Mr Michael Swartz > Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP > New York, United States > Lawyer Profile

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP
NEW YORK, NY 10022
United States
Michael Swartz photo

Work Department

Litigation, Shareholder Activism, Blockchain technology & Digital Assets, Complex Commercial Litigation, Regulatory & Compliance, Securities Enforcement, Securities Litigation, Antitrust, Cybersecurity & Data Privacy


Michael E. Swartz, co-chair of the Litigation Group and head of the shareholder activism litigation practice, focuses on complex commercial litigation and antitrust, particularly as it relates to mergers and acquisitions. His litigation practice includes shareholder activist litigation, private investment fund disputes, M&A litigation, corporate control disputes and securities litigation. Michael has particular expertise with litigation involving Sections 10(b), 13(d), 14(a), 14(e),16(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act and in arbitration proceedings. He represented Trian Fund Management in its proxy contest at Procter & Gamble, and achieved a series of victories on behalf of venBio Select Advisor in its proxy campaign at Immunomedics. Among other things, for venBio, Michael obtained a TRO blocking the closing of a global license agreement, which effectively would have amounted to a sale of the company. Michael’s other recent litigation experience includes activist litigation; cryptocurrency investment fund disputes, representations of several boards and companies in M&A- and proxy-related litigation; and obtaining dismissal of several Section 16(b) actions brought against investment advisers and the funds they manage, seeking disgorgement of alleged short-swing trading profits. Michael served as trial counsel to the former Vivendi Universal CFO in a four-month securities class action jury trial. The jury returned a verdict of no liability for SRZ’s client for securities fraud. He also represented The Children’s Investment Fund in a trial involving proxy litigation commenced by CSX Corporation and served as trial counsel to the former chief legal officer of media giant Hollinger in a four-month criminal trial. Michael represented Cerberus Capital Management in its $9.2-billion acquisition of Safeway.

Michael has been recognized by his peers and clients in Benchmark Litigation: The Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms and AttorneysThe Legal 500 US and New York Super Lawyers in the area of business litigation. His litigation victories have been featured in The Hedge Fund JournalHedge Fund Legal and Compliance Digest and, recently, the Litigation Group, co-chaired by Michael, won Law360’s “Asset Management Practice Group of the Year” for its representations of leading private investment funds. Michael’s recent publications include contributing to the 2020 Shareholder Activism Insight report (produced by Activist Insight in association with SRZ), The Activist Investing Annual Review 2019 and co-authoring the “Information Sharing with Market Professionals” chapter in the Insider Trading Law and Compliance Answer Book 2019 (Practicing Law Institute). Michael is a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He is also a former law clerk to the Hon. Irving R. Kaufman, Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Michael received his J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he was editor of the Columbia Law Review, and received his B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of California, Los Angeles.


American Bar Association (Antitrust and Litigation Sections); International Bar Association; New York City Bar Association; Board of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Mid-Atlantic Regional Vice Chair and Executive Committee Member).


Columbia Law School, JD (Editor, Columbia Law Review); University of California, Los Angeles, BA, magna cum laude (Phi Beta Kappa).

Lawyer Rankings

United States > Dispute resolution > M&A litigation: defense

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP has a broad practice for financial litigation, which encompasses securities fraud, government enforcement matters and deal-related cases. The firm has particular expertise in acting for investment funds and their managers, and it frequently handles high-profile shareholder activism and proxy cases for lead hedge funds and private equity houses. Recently, its work has included SPAC-related matters, with Washington DC-based Charles Clark taking a lead role. Michael Swartz and Gayle Klein in New York and Peter White in DC lead the practice. Swartz is currently acting for Albertsons Companies in a $125m case concerning the earnout provision of a merger agreement in which the agent for stockholders of DineInFresh allege that the company fraudulently induced the merger  and sought to reduce payments to stockholders.

United States > Dispute resolution > General commercial disputes

The team at Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP handles investment funds litigation, shareholder activism/proxy fights, crypto litigation, post-M&A disputes, litigation finance and disputes in the blockchain/cryptocurrency space. The client portfolio includes a range of corporations, banks, funds, investors and directors. Michael Swartz in New York specialises in shareholder activist litigation, private investment fund disputes, corporate control disputes and securities litigation. Gayle Klein, also in NY, is considered to be an ‘exemplary lawyer.’ They lead the practice together with Peter White in Washington DC.

United States > Dispute resolution > Securities litigation: defense

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP frequently handles large securities class actions, and related derivative litigations and ERISA cases, as well as matters under the Investment Advisers Act and the Investment Company Act. It is a key adviser to hedge funds and private equity houses, and it is highly regarded for its work on ‘short-swing’ securities cases under Section 16(b) of the Securities Exchange Act, as well as blockchain and cryptocurrency disputes. Michael Swartz and Gayle Klein in New York, along with Peter White in Washington DC, lead the litigation group, which has a strong track record of success at every stage of securities litigation. White and fellow DC-based attorney Charles Clark represented overseas hedge fund Murchinson Ltd in a long-running SEC investigation concerning trading in the convertible securities of three Greek shipping companies.

United States > M&A/corporate and commercial > Shareholder activism

According to a client, Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP‘s team in New York is ‘the best legal team for shareholder activism in terms of providing corporate advice, along with the tax, fund formation, litigation and regulatory counsel that an investor would require.’ The firm advises on campaign strategies, corporate governance proxy rules, antitrust, securities, spin-offs and co-investments. In 2021, it was notably active representing large hedge funds in contentious proxy fights. Names to note include Michael Swartz, who is ‘one of the best litigators in the activist area.’ Leading the department are Marc Weingarten and ‘practical and pragmatic‘ attorney Eleazer Klein.