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Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Work +1 212 558 4000
Fax +1 212 558 3588

Sharon L. Nelles

Work +1 212 558 4976
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Work Department





Partner since 2003. Member, Board of Directors, Judges and Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert; Board of Directors, Her Justice Resources Board. Broad experience in securities, class actions, mass torts, complex commercial litigation, and regulatory and criminal investigations and enforcement actions before the SEC, DOJ, FTC, State Attorneys General and Congress. Has tried cases and argued appeals in state and federal courts, including three high-profile trials for Microsoft. Clients include Volkswagen, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Standard Chartered Bank, Moody’s.




Boston College Law School (JD, 1993); New York University (MA, 1990); Mount Holyoke College (BA, 1987).

United States: Dispute resolution

Financial services litigation

Within: Financial services litigation

Following an appeal brought by Aozora Bank the judge accepting the firm’s argument that the Japanese lender should have investigated sooner and was therefore time-barred in its allegations of fraud connected to its investment in a $31m CDO. The team also recently successfully secured the dismissal, on behalf of Barclays Bank, of a US class action litigation initiated by investors of $2.5bn in American depository shares issued by the bank just months before the financial crisis. The team has been involved in many of the highest-profile market manipulation investigations and private litigation that have dominated the market over recent years, including on behalf of Barclays Bank which it is defending in class action lawsuits involving accusations that it was involved in Libor rigging. The ‘formidableSharon Nelles has been involved in many matters emanating from the subprime mortgage crisis including her work for Moody’s in a DOJ investigation regarding the ratings agency’s methodology for assigning ratings to RMBS and CDOs, as well as in the defense of related consolidated shareholder class action litigation. Richard Klapper, Robert Giuffra, Matthew Schwartz and Justin DeCamp are recommended.

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General commercial disputes

Within: General commercial disputes

Top-tier’ firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLPprovides excellent representation technically, while also taking a pragmatic approach’. The litigation department had another outstanding year, with highlights including its work as national coordinating counsel for Volkswagen in a host of litigation and investigations arising out of the emissions scandal; Robert Giuffra and Sharon Nelles had leading roles. In another significant case, Garrard Beeney obtained an $814.9m arbitration award for client BlackBerry in a dispute with Qualcomm, representing one of the highest commercial arbitration awards on record. Renata Hesse, formerly the head of the antitrust division at the Department of Justice, joined the Washington DC office in 2017. David Tulchin is recommended. Other distinguished litigators at the firm include David Braff and Richard Pepperman II; Thomas White is another lawyer making his mark in the team. Above-named partners are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

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International litigation

Within: International litigation

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP has ‘real expertise in cross-border matters’ and is a prominent firm in high-profile and high-stakes cross-border cases. Its client base includes global carmakers and international financial institutions. Sharon Nelles and leading light Robert Giuffra are part of a team defending Volkswagen in international litigation and investigations arising from the diesel emissions scandal, as well as in In Re: German Automotive Manufacturers Antitrust Litigation. Guiffra also advised Fiat Chrysler on a securities class action, and the firm secured two dismissals for UBS in the final suits arising from the collapse of Enron in 2002. Another highlight saw the group secure the dismissal of class action suits against BP Plc that alleged manipulation of the Brent crude oil market. Also recommended are Joseph Neuhaus, for matters concerning Latin America, and criminal investigations specialist Nicolas Bourtin.

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Securities litigation: defense

Within: Leading lawyers

Sharon Nelles - Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Within: Securities litigation: defense

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP has ‘a uniformly excellent and tough team’ and great strength in depth. The New York office is home to leading light Robert Giuffra, who alongside rising star Matthew Schwartz secured, on behalf of UBS, a unanimous reversal of a decision to deny a motion to dismiss an investor’s complaint, in a case arising from collateral debt obligation (CDO) and RMBS transactions. Schwartz and key partner David Braff secured the dismissal of claims against Goldman Sachs in cases related to the issuance of auction rate securities. Giuffra and Richard Klapper also advised Goldman Sachs on a high-profile case at the Second Circuit. Sharon Nelles is a highly esteemed securities litigator and she defended Volkswagen in several cases arising from the diesel emissions scandal. Richard Pepperman, Jeffrey Scott, Washington DC-based Daryl Libow and Robert Sacks in Los Angeles are also recommended. Clients also remark that ‘world-class counselorWilliam Monahan in New York is ‘highly knowledgeable and has excellent strategic sense’.

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