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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

Work Department



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. He 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, Lawdragon and Super Lawyers. Mr. Chesler became the first recipient of Benchmark Litigation’s Hall of Fame Award in 2016, and was also named by that publication as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America. He was named Best Lawyers’ 2014 Litigation – Antitrust “Lawyer of the Year,” 2012 Bet-the-Company Litigation “Lawyer of the Year,” and 2011 Antitrust Law “Lawyer of the Year” for the New York City area. In 2012, Mr. Chesler received Chambers USA’s Award for Excellence in the Litigation: Business Trial Lawyers category and, in 2015, was named one of the nation’s “Trial Aces” by Law360. In 2015, he was also named a nationwide “Legend” by Lawdragon.


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 Dwight Opperman 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 Council of The American Law Institute, as well as a Trustee of the Federal Bar Council. 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 Kostelantez 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 was recently appointed a Trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society.

Mr. Chesler is a member of the Board of Trustees of New York University and of the New York University School of Law. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Center on Civil Justice at New York University School of Law and of the Executive Committee of the law school’s Board of Trustees. Mr. Chesler is a member of NYU’s Board of Overseers of the Faculty of Arts and Science, a member of the Executive Committee of NYU's Board of Trustees and founder and Chairman of LAMP (the Lawyer Alumni Mentoring Program), which provides mentoring and curriculum enrichment programs to prelaw students. 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 recently 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

Within: Civil litigation/class actions

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLPcombines a quick and thorough grasp of clients’ issues with the ability to communicate simply, clearly and completely’. The team is particularly active in financial services litigation and American Express is a key client in this regard. Evan Chesler, Peter Barbur and Kevin Orsini advised the credit card company in a number of disputes, including its appeal of a district court judgment in a case brought by the DOJ and 17 state attorneys general alleging that the merchant acceptance rules imposed by American Express violated the Sherman Act. The pharmaceutical sector is another regular source of work, and Chesler, Rowan Wilson* and David Marriott represented Mylan in its long-running set of lawsuits alleging pay-for-delay agreements with Cephalon relating to the Provigil drug. Qualcomm and Thai Airways are also recent clients. All the lawyers named above are based in the firm’s New York office. *Since publication, Rowan Wilson has been confirmed as an Associate Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals.

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United States: Dispute resolution


Within: Appellate

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.

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Financial services: litigation

Within: Financial services: litigation

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.

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General commercial disputes

Within: General commercial disputes

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.

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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: 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.

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.

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Securities litigation - defense

Within: Securities litigation - defense

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.

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White-collar criminal defense

Within: White-collar criminal defense

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.

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United States: Intellectual property

Patent litigation: full coverage

Within: Patent litigation: full coverage

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP’s key highlights include representing in a suit filed by Vivint, which alleges infringement of six patents covering remote monitoring systems, acting for Medinol in a number of disputes and arbitrations regarding its stent products, and representing Mylan subsidiary Dey in infringement litigation against Teva seeking to prevent the latter from marketing generic versions of Mylan’s respiratory drug Perforomist. Chairman Evan Chesler leads the team from New York, where Keith Hummel, David Kappos and Roger Brooks* are also leading figures. The lawyers handled cases across a range of sectors, including consumer products, pharmaceuticals, telecoms and media. David Marriott is recommended for litigation and alternative dispute resolution. *Since publication, Roger Brooks has retired from the firm's litigation practice.

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