Schulte Roth & Zabel

District of Columbia


Dispute resolution

With offices in New York and DC, Schulte Roth & Zabel is praised by peers for its “very high-quality” work, primarily in the financial services sector. The firm is noted for its novel mix of practice concentration, its cutting-edge client base and its approach to cases. “Schulte has really come to dominate in certain areas,” observes one peer. “They have always been a go-to for private equity and hedge funds, and now they have cornered the market in areas like cryptocurrency as well. ”Cases in these areas are noted often for imposing “steep learning curves that demand a fast-moving and forward-leaning approach to litigating them effectively,” in the words of one peer, concluding “Schulte delivers.” The firm’s demonstrated strengths in the securities and white-collar areas have been prominently on display in a number of matters for a diverse spectrum of clients. A peer testifies, “I've worked with SRZ litigators on a variety of litigation matters over the years. Most recently, we've been looking at cross-border securities litigation matters. The partners there have a range of skills that range from litigation to structuring and tax.” A client cheers the firm’s attorneys for having a “very commercial, solution-oriented approach to litigation.” 
     In particular, New York’s Gayle Klein is a community and client favorite. “Street smarts and an uncanny business sense” are qualities that Klein is said to possess, and these qualities are demonstrated across the broad spectrum of commercial litigation she leadsKlein represents three of the 50 funds named as defendants in a suit brought by Deutsche Bank. The bank sued these funds, all of which participated in a syndicated loan to SunEdison sponsored by Deutsche Bank, alleging that a third party made representations in other cases regarding the funds’ reliance on Deutsche Bank’s representations in an effort to influence the funds’ testimony in those cases. Klein also represented activist investment fund Engine No. 1 in a trademark dispute with another activist fund, Engine Capital Management, who sued Klein’s client and sought an injunction to prevent the client from using the word “Engine” in this context. The court denied the injunction, holding that the plaintiff was unlikely to prevail at trial and that the sophisticated investors that comprise the audience for both funds were unlikely to be confused by the two names. In addition to this trademark dispute, this same client almost simultaneously was embroiled in a proxy contest at Exxon Mobil Corporation. The client, whose campaign was focused on reforming Exxon’s climate change policies, succeeded in placing three seats on Exxon’s board by way of a hotly contested dispute in which it was represented by Michael Swartz. In addition to a vibrant general commercial and securities practice, Swartz has emerged as one of the foremost authorities on cryptocurrency litigation. This niche acumen was on display when Swartz logged a huge win for Pantera Capital, which purportedly established the first bitcoin fund in the US, in a battle with another top cryptocurrency investment fund manager, Polychain Capital. After Polychain learned that Pantera, a 5% owner of Polychain, had formed its own, competing Initial Coin Offering fund in the liquid altcoin space, Polychain reacted by amending its operating agreement to give it the ability to terminate Pantera’s ownership interest for cause on the ground that it competed with Polychain. Following a week-long hearing, Pantera prevailed. Robert Ward attends to a portfolio that, as of late, is dominated by matters pertaining to real estate. Ward is championed by peers not only for his acumen but also his demeanor; one insists, “Bob Ward is not only a great litigator but also just one of the nicest. He stays calm, which, when you’re dealing with hard-fought New York commercial real estate matters, is not always easy to do.”  
     The firm’s white-collar and securities enforcement practice is commandeered by Peter White and Charles Clark, both of whom operate out of New York as well as the firm’s smaller DC office. White and Clark represent Murchinson, a Canadian investment advisor and hedge fund, who bought additional shares issued by a distressed Greek shipping company and resold them to the market. Due to a high level of volatility in the value of these shares, shareholders brought three separate class actions against Murchinson before the Eastern District of New York, alleging fraud. In the wake of the suits, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also launched an investigation. The Schulte duo leads the client in all three class actions as well as the SEC investigation. White is also, on a pro bono basis, representing prominent Baltimore attorney Ken Ravenella near-unanimously revered criminal defense lawyer who has represented some of the city’s highest-profile defendants. Ravenell was arrested and charged following a years-long investigation by the government on allegations of racketeering and money laundering