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Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

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London, NEW YORK

Evan Chesler

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Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

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Evan R. Chesler is Cravath’s Chairman. He has broad experience in both trial and appellate courts, and has tried numerous cases in federal and state courts all over the country.

Mr. Chesler handles a wide variety of litigation, including securities, shareholder derivative, intellectual property, general commercial, environmental, ERISA, contractual disputes and antitrust. His practice also includes the representation of clients in government and internal investigations.  Mr. Chesler has represented companies and their management in virtually every industry including technology, media, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and financial services. 


Following his graduation, Mr. Chesler served as law clerk to Hon. Inzer B. Wyatt of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. He joined Cravath as a litigation associate in 1976 and became a partner in 1982.  Mr. Chesler became head of the Litigation Department in 1996.  He was elected Deputy Presiding Partner in November 2005, and Presiding Partner effective January 1, 2007.  As of January 1, 2013, Mr. Chesler became Chairman of the Firm, the first person to be given that title in the Firm’s history. 

Mr. Chesler has been recognized as a leading litigator in several practice areas by numerous professional publications, including Chambers USA, Chambers Global, The Best Lawyers in America, The American Lawyer, Benchmark Litigation, The Legal 500 United States, Lawdragon and Super Lawyers. Mr. Chesler was named to The Legal 500 Hall of Fame in the Leading Trial Lawyers category in 2017. He became the first recipient of Benchmark Litigation’s Hall of Fame Award in 2016 and was named by the publication as one of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America.” He was also named a nationwide “Legend” by Lawdragon. Law360 selected Mr. Chesler as a “Competition MVP” in 2016, and as one of the nation’s “Trial Aces” in 2015. He was named New York City “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers for Bet‑the‑Company Litigation (2012, 2017), Litigation - Antitrust (2014, 2018) and Antitrust Law (2011). In 2012, Mr. Chesler received Chambers USA’s Award for Excellence in the Litigation: Business Trial Lawyers category.


Mr. Chesler is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a fellow of the New York Bar Foundation. He is the President of the Institute of Judicial Administration, the oldest nonpartisan organization in the United States devoted to the education of the judiciary. Mr. Chesler is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the New York Public Library and Chairman of the Lawyers for the Library Committee. He is also a member of the Leaders Council of the Legal Services Corporation, a member of the Council of The American Law Institute, a Trustee of the Federal Bar Council and a Trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society. Mr. Chesler is the author of numerous articles on legal topics as well as a chapter in the popular book, Inside the Minds of Leading Litigators (Aspatore Books, 2002). He is also a co‑author of a chapter on removal to federal court in Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts (Third Edition), for which he received the New York County Lawyers’ Association’s 2013 Boris Kostelanetz President’s Medal, and a chapter on cross‑examination in Winning at Trial: Insights from the Bench and Leading Litigators (Law Journal Press, 2014).

Mr. Chesler is an adjunct professor of law at New York University School of Law, where he teaches an Advanced Trial Practice Seminar, and has been an adjunct faculty member at NYU’s College of Arts and Science, where he has taught an honors seminar entitled, “Constitutional Rights in Times of National Crisis.” He is a recipient of the Judge Learned Hand Award from the American Jewish Committee (2014); a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Atlantic Legal Foundation (2014); the Judge Joseph M. Proskauer Award from the UJA‑Federation of New York (2013); the Judge Simon H. Rifkind Award from the Jewish Theological Seminary (2012); the Law & Society Award from the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (2011); the Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession Award from Chambers and Partners (2009); the Anti‑Defamation League’s Human Relations Award (2007); and the Office of the Appellate Defender’s Gould Award for Outstanding Oral Advocacy (2006).

He is a member of the Board of Trustees of New York University and of the Board’s Executive Committee, Chairman of NYU’s Board of Overseers of the Faculty of Arts and Science and founder and Chairman of LAMP (the Lawyer Alumni Mentoring Program), which provides mentoring and curriculum enrichment programs to prelaw students. Mr. Chesler is also a member of the Board of Trustees of New York University School of Law and of the Board’s Executive Committee, as well as a member of the Advisory Board of the Center on Civil Justice at NYU School of Law. He has received three awards from the University: the Alumni Achievement Award from the School of Law (2015); the Alumni Distinguished Service Award (2001); and the Alumni Meritorious Service Award (2004). Mr. Chesler was also inducted into the Alumni Association of Hunter College’s Hall of Fame for his extraordinary contributions as one of the country’s leading litigation and corporate lawyers.


Mr. Chesler received an A.B. degree, with highest honors in History, from New York University, after which he earned an M.A. in Russian Area Studies at Hunter College.  Mr. Chesler received his law degree cum laude from New York University School of Law, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif (the national honor society for law students), was Topics Editor of the Law Review, served as a junior fellow at the Center for International Studies (at which he co-authored two published articles on aspects of international law), twice received the John Norton Pomeroy Prize for academic excellence and was awarded the Benjamin Butler Prize.

United States: Antitrust

Civil litigation/class actions: defense

Within: Civil litigation/class actions: defense

New York-based Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has earned a strong reputation as a major player in class actions, individual actions and arbitrations. It represents many industry leaders and blue-chip companies from a wide range of sectors, including pharmaceuticals, financial services, transportation, chemicals and telecoms. Evan Chesler and David Marriott are the key partners representing Mylan Laboratories in a set of lawsuits related to alleged reverse payment settlement agreements between Cephalon and generic drug manufacturers. Daniel Slifkin, Michael Paskin and Damaris Hernández are defending Morgan Stanley in litigation brought by Tera Group over an alleged conspiracy among 12 credit default swap (CDS) dealers to boycott and block the emergence of Tera’s CDS trading platform. Kevin Orsini and Peter Barbur are recommended. Christine Varney leads the team. Other clients of the firm include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Alcon Laboratories and American Express.

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United States: Dispute resolution


Within: Appellate

At the Second Circuit, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP’s Evan Chesler represented American Express in proceedings brought by the Department of Justice and 17 state attorneys general and challenging antitrust compliance of provisions in card agreements that prohibited merchants from steering customers to use other cards. In another Second Circuit example, Chesler acted for Avon Products in appeal proceedings concerning class certification of a class action alleging false advertisement.

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General commercial disputes

Within: General commercial disputes

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has a strong reputation for handling high-end, complex commercial litigation across various fields. Highlights in 2017 included Evan Chesler, David Marriott and David Greenwald’s representation of Alcon Laboratories in over 50 putative class actions which were centralized in Florida federal court concerning claims brought under the Sherman Act and antitrust and unfair competition laws; the same team also represented Alcon in Utah federal court and at the Tenth Circuit challenging the constitutionality of a state statute affecting contact lens manufacturers’ unilateral pricing policies. Personnel developments for the firm, which is well known for not hiring laterally, included the promotion of Rory Leraris to partner and the admission of Marriott to the American College of Trial Lawyers. Other key figures at the New York firm include J Wesley Earnhardt and Darin McAtee, who has significant trial expertise in state and federal courts and arbitration.

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Leading trial lawyers

Within: Leading trial lawyers

Evan Chesler - Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Within: Leading trial lawyers

Evan Chesler - Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP The ‘excellent’ Evan Chesler’s ‘terrific’ expertise spans trial and appellate courts. Chesler is handling the Second Circuit appeal for American Express in a case against the DOJ and 17 state attorneys general regarding the violation of section 1 of the Sherman Act. With a strong specialism in pharmaceuticals, Chesler is representing Merck in two patent infringement claims pertaining to the marketing and sale of generic drugs, while managing qui tam actions involving allegations of False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statute breaches for Novartis. Qualcomm is also a major client.

Evan Chesler - Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP The ‘excellent’ Evan Chesler’s ‘terrific’ expertise spans trial and appellate courts. Chesler is handling the Second Circuit appeal for American Express in a case against the DOJ and 17 state attorneys general regarding the violation of section 1 of the Sherman Act. With a strong specialism in pharmaceuticals, Chesler is representing Merck in two patent infringement claims pertaining to the marketing and sale of generic drugs, while managing qui tam actions involving allegations of False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statute breaches for Novartis. Qualcomm is also a major client.

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Securities litigation: defense

Within: Securities litigation: defense

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in New York has a deep bench that handles high-stakes securities litigation for corporates and investment banks. The firm is the preferred counsel for Credit Suisse Group for high-value litigation and Richard Clary played a key role in obtaining successful outcomes in notable class actions, particularly those related to residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) transactions. With Michael Reynolds and rising star Lauren Moskowitz, he took Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company v Credit Suisse First Boston Mortgage Securities Corp, et al to trial, achieving a favorable settlement before conclusion. Kevin Orsini, David Marriott and Rory Leraris is advising Mylan on a class action alleging that the company made false and misleading statements regarding, inter alia, its classification of the EpiPen treatment. ‘Terrific litigator’ Antony Ryan, David Stuart and head of litigation Daniel Slifkin secured a favorable settlement for Akorn Inc in a case seeking damages for alleged misrepresentations about the company’s business, operations and internal controls. The firm’s highly recommended partners include Robert Baron, Karin DeMasi, Timothy Cameron and Evan Chesler.

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United States: Intellectual property

Patent litigation: full coverage

Within: Patent litigation: full coverage

In New York, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP specializes in the technology, pharmaceutical and semiconductor sectors. Recent highlights include defending against a suit filed by Vivent regarding patents covering remote monitoring, equipment control and home-located electronic devices and location-based alerting system patents. The group also represented Amgen in litigation filed by AbbVie regarding a biosimilar patent, eventually settling the case favourably. And plaintiff Merck engaged the team to assist with three Hatch-Waxman suits against Actavis Laboratories, Roxane Laboratories and Par Pharmaceutical regarding generic versions of an antifungal agent. Other clients include Qualcomm, Juno Therapeutics and OrbusNeich Medical. Richard Stark, Keith Hummel, David Greenwald, David Kappos, David Marriott and Evan Chesler are the key players. Roger Brooks retired. Teena-Ann Sankoorikal joined Levine Lee LLP.

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United States: Media, technology and telecoms

Media and entertainment

Within: Media and entertainment

As ‘one of the key firms in this space for both transactions and litigation’, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP provides advice to ‘an unbelievably high-profile client roster’ that includes the likes of the Walt Disney Company, Barnes & Noble and Cable One. Presiding partner Faiza Saeed is the ‘go-to corporate partner in the group’; her recent work includes advising Amblin Partners on a minority investment by Universal Filmed Entertainment and assisting Time Warner with its pending $109bn sale to AT&T. Clients also praise the ‘exceptionally talented’ Ting Chen. Key names in the disputes practice include Karin DeMasi and Evan Chesler, who recently represented DreamWorks Animation in litigation related to an SEC investigation – the investigation itself was handled by Benjamin Gruenstein. DeMasi is also the main contact for HBO, advising the client on issues surrounding its programs and content. All attorneys mentioned are based in New York. Eric Schiele joined Kirkland & Ellis LLP in 2018.

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