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United States > Dispute resolution > E-discovery > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. E-discovery
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

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Clifford Chance – Their Voices

According to one client, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton's 'greatest strength is its cross-border discovery and data privacy practice', while its 'understanding of how EU data protection and employment law impacts on US discovery is unparalleled'. The group is jointly led by Washington DC's Christian Mahoney and Brussels-based 'thought-leader' Natascha Gerlach, who is noted for her 'deep understanding of the law and how to solve real-world problems in a practical way'. Mahoney and Gerlach advised Dow Chemical on the e-discovery aspects of merger clearance proceedings in more than 20 jurisdictions, including the US, EU, China and Brazil, following its $130bn merger with DuPont. New York-based Michael Bohner was made managing discovery attorney in 2019; he focuses on artificial intelligence and data analytics matters. Drawing on in-house IT capabilities, the team is able to customize existing predictive application programming interfaces (APIs) in order to tailor discovery and document review methodologies. In a recent highlight, the group served as lead counsel to National Amusements Inc. in its litigation against CBS Corporation, successfully preventing the implementation of a non-defensible AI-driven predictive workflow that would have resulted in an incomplete production of documents, contributing to a satisfactory settlement agreement. Splitting his time between Washington DC and Hong Kong, Nowell Bamberger is a key name for e-discovery litigation.

Recognized by peers as an e-discovery pioneer, New York's Robert Owen heads Eversheds Sutherland's practice, drawing on significant experience in commercial litigation and prominent positions in a number of industry bodies. Owen is supported in Washington DC by Matt Gatewood (whose recent highlights include government investigations and large-scale litigation involving workplace operational failures, cybersecurity breaches, multi-district class actions and worker classification disputes) and e-discovery litigation expert Gregory Kaufman. The group's impressive client roster includes major names in the life sciences, energy, insurance and financial services spaces. Counsel Francis Nolan, in New York, is also recommended for class action and complex business litigation matters.

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Milberg Tadler Phillips Grossman LLP in New York is one of the few plaintiff's firms operating in the e-discovery field, and often oversees large and complex discovery operations. Under the leadership of Ariana Tadler, the group has developed particular expertise in strategy, data preservation, data collection and storage, sophisticated data search and analysis, production and computer forensic investigation, as well as conducting training on e-discovery issues. In a demonstration of the firm's capabilities, Tadler and Henry Kelston were appointed by the Plaintiffs' Executive Committee in a class action arising from a major data breach affecting Yahoo! accounts, overseeing a massive e-discovery effort. Melissa Ryan Clark is another key name with significant litigation experience.

The Columbia-based team at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP houses a mix of attorney-advocates, technology specialists and project management staff, advising both government entities and corporates on a variety of e-discovery issues. It receives praise for its scalable document review platform, which complements the group's 'good depth' of litigators. 'Well recognized by clients', practice head John Martin is ably supported by Lucie Cohen and Heyward Bonyata. Clients include Anthem, Eli Lilly and Entergy Corporation.

The team at Ropes & Gray LLP is praised by clients for its 'market-leading' expertise in e-discovery and cybersecurity. The group, which is led from Chicago by 'star lawyer' Shannon Capone Kirk, who 'combines good strategy with excellent advocacy in the courtroom', is highly specialized, and all lawyers are also expert in technological issues. It stands out for its capabilities the e-discovery aspects of major data breaches and for handling the spectrum of investigations for corporate clients.

Winston & Strawn LLP's group of attorneys and technologists provides 'a seamless, cost-effective service' that limits the need for outside vendors. It is often called upon to co-ordinate e-discovery for clients facing litigation across multiple jurisdictions, as well as to advise government agencies on a variety of issues. It is chaired by 'terrific' John Rosenthal in Washington DC, who 'knows his stuff inside-out'. Also recommended is Houston-based Sheryl Falk, who leads the firm's global privacy and data security task force alongside Steven Grimes in Chicago.

Dechert LLP's team is called upon by clients to provide e-discovery advisory and support services, particularly involving challenging time constraints, in a vast array of litigation and investigation matters. Clients particularly praise the firm for its experience in, and familiarity with, the European market. The group is led by experienced trial attorney Ben Barnett in Philadelphia ('without peer'), who is advising Airbus on a number of issues, including the launch of its open source aviation data platform, Project Skywise, in which he is drawing on his expertise in big data issues. Also based in Philadelphia, Matt Tate is another name to note for multi-jurisdictional e-discovery.

Clients note that the team at K&L Gates 'has long been a leader in the discovery space', bringing together 'broad experience in different types of review'. The legal team is made up of trial-experienced litigators, and draws on a pool of in-house associates specializing in e-discovery. It serves as co-ordinating e-discovery counsel for a number of major corporates at trial and in significant investigations. Key litigators include Martha Dawson and Julie Anne Halter, both of whom are 'true pioneers' in the field, Thomas Smith, Daniel Miller and Rachel Tausend.

Thought-leader Ronni Solomon leads the Atlanta-based team at King & Spalding LLP. The group acts as e-discovery counsel for a number of corporates involved in litigation and is often called upon for advisory work. Solomon serves as national e-discovery counsel to UPS, a role she has held since 2009, advising on litigation protocol, email retention, litigation hold and attorney-client privilege issues, and representing the client in various investigations and litigation. In another notable engagement, Rose Jones and Lisa Smith serve as national discovery counsel to Toyota Motor North America.

'Operating at the top of its game', the team at Kirkland & Ellis LLP is jointly led by New York-based James Mutchnik and Michelle Six, who is 'incredible with clients' and has 'a deep understanding of sophisticated systems and the folks who manage them'. The group is often called upon to assist clients with litigation holds, data-retention policies, privilege issues, employee training, data management and privacy - in addition to e-discovery strategy and the development of data-collection procedures. The group successfully represented Juan Hernandez and James Dossett, on a pro bono basis, in a putative class action against the City of Houston alleging that the plaintiffs were detained beyond the constitutionally allowable window without neutral determination of probable cause; the firm's e-discovery process uncovered a number of abuses committed by the defendant.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is noted for both its e-discovery litigation capabilities and its in-house technological solutions, under the banner of Orrick Analytics, a service led by Daryl Shetterly in Wheeling, West Virginia. The e-discovery team is led by Washington DC's Wendy Butler Curtis, who draws on significant litigation experience and expertise in analytics and service innovation. The team was engaged to handle e-discovery by Microsoft in a gender discrimination class action brought by current and former employees, successfully convincing the court that the plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate commonality, typicality or adequacy. Other key names include Jeff McKenna in San Francisco and Kelly Cullen in Wheeling.

Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP's team has experience across the spectrum of e-discovery matters, including discovery consulting and counseling, utilizing the firm's document review center and information management capabilities. It is led jointly by Washington DC's Patrick Oot, who combines experience as an in-house, government and private practice litigator, and Kansas City's Denise Talbert, who is a veteran of the e-discovery space. Mark Cowing and Gabe Egli are the other names to note in Kansas City.

Ballard Spahr LLP's Philadelphia-based group is well equipped to provide litigation support to clients in the form of, among other things, data collection, extraction, review, production and preservation. It is also often called upon to advise on litigation hold, back-up and retention policies. The team is led by industry veteran Philip Yannella, whose past mandates include serving as e-discovery counsel to Nasdaq in the litigation surrounding Facebook's initial public offering. The group advised and represented PNC Bank on all phases of electronic discovery in multi-district litigation relating to overdraft fees. On the advisory side, it assisted New York University with the development of an internal legal hold standard operating procedure, and advised American Credit Acceptance on the development of a full suite of litigation hold, record retention, data privacy and security policies and procedures. It also serves on the e-discovery and data management counsel panel for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Mayer Brown's Washington DC-based practice head Michael Lackey is praised by one client as 'a go-to resource in the field and a terrific lawyer'. In one highlight, Eric Evans in Palo Alto defended Frank Russell Company against allegations by Freeman Investment Management that the client had breached a non-disclosure agreement and misappropriated trade secrets; Evans successfully argued that the plaintiff had failed to identify its purported trade secrets with the required particularity. Ethan Hastert in Chicago and Washington DC-based senior associate Oral Pottinger are also recommended.

O'Melveny & Myers LLP's group is led from Los Angeles by Jeffrey Fowler and is commended for providing 'e-discovery advice that is easily translatable to the non-e-discovery regulatory attorney'. It is composed of practicing lawyers, technologists and staff attorneys, enabling it to provide a full service to clients. In a major victory, Fowler led an e-discovery team for Humana in reimbursement litigation with a health provider, successfully proving it had engaged a third-party consultant to destroy data relevant to the litigation. Other key names include counsels Jonathan Le and Adrian Pollner in Los Angeles and Jeffrey Kopczynski, who is based in New York.

Reed Smith LLP's team provides e-discovery services across the spectrum of issues, as well as advising on information governance, data protection and data remediation. Practice head David Cohen in Pennsylvania is recommended alongside New York's Anthony Diana and Therese Craparo.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP's team of 'focused practitioners' comprises lawyers and technologists dedicated to e-discovery and information governance. It is led jointly from Chicago by Jay Carle and Scott Carlson, who 'combines legal experience, computer science knowledge, exceptional business judgment and standout integrity'. Recommended lawyers in San Francisco include Richard Lutkus and senior counsel Kathleen McConnell.

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