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Vinson & Elkins LLP

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Austin, Beijing, Dallas, Dubai, Hong Kong, Houston and 10 more

Clifford Thau

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Vinson & Elkins LLP

Work Department



Cliff’s main area of practice is commercial litigation with an emphasis on lawsuits involving the federal securities laws, including representation of energy companies, securities and private equity firms and their directors and senior management in securities laws class actions, federal and state regulatory proceedings, and Audit Committees in internal investigations and SEC investigations into allegations of accounting irregularities. Much of this litigation and regulatory work involves cases for firms in the oil and gas and alternative energy industries. Cliff also represents media and real estate entities and corporations in commercial litigation and accounting firms in malpractice actions, bankruptcy court proceedings, and SEC investigations. Cliff has been recognized as a “Leader in the Field” in securities litigation by Chambers USA in 2009-2013, ranked as a leading lawyer in litigation - regulatory enforcement (SEC, Telecom, Energy), 2012 and 2013; and in litigation – securities, 2013 by The Best Lawyers in America®. Cliff is the Managing Partner of the New York office and serves on the firm’s Management Committee.


Cliff graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, B.A. in 1978, and Columbia University, J.D. in 1981. Admitted to New York Bar in 1982.

United States: Dispute resolution

Corporate investigations and white-collar criminal defense

Within: Corporate investigations and white-collar criminal defense

Vinson & Elkins LLP's team, jointly led by Clifford Thau in New York, Matthew Jacobs in San Francisco and William Lawler in Washington DC, represents corporate and individual clients in government investigations, as well as handling a variety of white-collar criminal defense matters, drawing on a deep bench of former federal prosecutors. Although the team lost Craig Margolis and Tirzah Lollar to Arnold & Porter in 2018, it gained Ron Tenpas from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and Jennifer Freel, who joined as counsel from Ewell, Brown, Blanke & Knight LLP.  Alden Atkins in Washington DC, Lawrence Elbaum in New York, and Michael Charlson and Jessica Heim in San Francisco are also recommended.

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Securities litigation - defense

Within: Securities litigation - defense

Vinson & Elkins LLP frequently represents issuers, underwriters, accounting firms, financial institutions, and directors and officers in securities fraud class actions, and it climbs the ranking this year. John Wander, who is co-head of the firm's complex commercial litigation practice, and Michael Holmes in Dallas are the two key partners. Holmes and Austin-based Jennifer Poppe defended EZCORP in a 10b5 class action in New York that alleged false and misleading statements or omissions regarding, inter alia, regulatory compliance issues with Cash Genie, in which the company owns a controlling interest. The claim was settled favorably. Holmes and San Francisco-based Michael Charlson secured a significant victory for Plains All American Pipeline by securing the dismissal of a class action seeking $1.5bn in damages for stock losses allegedly caused by a pipeline leak in California. Clifford Thau in New York is also recommended.

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