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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 ‘excellent’ Randy 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.

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