General commercial disputes in United States
'Intellect and litigation strategy are key strengths’ at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, which is noted for its 'solid, remarkably thorough work’. The firm had another busy year in 2018, continuing to handle high-profile and high-stakes cases. Highlights included representing Qualcomm in consolidated actions in the Southern District of California against Apple concerning Qualcomm's patent licensing and modem chipset businesses; the team included Evan Chesler, J Wesley Earnhardt and Vanessa Lavely, who was promoted to partner in 2018. Elsewhere, Benjamin Gruenstein represented Avon in a breach of contract dispute filed by ASG, Technologies, while in the New York State Court of Appeals, Richard Clary, Michael Reynolds and Lauren Moskowitz secured the dismissal of a Martin Act claim against client Credit Suisse filed by the New York Attorney General. In a significant development in September 2018, former District Judge for the Southern District of New York Katherine Forrest returned to the firm. Darin McAtee is 'a first-rate trial lawyer with outstanding performance in the courtroom’ and Omid Nasab is also recommended. Key litigator David Marriott is another name to note.
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Widely recognized as an elite litigation firm, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is engaged by major financial services and corporate clients in high-end disputes. Frances Bivens has recently secured a number of victories for her clients in court and arbitration proceedings; in ongoing work, she is representing affiliates of a Brazilian company in four separate ICC arbitrations brought by affiliates of a Singaporean company concerning an $800m dispute. Among Benjamin Kaminetzky's cases was his representation of Clearstream Banking in a $1.68bn turnover and fraudulent conveyance case brought by judgment creditors of Iran. In 2018, the firm bolstered its IP litigation expertise with the hire of Ashok Ramani in Menlo Park; other internal developments included the promotion of Micah Block, also in Menlo Park, and Tatiana Martins to partner. James Rouhandeh heads the litigation department, which also includes Brian Weinstein, who regularly represents financial institutions and other Fortune 500 companies, and Paul Spagnoletti, who is a go-to lawyer for major law firms in professional malpractice cases. Above partners are based in New York unless otherwise stated.
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP excels in complex commercial litigation and is noted for its 'top-drawer technical skills'. From its offices in New York and Washington DC, the firm's litigators take on disputes in state and federal courts across the country, and are regularly entrusted to handle disputes with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. Its expertise in the healthcare and life sciences sector is of particular note. In one recent victory for Allergan, Mark Goodman, John Gleeson and of counsel Edwin Schallert secured summary judgment and the dismissal of all claims in multidistrict litigation (MDL) before the District of Massachusetts. Maura Monaghan co-chairs the litigation department with Goodman and is noted for her 'superb brief writing and surgical analysis'. Other leading practitioners include John Kiernan, commercial and securities litigation specialist Maeve O’Connor, Shannon Selden, who often acts for hedge funds and private equity firms in high-value disputes, and Susan Reagan Gittes, who made partner in July 2018.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
The seasoned trial lawyers at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP are well versed in complex, high-stakes commercial disputes. Working out of the firm's offices in California, New York, Texas and Washington DC, the litigators are often engaged by household name companies for state and federal court cases, as well as at the appellate level. 2018 saw the firm make several hires, including appellate lawyer Allyson Ho from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in Dallas, and make up several new partners, including Matthew Benjamin and Laura O’Boyle in New York, while in 2019 the firm hired leading lawyer Deborah Stein in Los Angeles from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. In major work, a cross-office team including New York-based Orin Snyder and Kristin Linsley in San Francisco represent Facebook and its directors and officers in civil litigation arising out of the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Prominent litigators Randy Mastro and Theodore J. Boutrous Jr. co-head the team from New York and Los Angeles, respectively.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s 'bright and practical' litigation partners are noted for their 'unparalleled responsiveness and creativity'. The firm is sought out by Fortune 100 companies and major private equity houses and stands out for its significant trial capabilities. In high-profile work, Andrew Kassof and Mark Filip defended the Los Angeles Rams in a $1bn breach of contract case relating to the NFL team's relocation, while a team that included Richard Godfrey, Andrew Bloomer and Hariklia Karis represented General Motors in sprawling class action and personal injury disputes arising out of the company's ignition switch recalls; of the roughly 4,000 claims brought, around 70% have been resolved by settlement, dismissal, withdrawal or trial. Elsewhere, James Hurst and Jordan Heinz, working pro bono with Lambda Legal, represent transgender individuals serving or wishing to serve in the military in a discrimination, First Amendment and Fifth Amendment lawsuit against the Trump administration's ban on military service by transgender individuals. Also recommended are Paul Clement and Eugene Assaf in Washington DC, and Anna Rotman in Houston. Named lawyers are based in Chicago unless otherwise stated.
Market-leading firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP is regularly engaged by clients in high-stakes and sensitive litigation and investigations. Recently, this has included representing Exxon Mobil in a host of disputes, including defending the company in sprawling climate change-related investigations brought by state attorneys general and the SEC in various forums around the country. The firm's extensive experience in the financial services sector is also of note; in recent work for client Citigroup, Brad Karp and Susanna Buergel secured dismissals of False Claims Act litigation filed in Illinois, California and New Jersey. Other clients include Pfizer, Comcast and the NFL. Among the department's standout lawyers are highly regarded litigator Theodore Wells; Daniel Toal, who handles contract, environmental, antitrust and securities disputes; Jaren Janghorbani, who has handled multiple trials with stakes exceeding the $1bn mark; and Jay Cohen, whose clients include leading companies in the music and entertainment industry. Kannon Shanmugam joined the firm in 2019 from Williams & Connolly LLP.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
Litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP represents plaintiffs and defendants in some of the most significant disputes in the US. IP and financial services litigation are among the firm's sweet spots, though it also stands out for the breadth of its commercial disputes practice. The firm made a number of significant hires during 2017 and 2018; among the recent arrivals are Alex Spiro from criminal defense boutique Brafman & Associates, Luke Nikas from Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, both in New York, Harvey Wolkoff from Ropes & Gray LLP in Boston, and Deborah Newman, who joined from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. In recent work, a Los Angeles team including Frederick Lorig, Kevin Teruya and Adam Wolfson represented Complete Entertainment Resources (formerly Songkick) as plaintiff in an antitrust and trade secret case against Ticketmaster, securing a $110m settlement two weeks before trial. Los Angeles-based John Quinn, San Francisco-based David Eiseman, and appellate lawyer Kathleen Sullivan and Andrew Rossman in New York are names to note.
Highlighted for its 'solid advice and terrific advocacy' Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is among the leading disputes practices in the US. The firm particularly excels in insurance litigation. Recent work in this field includes Lynn Neuner’s defense of Travelers in litigation concerning its provision of a “wrap-up” insurance program to Bethlehem Steel; cases were filed at the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland, federal court in Connecticut and state courts across the East Coast. Recent highlights among highly regarded partner Bryce Friedman’s busy workload was his successful representation of a company in two arbitration proceedings against two of the client’s significant business partners. Paul Curnin and Jonathan Youngwood co-head the litigation group, which also includes Linton Mann III. Deborah Stein left for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in January 2019. Named partners are based in New York.
The 'fearless, smart, savvy, and experienced' team at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is 'well organized and very responsive' and acts for major US and multinational companies. In recent successes, 'brilliant litigator' David Lender and Eric Hochstadt obtained a complete defense jury verdict for client C&S Wholesale Grocers in an $800m antitrust class action in Minnesota, while David Yohai won an appeal for Discovery Communications at the Fourth Circuit in a content distribution dispute brought by one of the company's television distributors. Out of the Princeton office, 'excellent advocate' Diane Sullivan secured a victory for SAC Capital in long-running litigation when a New Jersey Superior Court granted the client's motion for summary judgment and dismissed the claims in a lawsuit with over $1bn at stake. Edward Soto in Miami co-chairs the team alongside Lender; David Singh is based in Silicon Valley. Named partners are based in New York unless otherwise stated.
From a single office in Washington DC, Williams & Connolly LLP has established itself as one of the country's leading litigation firms. Its attorneys 'from the most junior to the most senior level, are extremely well prepared, diligent and practical'. Continuing its tradition of developing and promoting partners from within and rarely making lateral hires, the firm promoted several lawyers in 2018, including Steven Cady, Colette Connor and Christopher Mandernach. In the high-profile opioids investigations, a team led by Enu Mainigi has been serving as lead trial and national counsel for Cardinal Health in litigation and government investigations. The highly regarded Robert Van Kirk has defended The Carlyle Group in simultaneous actions in multiple countries concerning the collapse of Carlyle Capital Corporation in 2008; he and the team worked with local counsel to obtain a complete defense verdict for the company after a six-month trial at the Royal Court of Guernsey. Dane Butswinkas co-leads the department with Van Kirk; other key figures include Bryan Wilson, Nicholas Boyle and David Riskin. Kannon Shanmugam left for Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in 2019.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is a preeminent firm for financial services litigation and also maintains a broad and busy commercial litigation practice, representing domestic and multinational corporations and financial institutions. Carmine Boccuzzi, Lawrence Friedman and Jonathan Blackman secured a victory for BNP Paribas at the DC Circuit when it affirmed the district court's dismissal of a complaint against the company brought under the Anti-Terrorism Act. In recent developments, Joon Kim returned to the firm after serving as Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Abena Mainoo, Rahul Mukhi and Washington DC-based Alexis Collins were promoted to partner. Unless otherwise stated, named attorneys are based in New York, where Thomas Moloney, Meredith Kotler and Rishi Zutshi are also located.
The 'exceptional trial lawyers and litigators' at Dechert LLP 'combine technical excellence, outstanding relationship management and superior execution in the courtroom'. The litigation department's sub-practice areas include consumer class actions, financial services disputes and product liability and mass tort litigation; in the latter field, the firm recently hired a team of lawyers including three partners from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP. In other notable moves, commercial litigator David Stern joined the Los Angeles office from Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, and Michael McGinley joined in Philadelphia after serving as associate counsel and special assistant to the President in the White House Counsel's Office. Star litigators at the firm include securities fraud litigation expert Linda Goldstein in New York, William Oxley, managing partner of the Los Angeles office, and Washington DC-based Christina Sarchio, who recently secured dismissals for Apple in class action cases that alleged violations of a New Jersey consumer protection statute. Matthew Larrabee heads the department from New York.
Lori Cohen in Atlanta and Jeff Scott in Los Angeles co-chair the global litigation practice at Greenberg Traurig LLP, which has the size and resources to handle complex litigation across the length and breadth of the country. The team has recently secured a number of victories for its clients; in one example, a cross-office team led by Mark Tratos in Las Vegas prevailed in MDL in the Central District Court of Los Angeles in class action litigation brought against clients Floyd Mayweather and Mayweather Promotions concerning pay-per-view telecasts of the Pacquiao-Mayweather boxing match. In high-profile litigation between two leading newspapers in San Francisco, Stephen Saxl and Alan Mansfield in New York obtained summary judgment for client Hearst and its affiliates in unfair competition and other claims brought by the San Francisco Examiner. Philip Sellinger is a key contact in New Jersey.
With one of the largest groups of litigators worldwide, Jones Day 'has plenty of depth in this area and is able to staff matters with the best lawyers'. Its experience takes in numerous sectors of the economy, with clients operating in the retail, energy and pharma sectors, among others. In the first jury trial in Massachusetts regarding a foul ball injury, Christopher Morrison and Kate Wallace in Boston prevailed on behalf of the Boston Red Sox; the case involved issues of stadium proprietors' liability. Elsewhere, Karen Hewitt in San Diego is representing Walmart in opioid litigation and investigations, while Atlanta-based Stephanie Parker has been acting for Merck in lawsuits concerning its osteoporosis drug Fosamax; in 2018, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal by Merck. John Majoras in Washington DC co-leads the business and tort litigation practice alongside Parker.
Household name corporations and financial institutions turn to the trial-ready lawyers at Latham & Watkins LLP, who are well versed in cases with potential liabilities exceeding the $1bn mark. Facebook retained San Francisco-based Elizabeth Deeley and Andrew Clubok and counsel Susan Engel in Washington DC to represent the company in several matters, including in five consolidated putative nationwide class action lawsuits filed in the Northern District of California involving claims of unfair competition. In a major victory in federal court, a trial team led by Thomas Nolan in Los Angeles acted for CashCall and its CEO in an enforcement action by the Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB) concerning CashCall's servicing of certain unsecured installment loans; the court rejected CFPB's claims, and the agency has appealed the ruling to the Ninth Circuit. James Brandt and Miles Ruthberg in New York receive praise. Other key figures in the team include Sean Berkowitz in Chicago, New York-based Joseph Serino and Laura Washington in Century City.
Mayer Brown benefits from an extensive office network domestically and abroad, and many of its litigators combine broad commercial disputes experience with specialisms in particular fields. For example, the California-based litigation group excels in technology-related litigation and is often sought out by leading tech companies. From the New York office, Matthew Ingber has been representing BNY Mellon in RMBS litigation; recently, his work has included obtaining a complete victory after a four-week bench trial in Hamilton County, Ohio. Washington DC-based Reginald Goeke and Bronwyn Pollock in Los Angeles co-head the team, which also includes experienced trial and arbitration lawyer Richard Spehr in New York and Archis Parasharami in Washington DC, who has a strong class action and appellate practice. Lori Lightfoot left the firm to run for Mayor of Chicago.
The 'top-notch team' at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP continues to secure major wins for its clients in disputes ranging from fraud to trade secrets to unfair competition. Examples include New York-based Richard Jacobsen's successful representation of Ocwen Financial in the Southern District of Florida in one of the first actions brought directly by an investment fund against a loan servicer for breach of representation and warranties, and the team's representation of Credit Suisse in RMBS-related litigation; Barry Levin and Darren Teshima in San Francisco and Seattle-based Daniel Dunne were part of the team, which has secured dismissals in three significant monoline actions. In other high-profile work, a team that includes Morton Dubin and 'tremendous trial attorney' Peter Bicks in New York is defending Johnson & Johnson in talc cases; the client is facing over 7,000 product liability lawsuits. New York-based Elyse Echtman and Khai LeQuang in Orange County are also recommended. Will Stute joined the Washington DC office from McDermott Will & Emery LLP.
Noted for its 'exceptional professionalism and client service', Proskauer Rose LLP has established a strong reputation in the litigation market through its role in "bet the company" and precedent-setting cases. With litigators spread across 13 offices, it has extensive geographic coverage, handling disputes in state and federal courts, arbitration proceedings and administrative regulatory tribunals. In internal developments in 2018, the firm hired Samuel Waldon from the SEC (in Washington DC), Jonathan Weiss from Kirkland & Ellis LLP, and promoted Susan Gutierrez to partner, and Jennifer Roche and Boston-based Michael Hackett to senior counsel. A New York team including Richard Goldstein and Michael Mervis successfully represented Church & Dwight in a Lanham Act false advertising case against a competitor, winning a nearly $10m damages award. Timothy Mungovan chairs the litigation department from Boston, and Michael Firestein and New York-based Margaret Dale are the vice chairs. Partners are based in Los Angeles unless otherwise stated.
Shearman & Sterling LLP excels in financial services and commercial litigation making it a popular choice for leading financial institutions. The litigation practice extends beyond the US, with the team often handling cross-border matters and representing international companies. In recent work for Citigroup, the firm secured the dismissal of malicious prosecution, breach of contract and fraud claims filed in the Southern District of New York by Mexican company Oceanografía and its former CEO; Adam Hakki and Daniel Lewis were among the lead attorneys. In another highlight, Stuart Baskin and Jaculin Aaron secured the dismissal of a class and derivative action against client Viacom in the Delaware Court of Chancery. Richard Schwed is the global litigation practice group leader; other names to note include Paula Howell Anderson and Jeffrey Resetarits, both of whom have extensive complex commercial litigation experience.
The team of 'very distinguished' and trial-ready litigators at White & Case LLP are 'smart, practical and committed to finding effective solutions' and 'work together as a unit'. Its attorneys are stationed in key markets around the country and often work in cross-office groups; a team including Glenn Kurtz in New York has been representing Anthem in the widely reported dispute with Cigna stemming from the pair's proposed $54bn merger. Los Angeles-based Bryan Merryman represents the Export-Import Bank of Korea as plaintiff in litigation against ASI Computer Technologies; the bank, along with other plaintiffs, alleges that it was defrauded through a circular transaction scheme involving South Korea's Moneual. Nicole Erb is a star in the Washington DC office, from where she handles multi-jurisdictional disputes; Jaime Bianchi is a key contact in Miami with particular experience in class action suits; and Rachel Jari Feldman is a rising star in New York.
WilmerHale is noted for its 'great communication and attention to detail'; it had another busy year in 2018, with clients turning to the team for representation in antitrust litigation, securities and consumer class actions, and data privacy and trade secrets disputes, among other areas. Its litigators also regularly handle breach of contract disputes with stakes amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars or more. Charles Platt represents the agent of a group of lenders in $2bn breach of contract claims in federal bankruptcy court and Nevada state court. In the Southern District of New York, Hallie Levin and senior associate Michelle Nicole Diamond are defending Analogic in a dispute brought by shareholders of Oncura. Howard Shapiro is the litigation chair, and Noah Levine and John Butts are vice chairs of the team, which benefits from a pool of experienced senior associates, including Stephanie Simon and Rebecca Girolamo. David Ogden is an 'extraordinary strategist and impactful advocate'. Matthew Benedetto and Jamie Dycus were promoted to partner.
Winston & Strawn LLP
The 'dedicated’ litigators at Winston & Strawn LLP 'step into the shoes of their clients and counsel them based on real world priorities’. The already sizeable team saw further growth during 2018; among the high-profile litigators who joined the firm were Denise Scofield and Hugh Tanner, both of whom joined the Houston office from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. A cross-office team including Harvey Kurzweil in New York, Paula Hinton in Houston and San Francisco-based Robb Adkins represented CPB Contractors as plaintiff in litigation against various Chevron and KBR entities concerning a construction project in Australia. Stephen D’Amore in Chicago 'possesses superb litigation skills and also provides sound advice and strategy in assessing exposure and settlement value of cases’. One of the co-chairs of the litigation department, he regularly takes a lead role on some of the firm's significant cases; recently, this has included defending Archer Daniels Midland in a class action in Illinois federal court concerning the company’s equine products. Thomas Melsheimer is the managing partner of the Dallas office, and consumer class action expert Amanda Groves splits her time between Charlotte and Silicon Valley.
With strong experience in jury and bench trials, Arnold & Porter has a busy and buoyant litigation department and also benefits from a strong appellate practice. Also of note is the firm's crisis management practice. The firm recently hired several new litigators, including former US Attorney for the State of New Jersey Paul Fishman, who splits his time between New York and Newark. Recent work for the Washington DC-based team includes representing Samsung in litigation arising out of the recall of the Galaxy Note 7; Kenneth Chernof and Robert Katerberg are leading on the case. Meanwhile, James Herschlein in New York is acting for an asset management company as plaintiff in breach of contract litigation against a former business partner. Washington DC-based Rosemary Szanyi made partner in 2018.
Herbert Washer heads the litigation department at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, which stands out for its strength in securities, antitrust and insurance disputes and is a 'national leader the First Amendment space'. In a recent highlight, a team led by Bradley Bondi in Washington DC prevailed on behalf of client Global Power (now Williams Industrial) at the Northern District of Texas when the court dismissed, with prejudice, a putative shareholder class action. Charles Gilman and Tammy Roy acted for UBS entities and UBS spokesman Peter Stack in a high-profile defamation action brought by a former employee; the Supreme Court of New York granted the team's motions and dismissed the complaint. Joel Kurtzberg, Penny Windle and Landis Best are key contacts. Mentioned attorneys are based in New York unless otherwise stated.
The sizeable group of commercial litigators at Dentons is spread across multiple US offices, and the firm is also notable for its extensive international office network and cross-border expertise. In a multi-office effort, a team led by Sandra Hauser in New York and Los Angeles-based Michael Duvall is defending a healthy eating company in multiple class actions filed in California, New York and Missouri concerning food labeling. Tami Lyn Azorsky heads the practice from Washington DC; Natalie Spears is a name to note in Chicago; and Joel Siegel is the managing partner of the Los Angeles office. The firm also established a presence in Hawaii when it combined with Honolulu-based firm Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing.
Hogan Lovells US LLP is engaged by household name companies in high-profile disputes. Its class action practice continues to thrive; one example is its defense of Alphabet, Google and YouTube in a putative class action involving claims under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act; Edith Ramirez and Michelle Kisloff are leading on the case. Maria Wyckoff Boyce in Houston stands out for her vast energy and technology litigation expertise, co-head Desmond Hogan for his MDL experience. Dennis Tracey co-heads the US litigation practice from New York and Adam Levin is the litigation practice manager for Washington DC. Michael Hefter and Ryan Philp in New York and Houston-based Bruce Oakley receive strong praise. Attorneys are in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.
The 400-strong team of trial, regulatory and investigations lawyers at Jenner & Block LLP acts for companies across myriad industries, including education, aviation, media and technology. Department head Craig Martin and a team acted for key client Northwestern University in a class action concerning the university's retirement plan; the motion to dismiss was granted and the case has been appealed to the Seventh Circuit. Elsewhere, Debbie Berman is acting as lead counsel for an electronics company in a series of cases relating to the theft of the company's confidential information. Among the litigators who made partner in 2018 were Clifford Berlow and Christine Bowman and New York-based Laura MacDonald. Partners are based in Chicago unless otherwise stated.
Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP 'is able to staff cases with top-tier specialists in various disciplines'; the firm maintains a focus on high-stakes litigation, covering everything from breach of contract to defamation to trade secrets disputes. It is particularly strong in the financial services, private equity and real estate sectors, though its clients operate in myriad industries beyond these. In the Eastern District of California, 'gifted strategist' Mark Ressler represented Copart as plaintiff in litigation arising out of a botched software project; after a four-week jury trial, the client was awarded $20m in damages for negligence. Paul O’Connor has 'a strong strategic overview of his cases' and 'very significant trial experience, including in the UK and continental Europe'. In a cross-border case, he worked alongside UK counsel to successfully defend private equity firm TPG at the London High Court in a long-running dispute relating to a previous investment in a Greek company. San Francisco-based Jason Takenouchi is highly recommended. Other key figures in the team include Marc Kasowitz, Michael Bowe and Christine Montenegro. Named partners are based in New York unless otherwise stated.
Andrew Bayman in Atlanta heads the trial and global disputes practice at King & Spalding LLP, which regularly handles complex commercial litigation, often involving litigation in multiple states or with parallel regulatory investigations. Recent hires at the firm include Livia Kisier, who joined the Chicago office from Sidley Austin LLP, and Jessica Corley and Lisa Bugni who joined from Alston & Bird LLP in the Atlanta and San Francisco offices, respectively. In a high-profile matter, Israel Dahan and Richard Marooney in New York acted for Darwin Deason in successful litigation to prevent Xerox and Fujifilm's merger plan. Jonathan Chally and American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL) fellow David Balser are other key practitioners in Atlanta; Bobby Burchfield is a name to note in Washington DC.
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
The 'extremely practical and smart' litigation team at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP 'understands what in-house lawyers need to achieve their business goals'. It has broad experience in high-stakes contract, fraud and product liability disputes, among other areas. In MDL brought against primary dealers in US treasury securities, Gary Naftalis represented Daiwa Capital Markets America as defendant in purported class actions; the client was dismissed from the actions in December 2017 and February 2018. 'Excellent litigator' Kerri Ann Law has 'superb judgement'. Other prominent litigators include Alan Friedman, Barry Berke, who co-chairs the department alongside Naftalis, and Daniel Goldman, who has prosecuted and defended cases in various states across the country.
2018 was another busy year for the litigation group at Milbank; the firm is particularly strong in the financial services sector – and is regularly engaged by well-known banks and insurance companies – although its client base extends beyond the financial industry to include corporates from a range of sectors. Sean Murphy and Robert Hora's trial victory for Hartford Funds (as defendant) in a mutual fund ‘excessive fee’ lawsuit was affirmed in 2018 when the case was appealed to the Third Circuit. Another success came in the form of a Second Circuit win for client BMI against the DOJ in a closely watched case concerning fractional licensing; Scott Edelman, Atara Miller and Fiona Schaeffer led the team. Grant Mainland made partner in 2018. George Canellos is the global head of litigation and arbitration, and Daniel Perry is the practice group leader.
The thriving commercial disputes department at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP forms part of the firm's global litigation practice; in the US, the sizeable team counts sixteen fellows of the ACTL. The large size of the team matches the breadth of its practice, with partners experienced in the healthcare, financial services and technology sectors, among others. The firm's cross-disciplinary crisis management group is another draw, and the team is often called on for representation in sensitive litigation and investigations. Susan DiCicco heads the team; other key figures include David Levy, Michael Kraut, Michelle Pector and Lisa Veasman, who made partner in 2018.
O'Melveny & Myers LLP
The highly regarded litigation department at O'Melveny & Myers LLP maintains strong client relationships with many household name companies, which turn to it in complex and high-profile disputes. Its work as lead counsel for AT&T and Time Warner in antitrust litigation brought by the DOJ against the companies' $84.5bn merger is a case in point. In other major engagements, a cross-office team that included practice Los Angeles-based co-head Richard Goetz successfully defended Colgate-Palmolive company Hill's Pet Nutrition when the Sixth Circuit affirmed a lower court's decision to dismiss with prejudice a false advertising and unfair competition lawsuit. Randall Oppenheimer co-heads the department from Century City, where well-known litigator Daniel Petrocelli is also based. Dawn Sestito maintains a broad commercial disputes practice from Los Angeles and is also active in pro bono work.
Paul Hastings LLP is a popular choice for large multinational companies and financial institutions in complex commercial disputes. It is particularly active in key jurisdictions including New York, Washington DC and California, though it is equipped to handle cases across the length and breadth of the country. The global litigation practice is chaired by Barry Sher, who, acting alongside Jodi Kleinick, achieved the dismissal of a class action brought on behalf of investors in two funds, who claimed to have lost nearly $1bn as a result of the funds manager's involvement in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. In San Francisco, John Phillips successfully represented General Electric in a novel federal claim wherein an employee alleged that the design of GE's boiling water reactors resulted in radiation exposure. Houston-based Samuel Cooper defended eight former directors at Baker Hughes, who allegedly misappropriated a proprietary share-pricing model with the intention of using that model for insider trading. Also recommended is Kurt Hansson, who has extensive experience in breach of contract, securities, fraud and trade secrets disputes. Named partners are based in New York unless otherwise stated.
Reed Smith LLP
Reed Smith LLP distinguishes itself in the market through its extensive global litigation capabilities; with offices throughout the US and abroad, it counts hundreds of lawyers in the commercial litigation group, and its global presence makes it a popular choice for multinational companies, including in high-stakes disputes. The firm has carved out a niche in the managed care sector, where Martin Bishop in Chicago and Amir Shlesinger in Los Angeles are experts. Peter Ellis is the national chair of the complex litigation group. Other prominent lawyers include Miami-based Cristina Cárdenas and Casey Laffey in New York. Names to note at the associate level include Sujey Herrera and Ana Barton in Miami.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Multinational corporations – including well-known financial services companies – turn to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP for trial and litigation representation. In personnel developments, Scott Musoff was appointed head of the New York complex litigation and trials practice and Alexander Drylewski was promoted to partner. In one highlight, Lauren Aguiar and IP litigation expert Douglas Nemec secured a favorable settlement for a client in a trade secret, fraudulent inducement, unjust enrichment and breach of contract case heard at the District of New Jersey. Jonathan Frank and George Zimmerman are additional contacts. Named partners are based in New York.
The highly experienced litigators at Steptoe & Johnson LLP are regularly called on to represent clients in breach of contract, fraud, business torts and trade secrets disputes, and are also well versed in asset recovery and judgment enforcement. The firm continued to grow on the West Coast, most recently with the hire of Los Angeles-based Robyn Crowther from Boies Schiller Flexner LLP in January 2019. In other developments, Leah Quadrino was promoted to partner in 2018 and Molly Bruder Fox and Jared Butcher made partner in 2019. Jennifer Quinn-Barabanov and Chicago-based Cal Burnton achieved a victory for Shell when they defeated class certification of claims concerning termiticide chemicals brought by over 450 property owners. Elsewhere, a team including Reid Weingarten and Michael Baratz are representing a developer in the largest eminent domain case in Washington DC history. Steven Davidson and Antonia Ianniello co-head the department. In New York, the 'highly pragmatic’ Charles Michael 'always keeps an eye on the big picture’. Attorneys are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.
Susman Godfrey LLP
Trial firm Susman Godfrey LLP 'thinks about how to try a case from the get-go’ and 'fights tenaciously’. Top companies turn to its litigators for representation in 'bet-the-company' cases, and it stands out for its experience on both the defendant and plaintiff side. In recent highlights, managing partner Neal Manne and 'outstanding advocate’ Alexander Kaplan in Houston acted for Walmart in a constitutional challenge concerning the regulatory system for the sale of liquor in Texas, while a cross-office team including Bill Carmody in New York acted for Uber in the headline-grabbing dispute on self-driving technology between Uber and Google’s Waymo. New York-based Arun Subramanian and Alexandra White, Justin Nelson and 'outstanding trial lawyer and project manager’ Geoffrey Harrison in Houston are also names to note; associates to watch include Seattle-based Jenna Farleigh, and Davida Brook and Krysta Kauble Pachman in Los Angeles.
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is 'very strong at resolving disputes, whether through negotiation, mediation, arbitration or trial’. It continues to be retained by its longstanding clients in complex litigation and also picked up several new clients including CBS and Xerox. Its expertise spans numerous sectors of the economy, and it is particularly notable in the financial services space. In one example, Todd Cosenza represented the lead underwriters of ADT's IPO - which included Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley - in five putative class actions alleging misrepresentations and omissions in the offering documents. Tariq Mundiya is the litigation department chair; Mary Eaton heads the business and corporate litigation group; and Washington DC-based litigator Elizabeth Bower is a co-chair of the cybersecurity and privacy practice. Insurance and reinsurance litigation specialists Christopher St. Jeanos and Mitchell Auslander receive strong praise. Partners are located in New York unless otherwise stated.
With a focus on high-end litigation, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has impressive trial experience and is active in commercial litigation across myriad industries. Stephen Baldini heads the litigation practice; he and Robert Boller defended Valeant Pharmaceuticals in a $40m contract dispute in the Delaware Superior Court against University Medical Pharmaceuticals, securing a favorable settlement for the client. In another highlight, Washington DC-based Anthony Pierce secured a victory for rand* Construction Corporation in a jury trial in the Eastern District of Virginia brought by a former employee. Other leading practitioners include Neal Ross Marder and Susan Kay Leader in Los Angeles, and Mitchell Hurley. Named attorneys are based in New York unless otherwise stated.
Allen & Overy LLP
With a broad office network, 'pragmatic’ firm Allen & Overy LLP stands out for its cross-border litigation capabilities. Many of its clients have multinational operations, and the firm is a popular choice for financial institutions. In a recent case in point, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the central bank of the Philippines, retained Jacob Pultman and associate Bradley Pensyl to defend it in the Southern District of New York in an action involving claims relating to its oversight of the Philippines banking system. John Roberti is praised for his 'actionable advice’. Pamela Chepiga, Andrew Rhys Davies and Todd Fishman are also names to note.
Baker Botts L.L.P.
Trial-ready firm Baker Botts L.L.P. excels in high-stakes, sensitive commercial disputes, where it acts for well-known companies across the financial services, TMT, energy and consumer goods sectors, among others. In a recent highlight, a cross-office team of Dallas and San Francisco-based lawyers led by Van Beckwith acted for longstanding client Keurig Dr Pepper as defendant in putative class actions in Texas, California, Missouri, Massachusetts, Illinois, and New York concerning the labeling of Canada Dry Ginger Ale. Former Solicitor General for the State of Texas Scott Keller joined the Washington DC office in September 2018. Other key names include New York-based Richard Harper, Houston-based Rebecca Huddle and Tom O’Brien in Dallas.
Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP
From its offices in Chicago and Denver, litigation firm Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP handles a range of commercial disputes and – thanks to its strong profile for trial work – is often brought in on the eve of major trials. In a recent example of its trial capabilities, the firm represented Students for Fair Admissions in a lawsuit against Harvard, arguing that its admission policy discriminates against Asian American applicants; the team included John Hughes, Adam Mortara and Katherine Hacker. Name partner Philip Beck is a fellow of the ACTL and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. Sean Gallagher is another key figure.
Fielding seven fellows of the ACTL, Cooley LLP has an impressive litigation team that is especially notable for its work in the technology space; its household name clients include Facebook and Google. The firm also has a strong track record in the financial services, telecoms and life sciences sectors. New York-based Ian Shapiro prevailed on behalf of client Sotera Wireless in an eight-day bench trial against Masimo Corporation in claims alleging misappropriation of trade secrets; the case was appealed to the Southern District of California. Also in New York is Alan Levine; Michelle Doolin chairs the Southern California litigation department from San Diego; and chairman Stephen Neal is based in Palo Alto.
The US-based litigation group at Eversheds Sutherland is 'excellent at analyzing issues and developing strategies to obtain successful outcomes’ and is called on for representation in an array of commercial disputes. Among its standout areas are education, energy and insurance litigation, and it has also seen increasing demand in the white-collar and investigations space. Thomas Curvin and Ronald Zdrojeski co-head the department. Amelia Toy Rudolph and Patricia Gorham 'possess excellent judgement, communication abilities and written and oral advocacy skills’. Also of note are Valerie Strong Sanders, whose expertise spans consumer and insurance class actions and IP disputes, and Rocco Testani, who leads the education sector team.
A 'go-to firm for high-stakes litigation’, Gibbs & Bruns LLP celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2018; it was founded in Texas, where it maintains a thriving litigation practice, though it handles disputes across the country. In an illustration of both the firm's trial prowess and energy-sector expertise, Kathy Patrick and Ayesha Najam represented Occidental Petroleum as plaintiff in pipeline litigation against NuStar Logistics, which went to a five-week bench trial. Other leading practitioners include founding partner Robin Gibbs, Barrett Reasoner and managing partner Scott Humphries, and Ross MacDonald is a rising star at the associate level. Named attorneys are based in Houston.
K&L Gates has broad commercial litigation and trial experience and also maintains a busy international arbitration practice. Carolyn Branthoover and Thomas Birsic co-lead the sizeable group. Both are based in the firm's headquarters in Pittsburgh, which is home to many of its key litigators, though the group is spread across multiple locations including Boston, Seattle and Chicago. The firm's insurance coverage practice is particularly strong; David McGonigle is a key contact in this space. Pallavi Mehta Wahi is a name to note for corporate and IP litigation; Molly McGinley’s practice includes consumer class action defense. The department also benefits from a pool of talented associates, including Jacquelyn Celender and Peter Talevich.
Healthcare litigation is a standout area for McDermott Will & Emery LLP, which is also well versed in tax, IP antitrust and class action litigation, among other areas. In a cross-office effort, Jon Dean and Russell Hayman in Los Angeles and Boston-based Sarah Walters successfully defended Plantronics in a high-stakes antitrust trial in federal court in Delaware. In a case before the California Supreme Court, San Francisco-based Marisa Chun acted for the Bar Association of San Francisco and the Los Angeles County Bar Association as amicus curiae in litigation that considered "clawback" fee issues in the context of law firm dissolutions. Charles Weir is the head of the Los Angeles litigation group; Anthony Bongiorno is a name to note in Boston; the 'outstanding' Terrence Dee is based in Chicago.
Norton Rose Fulbright
Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP has experience litigating cases with wide-ranging implications and its broad office network gives it an edge in multi-jurisdictional matters. The firm also stands out for its active pro bono practice. It is particularly strong in the energy sector; recent highlights include representing an oil and gas company on civil liability issues arising out of an incident in Texas. The firm further bolstered its cybersecurity and data protection expertise with the hire of Jeewon Kim Serrato from Shearman & Sterling in San Francisco and Chris Cwalina from Holland & Knight in Washington DC. M Scott Incerto and Thomas McCormack co-head the commercial litigation practice from Austin and New York, respectively. Judith Archer and Thomas Hall are additional contacts in New York, and Beau Cox is a name to note in Dallas.
Ropes & Gray LLP has a strong profile in the private equity space and is also notable for its extensive healthcare litigation practice. 2018 saw the team handling a mix of disputes, from breach of contract to fraudulent conveyance to False Claims Act qui tam actions. Significant team developments included the arrival of former executive counsel of General Electric María González Calvet to the Washington DC office. Key names in the firm's headquarters in Boston include department co-head John Bueker and Jane Willis. Jeffrey Bushofsky co-leads the commercial litigation practice from Chicago.
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz excels in M&A, corporate governance and takeover litigation, though it also handles other forms of commercial disputes from its New York office. It is particularly prominent in the financial services sector, where many of its largest clients operate. The department is co-led by William Savitt and Jonathan Moses. John Savarese is another key name.
Texas is Bracewell LLP’s main stomping ground, and the firm has a prominent energy litigation practice. Beyond the energy sector, the dispute resolution team has broad experience acting for both plaintiffs and defendants. Department chair Stephen Crain has vast jury and bench trial and arbitration experience. He often works alongside Christopher Dodson and Sean Gorman, all of which are based in the Houston office.
'Sophisticated and independent but collegial and cooperative at the same time’, Cohen & Gresser LLP operates from New York, Washington DC, Seoul and Paris and opened an additional office in London in 2018. Given its footprint, it has impressive cross-border capabilities and is often retained by clients in multi-jurisdictional disputes. The firm has maintained steady growth at both the partner and associate level, with recent hires including Jason Brown from the New York Attorney General’s Office. Lawrence Gresser and Mark Cohen are the firm's co-founders. Melissa Maxman is 'very lucid in her advice’; Nathaniel Read is a 'skilled tactician’; and Daniel Tabak is a 'ferocious advocate’.
Dickinson Wright PLLC
A 'solid all-around team with exceptional attention to detail’, Dickinson Wright PLLC is 'great at looking at an issue from all points of view’. With a strong focus on Heartland America, its litigators are spread across multiple offices in the US. Among a range of recent successes was Detroit-based Thomas McNeill’s victory for J&B Medical in a lawsuit filed by Roche concerning diabetes test strips. From Troy, Michigan, Daniel Quick handles shareholder, trade secrets and IP disputes; litigator and appellate lawyer John Desmond is based in Reno; and Cynthia Alexander, who is highly recommended, splits her time between Troy and Las Vegas.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
With an extensive office footprint and global reputation, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is sought out by multinational companies, often for cross-border disputes. It further bolstered its antitrust litigation practice in 2018 with the hires of Eric Mahr and Andrew Ewalt from the DOJ's antitrust division. In litigation involving claims under the Shearman Act, Lanham Act and Iowa competition law, a team led by Linda Martin and Thomas Ensign acted for defendant PepsiCo in the Southern District of Iowa. In other developments, David Livshiz and Robert McCallum were promoted to counsel. Timothy Harkness co-heads the practice with Martin and often takes a lead role on complex cases.
From its offices in New York and New Jersey, Herrick, Feinstein LLP maintains an active East Coast commercial litigation practice and 'provides outstanding expertise at great value’. Many of its clients are longstanding, having worked with the firm for over a decade, and sector specialisms include real estate, financial services and consumer goods. For a company in the latter sector, David King and 'gifted litigator’ Ronald Levine were engaged to defend a class action claim surrounding labelling misrepresentations. Scott Tross is a go-to lawyer for real estate litigation in New Jersey.
Katten excels in securities litigation and white-collar defense, and is especially notable in the financial services, healthcare and insurance sectors. Beyond these areas, the team is equipped to handle a broad range of commercial cases in state and federal courts across the US, and its expertise in class actions is also of note. Gil Soffer and Stacey McKee Knight head the team from Chicago and Los Angeles respectively. Anthony Paccione in New York receives praise.
With an international footprint and client base, Linklaters LLP is well versed in cross-border regulatory investigations, crisis management, white-collar matters and a range of commercial litigation. The firm also expanded its bankruptcy litigation practice with the hire of Amy Edgy from Jones Day in 2018. In an illustration of its multi-jurisdictional capabilities, a US and UK-based team including Adam Lurie acted for Holtec International in a cross-border defamation and tortious interference case filed by an Italian company in the District of New Jersey. Douglas Tween heads the government enforcement and cartel practice.
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP has an impressive track record in successfully resolving high-end disputes through motions, appeals, settlements and trials. It had another busy year in 2018, continuing to represent major companies, especially in the healthcare, entertainment and energy sectors. In one example of its healthcare-sector expertise, the firm represents Aetna in numerous class actions, individual lawsuits and government investigations concerning allegedly improperly disclosed HIV-related information; practice head Matt Kanny is the lead partner. Craig de Recat and Robert Platt are names to note.
McGuireWoods LLP is noted for its 'efficient and effective use of resources’ and 'very good firm culture’. It maintains a nationwide commercial litigation practice that is especially strong in the financial services sector. For example, it successfully represented a mortgage lender in a case brought by borrowers challenging the framework of the mortgage securitization industry; the team – led by Ava Lias-Booker in Baltimore – secured a victory in the Maryland Court of Appeals. Atlanta-based Cheryl Haas is a leading figure in the firm for financial services-sector litigation; ACTL fellow Jonathan Blank is based in Charlottesville and is 'responsive, practical and strategic’; and Robert Muckenfuss chairs the commercial litigation department from Charlotte.
Michelman & Robinson, LLP
Michelman & Robinson, LLP’s lawyers are noted for their 'extraordinary ability to think on their feet’. The firm has a strong profile in California, where it has three offices, though its broad commercial litigation practice sees it handling cases across the country. Its class action expertise is of particular note, where the team has secured numerous successes for its clients. In one highlight, highly recommended partner Mona Hanna acted for Motive Energy in a putative class action including claims under the Unfair Competition Law and Private Attorneys General Act, successfully negotiating a favorable settlement. Hanna is based in Orange County, where Todd Stitt and Jeffrey Farrow and recommended senior associate Vincent Loh are also based. Sanford Michelman is a name to note in Los Angeles.
Litigation boutique MoloLamken LLP has vast experience in state and federal courts across the country, including at the Supreme Court and other appellate courts. It acts for plaintiffs and defendants, companies and high-profile individuals in commercial litigation, and also has an impressive white-collar defense practice. Recent highlights on the plaintiff side include representing three healthcare companies in a class action antitrust complaint against a medical technology company; Steven Molo is the lead partner. Among the other leading practitioners in the team are Robert Kry, Jessica Ortiz and Jeffrey Lamken.
Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP has a strong litigation offering with a particular focus on the financial services sector. 'Bringing technical capital markets expertise to a commercial litigation setting’, the firm is 'well positioned to assist capital markets participants in broken trade disputes and similar matters’. Its lawyers can often be found in state, federal, bankruptcy and appellate courts, and it has recently achieved a number of important successes for clients. Rowan Gaither and David Daniels are 'tough, veteran litigators’; the 'very astute’ Shari Brandt is also recommended. Margaret Winterkorn Meyers made partner and Steven Paradise left for Seyfarth Shaw LLP in 2019.
Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP has established itself as a go-to firm for shareholder activism litigation, and it is also equipped to handle a range of commercial disputes. Its deep expertise in the private equity sector is another distinguishing feature. In one recent case, Michael Swartz successfully represented Trian Fund Management in a proxy contest to elect its CEO and founding partner Nelson Peltz to Procter & Gamble's board of directors. Taleah Jennings’ experience spans employment, securities and trusts and estates litigation, and Robert Ward has a mixed commercial and securities litigation practice. ACTL fellow Peter White co-chairs the department alongside Swartz.
The lean team at Sullivan & Worcester LLP is capable of handling a range of commercial disputes around the US; standout areas include tax, art and tech-related litigation. In ongoing work, Jeffrey Gleit is representing a technology hardware company in connection with the recovery of over $110m of avoidable transfers to multiple parties in around 300 separate actions. Elsewhere, David Nagle and the team successfully represented Delta Dental in litigation involving insurance premium excise tax before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Gerry Silver heads the practice, and Laura Steinberg is another key contact.
Thompson & Knight LLP
The highly experienced trial and appellate lawyers at Thompson & Knight LLP had another busy year in 2018, handling a range of trials and arbitration proceedings. The firm has a strong profile for energy-related litigation and Texas-based disputes, though its commercial litigation expertise is much broader. In significant work, Jennifer Rudenick Ecklund is acting for eight women who have filed a federal class action lawsuit against the Travis County District Attorney’s office and the Austin Police Department arguing that the handling of – and failure to pursue – sexual assault cases violates sexual assault victims' constitutional rights. Greg Curry heads the department, which also includes Conrad Hester, who made partner in 2018, and Nicole Williams.
Vinson & Elkins LLP
Vinson & Elkins LLP has an active litigation and trials practice; from its multiple offices, its lawyers litigate high-stakes cases around the country. Illustrating the firm's solid reputation in the energy sector and its trial capabilities, the firm was retained by Energy Transfer Equity to defend its right to terminate the company's proposed merger with Williams, which was claiming $10bn in damages; the team – which included Michael Holmes, John Wander and Craig Zieminski – was successful in both Delaware Chancery Court and Supreme Court. Jim Thompson is the head of the firm's litigation practice, and Craig Seebald co-heads the complex commercial litigation group with Wander.