Simpson Thacher & Bartlett


Benchmark Litigation Reviews

United States (National)

Dispute resolution

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett boasts a long history as one of New York’s, and the country’s, most esteemed full-service legal brands. Its litigation and disputes capacity enjoys access to a blue-ribbon client base that is generated entrepreneurially as well as spun off from the firm’s globally ranging corporate stock, which runs the gamut of everything from brand name pharmaceutical entities to online giants to hedge funds. Simpson Thacher is also noted as being one of the classic white-shoe firms that is more comprehensive in terms of national coverage, with partners in its DC and Palo Alto offices playing increasing roles in litigation individually or in tandem with the New York team. A dominant presence in the areas of securities, antitrust and insurance, the firm has also made more recent entries into other areas, such as intellectual property, with proven success. “Simpson Thacher is a go-to firm for any type of legal dispute,” offers a client in summation. “Any individual or entity that retains them is going to get the best counsel possible.”
     An area of particular note that the firm has doubled down on is its white-collar and investigations area, a relatively recent development that has taken root with astonishing momentum, which not gone unnoticed by peers and clients. An impressed New York peer chirps, “Simpson Thacher has really come up! If you would have asked me three years ago about their white-collar group, I would have told you ‘they don’t really have one.’ But they have really reinvigorated it. Steve Cutler knows how boards operate, he gets the dynamic between management and boards, which is valuable. Brooke Cucinella is really strong overall, in criminal and in more securities enforcement. Nick Goldin seems like he would be the trial lawyer of the bunch. Between them, they now have a really meaningful group.” Another peer testifies, “My relationships with Simpson are primarily on the white-collar side. I have worked on multiple matters with [DC-based partner] Jeffrey Knox, Joshua Levine and Nick Goldin. They are all very effective white-collar defense lawyers and they all bring slightly different skill sets. Jeff is a very-plugged-in, highly strategic former DoJ Fraud Section lawyer (he ran the FCPA Unit), Josh is a very smart, very effective lawyer's lawyer, who has tremendous judgment, no ego, and real credibility. Nick is a very dynamic, very smart lawyer as well. The trio are really exceptional and standout in a market crowded with great lawyers. The relatively recent additions of Steve Cutler (who chairs the practice) and Brooke Cucinella who has real trial chops, just strengthen an already very strong crew. Steve is exceptional smart, strategic and experienced. Brooke is a trial jock with a lot of charisma. [They are a] Very good team with complementary skills.” Clients are also vocally appreciative; “In particular, the firm's government and internal investigations practice is at the very top of that field,” declares one. “[They have] Tremendous strategic sense, real inside knowledge of how DoJ/Main Justice operates, and are very good at navigating complex investigations.” Speaking to the individual partners, a client comments on Goldin: “Nick is the complete package. [He is] Analytically gifted and rigorous, attune to business and personal needs, practical and aggressive. Based on his experience and skill set, Nick has the ability to see the entire field and anticipate where investigations and litigation are headed.”

     Mary Beth Forshaw and Lynn Neuner, two figureheads in the firm’s famed insurance practice, remain active in representing two major excess property insurers, XL Insurance America and QBE Insurance Group Limited, in hard-fought disputes arising from hundreds of millions of dollars of property damage and business interruption claims at St. Thomas’ largest hotel property. These claims arose from major damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, which ultimately resulted in a rebuild of the property costing in excess of $300 million. The policyholder commenced litigation in the Virgin Islands, and the Firm’s insurance clients commenced a competing action in New York. The outcome of the case hinged on application of Virgin Island building codes, the scope of permitted renovation, and the resolved shortly before trial. Both partners have been appointees to Benchmark’s Top 250 Women in Litigation since its inception, and Neuner appears for the second consecutive year as one of Benchmark’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers. Beyond insurance, Neuner also keeps busy with commercial and securities cases and has also emerged as one of New York’s few major players in the false advertising capacity.  
     Neuner represented Bayer in defending its advertising for Claritin-D against a challenge brought by GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Flonase, an allergy spray. Glaxo challenged whether Bayer has reasonable substantiation for the claim that based on label indications, Claritin-D relieves eight symptoms, but Flonase relieves only six. In April 2019, it was concluded that Bayer provided a reasonable basis for its claim. In March 2020, Neuner logged another win for this client when the National Advertising Review Board reversed a September 2019 decision of the National Advertising Division and found that Bayer provided reasonable and reliable scientific support for the claims that Aleve is “proven better on pain than Tylenol Extra Strength” and that Aleve is “proven better on pain than Tylenol” for the first six hours post-dosing. 

     New York-based securities figurehead Jonathan Youngwood and Palo Alto-based Jim Kreissman have kept busy in a range of actions concerning ubiquitous online juggernauts such as Twitter and Alibaba. In addition to his role as one of the firm’s most active securities practitioners, Youngwood has also pursued a zealous pro bono agenda, which last year saw him scoring a big win in a matter concerning racial profiling among police in Mississippi. The firm’s antitrust practice, largely based out of DC, has also seen a spike in prominence as of late. The bulk of this work falls into the buckets of cartel work, regulatory defense and criminal matters, and also includes a good deal of work in the class-action space, in which John Terzaken, the global co-chair of the practice, dedicates a good deal of his time. Peter Guryan focuses more on merger work, and Sara Razi is known for assisting private equity clients in strategic transactions, many of which are outside the US, as well as clients in industries ranging from energy to healthcare.