strong trial practice with a national scope and great breadth that is backed by one of the country’s leading appellate groups’. Dickey and San Francisco-based Brian Lutz secured the dismissal of a shareholder derivative action brought against JPMorgan directors arising from the bank’s $6bn ‘London Whale’ trading losses. The firm has recently notched up significant victories in securities litigation for Herbalife, Hewlett-Packard and UBS. Paul Collins in Palo Alto showed the firm’s prowess in the technology sector with the dismissal of a class action against Microsoft concerning a $900m charge the company took in relation to its Surface tablets. Mark Kirsch in New York argued for UBS and four senior executives to secure the dismissal of a putative class action relating to false or misleading claims in the aftermath of $2bn in unauthorized trades. Securities enforcement specialist Joseph Warin in Washington DC is also recommended.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in New York ‘has a fantastic litigation group and is first rate for directors and officers matters’. Clients describe ‘a great firm with great lawyers and true courtroom litigators’, including firm chair Brad Karp and Richard Rosen. The highly respected Daniel Kramer achieved the dismissal of a shareholder derivative suit for home security company ADT. Karp, Kramer and deputy chair of the securities litigation and enforcement group Audra Soloway represented Bank of America in numerous SEC and shareholder actions concerning allegations that it failed to disclose billions of dollars of losses by Merrill Lynch in the months before the two banks merged. Many members of the New York team have been involved in securities matters and regulatory enforcement actions for key client Citigroup, including Susanna Buergel, who is another deputy chair of the securities litigation and enforcement group, Charles Davidow, Bruce Birenboim and Claudia Hammerman. One significant case saw the firm secure a very favorable settlement in a matter arising from the sale of CDOs. The firm also advised Deutsche Bank on highly publicized multi-jurisdictional matters concerning alleged manipulation of LIBOR. Martin Flumenbaum and Andrew Ehrlich, a rising star who won a victory for Pfizer in federal court, are also recommended.

High-quality firmShearman & Sterling LLP has a strong financial institution client base and New York-based head of litigation Adam Hakki is ‘a rising star in all kinds of securities litigation’. With Stephen Hibbard in San Francisco, he represented the underwriters of the $25bn Alibaba IPO, including Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley, in a securities class action, and he played a key role in the defense of class actions for Bank of America, which faced allegations of manipulating forex benchmark rates. Joseph Frank and Brian Polovoy were involved in similar matters for Nomura Securities, which plaintiffs accused of manipulating the ISDAFIX benchmark used for interest rate swaps. Stuart Baskin is described as ‘one of the strongest lawyers in the field, very client-friendly and exceptionally strong in court’. His highlights included the defense of Mizuho Securities against allegations of manipulating the price of Treasury securities, which he worked on with Jerome Fortinsky. In RMBS matters, the firm is still acting for Countrywide Financial, Barclays and Nomura. Daniel Lewis and Jaculin Aaron are among the key lawyers for such matters.

First-rate firmSimpson Thacher & Bartlett LLPdoes excellent work’ out of New York thanks to its ‘smart, user-friendly, practical and business-minded lawyers’. The ‘highly recommended’ Jonathan Youngwood now co-heads the firm’s global litigation practice with Paul Curnin. Youngwood and Palo Alto-based Jonathan Kreissman (‘one of the most prominent securities litigators on the West Coast’) are defending Alibaba in shareholder litigation and an SEC investigation arising from its $25bn IPO - the largest in history - after share prices fell sharply. Youngwood is also acting for SeaWorld Entertainment in a class action claiming it under-reported the negative impact on its business of documentary film Blackfish. Curnin is currently advising AIG on shareholder matters. Paul Gluckow has taken a lead in auction rate securities litigation and has won significant victories for the likes of JPMorgan Securities. Peter Kazanoff plays a lead role in Ponzi scheme litigation, including the defense of Fairfield Greenwich in cases brought by investors after the collapse of Bernie Madoff’s scheme. David Woll and Thomas Rice secured a landmark victory for DB Structured Products in mortgage repurchase actions brought by ACE Securities Corp concerning RMBS products. The firm continues to handle multiple RMBS cases for Deutsche Bank, Bank of America and UBS.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is ‘outstanding, clearly a tier one firm’. It has been lead counsel in many of the largest securities class actions in US history and ‘has a lot of market share’ among financial institutions and public companies. New York-based Jay Kasner and Scott Musoff go from strength to strength and are currently representing the underwriters of Petrobras securities in matters arising from the alleged concealment of a multibillion-dollar kickback and bribery scheme, including many class actions in which the firm has secured the dismissal of all claims. The team is also defending the underwriters of four Barclays securities offerings against claims they failed to disclose exposure to subprime mortgages, and is acting for the underwriters of Santander Consumer’s IPO in a putative class action. Kasner and Musoff also secured the dismissal of a putative securities fraud class action for News Corp arising out of news-gathering practices at The News of the World and The Sun newspapers. Susan Saltzstein in New York and Charles Schwartz in Houston are also recommended. The firm is a leading name in the representation of Chinese and other non-US issuers in securities class actions.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLPhas decades of experience in the securities business and a blue-chip client base to its litigation practice’. The practice is overseen by New York-based David Braff, who focuses on banking and securities matters. The team has taken a lead role in the new wave of high-frequency trading litigation, and Jeffrey Scott secured the dismissal of a dark pool-related MDL against Barclays. Braff also advised Barclays on multiple investigations into alleged manipulation of the forex and ISDAFIX financial benchmarks. Robert Giuffra’s highlights included securing the dismissal of a shareholder derivative suit for Cablevision. Richard Klapper reached a favorable settlement for Goldman Sachs in RMBS litigation brought by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Sharon Nelles represented JPMorgan in the FHFA’s RMBS litigation and was appointed by 12 financial institutions to lead their joint defense of RMBS and LIBOR claims. Richard Pepperman II and Washington DC-based Daryl Libow defended BP against claims of negligent misrepresentation arising out of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Robert Sacks in Los Angeles is one of California’s leading securities litigators.

Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP is ‘exceptional, it has an incredible understanding of many businesses and provides highly responsive, principled and perceptive advice in intense situations’. The firm is a leader in cases involving complex financial products and has ‘a strong, efficient team of great people who are experts in substantive and procedural law’. In New York, Herbert Washer, who is defending Credit Suisse in all matters concerning alleged manipulation of LIBOR, and David Januszewski, who won an important victory for MarineMax in the Eastern District of New York, are highly recommended. Floyd Abrams has represented McGraw Hill Financial in over 50 cases concerning S&P ratings of subprime mortgage-backed securities. Charles Gilman secured a string of victories for Deutsche Bank, including a motion for summary judgment and the dismissal of a multibillion-dollar claim brought by Sebastian Holdings. Newly promoted David Wishengrad focuses exclusively on securities litigation and regulatory enforcement. The firm also hired Washington DC-based regulatory enforcement specialist Bradley Bondi from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP and New York-based Pierre Gentin, former head of litigation and risk for Credit Suisse.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in New York ‘has deep expertise and knowledge of the law, provides superior advice and has specialist knowledge of complex financial products’. Lewis Liman and Meredith Kotler are the key partners in the practice, which counts Bank of America, Google, HSBC, Citigroup and Dow among its clients. Five partners including Roger Cooper and ‘really excellent lawyer’ Mitchell Lowenthal are representing Petrobras in a securities fraud class action filed in New York alleging communications to investors contained materially false and misleading statements. The case is the largest securities litigation matter ever brought in the US. Cooper and Lawrence Friedman are involved in heavyweight litigation for Atlantic Power Corporation. Kotler’s highlights included winning a motion to dismiss for Barclays Bank in claims arising out of its investment in CDOs, and representing a leading bank in investigations into the manipulation of ISDAFIX.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP does ‘market-leading securities work for insurance companies and has a strong regulatory investigations practice’. John Kiernan - co-chair of the firm’s litigation practice - has star players in the New York team in Maeve O’Connor and Edwin Schallert, who have represented significant clients in high-profile matters such as MetLife, Prudential Financial, the board of directors of Dell and the former CFO of Hertz. O’Connor’s most recent work for MetLife involved the defense of multiple shareholder class actions in federal and state courts challenging the insurer’s payments of death benefits; she won dismissal of nearly all the claims. In the Hertz matter, O’Connor and Schallert won a motion to dismiss claims that the company misstated its financial position. Bruce Yannett and Gary Kubek are key advisers to JPMorgan Chase on RMBS investigation and derivative litigation. Also recommended are Colby Smith and Jonathan Tuttle in Washington DC, whose clients include Barrick Gold Corporation. The firm has a substantial hedge fund and private equity client base.

Dechert LLP has ‘a vigorous and spirited defense team’ that is ‘very strong, especially in representing directors and officers’. The firm’s outstanding partners include global litigation head Matthew Larrabee (‘tough and aggressive’, ‘very impressive in oral advocacy and in all presentations’) and Andrew Levander (‘a superstar, very bright, measured and strategic’) in New York, and David Kistenbroker in Chicago. Larrabee and David Kotler are acting for Calamos in a $100m lawsuit brought by two shareholders in one of the company’s mutual funds. Levander is involved in a $200m matter for Universal American. Kistenbroker is representing Delcath Systems in a shareholder class action alleging the company made false and misleading statements about its application for new liver cancer drug Melblez. Clients also praise Michael Doluisio in Philadelphia as ‘very straightforward and good on the details’ and New York-based Hector Gonzalez. The firm is one of the leaders in the mutual fund area and in ’40 Act matters.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s team ‘provides an excellent level of service’. Central to the practice is a strong Chicago office, which houses key players Mike Brock and Richard Godfrey, and the pair were part of a team defending BP in securities litigation alleging material misrepresentation of the value of stock prior to and following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Another highlight is an appeal for General Motors arising from its IPO, in which Robert Kopecky obtained dismissal with prejudice. Mark Filip’s docket included a securities fraud class action and three derivative actions for Hospira in which plaintiffs alleged failure to disclose quality control problems at a manufacturing facility. Robert Khuzami in New York stands out in an enforcement practice with ‘an impeccable record’ and advised Pershing Square Capital Management in 10b-5 litigation arising from its joint bid to acquire pharmaceutical company Allergan. In another IPO-related matter, Andrew Clubok in New York defended Facebook in shareholder class actions and derivative lawsuits. On the West Coast, a team from the Los Angeles office is advising RBS Securities and affiliates in three lawsuits relating to mortgage-backed securities and CDOs. Joshua Rabinovitz in Chicago and Yosef Riemer in New York are also recommended.

Latham & Watkins LLPhas a record that compares well with any firm’. Jeff Hammel and Christopher Clark in New York and Brian Glennon in Los Angeles chair the securities litigation practice. Glennon and Patrick Gibbs in Silicon Valley are defending Apple in a securities class action that alleges liability for false and misleading statements made by a third-party supplier; the case could have huge impact on the scope of liability under federal law. Hammel’s highlights included representing directors and officers of Bank of Austria in litigation arising from the Madoff Ponzi scheme. In New York, James Brandt is acting for BNP Paribas board members in a breach of fiduciary duty claim, and Richard Owens is representing the British Bankers’ Association against allegations of manipulating LIBOR. Peter Wald in San Francisco is ‘an impressive attorney with presence and integrity, who can cut through legal issues with precision’, and with Miles Ruthberg in New York he is advising one of the firm’s many accounting industry clients Deloitte on a $1.3bn negligent representation matter. The Chicago office also has a strong team that includes Sean Berkowitz and SEC veteran John Sikora.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, which continues to build on its merger with Bingham McCutchen, has a securities litigation team of ‘exceptional attorneys and great negotiators’. These include Charlene Shimada in San Francisco, Marc Sonnenfeld in Philadelphia, Jordan Hershman in Boston and Jeffrey Smith in New York. Sonnenfeld is a key part of the team that handles all shareholder litigation for Hewlett-Packard and won a motion to dismiss in a class action filed in California. Shimada is defending underwriters including Jefferies in a ’33 Act class action in which the plaintiffs are re-pleading after a motion to dismiss was secured. Hershman and Boston colleague Jason Frank won the dismissal of a putative class action filed against Freddie Mac in Ohio, as it has done in all of the multibillion-dollar cases for that client arising from the 2008 financial crisis. The firm has a deep bench and other recommended partners include Michael Kraut, Susan DiCicco, Steven Brody and Amy Greer in New York; Merri Jo Gillette and SEC veteran Peter Chan in Chicago; and Dale Barnes in San Francisco.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLPhas an excellent shareholder litigation defense team, particularly in California’, and across the country it is known for ‘a deep bench with very talented lawyers in SEC and regulatory areas’. James Kramer in San Francisco is one of the firm’s leading lights and he defeated a shareholder class action for NVIDIA - after its stock price fell by 30% - by obtaining a precedent-setting ruling from the Ninth Circuit regarding disclosure under Rule 10b-5. With Robert Varian he won dismissal of a case against Electronic Arts arising from the release of its Battlefield 4 game. Varian and Kenneth Herzinger won in the last of 20 shareholder suits filed against Chesapeake Energy claiming breaches of fiduciary duty. Los Angeles-based Michael Tu ‘cares about clients and has innovative ways of solving their problems’. The firm is still active in mortgage-backed securities matters, with Jason Halper in New York representing Bank of America in securitization litigation; and in Seattle, Daniel Dunne and Paul Rugani - who are ‘among the most creative and strategic lawyers, and always have an eye on the endgame’ - are representing Credit Suisse Securities in cases brought by monoline insurers of RMBS trusts. William Alderman in San Francisco, George Greer in Seattle and Washington DC-based Elaine Greenberg are also recommended. A new addition to the practice is Robert Stern, who joined the firm's Washington DC office from O’Melveny & Myers LLP.

Among the leaders of the pack in securities litigation’, Sidley Austin LLP provides ‘top-notch service with excellent responsiveness and subject matter expertise’. Its team spans the US, with outstanding partners spread throughout its office network. The three leaders of the practice are the ‘absolutely terrificYvette Ostolaza in Dallas, Hille Sheppard in Chicago and the ‘experienced and practicalSara Brody in San Francisco. In Chicago, ‘all-round great litigatorJames Ducayetensures all pieces of a defense strategy fit together’ and ‘great thinker and strategistDavid Graham is recommended. Ducayet defended ADM and its board in a derivative action brought by shareholders in Illinois state court, and he and Graham are defending Tellabs and two of its former officers in consolidated securities class actions. In New York, Andrew Stern counts JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America among his clients. He is also involved in the new wave of energy sector matters, including shareholder derivative actions for Duke Energy. Robert Pietrzak defended two putative class actions for PetroChina. Among the firm’s many standout lawyers is Norman Blears in Palo Alto, who is a renowned expert in litigation and SEC enforcement matters.

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katzmakes a real impact and is a doctrinal leader in securities litigation’. Clients says it is ‘innovative and influential’ and ‘staffs matters leanly with true subject matter experts’. Jonathan Moses and William Savitt lead the 28-partner team, which focuses on M&A disputes and securities litigation. The firm continues to advise Bank of America on its remaining mortgage-backed securities cases, and for JPMorgan won dismissal of the majority of claims relating to the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. John Savarese also handled litigation for JPMorgan arising from the Madoff Ponzi scheme. George Conway and Marc Wolinsky represented Hewlett-Packard in long-running securities litigation and derivative matters arising from its $11.7bn Autonomy acquisition. Elaine Golin, Ted Mirvis and Meyer Koplow - all of whom represented Bank of America in multibillion-dollar litigation - are recommended.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP has ‘exceptional litigators and incredible bench strength and expertise’, and its team is described as ‘responsive, practical and deftly strategic’. Co-leading the team from New York are John Neuwirth - who led a team that won dismissal of a securities fraud class action against pharmaceutical giant Sanofi alleging it artificially inflated its stock price - and Joseph Allerhand - who won appellate victories for lululemon athletica in a stockholder derivative action and a shareholder class action. Neuwirth persuaded the Connecticut Superior Court to grant a motion to strike in a $1.15bn shareholder class action against ATMI. Highlights for former federal prosecutor and ‘one of the best litigators on the planetJonathan Polkes included defending a class action for retail operator Francesca’s Holdings concerning disclosure of revenue projections. Also recommended are Miranda Schiller, who defeated a $57m claim against Vivendi, and Stephen Radin, who helped Allerhand achieve a motion to dismiss in a case against Fairway Group Holdings.

WilmerHale is ‘best in class, it offers extraordinary service’ and is praised for being ‘cost-sensitive and client-oriented’. The practice focuses heavily on regulatory enforcement matters and is chaired from Washington DC by William McLucas. Fraser Hunter in New York is co-vice chair and is defending Royal Bank of Scotland in a LIBOR-related MDL. A highlight for Peter MacDonald is the defense of UBS Financial Services in matters relating to the Puerto Rico bond market, including investor arbitrations. The DC office has a strong team that includes Christopher Davies, Harry Weiss, John Valentine and former head of the SEC’s trial unit Matthew Martens. Michael Bongiorno in New York is ‘simply the best - a go-to lawyer and an exceptional courtroom advocate’. Andrea Robinson leads the Boston securities group, which also includes Timothy Perla.

At Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, ‘the level of service is superb’, and clients appreciate its ‘great track record in securities litigation and regulatory expertise few firms can match’. Seasoned trial lawyer Louis Solomon is co-chair of the litigation department and is leading two teams featuring Hal Shaftel and Colin Underwood in the defense of AriZona Iced Tea in a matters exceeding $1bn in value concerning the company’s valuation. Martin Seidel is currently defending Salix Pharmaceutical in a securities class action alleging breaches of sections 10b and 20a of the ’34 Act. The ‘outstanding’ Gregory Markel is defending Morgan Stanley in a class action brought by commodities traders alleging the manipulation of the price of Brent crude oil futures and the Platts price benchmark. Jonathan Hoff is also recommended. Israel Dahan and Peter Isajiw joined King & Spalding LLP, and Bradley Bondi left for Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP.

James Wareham joined Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP as the new global chair of the firm’s litigation team, a move which expands its capability in the securities space. Wareham joined in Washington DC from DLA Piper LLP (US), as did James Anklam, who is advising Under Amour on shareholder lawsuits challenging the issuance of a new class of shares to incentivize the company’s founder. Key names in the New York office include longstanding partners, such as William McGuinness and Israel David, and more recent hires in the form of Stephen Juris and Lawrence Gerschwer. McGuinness and David are representing the founder of Suntech Power on a class action filed in California. Securities enforcement expert Evan Barr is also recommended. David Hennes and former practice vice-chair Gregg Weiner joined Ropes & Gray LLP.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP has ‘a practice made increasingly strong by key hires’. The team is co-chaired by Bradford Kaufman in West Palm Beach and William Briendel (who leads on broker-dealer matters) and Robert Horowitz in New York. Peter Rush (who joined in Chicago from K&L Gates) and Donald Davidson (who joined in San Francisco from Winston & Strawn LLP) both add significant SEC enforcement capabilities. Further hires include Terri Mazur from Kaye Scholer LLP in New York (who advises financial institutions on securities litigation), an experienced team from Boston-based boutique Michaels, Ward & Rabinovitz, and two specialists from Morgan Stanley in Chicago. Richard Edlin, who chairs the broader New York litigation practice, advised JPMorgan Securities on numerous high-value mortgage-backed securities cases. Also recommended are Joseph Coates in West Palm Beach, Steven Malina in Chicago, Terry Weiss in Atlanta, George Sullivan in White Plains, Hilarie Bass and David Coulson in Miami, and Paul Schumacher in Los Angeles.

The New York office of Mayer Brown is home to two co-heads of the firm’s securities litigation and corporate governance action group in the form of Joseph De Simone and Richard Rosenfeld, with Washington DC-based Matthew Rossi the third. De Simone and Richard Spehr are currently engaged in massive securities and derivative actions for a major financial institution concerning complex financial instruments and mortgage-backed securities. A strong team in New York that includes Matthew Ingber and Christopher Houpt is engaged in multibillion-dollar matters for Bank of New York Mellon that relate to its role as trustee in RMBS transactions. Steven Wolowitz is also central to the practice and he is acting for Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in a $200m dispute. Michele Odorizzi in Chicago is also recommended.

At Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP in New York, George Canellos and Daniel Perry lead the litigation and arbitration group, in which firm chairman Scott Edelman (‘a top-level trial lawyer for complex securities matters’) and Sean Murphy also stand out. Antonia Apps, who has in-house experience at the US attorney’s office, is a key figure in the firm’s regulatory practice, and with Edelman and Canellos she is representing American Realty Capital Properties in investigations arising from its restatement of its financial position. David Gelfand is another prominent name, and with Murphy he is representing Rabobank in a class action concerning allegations of the manipulation of LIBOR. The firm is handling a multibillion-dollar class action for Commerz Markets, and a $100m CDO case for Putnam Advisory Company. Robert Hora, Thomas Arena and James Benedict are also recommended.

Morrison & Foerster LLP is known for ‘a client-oriented approach to costs and logical strategic planning’. Securities litigation, enforcement and white-collar criminal defense team co-chairs Jordan Eth in San Francisco and Joel Haims in New York, working with Dan Marmalefsky in Los Angeles, represented BlackBerry in multiple securities fraud class actions, and secured dismissal of a case alleging misstatements to investors. Another highlight for Eth and San Francisco-based Anna Erickson White was the defense of Yahoo! in a case arising from its ownership of a stake in Alibaba Group. Judson Lobdell served as co-lead lawyer in the representation of Countrywide directors, executives at SunPower Corporation and many others. In Palo Alto, Darryl Rains and Erik Olson are recommended.

At O’Melveny & Myers LLP, Jonathan Rosenberg in New York took over from Jeffrey Kilduff in Washington DC as head of the securities litigation team, which has a strong track record in representing underwriters in major securities class actions. It is ‘a go-to firm for underwriting syndicates’ and counts Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs among its clients. It won a major victory for these three banks by convincing plaintiffs to voluntarily dismiss them from a class action in re Groupon, Inc. Securities Litigation. The firm also acts for many issuer clients and is representing Starz Entertainment in a 10b-5 class action filed in California. It is a leading player in litigation against US-listed Chinese companies. Among the recommended partners are Bradley Butwin, Andrew Bednark and Bill Sushon in New York, Michael Walsh in Washington DC, and Seth Aronson and Matthew Close in Los Angeles. Robert Stern recently moved to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

Paul Hastings LLP has ‘a good team that is very responsive’. The securities litigation practice has a strong and growing presence in New York, where Douglas Flaum is a co-chair, and a prominent position on the West Coast, where Peter Stone leads a Palo Alto team. Flaum’s highlights included the defense of Goldman Sachs in litigation in the New York Supreme Court. Los Angeles-based William Sullivanunderstands the issues and the client’s constraints on cost and timing’, and with Stone he secured a settlement with no monetary damages for officers of technology company Masimo Corporation. New York-based global litigation chair Barry Sher is ‘an incredible legal mind and excellent advocate’ and is representing underwriters such as Barclays Capital and Citigroup Global Markets in a purported class action against SeaWorld Entertainment alleging misleading statements in the IPO prospectus. Also recommended are New York-based Kevin Logue, Edward Han in Palo Alto and Samuel Cooper in Houston, who is one of the most active securities litigators in Texas.

At Proskauer Rose LLP, ‘the level of service is excellent’, and the firm has ‘outstanding lawyers who understand clients’ business’. Jonathan Richman and Gregg Mashberg lead the practice from New York. Mashberg and Stephen Ratner defended the high-profile $7.2bn claim against Depository Trust Company following a multibillion-dollar leveraged buyout. Richman and Washington DC-based Ralph Ferrara, who was once general counsel at the SEC and ‘knows the regulatory side inside out’, acted for Vestas Wind Systems in a putative class action concerning the interpretation of revenue recognition rules. Ferrara and Ann Ashton, who leads the Washington DC litigation group, represented a special committee of Hewlett-Packard’s board of directors in an independent review of shareholder derivative cases alleging breach of duties in the $11.7bn acquisition of Autonomy.

Litigation boutique Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington DC ‘has a reputation as a great trial firm’. It works extensively for large corporates and has a strong SEC enforcement practice. Robert Van Kirk, who is a regular adviser to The Carlyle Group, and Steven Farina lead the practice. Farina represented the New York Stock Exchange in two class actions relating to high-frequency trading. Kannon Shanmugam is leading the defense of Omnicare in a case that is defining whether a statement can be classed as misleading because it turns out to be wrong, and defended NASDAQ in a case alleging negligence following the IPO of Facebook. Veteran litigator Brendan Sullivan achieved a favorable settlement in Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System v Neustar, Inc., et al in a case concerning misleading statements. John Villa, Kevin Downey and Hackney Wiegmann are other names to note.

Winston & Strawn LLP is ‘fabulous, a first-rate litigation firm’ and group chair James Smith is ‘a great lawyer with excellent judgment’. Working with Smith in New York, Matthew DiRisio (‘a rising star, smart, sensible and knowledgeable’) and Richard Reinthaler are greatly respected. Los Angeles-based John Schreiber is ‘one of the up-and-coming lawyers in this space’, and with Smith and Reinthaler played a key role in one of the highest-profile securities cases in recent years against Omnicare, obtaining a favorable judgment in the Supreme Court. Smith and Reinthaler are also leading the defense of RCS Capital in a 10b-5 case following a fall in stock prices related to the disclosure by American Realty Capital Properties - which shares a chairman with RCS - that it intentionally concealed accounting errors. The firm has a strong team across the country, with highly capable partners such as Caryn Jacobs and Robert Sperling in Chicago, and Casey Berger in Houston. Neal Marder, moved to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

Veronica Rendón Callahan in New York and regulatory enforcement expertMichael Trager in Washington DC are key figures at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP. Experienced Washington DC-based trial lawyer Scott Schreiber and San Francisco-based Gilbert Serota (who has extensive trial and appellate experience) are recommended, as is Daniel Hawke , who joined in Washington DC from his post as chief of the SEC’s Market Abuse Unit. The above named lawyers are all from the legacy Arnold & Porter firm. The legacy Kaye Scholer group, which ‘provides the highest-quality service any client can expect’, includes Vincent Sama , described as ‘one of the top “bet-the-company” litigators in the country, who constantly comes up with innovative and thoughtful ideas that result in winning strategies’, as well as ‘great lawyers and problem-solvers’ Catherine Schumacher and Daphne Morduchowitz.

David Sterling chairs Baker Botts L.L.P.’s litigation department out of Houston, from where the firm serves the needs of an enviable stable of energy sector clients. With appellate partner Aaron Streett and Jessica Pulliam in Dallas, Sterling acted for Halliburton and its CEO in a $1bn securities class action alleging misrepresentation of liabilities in one of the most widely followed cases in the US. In New York, Douglas Henkin’s longstanding relationship with the New York Stock Exchange led to the firm representing it in high-frequency trading and market data pricing litigation. Seth Taube is highly recommended and is also based in New York. Dallas-based Tom O’Brien is defending Grant Thornton against a Section 11 claim alleging omission of material facts in the financial statements of Bankrate before a secondary share offering. The firm also has a strong group in Washington DC.

Cohen & Gresser LLP has ‘seasoned securities professionals who are smart, aggressive and yet user-friendly’. Mark Cohen’s team features experienced securities litigators trained in top tier New York firms and its recent highlights include the defense of billion-dollar class actions relating to mortgage-backed securities, and the representation of a major broker-dealer in auction rate securities cases. C Evan Stewart is a first port of call for Goldman Sachs Private Wealth Management. Stewart, co-founder Lawrence Gresser, Gale Dick and Scott Thomson are ‘impressive’. Gresser successfully defended a major investment bank in a securities class action alleging violations of anti-fraud provisions. Daniel Tabak frequently advises Goldman Sachs on securities litigation and arbitration matters.

Cooley LLP is the foremost firm on the West Coast for life sciences, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and nationwide is a popular among corporates for the defense of class actions. John Dwyer in Palo Alto acted for organic and natural foods company Annie’s in a securities class action and shareholder derivative litigation concerning its financial controls and revisions to its financial statements. Lyle Roberts in Washington DC won a victory for CenturyLink by securing the dismissal with prejudice of two class actions alleging securities fraud, and also succeeded in having two consolidated class actions against mobile advertising company Millennial Media dismissed. Koji Fukumura in San Diego is also recommended.

Covington & Burling LLP’s compact practice punches above its weight in complex securities litigation. William Phillips and Mark Gimbel co-chair the national securities and commercial litigation practice from New York. Together they defended the SandRidge Energy CEO and other officers in a class action alleging misrepresentation of the value of oil and gas assets. Gimbel and Robert Wick are advising JPMorgan Securities on an MDL concerning alleged manipulation of Treasury securities. David Kornblau, co-chair of securities enforcement, leads a team of renowned enforcement specialists, including Washington DC-based Bruce Baird and, in San Francisco, David Bayless and rising star Tammy Albarrán.

DLA Piper LLP (US) is ‘right in the mix’ for securities litigation. James Mathias in Baltimore and John Clarke in New York lead the team, which is spread across the US. Clarke won a motion to dismiss for clients including Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Global markets in a class action relating to trusts associated with SandRidge Energy. Also in New York, Tim Hoeffner represented a pharmaceutical company in a 10b-5 matter. Robert Brownlie in San Diego is handling a stock drop case for SolarWinds. John Pendleton and Andrew Bunn in the New Jersey office advised Bank of New York Mellon on matters arising from the collapse of Refco, in which joint official liquidators of the SPhinX Funds sought $459m in damages. Perrie Weiner in Los Angeles and Shirli Weiss in San Diego are among the other prominent practitioners.

Dentons is ‘an increasingly credible alternative to Wall Street firms’. Sandra Hauser leads the practice from New York and, with Patrick Gennardo, she successfully defended MetLife in five federal class actions alleging misrepresentation of the company’s financial status. Reid Ashinoff, who represents Genworth Financial, is also recommended. In Chicago, Stephen Senderowitz from Winston & Strawn LLP is a key hire, and he is acting for Citadel Securities against claims, brought by shareholders of Escala Group, of naked short selling of Escala Group shares. The firm’s merger with McKenna Long & Aldridge brought in an enforcement team in Washington DC with experience at the SEC, including Nancy Grunberg and Treazure Johnson.

Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP ‘consistently performs at the highest level of the profession’. The New York office fielded a team including William Maguire, James Kobak and Christopher Kiplok (‘excellent hands-on interaction to adroitly drive proceedings forward’) to defend a trustee for the SIPA liquidation of Lehman Brothers. Edward Little and Marc Weinstein, who advised Bear Stearns executives, and Sarah Cave, who can ‘face off against the top lawyers in the country and achieve remarkable results’, are also recommended. Kevin Abikoff in Washington DC also garners high praise. The FDIC is a key client for securities litigation.

Jones Dayprovides outstanding service’. The ‘down-to-earth, aggressive and thorough’ team is led by Robert Gaffey in New York and Peter Romatowski in Washington DC, and is ‘responsive, a pleasure to work with and the product is exceptional’. The New York team’s high-profile matters included the defense of a $1.9bn suit against Garmin. Robert Micheletto ‘brings a lot of experience to the table’. From Dallas, a team including Patricia Villalreal defended a class action for NII Holdings. ‘Strong all-round litigator’ Geoffrey Ritts in Cleveland and DC-based Joan McKown are also recommended.

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLPhas a growing practice on the public company side and in regulatory enforcement’. Practice co-head Bruce Vanyo, based in Los Angeles and New York, ‘has been well known forever in this space’. He represented Amarin Corporation in a 10b-5 case following a fall in its stock price related to its cholesterol drug Vascepa. Richard Zelichov in Los Angeles had a successful year, with highlights such as a defending a section 10(b) securities class action for Enzymotec alleging failure to disclose important information in its IPO offering documents. Rising star Michael Diver in Chicago, who is co-head of the team with Vanyo, handled a high-value class action and regulatory enforcement matters for a major pharmaceutical company. William Regan moved to Hogan Lovells US LLP.

King & Spalding LLP has a broad litigation practice spread over eight US offices that ‘combines expertise in litigation, trial skills and securities’. New York-based Paul Bessette secured the dismissal with prejudice of a putative class action by investors in ATP Oil & Gas alleging the company falsely projected increases in production. Michael Smith in Atlanta won a motion to dismiss in re Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A. Securities Litigation, and Warren Pope secured the dismissal of all claims in Mary Ann Digan, et al., v Linger Longer Development Company, et al. Israel Dahan and Peter Isajiw joined in New York from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP to add experience in high-stakes securities litigation, complementing previous hires in the regulatory enforcement area from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, including Carmen Lawrence and William Johnson in New York, and Dixie Johnson in Washington DC.

New York-based Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP provides ‘a level of service pretty much without equal’, according to one client. Barry Berke and the ‘always available’ Gary Naftalis (‘one of a kind, a smart and brilliant attorney’) lead the practice, in which Alan Friedman and former plaintiff lawyer John Coffey are also highly recommended. Naftalis and the ‘smart and helpful’ David Frankel are defending former McKinsey director Rajat Gupta in a high-profile insider trading case. Arthur Aufses secured the dismissal with prejudice of all claims in a shareholder class action filed against CRM Holdings. Trial lawyer Michael Dell does ‘consistently high-quality work and does a really good job developing consensus in a case’.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP has a large securities team that spans the US. Frederic Firestone in Washington DC has extensive in-house experience at the SEC’s enforcement division and is currently handling high-value regulatory matters for the director of a global pharmaceutical company. In Chicago, Jeffrey Stone is a popular choice for regulatory investigations. Highlights for Steve Scholes included the defense of officers of Pacific Gas and Electric Company in a high-profile case arising from the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion. Joel Chefitz is also recommended. On behalf of Smith & Wesson, John Sten in Boston secured the dismissal of a shareholder derivative action alleging breach of fiduciary duty.

New York-based litigation boutique Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello P.C. has a ‘very talented, experienced and tough’ team. Lawrence Iason, Robert Anello, Elkan Abramowitz and Edward Spiro are ‘at the top of their game’. Spiro defended directors and officers of Merck & Co in derivative litigation concerning alleged delays to publishing disappointing clinical trial results, and represented Merrill Lynch in New Mexico state court regarding the state’s purchase of CDOs. Anello secured an initial win for the former chairman of a European investment management firm in a case brought by Cayman Island hedge funds. The 16-partner team now includes ‘a superstar’ in Brian Jacobs, who joined from the US Attorney’s Office.

Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP is praised as an ‘excellent firm’ and ‘a top firm for representing individual employees in regulatory matters’. The New York-based team has recently represented individuals in FHFA litigation, and has defended a class action involving the Tokyo Interbank Offered Rate for Euroyen. Daniel Zinman ‘does a perfect job in securities enforcement matters’, and he and Rowan Gaither defended executives of Bank of America Merrill Lynch in RMBS litigation brought by MassMutual. Shari Brandt and Brian Fraser were successful in having inter-dealer broker ICAP dismissed from a case concerning the alleged manipulation of LIBOR. Craig Newman joined Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP to focus on plaintiff-side work.

Climbing the ranking is Ropes & Gray LLP, which has expanded its securities litigation and regulatory enforcement capability with key hires such as ‘first-rate litigator’ David Hennes, who joined in New York from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP. The practice is led from Boston by Jane Willis and Robert Jones, and from New York by Zachary Brez. Boston-based John Donovan won a big victory for Goldman Sachs at trial in a case alleging that it misled shareholders of Dragon Systems, and Randy Bodner acted in a class action for Apricus Biosciences. Richard Gallagher in San Francisco led settlement negotiations in re Biolase, Inc. Securities Litigation, in which plaintiffs made allegations of false and misleading financial statements. The firm has a strong buy-side focus and is a key player in matters involving big pharmaceutical companies and private equity funds.

Securities is the biggest focus for Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP’s litigation group, which is led by New York-based Martin Perschetz and Howard Schiffman in Washington DC. Schiffman and Michael Swartz secured the dismissal of a securities fraud claim against NatWest Bank. Perschetz and Gary Stein successfully opposed a motion for class certification in a claim by shareholders in Monster Beverage Corporation who claimed it overstated the benefits of a distribution deal to boost stock prices. Robert Abrahams and Harry Davis count various Tullett Prebon entities among their clients. Charles Clark in New York joined from Kirkland & Ellis LLP and is advising some of the firm’s leading hedge fund clients. Clients also praise Washington DC-based Eric Bensky.

Vinson & Elkins LLP provides ‘solid value and excellent service’. Highly recommended are Clifford Thau in New York and securities group co-heads Steven Paradise, also in New York, and Michael Holmes in Dallas. The ‘practical and knowledgeableMichael Charlson in San Francisco is ‘a cut above - a seasoned and smart securities litigator’ and Jennifer Poppe in Austin is ‘very knowledgeable about SEC processes’. In Houston, John Wander, who leads the firm’s complex litigation department, acted for KBR in a complex SEC investigation into confidentiality agreements. The firm has a strong presence in the energy sector but also advises clients such as Medical Action Industries, Cohmad Securities and Lone Pine Resources.

Accounting expert Michael Young in New York and former clerk to the late Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia, Richard Bernstein in Washington DC lead the securities litigation and enforcement practice group at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, which is known for providing ‘valuable expertise and guidance’. It has been involved in some of most high-profile securities class actions, such as the defense of Lehman Brothers Holdings in RMBS claims in which Todd Cosenza deflected rulings that would have increased its liability by $7bn. The firm is also advising Facebook on class actions and derivative lawsuits.

Highlights for Andrews Kurth LLP included the defense of an insurance company in a multibillion-dollar class action, a federal MDL and multiple appellate proceedings. Bradley Foster and rising star Matthew Nielsen in Dallas and David Whittlesey in Austin are taking the lead on those matters. Nielsen also acted for a former owner of McGinn Smith in an SEC matter alleging violations of sections 10b and 17 of the ’34 Act. James Maloney recently left and set up his own law office.

Baker & Hostetler LLP expanded its New York team, bringing in Geoffrey Coll from Schiff Hardin LLP who brings 20 years of experience in class actions. He is acting for trustees of Virtus Mutual Funds in an SEC investigation. Marc Powers continues to be a significant player in the securities field, and he, Jessie Gabriel and Dean Hunt advised the CEO of Geophysical Technology on a class action relating to annual and quarterly financial statements. Also recommended is Mark Kornfeld, who is representing BlackRock Advisors.

At Fenwick & West LLP in San Francisco, chair of the securities enforcement group Susan Muck and chair of the securities litigation practice Kevin Muck are ‘very good and the firm has an increasingly strong practice’. Michael Dicke, a former associate regional director for enforcement at the SEC in San Francisco, has great depth of experience in regulatory matters. In Plymouth County Retirement System v Model N Inc. et al, Susan Muck is defending a class action that alleges material misstatements or omissions in Model N’s IPO in 2013. Kevin Muck is representing King Digital Entertainment - the company behind Candy Crush Saga - in a shareholder class action concerning allegations that the registration statement for its $300m IPO was misleading.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP in New York is ‘great, a very strong practice, and an industry leader for international matters with outstanding experience in complex financial litigation’. ‘Skilled litigatorMarshall Fishman is ‘extremely prepared and very focused’. He secured the dismissal of a shareholder derivative action against Meridian Capital Partners in a case related to the Madoff Ponzi scheme, and he secured the dismissal of securities fraud claims against Citigroup. Tim Harkness and Gabrielle Gould are also recommended.

Goodwin Procter LLPdoes a terrific job’ and clients praise the ‘tremendousMark Holland in New York who ‘helps guide clients through uncharted waters with an easy but effective manner’. Brian Pastuszenski won the dismissal of a securities fraud case for Bank of America in the long-running Countrywide mortgage-backed securities case. Stephen Poss is Massachusetts counsel for Dell in shareholder litigation. In Boston, Todd Cronan successfully represented Education Management Corporation in shareholder disputes exceeding $100m. Also recommended are Michael Isenman in Washington DC and Mike Jones in Silicon Valley.

At Herrick, Feinstein LLP in New York, Therese Doherty and Howard Elisofon are co-chairs of the securities, futures and derivatives practice. Doherty is known for her trial and arbitration skills. Elisofon, who is handling a high-profile DOJ and SEC action relating to insider trading, is known for his skills in the regulatory enforcement space. Seasoned litigator Arthur Jakoby has a strong track record of representing companies, hedge funds, private equity firms and executives in complex matters.

Jenner & Block LLP’s Howard Suskin in Chicago represented Merge Healthcare in a 10b-5 class action alleging overstatement of its subscription backlog figures. Stephen Ascher and Richard Ziegler in New York represented Brookfield Asset Management in a declaratory judgment action against AIG in a $1.5bn dispute in federal court. Thomas Newkirk in Washington DC is also recommended.

Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP in New York is a financial markets litigation boutique that plays a role in high-profile litigation, such as the multibillion-dollar Loreley Financing case in which Sheron Korpus secured a Second Circuit victory for the CDO investor. Mark Ressler counts UniCredit among his clients and is helping the financial services company overhaul its litigation strategy in securities matters. Also recommended are Marc Kasowitz, who is representing U.S. Bank and HSBC in RMBS-related matters, and Hector Torres.

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP has an outstanding reputation among energy companies and is an increasingly popular choice as counsel to financial institutions. Gerard Pecht in Houston leads the litigation practice and, along with Austin-based Peter Stokes, he won the dismissal of a 10b-5 class action and four derivative lawsuits for Magnum Hunter Resources that followed a $200m fall in the company’s capitalization after a drop in its stock price. The firm also resolved a first-of-its-kind SEC enforcement action against Houston American Energy. Rodney Acker in Dallas is also recommended.

San Francisco-based Sarah Good and Bruce Ericson are co-chairs of the securities litigation and enforcement team at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP, which is known for ‘credibility and integrity and provides time-sensitive and practical advice in the context of the business reality’. Clients praise the ‘down-to-earth and on-target advice’ of 30-year litigation and enforcement veteran David Furbush in Silicon Valley. The firm handled 12 derivative lawsuits and three securities class actions against the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard that alleged fraud and breaches of fiduciary duty.

At Seward & Kissel LLP in New York, Mark Hyland obtained the denial of class certification and the dismissal of a putative class action against Sonar Capital Management that resulted from a widespread government investigation into insider trading. Hyland and Michael McNamara acted for an investment manager that suffered a multimillion-dollar currency loss when Swiss National Bank removed the exchange rate cap on the Swiss franc in early 2015. Bruce Paulsen and rising star Jeffrey Dine are also recommended.

Vedder Price in Chicago has ‘a deep bench that is very knowledgeable in SEC investigations’. Clients describe ‘a level-headed team that gives reasoned and thoughtful advice’ and praise the lawyers as ‘extremely responsive’. Thomas Cimino ‘brings real-world experience to the issues’ and Junaid Zubairi ‘has deep experience with the SEC process and securities litigation’, and the pair are handling an SEC matter for telecoms company PCTEL. Randall Lending is another key practitioner in Chicago, while the firm also has a capable New York team.

At White & Case LLP in New York, Glenn Kurtz leads a litigation practice that has a growing presence in the securities field. Greg Starner and Owen Pell are defending Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank in a 10b-5 case concerning securities purchased by the plaintiffs. The case raises important issues about extraterritorial US jurisdiction. Kurtz is involved in high-value litigation arising from the Madoff Ponzi scheme. Douglas Baumstein is also recommended.

Securities litigation - plaintiff

Index of tables

  1. Securities litigation - plaintiff
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP is ‘a formidable firm that does a great job on the plaintiff side’. The securities litigation team, led by Max Berger, has a well-established position and is known among defense firms as a serious player focusing on substantive cases. New York-based Gerald Silk, Salvatore Graziano and John Rizio-Hamilton were part of a team that led a class action against Facebook and the underwriters of its IPO in 2012. Avi Josefson played a key role in the securities fraud class action brought against JPMorgan Chase for the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System and the Oregon State Treasurer on behalf of the Common School Fund. In San Diego, David Kaplan and Blair Nicholas brought a class action for stockholders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Grant & Eisenhofer P.A. is ‘smaller than some but a still a top firm and a formidable adversary’. Its reputation as one of the country’s leading securities litigation practices has brought a steady flow of international mandates to its traditional roster of domestic litigation. Jay Eisenhofer in New York and Stuart Grant in Wilmington lead the team and are ‘formidable plaintiff-side lawyers’. Eisenhofer and Geoffrey Jarvis, working with two other law firms and Japanese counsel, achieved a $92m settlement from camera manufacturer Olympus in a case concerning allegations that the company misrepresented its finances over five years and hid large losses by logging them as fees paid to investment advisers, which when revealed caused a $6bn loss in the company’s market capitalization. The settlement was the largest of its kind in Japan. The busy caseload now includes representing institutional investors in a securities class action against RBS in London’s High Court regarding a $12bn rights offering in 2008, in which the plaintiffs allege material misrepresentations and omissions in the prospectus relating to subprime credit market exposures. The case is scheduled for trial at the end of 2016.

Pure litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP is ‘certainly a top firm, its record speaks for itself’. The practice has ‘fantastic professionals who play by the rules and who are imaginative, dependable and fully knowledgeable in complex financial matters’. Philippe Selendy in New York - who led a team that won an $800m settlement from Nomura and RBS for the Federal Housing Finance Agency - and Harry Olivar in Los Angeles are the department heads, and also ‘leading the charge’ is New York-based Daniel Brockett, who is ‘reasonable, rational and good to deal with’. He defeated motions to dismiss in RMBS cases for Prudential Insurance and Allstate Insurance, and is working on numerous cases regarding the manipulation of LIBOR. Peter Calamari represented Financial Guaranty Insurance Company in a case against Putnam Advisory Company, which was collateral manager of the Pyxis ABS CDO. Co-chair of the firm’s structured finance litigation practice Jon Pickhardt is known for mortgage-backed securities cases and his clients include National Australia Bank. The firm is ‘head and shoulders above the competition, very aggressive and known for a track record of strong results’.

Bernstein Liebhard LLP in New York is ‘relatively small but litigates cases relentlessly, gives objective, long-term advice and is focused on high-quality cases’. A highlight for Stanley Bernstein and Stephanie Beige was the $50m settlement secured for The Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico (PERA) in its action against Wachovia Bank that alleged breach of fiduciary duty relating to PERA’s securities lending program and investments in structured investment vehicles. Seth Ottensoser and Michael Bigin served as lead counsel to the Austin Police Retirement System, for which they negotiated a $33m settlement in a class action against Kinross Gold Corp, which it alleged had issued a false and misleading development schedule for its largest gold mine in order to inflate its share price. Jeffrey Haber and Christian Siebott are also recommended.

Gibbs & Bruns LLP in Houston is ‘very good, a very active firm on the plaintiff side’ and has ‘a reputation for creativity that has led to great success in the RMBS space’. Defense counsel see the practice as ‘a formidable opponent that pushes cases aggressively’, and clients praise founding partner Robin Gibbs, who has over four decades’ trial experience, and Kathy Patrick, who ‘stands out from the crowd as a litigator’. In a major victory, Patrick, Scott Humphries, Robert Madden and David Sheeren secured approval of an $8.5bn settlement from Countrywide for RMBS investors, including BlackRock and MetLife. Patrick is also leading a team that filed suit on behalf of Fannie Mae against nine major banks seeking $800m in damages as a result of alleged manipulation of LIBOR. The firm is also pursuing banks, including Citibank and Deutsche Bank, in regard to failures by Ocwen Financial Corporation as servicer to 119 RMBS trusts with a total value of $82bn, and is acting for institutional investors, including WGI Emerging Markets Fund, in a securities fraud action against Brazilian national oil company Petrobras and auditor PwC.

Its services are invaluable’, say clients of Labaton Sucharow LLP, which is ‘relentless and extremely diligent’. Lawrence Sucharow leads the team, which is based in New York. Thomas Dubbs is a key name in the practice and he achieved a settlement of $170m from Fannie Mae for investors who lost out in the company’s subprime mortgage activity following an SEC investigation that alleged the misclassification of poorly performing loans. A highlight for Joel Bernstein and Ira Schochet was the recovery of $120m for Sacramento City Employees’ Retirement System from oil and gas services company Weatherford. Jonathan Gardnerhas an uncanny ability to master the nuances of securities class actions’, and with rising star Serena Hallowell he successfully defeated a motion to dismiss for the State of Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System in a case alleging violation of securities fraud laws by Intuitive Surgical by concealing violations of FDA regulations. The firm is also known for its ‘impressive internal investigations team’. Christopher Keller is also highly regarded.

Superb firmMilberg LLP in New York is ‘extremely good in the area of class actions and securities’. ‘Consummate professional’ Ariana Tadler, who leads the e-discovery unit, is ‘exceptional, clear and forceful, a giant in her field’, and she and Andrei Rado are praised as ‘excellent class action lawyers - detail oriented and able to navigate technical discovery issues at a very high level’. Tadler’s highlights included a securities fraud matter for shareholders of ARIAD Pharmaceuticals alleging failure to disclose material information about cancer medication ponatinib. The firm was co-lead counsel to shareholders in Merck in a securities fraud class action against the pharmaceutical company arising from its withdrawal of blockbuster drug Vioxx, with Matthew Kupillas, Peggy Wedgworth and Jeffrey Messinger currently preparing for trial. The highly regarded Sanford Dumain is also recommended.

MoloLamken LLP is a well-known boutique specializing in complex litigation, and Steven Molo in New York ‘has a big reputation in this space’. The firm has ten pending cases relating to mortgage-backed securities, with potential damages exceeding $6bn. Molo led a team that defeated a motion to dismiss in Deutsche Bank v Decision One in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, where the case is nearing trial. Molo and Robert Kry are acting for one of Citigroup’s largest shareholders in an $850m securities action alleging the bank fraudulently induced him into holding shares rather than selling them pursuant to an established divestiture plan in a case that raises important legal issues concerning the viability of holder claims under New York law. Jeff Lamken is leading the defense of a jury verdict in an appeal of the decision in Miami Group et al v Vivendi, which found Vivendi liable for material misstatements that concealed liquidity risk from the market.

Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP is ‘a top notch firm that has the ability to handle the largest and most sophisticated matters’ and is known for ‘a very dogged approach to litigation’. The team in San Diego has ‘earned the firm’s reputation as a serious player’. It is currently constructing a class action suit against consumer electronics company GoPro alleging that the company made false and misleading statements concerning its financial position and future revenue prospects that caused its stock to trade at artificially inflated prices in the second half of 2015. Mark Solomon, who is dual qualified in English and US law, leads the international litigation practice and acts for both US and UK-based pension funds and asset managers. Elise Grace, who is responsible for advising the firm’s state and government pension fund clients on securities fraud and corporate governance, is also recommended, as are founding partners Paul Geller in the Boca Raton office and San Diego-based Michael Dowd.

Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP is ‘one of the top firms in this practice area’, according to sources, and both Robert Kaplan, who specializes in antitrust and securities litigation, and Frederic Fox are highly regarded. The team acted as co-lead counsel in the Bank of America Securities Litigation, which settled for $2.4bn, and often represents some of the leading US pension funds in securities matters. The firm won significant settlements in numerous high-profile matters during 2015, including re Fannie Mae Securities Litigation for $170m, re Gentiva Securities Litigation, and the re Nevsun Res., Ltd Securities Litigation. It also settled a securities derivative litigation, Paul Rodney v John Thomas Capital Management Group, LLC, in the Delaware Chancery Court, and negotiated a $38m partial settlement in re Sandridge Energy, Inc. Shareholder Derivative Litigation. Kaplan and Fox are both based in New York.

Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP is ‘a go-to firm for institutional plaintiffs in cases against banks’. Sheron Korpus is representing CDO investor Loreley Financing - which lost billions of dollars in the mortgage-backed securities collapse of 2007 - in a multibillion-dollar case against Citigroup and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, having already settled a similar matter against Deutsche Bank. Marc Kasowitz is leading the firm’s work, alongside co-counsel Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, for the Federal Housing Finance Agency against financial institutions such as Barclays Capital, RBS Securities and Goldman Sachs in cases alleging misrepresentation or failure to disclose material information in the sale of residential mortgage-backed securities.

Pomerantz LLP is one of the oldest securities litigation firms in the US and is known for its ability to handle large and complex matters. In New York, Jeremy Lieberman is ‘super impressive - a formidable adversary for any defense firm’. He is counsel to the lead plaintiffs in the securities fraud class action against Brazilian oil company Petrobras that centers on claims that the revelation of a long-running kickback scheme caused a precipitous drop in the company’s share price. The District Court for the Southern District of New York denied a motion to dismiss and allowed claims to proceed to trial. Marc Gross is also a key partner and is leading the BP securities litigation on behalf of dozens of US and foreign institutions that suffered investment losses when share prices dropped after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Also recommended is Matthew Tuccillo, who secured approval of a $14m settlement for investors in Silvercorp Metals.

White-collar criminal defense

Index of tables

  1. White-collar criminal defense
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

The ‘meticulous and thorough’ lawyers at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP are ‘exemplary in every respect’. The New York-based team, which has advised HSBC, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and others on forex-related investigations, includes the ‘highly knowledgeable and responsive’ David Brodsky, the ‘thoughtful, engaged and proactive’ Jennifer Kennedy Park, the ‘fantastic’ Lev Dassin, Breon Peace and Victor Hou, who displays ‘a pristine work ethic and great instincts’. Lewis Liman, also based in New York, represented José Hawilla in investigations relating to allegations of corruption within FIFA. Along with the Washington DC-based Robin Bergen and Giovanni Prezioso, Liman also continues to represent Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs in investigations by multiple regulators into the marketing of CDOs. Other matters handled by the firm included Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) work and insider trading investigations.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP routinely acts for clients in regulatory proceedings relating to the FCPA, money laundering, sanctions compliance, healthcare fraud, insider trading and market manipulation. Clients include major financial institutions, such as RBS, which the firm advised on worldwide investigations into its spot forex market. The firm successfully lowered the settlement price sought by the DOJ from client Standard & Poor’s under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA). The practice is led by Carey Dunne in New York and Linda Thomsen in Washington DC. Also based in New York are Denis McInerney and Angela Burgess, while Raul Yanes and the ‘talented’ Neil MacBride are key figures in the Washington DC office.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP provides an ‘excellent level of service’ and is particularly active in conducting anti-corruption investigations for high-profile clients from a range of sectors. Additional recent work includes handling inquiries made by various regulators into JPMorgan Chase’s credit card debt collection practices. The ‘very talentedBruce Yannett heads the group and is noted for ‘great judgment and advocacy skills’. Other key figures in the New York office include Sean Hecker, Andrew Levine, Helen Cantwell, Matthew Biben and Jim Pastore, who became a partner in July 2015. Former district court judge John Gleeson joined the New York office in March 2016. Paul Berger is noted for ‘outstanding knowledge and an incredibly practical approach’. His colleagues in Washington DC include Jonathan Tuttle, David O’Neil and, since March 2016, the former co-chief of the asset management unit of the SEC’s division of enforcement, Julie Riewe. Toyota, Rolls-Royce, Shell and Deloitte are clients.

The ‘broad and experienced team’ at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP was further strengthened by the arrivals of Mylan Denerstein from the New York State Governor’s office in November 2015, and Richard Grime, who joined the firm’s Washington DC office in January 2015 after leaving O’Melveny & Myers LLP. The practice is led by Joseph Warin in Washington DC, Charles Stevens in San Francisco and Debra Wong Yang in Los Angeles. The firm advised UBS on investigations in the US and elsewhere into LIBOR manipulation, ultimately securing immunity for the client from antitrust charges and fines. FCPA work included representing infant formula manufacturer Mead Johnson and acting for Bristol-Myers Squibb. In both cases, the firm secured declinations from the DOJ. The firm continued to advise the Office of the Governor of New Jersey on its internal investigations into allegations concerning the George Washington Bridge toll lane realignment at Fort Lee. Mark Shelton left the firm in January 2015 to join Barclays Investment Bank.

Considered ‘excellent in all areas’, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP’s New York-based team is well known for representing major financial institutions in investigations, as well as defending individuals in litigation. Chair of the firm Brad Karp and Michele Hirshman are among those who advise BNY Mellon on alleged mispricing of foreign exchange transactions. Together with Theodore Wells and Roberto Finzi, Karp also advised Deutsche Bank on inquiries concerning the setting of LIBOR that involve numerous regulators and jurisdictions. Karp, Wells and Lorin Reisner (‘provides great depth to the team’) advised the NFL on investigations into alleged misconduct at two football teams. Michael Gertzman is also recommended. Mark Pomerantz is now of counsel.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s numerous financial sector clients include Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Barclays. David Braff, Alexander Willscher and the ‘excellentKaren Patton Seymour represented Barclays in a forex-related investigation headed by the DOJ that resulted in a settlement. Patton Seymour also represented Dallas Airmotive in an FCPA investigation. Highlights for Washington DC’s Daryl Libow included representing BP in a series of suits relating to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; agreements in principle were reached in July 2015 to settle all federal and state claims arising from the event. Samuel Seymour, Nicolas Bourtin and Steven Peikin are also key members of the New York-based team.

The ‘exceptionally strongCovington & Burling LLPprovides useful, strategic advice from day one’. The practice is chaired by Nancy Kestenbaum, who is based in New York, and Ethan Posner, who is based in Washington DC. Kestenbaum worked with Washington DC’s ‘smart, savvy and organizedLanny Breuer in representing Hyperdynamics, an oil exploration company that received a grand jury subpoena focused on FCPA and money laundering issues; the pair convinced the DOJ to close its investigation without bringing charges. Posner’s highlights included securing the dismissal of a False Claims Act (FCA) case against client Gilead Sciences. Washington DC lawyers Mythili Raman and Steven Fagell are also recommended.

King & Spalding LLPprovides a very high level of service and its lawyers display deep knowledge of their subject matter’. Securities fraud, FCPA, FCA and trade sanctions investigations form major part of the firm’s work in this area. Practice chair Christopher Wray divides his time between Atlanta and Washington DC, while deputy chair Zachary Harmon is based in the latter. The pair represented a major life sciences company in connection with an industry-wide FCPA investigation. Another significant client is Johnson & Johnson, which Wray represented with the DC-based Mark Jensen in a Philadelphia US Attorney’s Office investigation into allegations of inappropriate marketing of antipsychotic drugs. Another Washington DC-based lawyer, Gary Grindler, and New York-based Andrew Hruska are also recommended.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has a ‘strong team’ that represents clients such as JPMorgan Chase. Recently, John Carroll, Warren Feldman and Jocelyn Strauber assisted the bank with the successful resolution of DOJ investigations into its forex business. Keith Krakaur took the lead when the firm obtained non-prosecution agreements for nine Swiss banks as part of the DOJ’s investigation into undeclared US-related accounts. David Zornow acted for the New York City Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association in an anti-bribery investigation by the US attorney for the Southern District of New York. David Meister heads the New York-based government enforcement and white-collar crime group.

Williams & Connolly LLP is an ‘absolutely fantastic’ Washington DC litigation boutique that is ‘the gold standard in white-collar criminal defense’, according to sources. Key lawyers at the firm include Tobin Romero and Brendan Sullivan, who led the firm’s advice to News Corp in the four-year DOJ investigation into alleged voicemail interception and bribery of public officials in the UK. The ‘highly organized’ David Zinn defended Bumble Bee Foods against criminal charges of violating workplace safety rules. Kannon Shanmugam was successful in overturning the conviction for securities fraud of bond-trader Jesse Litvak. The practice is chaired by Zinn and Joe Petrosinelli. Emmet Flood, John Villa the ‘aggressive and creative’ Lance Wade and the ‘thorough and personable’ Robert Cary are recommended.

The lawyers at the ‘terrificCahill Gordon & Reindel LLP are ‘thorough, engaging and incredibly responsive’. The firm was boosted by the arrival of the ‘tenacious, knowledgeable and highly effectiveBradley Bondi from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP in March 2015. Bondi divides his time between New York and Washington DC, and led the team that represented the audit committee of Salix Pharmaceuticals in an internal investigation into potential securities law violations. New York lawyer Bart Friedman helped lead advice to the audit committee of Qualcomm in FCPA compliance investigations by the SEC and DOJ. Also recommended are Anirudh Bansal and Herbert Washer, who are also based in New York. Other clients include Qualcomm and Teva Pharmaceuticals. Since publication David Kelley has joined Dechert LLP.

Dechert LLP has a ‘terrific’ white-collar practice headed by New York-based ‘superstarAndrew Levander and the Washington DC-based Catherine Botticelli. AIG, Merrill Lynch, UBS and Microsoft are among the firm’s clients. Recent highlights include representing Takata and its affiliates in litigation and investigations conducted by various authorities into its airbags. The firm served as counsel to First Eagle Investment Management during a nationwide SEC investigation into mutual funds. New York’s Jonathan Streeter is leading the firm’s representation of a Chinese national accused of insider trading. Additional areas of expertise for the firm include FCPA investigations and other anti-bribery work, and it has also handled matters involving allegations of forex-related misconduct. Michael Barta, who is based in Washington DC, is also recommended. Since publication, David Kelley has joined from Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP.

Lawyers at Hogan Lovells US LLP display ‘teamwork and responsiveness in all matters and at all times’. The Washington DC-based practice has a particularly strong reputation for handling investigations that are centered overseas on behalf of both US and foreign clients. Carl Rauh was part of the team that represented the former chairman and CEO of Magyar Telekom in civil litigation and an SEC/DOJ investigation regarding alleged FCPA violations. Highlights for Peter Spivack included representing construction company MasTec in an SEC investigation and related lawsuits concerning financial reporting. Key members of the team include Ty Cobb, Jonathan Diesenhaus and Robert Bennett, who is a highly regarded trial lawyer who divides his time between New York and Washington DC.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s government, regulatory and internal investigations team is best known for acting for major corporate clients in high-profile investigations, and it has a significant FCPA-related practice. Key mandates included continued work for BP in relation to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It is also advising the special committee of the board of directors of Valeant as it investigates the company’s business practices. The head of the practice is Mark Filip, whose colleagues in Chicago include John Lausch. Also recommended are Robert Khuzami and the ‘experienced and judiciousMichael Garcia, both based in New York, and Kenneth Lench in Washington DC.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLPpacks a punch’ with its large roster of experienced courtroom lawyers, which includes Gary Naftalis, who continued to defend former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta in a high-profile insider trading case. Barry Berke successfully defended Michael Steinberg against allegations that he was a ‘tippee’ recipient of insider information. The practice is led by Paul Schoeman and Eric Tirschwell. The pair represented a major investment bank in a DOJ and SEC insider trading investigation; and Schoeman worked alongside Naftalis to represent the former president and COO of MF Global Holdings in connection with investigations by Congress, the DOJ and the SEC.

Latham & Watkins LLP has continued to grow its bench significantly. The New York office took on former assistant US attorney for the Southern District of New York Benjamin Naftalis and former counsel to Crédit Agricole CIB Sandeep Savla; the Washington DC office gained former assistant US attorney Kevin Chambers and former White House assistant counsel Daniel Dominguez. The practice is chaired by Steven Bauer, who divides his time between San Francisco and Brussels, and Kathryn Ruemmler, who works from both Washington DC and New York. The firm served as counsel to PG&E in the criminal indictment that followed the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion, and represented an oilfield services company in a multi-agency investigation into alleged violations of US trade sanctions relating to Iran and Sudan. Douglas Greenburg in Washington DC, David Schindler in Los Angeles and Margaret Tough in San Francisco are recommended.

Lawyers at ‘tremendous’ New York litigation boutique Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello P.C.are superb at understanding intricate problems and protecting clients’ interests’. Highlights for Lawrence Bader and the ‘fantasticElkan Abramowitz included representing the former chairman of Dewey & LeBoeuf in a 76-day trial regarding possible wrongdoing at the firm that resulted in a deferred prosecution agreement. Jeremy Temkin and Richard Albert are part of the team acting as independent examiners to 21 Swiss banks under a DOJ program for non-prosecution agreements. The ‘relentless and infallibleJonathan Sack represented a well-known New York hotelier in connection with an IRS and FBI investigation and subsequent prosecution for campaign finance violations, successfully preventing the client from being jailed. Robert Anello’s clients include the former president and CEO of a Canadian company, for whom he acted in connection with an indictment relating to Superfund environmental clean-up contracts; and a foreign national indicted for espionage and theft of military contractor trade secrets. Also recommended are Lawrence Iason and Richard Weinberg, both of whom routinely act for high-level executives in connection with SEC investigations. LIBOR, forex, FCPA, and healthcare-related investigations form a major part of the firm’s work.

Lawyers at the ‘excellentPaul Hastings LLP display ‘great knowledge of the subject matter and practical judgment’. The practice expanded significantly in 2015, with the Washington DC office taking on Robert Luskin, Kwame Manley and John Darden from Squire Patton Boggs. Kenneth Breen heads the practice from New York. Breen defended former Wilmington Trust Company CFO David Gibson against charges of understating past due bank loans during the financial crisis. Washington DC’s Michael Levy represented Admiral Mike Mullen in a congressional investigation into the Benghazi attacks. The Los Angeles-based Thomas O’Brien represented Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy James Sexton in a federal obstruction of justice case. Clients for FCPA and anti-corruption-related matters include Total, Alstom and KBR.

Litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLPhas a deep bench of real stars who work together as a team’ and who handle sensitive, high-profile matters for both individuals and institutions. The firm achieved great success in defending former PetroTiger CEO Joseph Sigelman in an FCPA case that saw the client avoid a potential 20-year jail sentence. The firm is also representing FIFA in connection with US and Swiss criminal investigations into allegations of bribery and corruption, and is conducting an internal investigation for the client. Another client is Swiss Bank BSI, for which the firm secured a non-prosecution agreement with the DOJ in connection with the department’s Swiss Bank Program. The chairs of the practice are Houston’s David Gerger and Washington DC’s William Burck, who ‘shows leadership and takes an intense personal interest in his cases’. Juan Morillo, also in Washington DC, is ‘a simply brilliant lawyer who develops powerful legal arguments’. Other recommended attorneys are James Asperger and John Potter, who are based in Los Angeles and San Francisco respectively.

Highlights for Ropes & Gray LLP included defending Kurt Mix, a former BP drilling engineer accused of obstruction of justice in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Boston-based Joan McPhee and the New York-based Michael McGovern were part of the team that ensured Mix was acquitted of the criminal charges against him. The firm conducted an independent investigation for GlaxoSmithKline concerning allegations of corruption in its Chinese operations. The New York-based Christopher Conniff is defending Adam Skelos, the son of a former New York State majority leader, in a high-profile public corruption case in the Southern District of New York. The practice is co-led by Washington DC’s Colleen Conry and Boston’s Joshua Levy. Boston’s Brien O’Connor and New York’s Eva Carman are also recommended.

Sidley Austin LLP has an ‘exceptionally strong team of lawyers with deep industry experience’. Highlights for the firm included the continued defense of Daniel Capen against allegations he defrauded workers’ compensation insurance carriers, and representing the former speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert in a federal grand jury trial. Other clients include Neiman Marcus, the board of directors of the American Psychological Association, and Governor Scott Walker; the firm is advising all three in relation to major criminal investigations. FCPA investigations and cases involving allegations of securities and healthcare fraud form a major part of the firm’s caseload. The joint heads of the practice are Kimberly Dunne in Los Angeles, John Gallo and Scott Lassar in Chicago, Mark Hopson and Karen Popp in Washington DC, and the ‘phenomenally talentedTimothy Treanor in New York.

The ‘phenomenalWachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz has a versatile practice based in New York that handles investigations for high-profile clients in a broad range of sectors. David Anders’ work for the NBA included conducting investigations into comments made by the then Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson. Anders is also leading the firm’s representation of Santander Consumer USA, which is the subject of multiple government and regulatory investigations into the origination and securitization of subprime auto loans. Highlights for John Savarese included continuing to act for JPMorgan Chase in relation to the Bernie Madoff fraud, and, together with Ralph Levine, representing UBS in a major criminal tax investigation.

WilmerHale is highly regarded for its expertise in, among other things, FCPA, insider trading and cybersecurity. The practice is chaired by Boyd Johnson, Stephen Jonas and Howard Shapiro, who are based in New York, Boston and Washington DC respectively. Johnson conducted an internal investigation into potential violations of OFAC Iran sanctions by JPMorgan Chase, and represented the client before the DOJ and other regulators. Shapiro obtained the dismissal of an FCA-related lawsuit against Purdue Pharma brought by a former employee and his wife; Jonas represented Hess Corporation in an FCA suit involving environmental cleanup projects that resulted in a settlement. Highlights for the Washington DC-based Robert Mueller included conducting an independent investigation of the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case. Additional figures in the firm include Erin Sloane in New York and Matthew Martens in Washington DC. Recent additions include Ronald Machen, who rejoined the firm in June 2015 after serving as US attorney for the District of Columbia.

The chairs of Winston & Strawn LLP’s practice are Robb Adkins in San Francisco and Seth Farber in New York. The firm handles a large number of internal investigations, and clients include many significant players in the insurance and healthcare sectors, as well as prominent individuals. New York-based Gerald Shargel was among those who represented Pennsylvania attorney general Kathleen Kane in an investigation into alleged grand jury leaks. In another high-profile matter, he also led the representation of former New York State senator Malcolm Smith against federal corruption charges. Another New York lawyer, Suzanne Jaffe Bloom, is defending AIG in a qui tam action involving alleged FCA violations. Chicago’s Daniel Rubinstein led an internal investigation for high-frequency trading firm Citadel that resulted in the conviction of two employees for theft of trade secrets and obstruction of justice. A number of BP executives are also among Rubinstein’s clients. Fellow Chicago lawyer Dan Webb is also recommended.

Recent mandates for the ‘always impressiveArnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP include handling numerous FCPA investigations for clients in a wide variety of sectors. Highlights for Washington DC-based practice head John Nassikas included the ongoing defense of Alcentra Capital in a FEMA fraud investigation of an acquired disaster relief company, and successfully defending Alcon/Novartis against a civil qui tam complaint and criminal investigation relating to marketing practices. Kirk Ogrosky, also in Washington DC, is defending a cardiology practice against charges of allegedly fraudulent treatment of peripheral arterial disease. Ogrosky also acted for Salomon Melgen MD, leading his defense against accusations of bribing a US senator. Other Washington DC lawyers include James W Cooper and Baruch Weiss. Marcus Asner is a key figure in the New York office.

The ‘terrific’ white-collar practice at Buckley Sandler LLP is headed by the ‘outstanding’ David Krakoff. Its client list includes many senior executives, especially from the financial sector, as well as multinational corporations from a range of industries. It handles a high number of internal and governmental cross-border investigations, as well as criminal trials. With Benjamin Klubes, Krakoff is representing Universal Entertainment in FCPA-related litigation. Krakoff’s other highlights included representing a senior executive at Deutsche Bank in LIBOR manipulation investigations by several regulators, and defending two currency traders against accusations of forex manipulation. The team is largely based in Washington DC, with the exception of New York’s Andrew Schilling. Adam Miller, Lauren Randell, Christopher Regan and Thomas Sporkin are recommended.

The lawyers at ‘top-notchCadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLPhave deep industry knowledge that extends well past knowledge of the law’. The firm has a broad range of clients that includes financial institutions, energy companies and pharmaceutical companies, as well as some extremely prominent nonprofits. Kenneth Wainstein chairs the practice. He represented assistant US attorney Joseph Bottini in connection with an investigation into potential contempt of court charges arising from the prosecution of Senator Ted Stevens. Other highlights for the Washington DC-based Wainstein included conducting an internal investigation for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill into alleged academic irregularities. Colleagues in the same city include Jodi Avergun, whose expertise includes FCPA, FCA, and securities and pharmaceutical regulation; Bret Campbell, who regularly handles internal and governmental investigations; and Adam Lurie, whose work is wide ranging. Former US attorney for the Western District of North Carolina Anne Tompkins joined the firm’s Charlotte office in April 2015.

DLA Piper LLP (US)’s practice is chaired by New York-based Patrick Smith, who represented Net 1 UEPS Technologies in a joint SEC and DOJ investigation into potential FCPA and securities law violations, following which the SEC decided not to pursue an enforcement action. Smith’s colleague in the same office, Caryn Schechtman, led the firm’s representation of Yorkville Advisors in an SEC investigation concerning the valuation of distressed instruments purchased at the beginning of the financial crisis in 2007. Baltimore’s Charles Scheeler is supporting Senator George Mitchell in his capacity as the athletic integrity monitor for The Pennsylvania State University. Recent arrivals in the 30-partner team include Lisa Tenorio-Kutzkey, who joined the San Francisco office in May 2015 after leaving Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP has an ‘excellent’ white-collar criminal defense team that receives work from the likes JPMorgan Chase, HSBC and Deutsche Bank, as well as many multinationals from outside the financial services sector, including Bristol-Myers Squibb. The firm’s workload includes FCPA investigations and criminal tax and forex manipulation cases. New York-based practice head Aaron Marcu acts as the DOJ’s anti-money laundering compliance monitor for MoneyGram. Other recommended lawyers include regional managing partner Adam Siegel, Kimberly Zelnick and Olivia Radin, who are also based in New York, and Benito Romano in Washington DC. Radin became a partner in May 2015. Tim Coleman sadly passed away in November 2015.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s ‘outstanding’ practice was augmented by the arrival of new litigation chair James Wareham, who came to the Washington DC office from DLA Piper LLP (US) in April 2015 together with James Anklam. They join Evan Barr, Stephen Juris, Lisa Bebchick, William McGuinness, the ‘smart, creative and even-temperedLawrence Gerschwer and the head of white-collar crime, Steven Witzel, all of whom work in New York. Witzel acted for a founding partner of Direct Access Partners in a DOJ FCPA investigation that did not result in any charges being brought against the client. Additional highlights included other anti-bribery-related work as well as price-fixing investigations and forex-related matters. Many of the firm’s clients are drawn from the financial sector.

In January 2016, Greenberg Traurig, LLP took on Rudolph Giuliani and Marc Mukasey from Bracewell LLP. They joined the New York office. Mukasey will chair the practice alongside Boston’s John Pappalardo and Miami’s Mark Schnapp. Schnapp worked alongside fellow Miami lawyer Danielle Garno in securing a declination from the DOJ and a rare FCPA deferred prosecution agreement from the SEC for engineering company Atkins North America. Highlights for the Tampa-based Gregory Kehoe included negotiating a DPA for WellCare Health Plans following allegations of Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Also recommended are Chicago’s John Gibbons and Washington DC’s Sanford Saunders.

Keker & Van Nest, L.L.P. is ‘a great dispute resolution boutique’ based in San Francisco. Elliot Peters heads the white-collar crime practice and his highlights included securing an acquittal on appeal for a client accused of obstruction of justice, and convincing a US attorney not to prosecute a pharmaceutical company under the FCA. John Keker represented former Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd in an SEC action concerning the company’s disclosures of exposure to subprime and Alt-A residential mortgages. The trial resulted in a settlement. Other key partners include Stuart Gasner and Rachael Meny. Simona Agnolucci, Sharif Jacob and Khari Tillery were promoted to the partnership in January 2015.

Lankler Siffert & Wohl LLP is a litigation-focused New York firm that acts for individuals and companies. The ‘meticulous’ Daniel Gitner is best known for successfully defending hedge fund trader Rengan Rajaratnam against charges of insider trading in 2014. John Siffert’s experience encompasses securities, FCPA and antitrust matters. Helen Gredd defends those accused of crimes ranging from FCA violations to obstruction of Congress. Also recommended are John Wing, Lisa Zornberg and Charles Spada.

Mayer Brown has an ‘outstanding’ white-collar practice headed by the ‘meticulous, charismatic and strategicKelly Kramer, who works in Washington DC, and the Chicago-based William Michael. Kramer is acting for former US congressman Richard Renzi in a case that involves claims of public corruption, fraud and money laundering. Another client is the Federative Republic of Brazil, which he is assisting with its quest to secure the repatriation of the $400m ‘Bahia Emerald’. Michael is leading the firm’s representation of construction company Sweett Group, which involves conducting an internal investigation and representing the client before the DOJ. He also represented a former hedge fund manager accused of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Laurence Urgenson in Washington DC is representing Las Vegas Sands in an FCPA investigation involving the client’s operations in Macau.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP has a truly nationwide practice that delivers ‘great service, business acumen and industry knowledge’. As well as handling cases and investigations related to bribery, corruption and criminal cartels, the firm has a particularly strong reputation in the healthcare sector. The Los Angeles-based Russell Hayman, who ‘has a broad background and gets good results’, acted for 21st Century Oncology in an FCA investigation conducted by the US attorney’s office for the Middle District of Florida. New York’s Todd Harrison successfully defended hedge fund manager Steven Slawson against claims of securities fraud and wire fraud. Michael Kendall heads the practice from Boston, and Chicago lawyers David Rosenbloom and Steven Scholes and the Los Angeles-based Gordon Greenberg are recommended. Andrew Tomback joined the New York office in April 2015, having come from an in-house position.

The litigation department at Washington DC-based Miller & Chevalier Chartered is chaired by Mark Rochon, and the white-collar practice is led by Barry Pollack. The firm represents major companies from a variety of sectors in DOJ and SEC investigations, often in connection with the FCPA, antitrust laws, and tax. In addition, Pollack continues to represent WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a DOJ investigation that concerns potential violations of the Espionage Act, and he defended a former CIA case officer who was charged with the unauthorized disclosure of information to a journalist. Kirby Behre is ‘outstanding’.Michael Satin and Addy Schmitt became partners in February 2016.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has a broad team comprising lawyers in nine cities, which represents major companies in SEC and DOJ investigations. Many of the firm’s clients are drawn from the healthcare and pharmaceuticals sectors, and it also acts for high-profile financial institutions and technology companies. Practice leader Eric Sitarchuk is based in Philadelphia and his deputy, Nathan Hochman, is based in Los Angeles. Sitarchuk’s highlights included working alongside Rebecca Hillyer and the Miami-based Alison Tanchyk in securing a favorable settlement with the South Carolina attorney general for Teva Pharmaceuticals. Hillyer worked with fellow Philadelphia lawyer John Dodds in obtaining the voluntary dismissal of a longstanding FCA case against medical device manufacturer Bard Access Systems. Other notable figures include the Dallas-based Allyson Ho and New York’s Martha Stolley.

Morrison & Foerster LLP represents a large number of companies and company executives in major criminal investigations before the SEC and DOJ. The firm is frequently sought out to conduct complex cross-border investigations into potential FCPA violations. Clients include the former COO of Barclays Jerry del Missier and Terry Christensen, a commercial litigator being represented by Dan Marmalefsky and George Harris - based in Los Angeles and San Francisco respectively - in an appeal against a conviction for conspiracy to wiretap. Practice head Carl Loewenson is based in New York. His highlights included representing a foreign bank in investigations relating to Iran sanctions. Charles Duross from the Washington DC office is highly recommended.

Areas of expertise for O’Melveny & Myers LLP include FCPA matters, where Washington DC lawyers Greta Lichtenbaum and Mary Patrice Brown routinely act for financial institutions, healthcare companies and individuals. Recently, it has also represented a global airline manufacturer, conducting training and assisting with internal and grand jury investigations. David Leviss, also in Washington DC, conducted a compliance review of a Chinese veterinary company on behalf of a US investor. Brown and Leviss also worked alongside Lee Blalack in representing clients in congressional investigation matters; in one example, the firm represented a former IRS official being investigated over the tax treatment of not-for-profit organizations. Another aspect of the practice is sanctions compliance. Key lawyers on the West Coast include Steven Olson in Los Angeles and the ‘incredibly gifted’ Daniel Bookin in San Francisco. Olson’s clients include ExxonMobil and a number of financial institutions, while Bookin is especially active in the healthcare sector. New York lawyers Howard Heiss and Mark Racanelli are also recommended.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLPhas outstanding talent in this area, with the ability to deliver clear and practical advice’. The firm’s clients are drawn from a broad range of industry sectors - although it has particular strength in technology, and energy and infrastructure - and it is often retained in relation to FCPA and other anti-bribery regulations. Washington DC-based William Jacobson, Guy Singer and Jonathan Lopez (‘thought leaders in their respective areas’) represented a Russian official in a high-profile FCPA criminal investigation. The firm has a substantial presence in Seattle, where John Wolfe and Aravind Swaminathan are based. Key figures in San Francisco include ‘smart, tenacious and polished’ practice group leader Walter Brown and Pamela Davis.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP’s practice is chaired by Mark Hellerer and Maria Galeno, who are based in New York, and the ‘very effective’ William Sullivan, who divides his time between New York and Washington DC. Hellerer and Galeno are representing several Swiss banks in connection with the DOJ’s Program for Non-Prosecution Agreements or Non-Target Letters for Swiss Banks. Sullivan’s work included defending Farukh Iqbal against charges of conspiracy to prepare false mortgage loan applications. Washington DC’s Thomas Hill is representing a regional healthcare system in a major qui tam FCA case, and is also active in the FCPA space. The broad array of work handled by San Francisco’s Marc Axelbaum included representing a former public official of American Samoa who pleaded guilty to accepting a bribe. The New York-based Andrew Smith was promoted to the partnership in January 2015.

Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP is an ‘excellent firm with an excellent white-collar practice that is very good in the monitorship area’. Lee Richards is an ‘extraordinary lawyer’ with ‘great experience and knowledge’. His colleagues in New York include James Walker, David Massey, Daniel Zinman and the ‘hardworking, detail-oriented and responsive’ Shari Brandt; key figures in Washington DC include William Barry and Jeffrey Lehtman. Barry and Richards represented the audit committee of a public global asset manager in an FCPA investigation. Massey led the firm’s advice to a Latin American sports marketing and production company in investigations into corruption at FIFA. Other highlights for the firm included acting for RMBS bond traders in SEC and DOJ investigations into allegedly fraudulent trading practices, and representing employees of JPMorgan Chase in an FCPA investigation.

Recent successes for Shearman & Sterling LLP include convincing the Second Circuit to overturn an insider trading conviction against former Diamondback Capital Management employee Todd Newman. Practice co-leader Stephen Fishbein and John Nathanson were responsible for this matter. Fishbein and Jeffrey Resetarits were among those who helped secure a pre-trial settlement for a Bank of New York Mellon executive accused of mail and wire fraud. The firm is especially active in representing major financial institutions in investigations, and since 2008 has been advising several such institutions on LIBOR and TIBOR-related investigations. Resetarits was promoted to the partnership in December 2014 along with Christopher LaVigne and Mark Lanpher. Lanpher is based in the Washington DC office along with Philip Urofsky, practice co-leader Patrick Robbins is based in San Francisco, and the rest of the team works out of New York. Three partners joined the firm from Kenyon & Kenyon LLP in November 2015.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s practice is led by Peter Bresnan in Washington DC and Paul Curnin and Mark Stein in New York. Bresnan was part of the team that advised a global bank on SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission investigations concerning the marketing of proprietary investment funds. Curnin and Nicholas Goldin represented a publicly traded defense contractor in DOJ and SEC investigations concerning alleged accounting improprieties. Among Stein’s clients are a group of senior executives at a major financial institution that are being investigated by the DOJ for alleged LIBOR manipulation. Highlights for Washington DC-based lawyer Jeffrey Knox included acting for a senior executive in connection with government investigations relating to corruption in international athletics, and for a global financial institution being investigated for collusion and market manipulation. Other key members of the team include Cheryl Scarboro and Joshua Levine, based in Washington and New York respectively, who represented a global telecoms company in an FCPA investigation by the SEC.

Lawyers at the ‘outstandingSteptoe & Johnson LLP are ‘responsive, thoughtful, practical and astute’. The ‘impressive’ Reid Weingarten and the ‘exceptional’ Brian Heberlig, who heads the practice, were the partners responsible for securing the acquittal of former BP executive David Rainey on a charge of making false statements to FBI investigators regarding the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Together with Patrick Linehan and William Hassler, Weingarten is representing former Acclarent CEO William Facteau in a trial involving alleged off-label marketing of pharmaceutical products. Further key figures in Washington DC include Erik Kitchen the ‘thorough and intelligent’ Jason Weinstein. Michelle Levin in New York, Chris Niewoehner in Chicago and Paul Charlton in Phoenix are also recommended.

Vinson & Elkins LLP acts for clients in relation to FCPA investigations by the SEC and DOJ, FCA litigation, and internal investigations. San Francisco-based practice co-head Matthew Jacobs, along with Washington DC’s Craig Seebald and others, advised Hitachi on a number of matters, including a DOJ investigation into alleged international price fixing. Washington DC-based Craig Margolis defended engineering company KBR in multiple qui tam cases, including one filed by a former subcontracts administrator who accused the company of suppressing competition for subcontracts and thereby defrauding the US government. Margolis also represented technology distributor Avnet in a qui tam FCA case relating to the provision of telecoms products and services to schools and libraries in Texas. Washington DC-based practice co-head William Lawler has expertise in handling major anti-corruption cases.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP has ‘exceptional litigators with incredible bench strength and expertise’. Clients for FCPA-related work include Sanofi, which Washington DC-based practice head Steven Tyrrell is advising on DOJ and SEC investigations. Tyrrell is also acting for former UBS trader Tom Hayes in the DOJ’s criminal investigation into alleged LIBOR manipulation. Another client is the former chief compliance officer of BlackRock, whom New York’s Jonathan Polkes represented in an SEC enforcement action concerning alleged failures to disclose potential conflicts of interest to clients. From the same office, Christopher Garcia acted for the audit committee of the board of directors of American Realty Capital in conducting an internal investigation into allegations of accounting irregularities. Holly Loiseau, based in Washington DC, is also recommended. Additional clients include Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

Zuckerman Spaeder is a ‘very strong’ litigation boutique with an excellent reputation for defending individuals. Key figures in the firm’s Washington DC office include William Taylor and Eric Delinsky, and the pair successfully defended former Massey Energy Company CEO Donald Blankenship against charges of conspiracy to violate the Mine Safety and Health Act. Taylor’s other clients include the former director of the exempt organizations division at the IRS. William Murphy and the ‘phenomenal’ Paul Shechtman, who are based in Baltimore and New York respectively, led the team that defended former Dewey & LeBoeuf employee Zachary Warren against charges involving an alleged scheme to defraud the firm’s lenders; the firm’s forceful defense led to the dismal of the charges in February 2016. Other recommended lawyers include Morris Weinberg in Tampa and Caroline Judge Mehta in DC.

Baker & Hostetler LLP’s ‘top-notch’ nationwide practice is led from New York by John Carney and George Stamboulidis. With fellow New York lawyer Lauren Resnick, Stamboulidis advised Caterpillar and its subsidiary Progress Rail on a criminal investigation of the latter regarding alleged fraud and environmental crimes. He also serves as ethical practices attorney for a construction union and is responsible for tackling corruption and the influence of organized crime. Carney’s highlights included advising the receiver of Michael Kenwood Capital Management following the conviction of the principal for securities and wire fraud. The firm’s anti-bribery work includes handling internal FCPA investigations for numerous clients.

Baker McKenzie LLP is especially active in the area of international anti-corruption work, including FCPA investigations. In August 2015, the Washington DC office was strengthened by the arrival of Maurice Bellan and Ryan Fayhee from McGuireWoods LLP and the DOJ respectively. In the same office, Thomas Firestone, Trevor McFadden and Hillary Brennan were promoted to the partnership, and other key figures include Joan Meyer and Richard Dean. William Devaney heads the practice from New York, where his colleagues include Marc Litt. The firm negotiated with the DOJ on behalf of more than 40 Swiss banks in relation to allegations that they helped US account holders evade tax. Other highlights included conducting an internal investigation in Hong Kong in response to an SEC subpoena connected with alleged insider trading.

Baker Botts L.L.P. has a broad practice that acts for individuals and companies from a range of sectors. The Washington DC-based Alex Bourelly heads the practice following Michael Barta’s move to Dechert LLP. Other key figures in Washington DC include Randy Turk and Kyle Clark, who together are representing a former state department employee in connection with government investigations relating to attacks on the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi. Clark represented oil exploration company Cobalt International Energy alongside fellow Washington DC lawyer Jeremy Levin and Houston-based Michael Goldberg and Russell Lewis, with the team handling parallel SEC and DOJ investigations into the client’s activities in Angola. Bridget Moore, also in Washington DC, and New York-based Andrew Lankler are also recommended.

Chadbourne & Parke LLP represents individuals in high-profile criminal litigation and also advises companies on major investigations. Head of litigation Abbe Lowell is representing Senator Bob Menendez in what may be a precedent-setting case following the client’s indictment for campaign corruption. He is also defending a former employee of Traffic Sports USA in connection with the FIFA corruption case, and advising Bank Hapoalim on a DOJ tax investigation. Lowell’s colleague in Washington-DC, Keith Rosen, helped a foreign energy company to prepare a global anti-corruption and sanctions compliance program. Jenny Kramer joined the New York office as counsel in January 2015 having served as assistant US attorney in the District of New Jersey. Washington DC counsel Christopher Man is also recommended.

The lawyers at Clifford Chance are ‘very good with people and have excellent judgment’. The firm is especially active in representing high-level executives, but it also assists major financial institutions with internal and government investigations. Additionally, Washington DC-based practice chair David DiBari and New York lawyer Edward O’Callaghan represented aerospace company Fokker Services in a multi-agency investigation into possible exports of US-made parts to embargoed destinations; the pair negotiated a settlement with the agencies. Christopher Morvillo and David Raskin, also based in New York, are defending former Alstom executive Lawrence Hoskins in federal criminal proceedings stemming from an indictment for FCPA violations and other alleged crimes.

Cohen & Gresser LLP’s ‘outstanding’ white-collar criminal defense group is chaired by the ‘thoughtful and experiencedMark Cohen, who focuses on regulatory enforcement and internal investigations. Jonathan Abernethy is ‘industrious, pleasant to work with, and highly skilled’. He and the ‘talentedGale Dick have particular experience in FCPA matters. The New York-based firm represents clients from a range of industries, but a high proportion of its cases in this arena are financial services-related. In addition, the firm represented a significant witness in Dean Skelos’ public corruption trial in the Southern District of New York.

Highlights for Cooley LLP included obtaining the withdrawal of a guilty plea for Nathan Jacobson, a foreign national indicted for money laundering by the DOJ. Litigation practice chair Michael Attanasio, who is based in San Diego, was able to secure the dismissal of all charges against the client. Stephen Neal, the chairman of the firm, and Kathleen Goodhart, who are based in Palo Alto and San Francisco respectively, defended Kolon Industries in a suit brought by the DOJ that involved allegations that the client conspired with former DuPont employees in the theft of trade secrets pertaining to Kevlar bulletproof vests. Other key lawyers at the firm include William Schwartz, who focuses on the financial services sector, Jonathan Bach and Alan Levine. All three are based in New York.

Attorneys at New York firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP are ‘very knowledgeable, very diligent and very efficient’. ‘Brilliant advocateEvan Chesler and the ‘thoughtful and practicalBenjamin Gruenstein advised Avon Products on DOJ and SEC investigations into alleged FCPA violations. The ‘very sharpDavid Stuart is among those acting for Barnes & Noble in relation to several SEC investigations, and he and the ‘extremely smart, pragmatic and calmRachel Skaistis are representing Novartis in both internal and government investigations. The firm is also defending Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation in two qui tam FCA actions in the Southern District of New York. John Buretta is recommended for his work defending alleged fraudsters.

Dentons’ nationwide practice has considerable experience in FCPA investigations and securities fraud matters, and acts for clients from a broad range of sectors, particularly healthcare. Glenn Colton heads the team and is based in the New York office; as is Michelle Shapiro, who advised Fresenius Medical Care on its global anti-corruption compliance program alongside Kansas City’s Max Carr-Howard. Another client is former Chicago Bears wide receiver Willie Gault, whom Los Angeles-based George Newhouse and Washington DC’s Nancy Grunberg successfully defended against charges of securities fraud. Thomas Kelly, also in Washington DC, is defending XTO Energy against environmental criminal charges.

Goodwin Procter LLP’s team is ‘strong and getting stronger’. The practice is led by Todd Cronan, based in Boston, and ‘starRichard Strassberg, who works out of New York. Cronan acted for medical device manufacturer Bruker Corporation in a multi-agency investigation into alleged FCPA violations. Strassberg is acting for Countrywide Home Loans and Countrywide Bank in a FIRREA civil suit brought by the DOJ, and for the CFO of Pfizer in securities litigation. New York lawyer William Harrington is ‘an exceptional resource in difficult circumstances’. His work includes helping Symphony Communication to answer questions from regulators about encryption technology the company developed for use in the banking sector. In Silicon Valley, Grant Fondo is ‘a name to watch’. He is defending a former investment banking analyst against charges of insider trading. The Boston-based Joseph Savage is also recommended.

The ‘outstandingKatten Muchin Rosenman LLP is predominantly based in Chicago, but the team is led by Scott Resnik in New York. Areas of expertise include insurance fraud and environmental law. Chicago’s Gil Soffer is defending Guarantee Trust Life Insurance Company in a suit brought by the FTC alleging violations of the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule. The firm also defended Royal Bank of Canada against allegations of wash trading, securing a settlement and a substantial reduction in penalties. The New York-based Alan Brudner is ‘smart, responsive, practical and flexible’. Former practice co-head Joshua Berman left to become deputy general counsel at the Department of Commerce and, following publication, Whitney Ellerman left to set up her own firm, Ellerman Enzinna PLLC.

The ‘very strongKobre & Kim has an excellent reputation for representing individuals in high-profile cases, and ‘has real strength in international investigations’. The firm was founded by the ‘judicious’ Steven Kobre and the ‘terrific’ Michael Kim, who ‘has a very strong work ethic and deep international experience’. Both are based in New York. Also recommended is Miami-based Matthew Menchel, who is part of the team that successfully defended former UBS executive Raoul Weil when he was accused of helping Americans hide $20bn in secret offshore accounts. Highlights for Washington DC’s Eric Bruce included representing two proprietary trading firms based in Paris in an enforcement action brought by the SEC regarding alleged computer hacking and securities fraud. The firm’s other clients include the former CEO of an Argentine media company, who was implicated in corruption at FIFA, a futures trader accused of ‘spoofing’ the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s E-mini S&P 500 futures contract market, and a doctor accused of bribing a co-defendant.

McGuireWoods LLP had an excellent 2015, handling some very high-profile matters and recruiting Robert Bittman, Todd Steggerda and George Terwilliger to its Washington DC office from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. Terwilliger led the firm’s advice to former Illinois congressman Aaron Schock in a DOJ investigation into his political expenditures. Richmond-based practice head John Adams advised SunTrust Mortgage on a DOJ criminal investigation into the client’s handling of a federally mandated mortgage modification program, resolving the matter successfully. Highlights for Richmond lawyer Richard Cullen included representing former FIFA president Sepp Blatter. The Washington DC-based Todd Mullins is representing two former Barclays energy traders in an investigation into alleged market manipulation.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s New York-based team handles regulatory investigations for major financial institutions. The practice is led by George Canellos and Daniel Perry, and it includes firm chairman Scott Edelman. James Cavoli and Tawfiq Rangwala became partners in January 2015, and Antonia Apps joined in September 2014 after serving as assistant US attorney for the Southern District of New York. The team advised Rabobank on a multi-jurisdictional investigation relating to possible LIBOR and Euribor manipulation. It also acted for a US bank in a DOJ investigation into the adequacy of the bank’s Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering compliance programs. Another client is American Realty Capital, which is under investigation by a number of regulators regarding restatement of its financial statement.

Munger, Tolles & Olson has a Los Angeles-headquartered white-collar practice led by co-managing partner Brad Brian, who is highly regarded for his trial experience. Other key figures include Gregory Weingart, Bart Williams and San Francisco-based Jerome Roth. The firm acted for Transocean and certain of its subsidiaries in multidistrict litigation and other civil proceedings relating to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The firm’s other work includes handling FCPA investigations and FCA litigation, and advising clients on tax fraud, securities fraud, environmental crimes, insider trading and criminal antitrust matters. Sean Eskovitz left the firm to form Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz in January 2016.

Pepper Hamilton LLP is best known for its work in the healthcare and defense sectors. For Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the firm resolved civil and criminal investigations by the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania into compliance with current good manufacturing practices. It also represented Supreme Foodservice in investigations by three US attorneys’ offices into a contract with the Defense Logistics Agency. Other clients include various institutions under investigation by the DOJ and others into lending and underwriting practices by payday loan companies. Practice chair Thomas Gallagher is based in Philadelphia along with Michael Schwartz and Jeremy Frey. Martin Bloor works from the New York office.

Proskauer Rose LLP is an ‘outstanding’ firm that acts for clients from the financial services, automotive, energy and life sciences sectors, among others, representing both companies and senior executives. Areas of expertise for the firm include securities fraud, tax fraud and FCPA investigations. Robert Cleary displays ‘good judgment, calm diplomacy, and personal attention to detail’. He and Dietrich Snell co-head the New York-based practice. Sigal Mandelker’s work includes handling internal investigations.

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP’s clients range from major global financial institutions to individuals, and the firm acts for numerous hedge funds and private equity houses as well as their executives. The white-collar practice is led by Barry Bohrer in New York and Adam Hoffinger in Washington DC. The litigation group is led by Martin Perschetz in New York and Howard Schiffman, who divides his time between the two cities. Bohrer defended an individual who was alleged to have defrauded the City of New York while facilitating a major IT project. Hoffinger is defending the founder and former CEO of Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School against an 11-count federal indictment for mail fraud, tax conspiracy and filing false tax returns. Also recommended are Lisa Prager, who works out of both offices, and Peter White, who is based in Washington DC.

Highly effective’ firm Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP has a long history in Los Angeles, where ‘top-notch’ practice group leader Bryan Daly and the ‘wise, experienced and practicalCharles Kreindler are based. New York lawyers include Kevin Puvalowski and MaryJeanette Dee, while Raymond Marshall is based in San Francisco. The firm is defending Abacus Federal Savings Bank in a long-running trial arising from allegations that the bank knowingly approved mortgages to unqualified borrowers prior to the financial crisis. Daly and Kreindler secured a non-prosecution agreement for Exide Technologies following an investigation into the treatment and storage of hazardous waste. Other highlights for Kreindler included representing Urbain Tran, an individual charged with tax fraud in connection with the import of Chinese honey. Other clients include the California Public Utilities Commission, Accident Fund Insurance Company of America and Wells Fargo Capital Finance.

Squire Patton Boggs has a nationwide team with many high-profile clients, including Edward Li, the president of Costa Rica’s football federation, whom practice chair Samuel Rosenthal and others are defending in connection with the FIFA corruption scandal. Rosenthal, who divides his time between New York and Washington DC, is also representing environmental company AbTech Industries in connection with Dean Skelos’ public corruption trial. Washington DC’s Benjamin Wood is representing several current and former BNP Paribas employees in a multi-jurisdictional investigation into alleged sanctions violations. Joseph Walker, based in the same city, is among those contributing to the firm’s FCPA monitorship of oil and gas company Weatherford International. Other clients include a federal employee indicted on eight counts of computer hacking, theft and making false statements. San Francisco’s Nathan Lane and Cincinnati’s Tom Zeno are recommended.

Lawyers at the ‘excellentWhite & Case LLP are ‘always responsive and spot-on in the advice they give’, and the firm has particular expertise in handling cross-border disputes. Washington DC lawyers Christopher Curran and Nicole Erb are among those representing the Republic of the Sudan in several lawsuits that relate to allegations of supporting the terrorists responsible for attacks on two US embassies in Africa in 1998 and the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000. In New York, Kenneth Caruso and global commercial litigation chair Glenn Kurtz represented a number of banks in proceedings concerning OFAC sanctions, and secured a ruling in favor of their clients from the Second Circuit. Other key figures at the practice include Scott Hershman and Owen Pell in New York and Aalok Sharma in Los Angeles.

The ‘exceptionalWillkie Farr & Gallagher LLP delivers ‘unmatched attention to detail and a thorough and efficient service’. The ‘capable and decisiveMichael Schachter heads the practice from New York. Schachter successfully represented Anthony Allen, the former global head of liquidity and finance at Rabobank, in a criminal trial in the Southern District of New York regarding alleged LIBOR manipulation. He and Washington DC-based Martin Weinstein acted for Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank when its assets were frozen in connection with a criminal investigation. Weinstein also represented Teva Pharmaceuticals in a multi-jurisdictional FCPA investigation. In September 2015, William Stellmach joined the Washington DC office from the DOJ, and Amelia Cottrell joined the New York office from the SEC.

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The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to

Press Releases worldwide

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to