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Financial services: litigation
With a plethora of true trial lawyers, including the ‘redoubtable’ Evan Chesler, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP is well equipped to provide a ‘trial ready’ service to clients across the waterfront of disputes including securities fraud, antitrust, general commercial, M&A litigation and bankruptcy cases. The practice is instructed by an exceptionally broad range of clients including major financial institutions, broker-dealers, private equity funds, hedge funds and accounting firms, and consequently is ‘absolutely on top of current market trends’. At the vanguard of work in the financial services litigation arena, the firm has been involved in many of the most complex and high-profile disputes arising directly or indirectly out of the economic downturn. It is national co-ordinating counsel for both Credit Suisse and JPMorgan Chase in residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) litigation throughout the country. The practice has also represented the two entities across a range of other litigation in cases relating to complex derivatives including currency-linked total-return swaps, credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), and also continues to advise Credit Suisse as creditor in connection with the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. A ‘strong bench’ of litigators includes the ‘superb’ Richard Clary, who as well as being heavily involved in the aforementioned RMBS and Lehman Brothers bankruptcy litigation for Credit Suisse, is also acting for the outside directors of Citigroup in a shareholder derivative action, alleging breach of fiduciary duty, corporate waste and mis-management in connection with the bank’s losses on CDOs. Daniel Slifkin is also a key member of the team and recently successfully persuaded the Court of Appeal to affirm the lower court’s original decision in favour of Morgan Stanley in relation to a shareholder derivative action brought against the bank, its inside directors and certain of its executives alleging breach of fiduciary duty, corporate waste and unjust enrichment arising from the setting of employment compensation. Michael Reynolds and Robert Baron are also recommended. Other clients include American Express, Banco Santander and Deutsche Bank.
‘Familiar with the relevant procedures and substantive law’, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is the go-to firm for a raft of leading financial institutions seeking a resolution to a range of potential disputes. Drawing upon the expertise of lawyers from within the firm’s well regarded shareholder litigation, white-collar and corporate restructuring groups, the firm has competency across the spectrum of the most pressing issues facing financial institutions including matters arising directly out of the economic downturn such as MBS disputes, as well as core securities fraud matters and commercial litigation. With a number of former high-ranking government lawyers within its ranks, the firm is particularly accomplished at handling enforcement and investigatory work, although it also has the civil litigation capability to handle the contentious work that often proceeds in its wake. Former high-ranking SEC lawyer Linda Chatmen Thomsen is ‘one of the top regulatory enforcement lawyers’ and displays ‘great knowledge and judgement’ to both the institutions themselves and the individual directors. As well as being involved for a major institution in the recent LIBOR investigations, she is also representing several independent board members of MF Global in connection with the ongoing regulatory investigations relating to the company’s well-publicized bankruptcy. Jennifer Newstead is another former high-ranking government lawyer and is well regarded by clients who are appreciative of her ‘excellent litigation skills’ across a range of hot-button issues including FCPA and OFAC-related matters. Notably, Newstead recently successfully ensured that leading Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo was not subject to any criminal charges following the high-profile, multi-year, multi-forum criminal and civil investigations regarding alleged OFAC violations concerning the processing of payments relating to Iran, Cuba, Libya and Sudan. James Rouhandeh spearheads the firm’s litigation efforts for financial institutions and is currently defending the underwriters of the recent Facebook IPO against securities fraud allegations brought by shareholders in the social media company. The firm benefits from a deeply entrenched relationship with Morgan Stanley and is instructed by the banking behemoth across a slew of matters including successfully ensuring that no charges were brought against it following a high-profile DOJ and SEC investigation into alleged FCPA offences relating to the bank’s real estate investment operation in China. Scott Muller led on this matter and is a key member of a team that also includes the ‘excellent’ Carey Dunne and Raul Yanes. Clients include Credit Suisse, Citigroup, RBS and Bank of America.
‘Top to bottom first-rate’, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP’s preeminent reputation ensures that it is regularly instructed in many of the highest-stakes litigation in the market. Peopled with lawyers with vast regulatory knowledge, as well as those who are ‘at the top of their game in terms of trying cases’, the firm is comfortably able to handle matters progressing on numerous fronts including regulatory enforcement actions and major civil class actions. Praised for his ‘client service, responsiveness and judgement’, Brad Karp is regularly at the forefront of the most significant matters handled by the group. Karp has guided core client Citigroup to a number of recent notable victories including its high-profile success before the Second Circuit where it held that the bank would likely overturn the recent refusal by the district court to approve Citigroup’s $285m settlement regarding the SEC’s recent investigation into its CDO practices and affirmed the ability of parties to resolve federal regulatory matters without requiring an admission of liability. Daniel Kramer is another leader for handling complex civil litigation and regulatory matters for some of the largest financial institutions and is currently representing Bank of America in the Merrill Lynch litigation and UBS in CDO disputes. Bruce Birenboim has an excellent reputation as a trial lawyer, and has had a particular focus on recent years in disputes emanating out of the economic downturn. As well as representing Citigroup in multiple RMBS litigations, he recently successfully defended it in a month long arbitration hearing against claims that it had fraudulently induced Abu Dhabi Investment Authority to invest $7.5bn in the bank. Charles Davidow, Richard Rosen and Susanna Buergel are also recommended.
Litigation boutique Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP has ‘carved out a great niche’ at advising institutional plaintiffs in financial services litigation. Praised for its ‘trial-ready approach’, the firm is at the forefront of cases arising out of the financial crisis including disputes relating to RMBS, credit default swaps, CDOs and other structured products and derivatives. Philippe Selendy is co-chair of the firm’s structured finance litigation group and is representing the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) as conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 14 separate securities cases brought against many leading banks alleging misrepresentation in the sale of billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities to the two government-sponsored entities. Selendy is also involved in numerous other significant matters including representing HSH Nordbank in a fraud case brought against UBS over losses on a CDO linked to the US subprime mortgage market and the defense of a synthetic CDO action for Swiss Re against investors in the Briethorn CDO transactions. Peter Calamari has vast experience in complex financial services litigation, and fresh from negotiating a $7.5bn settlement for Washington Mutual in its high-profile case against JPMorgan, is representing monoline insurer MBIA in multibillion-dollar claims against Bank of America and others arising out of collapsed RMBS transactions. Jon Pickhardt and Harry Olivar are also recommended.
Praised for its ‘responsive, highly knowledgeable and extremely practical approach’, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s litigators ‘combine strong trial experience with a client-orientated focus’. With approximately 16 partners who devote a large proportion of their time to handling financial services litigation, clients benefit from a ‘very deep bench of highly skilled litigators’ with expertise across a broad range of areas including antitrust, securities, bankruptcy and government and internal investigations. The firm continues to be involved in a slew of high-profile litigation that arose in the wake of the global financial crisis, including the defense of RBS, Deutsche Bank and UBS in numerous RMBS litigations brought by government-sponsored entities, private institutional investors and putative class plaintiffs. The ‘incredibly skilled and responsive’ Thomas Rice has been pivotal to this work and is appreciated by clients as a result of his ‘tireless work ethic, tactical nous and creative thinking’, as well as an ability to ‘provide leading advice on technical matters and case strategy’. Rice is also defending core client JPMorgan on all of its LIBOR-related litigation, as well as in a variety of auction rate securities cases. ‘Outstanding securities litigator’ Jonathan Youngwood is also a key member of the team guiding JPMorgan through its auction rate securities disputes and is recognized as a ‘rising star’ with a ‘great courtroom presence’. The firm benefits from deeply entrenched ties with many of the leading sponsors in the private equity industry and is also regularly involved in litigation arising from their investment activities. Bruce Angiolillo frequently handles litigation for private equity heavyweight Blackstone, and along with Youngwood is defending it against allegations that it fraudulently induced investors to purchase shares in Kosmos Energy. The ‘smart and hardworking’ Peter Kazanoff is also regularly called upon to represent private equity firms as a result of his ‘excellence’ at handling transactional-related litigation. Paul Gluckow also has significant M&A litigation experience, both on behalf of corporates and private equity firms. The firm’s practice is rounded out by a number of partners who specialize in governmental investigations and enforcement actions including former assistant US Attorney Mark Stein and Paul Curnin, the latter who also regularly defends major financial institution clients in securities litigation. Clients include KKR, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank.
Able to call upon the services of an ‘excellent’ roster of enforcement lawyers, as well as individuals with vast litigation experience, in addition to having the capability to tap into other relevant concomitant practice areas, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is well-equipped to handle financial services litigation work. Able to seamlessly resource both the enforcement/investigation piece as well as the follow-on civil litigation, should it occur, the firm is a go-to destination for clients engaged in the current spate of cases which have fallen under the regulators’ ever more vigilant gaze. The ‘accomplished’ Jay Kasner is one of the best-known securities lawyers in the country and, along with Scott Musoff, recently successfully overturned the original ruling and persuaded the court to grant a dismissal with prejudice on behalf of the underwriting syndicate of billions of dollars of Deutsche Bank securities in a federal securities class action alleging that the bank had failed to adequately disclose its exposure to subprime and other residential mortgage-backed securities. The ‘superb’ Colleen Mahoney covers the whole gamut of issues facing financial institutions and is recognized as a ‘go-to person for complex SEC enforcement investigations’. As well as civil matters, the team is also frequently called upon to advise clients on white-collar criminal matters at every stage of the enforcement process. John Carroll is a leader in this field and has been at the heart of the DOJ’s insider-trading investigations regarding the ties between hedge funds and the so called "network of experts". David Zornow is also a fine white-collar litigator, and on the civil side, Anand Raman and Joseph Barloon handle a plethora of financial services enforcement/investigations work, with Raman recently instructed by a number of banks including JPMorgan Chase on Consumer Financial Protection Bureau matters.
Co-ordinating efforts with its bank regulatory and financial institutions practices, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP provides a ‘superlative service’ to many of the most prominent financial services clients both in relation to litigation and the regulatory and criminal enforcements stemming from such cases. Involved in many of the most significant disputes stemming from the financial downturn, the firm recently reached a settlement with the DOJ and the FSA in the UK on behalf of Barclays in the multi-agency LIBOR investigations and is also currently acting for the bank in the pending civil actions. The firm also handles work for JPMorgan Chase and is currently national co-ordinating counsel for the bank on its RMBS litigation and regulatory matters. The bench strength of the firm and also the esteem with which it is held by clients is underscored by its current representation of five (including JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs) out of the 16 banks being sued by the FHFA, as conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, for their role in the alleged misrepresentation of billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities sold to the two government-sponsored entities. Sharon Nelles excels at matters which sit at the intersection between investigations, enforcement proceedings and the civil lawsuits that follow; she is currently engaged in the various investigations and litigation surrounding Moody’s methodology regarding RMBS’ and CDOs. Robert Giuffra is recognized as a ‘bet the company litigator’ and this was recently underscored when he successfully defended UBS in the remaining securities actions regarding its market capital decline following the collapse of the mortgage-backed and auction-backed securities market. Generalist litigator David Braff is increasingly active in financial services litigation and amongst his many recent cases is leading the firm’s efforts for Barclays in its various LIBOR-related matters. The ‘excellent’ Richard Klapper and Gandolfo DiBlasi are also recommended for litigation, and the ‘considered, calm and experienced’ Samuel Seymour provides expertise to clients engaged in matters that have a white-collar element.
Arnold & Porter LLP has a ‘longstanding’ presence representing financial services clients across a range of matters including enforcement/congressional investigations, securities actions and antitrust litigation. The firm has a strong reputation within the consumer finance sector and regularly acts for clients in discrimination and unfair lending cases brought by the DOJ and Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS). Michael Mierzewski is at the forefront of much of this work and also continues to represent the FHFA in litigation related to the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conservatorships. Another area of strength for the firm is in relation to federal pre-emption, most of which is handled out of its West Coast offices. Los Angeles-based Laurence Hutt is using this argument as a defence for FIA Card Services (formerly MBNA America Bank) against allegations that it contravened a unique California disclosure statute. Although the firm does not pick up the same level of high-profile credit crunch-related instructions, it has been handling a growing volume of MBS matters including representing Bank of America in the defence of an action brought by monoline insurer Ambac seeking reimbursement for all payments made in respect of the defaulting underlying mortgages that made up part of the mortgage-backed securities originated and securitized by First Franklin (now Bank of America following Merrill Lynch’s acquisition). The firm also continues to represent Flagstar in another high-profile case brought by monoline insurer Assured Guaranty. Recommended partners include Howard Cayne, Charles Berry, Pamela Miller, Stewart Aaron and David Bergman.
Based out of New York and Washington DC, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s 20-partner commercial litigation group includes a number of lawyers who have developed specific expertise representing financial institutions in core and non-core banking issues, as well as enforcement matters. As befits the firm’s work sharing ethos and culture, the team draws upon the strengths of other practice areas and works particularly closely with its corporate and regulatory colleagues. ‘Extremely responsive and staffed with appropriate bench strength’, the firm’s multi-disciplinary approach has come to the fore in its ongoing representation of several major banks including HSBC, BNP Paribas and Citigroup as defendants across a number of Madoff-related lawsuits. The ‘responsive and dedicated’ Jeffrey Rosenthal has handled a slew of work for the Bank of New York in the Madoff litigation and is a key member of a team that also includes the ‘smart and hardworking’ Mitchell Lowenthal and Roger Cooper, both of whom are primarily known for their securities litigation expertise. Along with Lewis Liman, Lowenthal and Cooper recently successfully defended several underwriters, including Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, against claims that they produced false and misleading offering documents relating to the issuance of RBS preference stock. Able to leverage off the existence of lawyers in key foreign jurisdictions including London, Paris, Frankfurt and Hong Kong, a good deal of the work handled by the group has an international complexion. Indeed, many of the ‘seasoned and savvy’ Lawrence Friedman’s cases feature a multi-jurisdictional component including his recent work defending Credit Lyonnais and National Westminster Bank in Anti-Terrorism Act lawsuits, and his representation of several banks in cross-border disputes regarding the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. ‘At the top of his profession, Lawrence has a keen sense of fairness and moral compass, both of which are tremendous assets in any high-value, high-stakes litigation matter where the defendant faces reputational risk’. Also strong on the enforcement/investigation side, the firm is advising two major financial institutions in the worldwide LIBOR scandal, as well as several financial institutions in regulatory investigations into the structuring, marketing and sale of CDOs and RMBS.
A significant proportion of work handled by Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s ‘knowledgeable, focused, user-friendly and responsive’ 115-lawyer litigation team relates to disputes affecting financial services clients, from general commercial litigation and work across numerous substantive areas including antitrust, to many high-profile matters arising from the global financial fallout. Driven out of its New York office, and often working in unison with its recently reconfigured regulatory enforcement group, the firm has a ‘good handle on market practices and regulatory priorities’. Douglas Flaum and Israel David recently secured a notable victory for Wells Fargo, Wachovia Corporation and Wachovia’s former officers and directors before the US District Court for the Southern District of New York in two major separate class action securities cases and a series of additional large securities cases. ‘Excellent’ litigation head William McGuinness regularly handles work within the financial services industry as part of his broad-ranging suite of cases and recently secured a notable victory (affirmed on appeal) for underwriter clients Goldman Sachs, UBS and Citigroup in defeating class certification in a $9bn RMBS class action. The ‘solutions-oriented and responsive’ Karl Groskaufmanis is recognized as an ‘exceptional resource’ as a result of his dual capability both on the SEC enforcement and civil litigation sides. Other recommended partners include Carmen Lawrence and Dixie Johnson for SEC enforcement, and William Johnson for white-collar regulatory matters.
Although Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP has not created a specialist financial services group, it has some ‘excellent litigators’, who in conjunction with some superb enforcement lawyers, are able to provide a formidable offering across many of the most significant disputes in the market. Lawrence Zweifach is regularly involved in complex matters that involve parallel proceedings and is currently representing UBS in class action litigation and investigations involving the alleged manipulation of LIBOR. Los Angeles-based Dean Kitchens is representing numerous underwriters including Deutsche Bank and UBS in multi-district litigation (MDL) regarding the issuance and sale of Countrywide mortgage-backed securities. Robert Serio has an excellent reputation representing underwriters in securities class actions and is currently doing so in a class action brought against the underwriters of IndyMac Bank sponsored RMBS securities. The firm also has significant capability on the enforcement side, and in Amy Rudnick has ‘one of the best enforcement securities regulatory lawyers around’.
Sidley Austin LLP provides a ‘smart, strategic, efficient, creative and professional’ offering across the panopoly of disputes including securities class actions, ERISA litigation, SEC enforcement, M&A litigation and accountant’s liability. With lawyers spread out on both coasts as well as benefiting from a strong presence in the firm’s traditional Chicago heartland, the firm is well placed to handle litigation irrespective of location. New York-based Robert Pietrzak has ‘a wealth of knowledge about the industry’ and heads up the firm’s global securities litigation group. Regularly called upon to advise financial institutions on some of their most significant litigation, along with Dorothy Spenner, he recently represented six major investment banks (including Citigroup and Deutsche Bank) in the IStar securities class action. The same combination is also currently engaged by JPMorgan Chase to defend it in a number of its MBS cases. On the West Coast, the ‘excellent’ Sara Brody handles a plethora of securities litigation including her recent work on behalf of underwriters in litigation relating to bond offerings made by Wachovia. The ‘persuasive and strategic’ Gary Bendinger regularly handles work within the industry as part of his broad-ranging litigation practice and is particularly noted for his excellence at handling securities disputes on behalf of accounting firms. On the regulatory and enforcement side, former SEC lawyers Paul Gerlach and Barry Rashkover have excellent credibility before the agencies and were recently strengthened by the arrival of a team of ten partners from Bingham McCutchen LLP including ‘quintessential regulatory enforcement lawyer’ Susan Merrill and ‘strategist and tactician’ Neal Sullivan.
What it lacks in size, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz more than makes up for in the ‘superb quality’ and high-profile nature of the work that the group handles. Leveraging off a top financial institutions M&A practice, the firm provides a ‘seamless service’ to many of the leading banks on any disputes that should arrive out of their merger activity. The team is also regularly involved in complex commercial and securities litigation affecting financial services clients and recently successfully persuaded the bankruptcy court to remove the $19bn case, brought against JPMorgan Chase by the trustee for the liquidation of Bernard Madoff’s failed firm, from the bankruptcy court to the federal court and have the majority of claims dismissed. It has handled a raft of matters for core client Bank of America including in relation to the resolution of the multibillion-dollar claims arising from the foreclosure crisis with the federal government and 49 State Attorneys General. The ‘brilliant’ Lawrence Pedowitz is one of the country’s foremost white-collar criminal litigators and recently represented Citigroup in an SEC investigation into its 2007 public disclosures relating to its subprime exposure. John Savarese is also recommended for white-collar and civil regulatory matters, and the ‘superb’ Theodore Mirvis is regularly involved in some of the country’s highest profile and market defining litigation.
Bingham McCutchen LLP has ‘very good expertise in issues arising out of securities businesses’, and with lawyers spread out across both the East and West Coast has the critical mass and the geographical diversity to handle large, complex cases irrespective of location. Although the firm advises a broad spectrum of entities within the industry, banking clients including Bank of America, Credit Suisse and JPMorgan account for the largest proportion of instructions. Involved in a significant number of cases flowing directly from the economic downturn, the firm has been representing JPMorgan in a raft of MBS litigation, as well as acting for Freddie Mac in multiple securities class actions and derivative lawsuits predicated on allegations that former officers, among others, made false and misleading statements concerning Freddie Mac’s participation in and exposure to the subprime and Alt-A mortgage markets. Team head Jeffrey Smith is ‘very dynamic’ in the field of securities litigation and recently scored a notable victory on behalf of Morgan Stanley when he secured the dismissal of mortgage servicer Central Mortgage Company’s attempt to expand its original claim relating to 47 loans to include an additional 20,000 mortgage loans. Kenneth Schacter has handled a significant amount of work for JPMorgan, and, along with Beth Boland and David Salmons, is currently defending the bank against the Federal Home Loan Bank’s allegation that it made misrepresentations regarding the securitization and sale of approximately $5.3bn in residential mortgage loans.
Combining deep regulatory and enforcement expertise with a trial-ready approach to litigation, Covington & Burling LLP is well-placed to handle both the regulatory enforcement action and the corresponding civil action that are the common features of many of the cases brought against financial services entities. Described as an ‘outstanding quarterback’, Jean Veta and the ‘superb’ Ben Razi have had significant successes in the multitude of enforcement actions and civil securities class actions brought against Michael Perry, the former CEO of failed bank IndyMac. On the pure civil litigation side, the firm has been involved in a number of cases against banks alleging that they partook in unfair and deceptive practices. Robert Wick and Eric Bosset are representing JPMorgan Chase in cases brought by the Attorney General’s of various states alleging that the bank violated state consumer law statutes by the way in which it marketed and administered payment protection and identity protection plans to its credit card customers. Tapping into its excellent antitrust capability, the firm recently filed motions to dismiss on behalf of Citibank in a series of class actions brought against multiple banks alleging the manipulation of the LIBOR interbank lending rate. Former Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan was involved in the aforementioned matter, as was Andrew Ruffino, who is appreciated by clients for his litigation expertise across an array of substantive law including securities, antitrust and consumer protection claims.
Praised for its ‘creativity and excellent judgement’, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP ‘excels at handling complex matters’ that require a multi-disciplinary approach, and in particular where it is able to bring in lawyers from its market-leading white-collar and regulatory enforcement groups. The inclusion of a number of lawyers with former governmental regulatory experience ensures that the group has tremendous credibility in matters including both a criminal and civil enforcement component. Led by the ‘excellent’ Andrew Ceresney and also including the ‘very experienced and commercially orientated’ Sean Hecker, the firm is representing JPMorgan Chase in state and federal regulatory investigations surrounding its mortgage acquisition and securitization practices. The firm is also noted for its ‘superlative knowledge of the insurance industry’ and under the guidance of Mark Goodman recently successfully secured the dismissal of all claims brought against monoline insurer Security Capital Assurance (now Syncora Holdings) and four of its former officers in a case alleging a failure to disclose exposure to subprime mortgage risk. Goodman also continues to represent Amit Vijayvergiya, former partner and Chief Risk Officer of hedge fund firm Fairfield Greenwich, in civil litigation and regulatory investigations relating to the Bernard Madoff matter. Former lynchpin of the white-collar practice Mary Jo White left in March 2013 to head up the SEC.
Goodwin Procter LLP’s ‘excellent practice’ has bench strength out of its East and West Coast offices and consequently has the critical mass to handle major cases irrespective of location. Headed by Tom Hefferon, the firm’s consumer finance litigation group handles the full range of private litigation and governmental investigations for mortgage companies, credit card companies and banks, and has been at the forefront of the market for almost two decades. As well as recently achieving notable success for Quicken Loans in a Supreme Court hearing, Hefferon also successfully secured the dismissal of the MDL action on behalf of Wells Fargo Bank and Bank of America in litigation challenging the widespread mortgage industry practice of using a nominee (MERS) to hold title to mortgages. The firm also handles a raft of other cases for Bank of America/Countrywide Financial, many of which go to the heart of issues surrounding the credit crisis. The ‘thoughtful and thorough’ Brian Pastuszenski continues his role as national co-ordinating counsel for the bank across a range of MBS-related litigation and of many high-profile victories recently successfully resisted the plaintiff’s attempts to send back to the traditionally plaintiff-friendly California state court the largest MBS class action ever filed involving 430 offerings relating to approximately $350bn in original principal amount of securities offered. Clients include JPMorgan Chase, Credit Suisse and People’s United Bank.
Latham & Watkins LLP is a ‘significant player’ in the market and continues to handle some major mandates for a broad range of financial services clients. As well as instructions from numerous banks, the firm has developed a strong reputation for the representation of accountancy firms in securities class actions. California-based partners Peter Wald and James Farrell were both heavily involved in the firm’s recent successes for Ernst & Young and Deloitte & Touche in the respective securities class actions relating to the failures of both IndyMac Bancorp and Washington Mutual Bank. On the bank side, the firm has been involved in the majority of Deutsche Bank’s post-credit crisis shareholder and other civil actions related to its RMBS business. James Brandt was involved in the Deutsche Bank litigation and is a key member of a team that also includes Christopher Harris and Jeff Hammel.
A recognized litigation powerhouse, Kirkland & Ellis LLP derives a significant amount of mandates from the financial services industry. Active out of its East and West Coast offices as well as its Chicago headquarters, the team provides a ‘professional, timely and empathetic’ service to clients, and while it may lack any standout marquee individuals, it is praised for the ‘consistently high-quality’ level of service across the board. Robert Kopecky is representing Ally Financial as one of the defendants in a high-profile action brought by the conservator of Freddie Mac alleging that they lied about the quality of the $200bn of MBS sold to the government-sponsored mortgage company. Bankruptcy-related mandates continue to account for a significant proportion of the group’s workload, and as well as successfully securing summary judgment for Greenwich Capital Financial Products in a $100m dispute with the bankruptcy trustee of American Business Financial Services, the team also continues to handle work for clients in Madoff-related disputes including for Herald Fund in $600m clawback claims brought by Irving Picard. Recognized for its ‘trial-ready approach’, the firm recently prevailed in a high-profile Supreme Court case for Morgan Stanley and other underwriters; in the process successfully wiping away decades of lower court jurisprudence regarding the two-year period for filing insider-trading suits concerning short-swing trading activity. Washington DC-based Christopher Landau argued the case for all the underwriters before the Supreme Court and is a key member of a team that also includes the ‘experienced, practical and sharp’ Alexander Pilmer, and Emily Nicklin, who has earned an excellent reputation for representing accountancy firms. The arrival of the ‘very experienced’ white-collar and SEC enforcement lawyer Neil Eggleston from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, enhances the firm’s ability to handle standalone regulatory enforcement matters, as well as those running in conjunction with private litigation.
Leveraging off an extensive national network of offices and an increasingly strong international presence, particularly in London, Morgan Lewis is able to handle a broad range of matters for clients in the industry irrespective of location. The arrival of former deputy attorney general George Terwilliger and a team of three partners from White & Case LLP, enhances an already strong regulatory presence on the criminal and civil side, and provides the firm with increased credibility before the agencies. The firm is involved in many of the key issues under the regulators’ glare and is representing numerous financial institutions in RMBS investigations. The firm also continues to act as national litigation counsel to a national trust company in the defence of class actions by investors in RMBS trusts. Recommended partners include Jami McKeon, whose broad litigation practice frequently includes significant disputes involving financial services clients; Michele Coffey, for securities enforcement and litigation; and Kenneth Kliebard, who has a significant focus on consumer class action litigation. Clients include JPMorgan, HSBC and Deutsche Bank.
Able to provide a one-stop-shop service to clients engaged in ligation across multiple forums, Morrison & Foerster LLP handles financial services litigation under the umbrella of its securities litigation, enforcement and white-collar defense practice group (SLEW). Co-chair of the SLEW group Carl Loewenson has a white-collar bent to his practice and as well as recently representing the former COO of Barclays in the worldwide LIBOR investigations, has also gained recognition for his success as court-appointed receiver for the victims of the $200m Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Credit Bancorp. Leveraging off the firm’s ‘premier position’ within the consumer finance space, the team handles numerous mandates for significant players within the space including Capital One - who it is representing, along with several of its officers and directors, in a shareholder derivative action relating to various credit card "add on" products. Jordan Eth and Joel Haims led on this matter and are co-chairs of the SLEW group.
Headed by Brian Boyle out of Washington DC and reinforced by a strong presence on the West Coast and New York, O'Melveny & Myers LLP’s ‘very responsive’ 32-partner team is well-versed across the most significant issues exercising the regulators’ minds, and ‘has been great at keeping up to date with legal developments’. Bank of America continues to provide the firm with a significant flow of work, particularly in successor liability claims relating to its acquisition of Countrywide. As well as recently successfully securing a notable dismissal in the US District Court for the Central District of California which limited the liability of the bank for a significant amount of Countrywide’s mortgage practices, the team also secured the dismissal of actions brought by the attorney generals of Arizona and Nevada challenging loan servicing and loan modification practices. Jonathan Rosenberg has been a key partner in much of the Bank of America work, and along with Dan Cantor also recently represented UBS in an appeal hearing arguing that the lower court was correct in its judgment that the bank should not be held liable for anti-terrorism offences relating to transfers with Iranian counterparties. The ‘very good’ Randall Edwards is recommended for handling financial services-related class actions. Clients include Fannie Mae, Visa and Wells Fargo.
With a strong litigation presence on both coasts and aided by a significant regulatory practice, Paul Hastings LLP is able to handle the full suite of matters for clients, whether it be ensuring compliance methods to avoid litigation, or handling government investigations/enforcement actions and civil class actions. Benefiting from ‘excellent substantive knowledge’ and able to call upon the expertise of the transactional banking and finance lawyers, the firm has been involved in a number of disputes regarding structured financial products, with a particular focus on CDOs and MBS. Barry Sher and James Bliss recently successfully secured the dismissal of a fraud claim filed before a New York state court against UBS by HSH Nordbank over losses on a CDO linked to the US subprime-mortgage market. The team has also been involved in disputes arising out of bank failures and led by Gerard Comizio and Kirby Behre is currently involved in pending litigation involving the failure of IndyMac Bank and the seizure of United Western Bank by the Office of Thrift Supervision. Global head of litigation William Sullivan and Joshua Hamilton are recommended.