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A senior litigation partner and member of Kirkland's Worldwide Management Committee, Jay Lefkowitz focuses on high-profile matters affecting the world’s leading companies in a wide range of industries including pharmaceuticals, private equity, technology and telecommunications. Jay represents clients on pivotal issues within the appellate space as well as securities and shareholders, government investigations, and commercial litigation. One of his two recent Supreme Court victories, Bartlett v. Mutual, a failure to warn and design defect pharmaceutical case, was described as “the most closely watched product liability case of 2013.” Jay is also a leading advocate for education reform, representing parents and children pro bono.
Columbia College, AB, 1984; Columbia Law School, JD, 1987.
United States: Antitrust
Civil litigation/class actions
Within: Civil litigation/class actions
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s client base, which includes the Chicago Cubs, Bain Capital and EVA Air, reflects its breadth of expertise. Esteemed litigator James Mutchnik, based in Washington DC, was particularly active in 2015, and highlights included defending Health Care Services Corporation against allegations of suppressing competition for outpatient surgical services brought by a private clinic, and defending, as part of a cross-office team, Hitachi and Hitachi Display Products in multiple class actions alleging price-fixing of cathode ray tubes. In Chicago - another key office for antitrust work within the firm’s wide network - David Zott and Daniel Laytin are representing the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association in a series of putative class actions challenging, under antitrust laws, the structure of the association’s health insurance provision. Jay Lefkowitz in New York and Karen Walker in Washington DC together handled a number of pharmaceutical-related cases. Since publication, Matthew Reilly has joined from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.
United States: Dispute resolution
Kirkland & Ellis LLP has a strong appellate practice, with a truly national presence. Christopher Landau’s successful representation of DirecTV in an important arbitration enforcement dispute is testament to the firm’s abilities; the case, heard in the US Supreme Court, also has implications for the sovereignty of federal law over state law. In a federal court of appeals case, the firm represented Facebook in the dismissal of derivative actions bought by directors in the wake of its $16bn IPO in 2012. Highlights for Jay Lefkowitz include successfully defending Teva Pharmaceuticals in personal injury. Following publication, the firm subsumed the practice of leading Supreme Court law firm Bancroft PLLC. Those joining include ‘prolific’ practice head and former US Solicitor General Paul Clement, who had appeared at the Supreme Court over 75 times prior to 2015 - a number he added to over the course of the year in several major cases. In December, Clement argued the closely watched Supreme Court appeal for Franchise Tax Board of California in a case pertaining to the sovereignty of states in competition statutes. In October, Clement was retained by the appellant, the NFL, in the headline ‘deflategate’ litigation, which concerns the suspension of star quarterback Tom Brady for his knowledge of deflated footballs used in a game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts; this case is ongoing. The legacy practice is also highly active in the federal courts of appeal, with HSBC a prestigious new client win; Clement successfully cleared a $2.5bn jury verdict concerning allegations that HSBC executives had misrepresented various company practices, including lending and accounting.
M&A: litigation: defense
Within: M&A: litigation: defense
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s New York-based team continues to build upon a strong track record, with highlights including Yosef Riemer (‘certainly one of the leading lawyers in this area’) securing a major victory for Bain Capital and Golden Gate Capital in the largest statutory appraisal action ever to reach a post-trial decision in the Delaware Court of Chancery. Following the $6.9bn acquisition of BMC Software, the court ruled in favor of the firm’s clients in finding that merger price, rather than discounted cash flow, is the best indicator of fair value in the case of a robust and arm’s-length sales process. ‘Fine lawyer’ Jay Lefkowitz, Matthew Solum and former director of enforcement at the SEC Robert Khuzami were part of a team that represented activist investor Pershing Square Capital Management in litigation arising from its joint bid with Valeant Pharmaceuticals to acquire Allergan and in a subsequent SEC inquiry. The firm also advised Vista Equity Partners in a class action arising from its acquisition of TIBCO Software, in which the target’s shareholders challenged the per-share valuation of the deal and alleged breach of fiduciary duty by the company’s board of directors.
Product liability, mass tort and class action: consumer products (including tobacco)
Within: Product liability, mass tort and class action: consumer products (including tobacco)
The Washington DC-based team of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, led by Eugene Assaf and Michael Williams, is currently serving as national and lead trial counsel to BASF Catalysts in a number of high-profile product liability cases arising from the sale of talc by the defunct talc-mining operations of Engelhard. New York-based Jay Lefkowitz successfully obtained dismissal of all claims brought against Teva Pharmaceutical Industries alleging failure to warn regarding the drug Treanda, a case heard before the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Andrew McGaan is also recommended. Other clients include Honeywell and Union Carbide.
Product liability, mass tort and class action: pharmaceuticals and medical devices - defense
Within: Product liability, mass tort and class action: pharmaceuticals and medical devices - defense
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s deep bench of litigation experts recently achieved a significant number of victories for key clients in the pharmaceuticals and healthcare sectors. Chicago-based Michael Foradas secured summary judgment for AbbVie in the final pending case involving the client’s Humira drug. New York-based Jay Lefkowitz successfully obtained dismissal of all claims brought against Teva Pharmaceuticals regarding alleged failure to warn of side effects associated with Treanda, a cancer treatment, in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Other clients of the practice include Baxter and Abbott Laboratories. Washington DC-based Mike Brock is highly recommended and has extensive experience in top-end litigation.
United States: Intellectual property
Within: Trade secrets
A leading player in this field, Kirkland & Ellis LLP draws on its extensive litigation practice and highly regarded IP group to service its international client base. The department has a good standing in several industries, notably food and beverage, where Michael Slade defended Natural American Foods and its employee Arlen Penner in a case brought by Barkman Honey alleging breach of a non-compete agreement and tortious interference with a contract. Craig Primis and Daniel Bress are representing multinational conglomerate Honeywell in a North Carolina lawsuit alleging that Honeywell misappropriated trade secrets when it hired an employee who previously worked at DSM Dyneema, a competitor in the manufacture of ballistic materials for the US military. Another focus is the pharmaceutical industry; Nader Boulos and Jay Lefkowitz are defending Akorn in a case brought by Fera Pharmaceuticals regarding a manufacturing and supply agreement alleging that Akorn breached the parties’ contract by failing to manufacture certain products and misappropriating trade secrets.