New York


Dispute resolution

Constituted of a brawny network of outfits up and down the East Coast, Akerman focuses its litigation vigor within the Southeast and boasts additional offices in New York and throughout theNortheast. Thefirm’s team is continuously recognized for its formidable presence in jurisdictions around the country, and Akerman’s clients – numerous of which have regularly retained the firm’s trial and litigation services for over a decade – applaud en masse “the depth and breadth of their expertise,” one even noting that, “There is nothing else that they can do to improve service.” Among the most highly esteemed of Akerman’s several and diverse areas of practice are its commercial, labor & employment, and securities litigation groups 

Akerman’s Florida offices, including locations in Miami, Orlando, Tallahassee, Naples, Jacksonville, Tampa, West Palm Beach, and Boca Raton, are among both its most active and revered. In Jacksonville, bankruptcy and commercial specialist Christian George, serving as office managing partner, leads the charge. Centralizing his practice around the upholding of the rights of shareholders, equity investors, corporate affiliates, andcompanies from local businesses to Fortune 500s,George attends to such matters as, inter alia, fraud disputes, breach of contract, tortious interference, misappropriation of trade secrets, class actions, and breach of fiduciary duty. He recently served as defense counsel to SouthState Bank (formerly known asCenterState)in a spate of discrete matters, all of which were successfully defended against, including a lender liability lawsuit which sought a seven-figure damages award. The matter, arising in connection with allegations against SouthStatewhich purported that the institution aided and abetted an international wire fraud and boiler room operation, was swiftly defeated by George and the Akerman teamutilizing a forceful motion practice which obtained early dismissal of all claims prior to answering the operative complaint or attending any court hearings.  

Among the firm’s most active partners, complex commercial and securities litigator Michael Marshis accomplished both as litigation counselor and trial representation. One of severalnotable matters successfully argued by Marsh in the last year, he recently secured an appellate victory on behalf of Catalyst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in litigation against the US Food and Drug Administration, obtaining a ruling which granted protection under the Orphan Drug Act fora medicationproduced by Catalyst for the treatment of the rare, autoimmune condition known as Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome. 

Other key partners in Akerman’s Florida officesinclude litigation chair Lawrence Rochefort, environment and natural resources chair Robyn Neely, founder and chair of the financial services, data, and technology practice William Heller,deputy chair of litigation Katherine Giddings, appellate practice chair Gerald Cope, and cannabis practice group chair Jonathan Robbins 

Anderson Kill

While Anderson Kill offers a full range of litigation services including commercial, bankruptcy, securities and intellectual property, its primary calling card is insurance; in that regard, the firm is dedicated to policyholder-only matters. Far from finding this a limiting approach, the firm has instead excelled at this with gusto, and is revered by peers on both sides of the “V.” “These guys are zealots,” opines a peer. “They view insurance litigation as a ‘holy war - good and evil.’ But they know what they’re doing; they’ve been doing this a long time. They know these carriers and they’ve kept these files, meticulously protecting them.” The firm has also managed to parlay its reputation as a go-to shop for traditional insurance-related areas like asbestos into a haven where clients can turn in instances of more recent threats such as cloud-related data breach and privacy issues. “These types of matters - cybersecurity, the cloud! - are areas that Anderson Kill really got a head start on years ago.” Clients are equally appreciative; “Anderson Kill excels at representing businesses and individuals in insurance coverage and claim disputes. They literally wrote the book in this arena, entitled Insurance Coverage Litigation. They are outstanding lawyers, brief writers and strategists” Firm figurehead Robert Horkovich is applauded by all who come into contact with him, including adversaries. “I adore him, even though we are usually screaming at each other. No one fights harder for his clients, and no one keeps you on your game like him. Doing battle with him makes you a better lawyer.” One such client weighs in, “Bob Horkovich knows EVERYTHING about asbestos coverage litigation! All of his work [for us] has been exceptional.” In one of his many lead trial counsel appointments, Horkovich represents The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in litigation commenced by its insurance company relating to coverage for numerous asbestos claims dating to the construction of the original World Trade Center. The matter, valued at over $50 million, was in front of the New York Supreme Court, which in November 2017 granted all five of Port Authority’s motions, ruling that coverage is triggered if claims allege exposure during the construction of the World Trade Center, that AIG has not set forth a valid argument of exhaustion of its policy, and that AIG’s duty to defend continues even after the policy exhausts. The court then reaffirmed its decision in April 2019. Horkovich also represented Siltronic in a policyholder matter, also against AIG. The client moved for summary judgment to the effect that an exclusion applied only if the pollution was expected or intended by the policyholder, in this case Siltronic, which bought the property not knowing that it already was contaminated. AIG moved for summary judgment that the exclusion applies if the releases to the environment were expected or intended by anyone, including the historic polluters and even neighbors. In July 2018, the court granted Siltronic's summary judgment motion and denied AIG's. Horkovich also represented the San Diego Unified Port District, once again against AIG, in a matter in which the client sought liability insurance coverage to help clean up the Port of San Diego arising from claims and suits. When AIG alleged exhaustion of policy limits and cut off funding, the Port filed suit. AIG recanted its claim of exhaustion, acknowledging that policy limits remained, but litigation continues as to when umbrellas take over what obligations and as to bad faith. In March 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California ruled that AIG must pay claims under its umbrella policies in addition to its primary policies. The Court entered final judgment regarding these two important rulings in March 2019.

Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann

Bernstein Litowitz is an undisputed leader in the securities-focused plaintiff arena. Peers on both the same and opposite sides of the “V” offer plaudits and admiration on a near-unanimous basis. “Bernstein is always at the top,” declares a peer, voicing a general consensus. “They are one of the few firms in this capacity that files the big, meaty securities cases, and they litigate them hard. They’re not just ‘first-to-filers’ trying to get out as quickly as possible with a weak settlement.” Historically a New York-based institution positioned as “an attack dog for Wall Street,” the firm has also attended to a Delaware practice, a stance that the firm cemented when it recently opened an office in Wilmington and installed recruit Greg Varallo to run it. Varallo, long known to the Delaware Chancery community as a defense lawyer at Wilmington institution Richards Layton & Finger, raised eyebrows and had the legal market talking when he “flipped sides.” A local peer confirms, “Greg is well known and well liked by everyone in the Chancery community. He’s got a certain charisma and credibility.” A New York partner familiar with Varallo notes: “Greg did really well in a Gilead case – he got sanctions against the company that refused to produce documents!” The firm’s foray into the Delaware market is viewed as “smart and enormously successful,” in the eyes of peers. “There is a lot of action in Delaware nowadays, and plaintiffs know this, so to bring these actions in Delaware without having your own counsel here…I can’t imagine what the cut would be to hire Delaware counsel but it would be big,” opines one Wilmington peer. “With Bernstein coming in here, they have not only won big within their own confines but have also pretty much put a few of the more historic Delaware plaintiff shops out to pasture.”

While based in the firm’s New York flagship, Mark Lebovitch is also known for a Delaware element to his practice, which frequently involves derivative actions and often finds him teaming up with Varallo. “If you’re a Delaware company, you’re getting hit with a 220 demand,” states a peer, “and Mark ‘The Maestro’ Lebovitch is all over this. He is getting really aggressive, pushing for emails and text messages from company directors. Typically, that is not where discovery happens – it usually has to be on company-related documents – but Mark is saying, ‘Nah, listen – cell phones, personal emails, executives now frequently use these channels to communicate, and I want to see what’s happening on those channels.’ He is getting increasingly successful in convincing judges to allow this!” Lebovitch and Varallo represented the Hollywood Firefighters’ Pension Fund in successfully stopping GCI Liberty’s and Liberty Broadband’s controlling stockholders from using complex financial engineering in a merger of the two companies to consolidate their voting power at the expense of GCI Liberty’s public Class-A stockholders. The litigation caused the controllers to unwind all of the personal benefits they had sought for themselves while securing a $110 million cash settlement for former GCI Liberty stockholders. 

     Peers note that the firm’s center of gravity, Max Berger, is “still the king when it comes to standing up and getting the settlements, but others are doing the heavy lifting. Hannah Ross, for one.” Berger and Ross initiated a comprehensive, proprietary investigation in the wake of the collapse of the Allianz Structured Alpha funds during the beginning of the pandemic. The investigation focused on alleged misconduct and breaches of fiduciary and contractual duties in the management of those funds, which had deviated from their stated market-neutral strategy. As a result of this, the Bernstein Litowitz team managed to secure settlements between February and April 2022 totaling nearly $2 billion to the firm’s clients. Sal Graziano, one of the firm’s most active litigators, scored a $175 million settlement in September 2021 on behalf of investors in Luckin Coffee, a Chinese coffee chain that received well-publicized infamy for being fraudulent. Beyond the senior level, more junior partners are making their mark. Newly listed future star Edward Timlin is tipped by peers as one to watch. “Ed trained under [universally revered securities litigator] Adam Hakki and got defense expertise from this development at Shearman [& Sterling.] [He is] definitely worth keeping your eye on.”

Brown Rudnick

With origins in Boston and New York dating back to the 1940s, Brown Rudnick has since blossomed from a key player throughout New England into a strategically cultivated mid-Atlantic shop. Litigators within the firm are recognized for an aggressive, creative and indeed unconventional approach. A peer insists, “These are trial lawyers! They have guts and take bold positions. Now I may not always agree with these positions, but I’m impressed with them.” While it hosts attorneys attending to a broad range of commercial litigation, several star players have emerged as leaders in some rather novel areas. 

     The firm, and Washington, DC-based Ben Chew, landed squarely in the headlines for the representation of Johnny Depp in a massively publicized defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard. A Virginia jury unanimously ruled in favor of Depp following a six-week trial, finding that he had proven all elements of defamation. The seven-member jury awarded him $15 million, as well as $2 million to Heard on account of her counterclaim. Chew, a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, notches himself a coveted position on this edition’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers list.In another controversial and highly public matter, New York’s Michael Bowe and Lauren Tabaksblat are representing more than 50 victims of child pornography, rape, and trafficking in a landmark lawsuit against MindGeek, the parent company of tubesite Pornhub, a dominant entity in the industry. The lawsuit alleges claims under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizationslaws and the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 and seeks damages for MindGeek’s exploitation of child sexual abuse materials and non-consensual content. Among other objectives, the lawsuit seeks to require MindGeek to impose stringent policies and procedures that ensure only legitimate, legally compliant consensual content is permitted on its platform. The complaint also asserts claims against Visa for knowingly participating and profiting in a human trafficking venture. The pursuit of claims against Visa is in clear recognition of the important role that banks and other institutions play in facilitating human trafficking and the unique role they each can play in bringing an end to these illegal activities. A peer marvels, “This is a really big step in making a difference. You might think, ‘It’s porn – who cares?’ right? But this really exposes just how shady some of it is and is forcing the industry and the public to confront it. It’s been reported that some 60% of Pornhub’s content has since been removed – that’s huge.” The same Brown Rudnick pair also represents Blueprint Capital Advisors, the only African-American asset manager in New Jersey, and one of the few in the country, in a landmark racial equality case against several governmental and business entities in the state, alleging the illegal misappropriation of a proprietary investment model Blueprint developed for public pensions and delivering the program to a rival investment firm. In response to Blueprint’s public challenges to defendants’ misappropriation, the client suffered a years-long and ongoing campaign of retaliation involving blatant, aggressive, and unapologetic racist abuse.” 

     Brown Rudnick has also emerged as one of the most unflinching players in the bankruptcy litigation arena, specifically on behalf of creditors. “These are the bomb throwers,” observes one peer. “These are the people who you think about when you wonder, ‘Who do I call if I need a rabid dog?’” In particular, Robert Stark is identified as a leader. “Robert Stark thinks outside the box and helps drive a deal,” testifies a client. “He helped protect my interests and drive [a] positive outcome.” Stark, David Molton and Jeffrey Jonas (all based in New York) represented the Official Committee of Talc Claimants in the wake of Johnson & Johnson’s controversial October 2021 corporate transaction, colloquially referred to as a “Texas Two-Step,” dividing the company’s consumer products division into two companies and transferring all of the company’s talc-related tort liabilities to a newly created entity, which was then put into bankruptcy, with J&J demanding that the court extend all bankruptcy protections to the entire company conglomerate. “I love Jeff Jonas, he’s the best,” raves a peer. “There are some wonderful court illustrations of him just excoriating a witness on the stand who is just lying through their teeth!”

Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft

Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft is known as an historic New York full-service firm that is, in the words of several peers, “undergoing a renaissance in litigation. They are recruiting wisely and growing.” The most visible evidence of this assertion is the recent headline hires of former Boies Schiller commercial litigators Nick Gravante and Helen Maher. Gravante, formerly the managing partner at Boies during a transitional period for that firm, is a trial veteran and a dyed-in-the-wool commercial generalist. He represented Ashford Trust in a proxy contest, filing a motion for preliminary injunction, temporary restraining order and expedited discovery. Upon obtaining expedited discovery, the defendants voluntarily withdrew their director nominees before the preliminary injunction hearing, resulting in complete victory for Ashford. Gravante has also teamed up with fellow erstwhile Boies colleague Phil Iovieno on several antitrust matters in the plaintiff capacity, including one in which the duo represents more than a dozen opt-out plaintiffs alleging that the leading suppliers of broiler chickens participated in a multi-faceted price-fixing scheme, one of the largest and most sprawling antitrust matters of late. This same pair, along with Maher, represents medical device provider AngioDynamics in a lawsuit originally filed in 2017 alleging that competitor C.R. Bard and Bard Access Systems engaged in anticompetitive behavior by scheming to tie the sales of Bard’s tip location systems to the sales of its peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs). AngioDynamics alleges that Bard has a policy of refusing to sell its tip location systems separate from its PICCs, despite customers’ requests. Longtime Cadwalader mainstay Jason Halper has been particularly active with a spate of securities cases, primarily in the M&A capacity, as well as general commercial matters. In a commercial/estate hybrid case, Halper represents Janus Henderson entities as defendants in a lawsuit concerning allegations that the defendants unlawfully took over the finances of the plaintiff’s father and stole money that his sister – the plaintiff – expected to inherit upon their father’s death. Over two years after the plaintiff filed suit, she added various financial institutions, including Janus Henderson. Halper also is active in the securities stock-drop class-action space, exemplified by his representation of Mizuho, the co-manager for the Viacom Class B Common Stock offering that occurred in March 2021. Within days of the offering, Viacom’s stock fell from $85 to $45 per share.  

Cahill Gordon & Reindel

Cahill Gordon & Reindel remains a favorite with its stable of loyal long-time clients, which include global cornerstones of the financial industry, as well as embattled individuals who turn to Cahill practitioners for counsel but probably hope to never see the firm (or any litigator) again. One of Cahill’s clients voices appreciation for the “comprehensive advice, with excellent strategic game plan” that the firm has become known for. Cahill is best known for its concentration in the commercial, securities, antitrust and white-collar crime capacities.
     Operating from both the firm’s New York flagship as well as its DC location, Brad Bondi has become known as a trusted advocate for white-collar and securities enforcement matters. Bondi leads a team that
is representing five large hospital funds as plaintiffs in connection with potential claims against Allianz Global Investors arising from the catastrophic implosion of Allianz’s Structured Alpha investment products. The allegations concern violation of federal securities laws and state common law claims. Total losses claimed exceed $10 billion. Bondi also represents former a KPMG senior partner and executive who is charged, along with four others, in a high-profile case with wire fraud and other offenses relating to the misappropriation by the defendants of confidential inspection information from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. “Over the years I have some to know Brad well and have trusted him on several important projects,” testifies a peer. Bondi is not the only partner in this group earning acclaim; Nola Heller represents a former asset manager who is charged for her alleged role in a $63 million scheme to place fraudulent bonds in discretionary client accounts. In March 2020, Heller served as lead trial counsel in a four-day evidentiary hearing regarding the client’s motion to withdraw her guilty plea. The response is also strong for Anirudh Bansal, a younger partner who is making a swift ascent. “I think Anirudh is first-rate,” opines a peer. “He was a junior to [celebrated former Cahill partner] David Kelley so he got excellent training and then had big shoes to fill, which he did. He stepped up in a big way, and I expect you’ll see more of him.”
     In the commercial capacity, Tammy Roy is another younger partner making a rapid rise. A client addresses Roy as “a rock star” who “[has] command of facts without getting lost in details. [She has a] bright future.” Roy has taken the lead on several notable engagements as of late. She represents S&P Global in five related actions alleging that S&P made reckless misrepresentations in connection with the rating of a life settlement securitization. In March 2019, several claims were dismissed but others were allowed to proceed and are now in discovery. Roy also represented UBS in connection with a defamation claim filed by a former UBS employee-turned-whistleblower after UBS publicly refuted the plaintiff’s claims, which were published in a book, regarding the details of his role in a tax-evasion scheme allegedly implicitly endorsed by UBS. UBS also denounced the plaintiff and highlighted lapses of credibility in his story.
The parties settled the matter in September 2020. Roy also represented UBS Financial Services in a putative class action filed in the Southern District of New York in October 2020.  The named plaintiff sought to represent an alleged class of US citizens living abroad who she claimed had their UBS investment accounts frozen, converted to cash or closed without timely notification. At a pre-motion conference that was filed for in January 2021 in anticipation of UBS’s motion to dismiss, the plaintiff conceded that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction and subsequently filed a stipulation of voluntary dismissal of all claims.
     Cahill has long serviced Credit Suisse in cases straddling an intersection of securities and antitrust issues. Joel Kurtzberg, a recent addition to Benchmark’s litigation stars, has proven his mettle in having taken the lead on several of these matters. “Get Joel on your radar,” advises a peer. “He has earned it.” The team also includes long-time stars Herb Washer and Elai Katz, the latter known primarily for his antitrust acumen and the former frequently pivoting between securities, antitrust and commercial cases. “Elai is an antitrust secret weapon,” confides a peer. “He comes on like a bit of a street fighter, but you can tell by his writing – and he does a lot of it – that he is really studious and geeks out on this stuff.” Washer is said to be able to “do it all, while all the while being one of the more pleasant and well-spoken litigators you’ll encounter.” Others servicing Credit Suisse in various capacities include Sheila Ramesh and future star Jason Hall, as well as David Januszewski, a seasoned partner who receives near-universal acclaim from peers in the market. “David is fantastic, he should get national recognition,” insists a peer. Beyond his work for Credit Suisse, Januszewski also acts for Deutsche Bank. On behalf of this institution, Januszewski led a team (including Ramesh) that
litigated a six-day bench trial in Connecticut seeking to enforce a judgment, secured by the bank in a UK court in 2013, against Alexander Vik and his offshore investment entity Sebastian Holdings, seeking to hold Vik liable personally as the Sebastian Holdings’ alter ego in Connecticut. Januszewski also prevailed on behalf of Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, securing a July 2020 dismissal in the Northern District of Illinois for a suit filed in March of that year in which plaintiffs filed their complaint against the bank, asserting claims for negligence, conversion, and contribution in connection with the transfer of securities alleged to have been funneled among various entities as part of a third-party’s long-running Ponzi scheme.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton stands out for its impressive global footprint – one of the most expansive in “big law,” with more offices located outside the US than within. Proudly bold in its international aspirations, its domestic-domiciled practitioners in New York and DC routinely attend to matters that cross borders. One peer offers in summation, “Cleary has distinguished itself by being more than just a group of servicers of the standard Wall Street crowd, even though their [New York] office is right there [in the Financial District.]” The firm excels in antitrust, white-collar and investigations work, securities, bankruptcy, commercial and even some intellectual property, and, unsurprisingly, it is also known as being one of the dominant forces in the international arbitration arena.   
     Cleary’s antitrust capacity benefited from the March 2020 recruit of Bruce Hoffman, a former leader of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, to its DC group. While this hire is viewed as significant benefit by a pronounced group of peers, one speculates, “It’s not like they needed any additional boost. That is already one of the strongest antitrust groups in the country.” A DC-based Cleary antitrust team scored a landmark win when secured federal merger clearance and won an unprecedented multistate lawsuit brought by 17 Attorneys General as lead antitrust counsel to T-Mobile and parent company Deutsche Telekom in connection with T-Mobile’s historic merger with Sprint Corporation. A peer marvels, “They wonto everyone’s surprise! The conventional wisdom in the press was that they were going to lose. There were betting pools that they were going to lose.” Peer praise is particularly strong for lead counsel Mark NelsonOne enthuses, I saw him cross-examining an engineer on the other side and Mark ripped him apart! The guy was literally babbling by the end, he was flustered!” The team also included antitrust authorities David GelfandJeremy Calsyn and George Cary. The latter is a perennial favorite among fellow antitrust practitioners. “He is just a master and has unquestioned credibility with the bench and the bar,” sums up one peer, who goes on to insist, “but he is not the only one doing great things there. George has a great team working with him. Leah Brannon for instance has really come up.” Cary and Brannon represent Keurig in massive multiparty monopolization litigation in the Southern District of New York. The litigation involves five complaints brought against Keurig by two individual competitors, two purported classes (direct and indirect purchasers), and an individual purchaser. Among other allegations, these cases allege that Keurig has unlawfully monopolized a market for Keurig-compatible single-serve coffee through a wide range of actions, from Keurig’s design and advertising of its 2.0 coffee brewer and related coffee to its contracts with suppliers, distributors, and other partners. In 2020, Keurig entered into a settlement agreement with the putative indirect purchaser class for $31 million.  
     Another area in which Cleary is routinely praised is the white-collar and enforcement area. “They have a good nucleus of a practice in DoJ and SEC and in DC and NY,” confirms a peer. Another elaborates, “When I have a huge case that I need to refer, I need the breadth and the depth, not just one star player. The Cleary team is smart, knowledgeable and experienced, and there are a bunch of them: David BrodskyJoon KimBreon PeaceLev DassinVictor Hou – these people are all a solid team.” Peace, Jennifer Kennedy Park and Lisa Vicens are representing Vale in an SEC investigation into securities disclosures related to the company’s dam safety in the wake of the 2019 Brumadinho dam collapse in Brazil. Peace and Vicens are also leading an internal investigation on behalf of Brazil’s national development bank, BNDES, of allegations of corruption in connection with a major Brazilian bribery investigation, and related US investigations, concerning BNDES’s extension of financing to certain companies related to the Brazilian conglomerate, J&F Investimentos, in relation to its acquisition of several foreign companies, including in the US, which Brazilian authorities alleged resulted in a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds. Vicens is viewed as particularly instrumental in pushing this Brazilian agenda. “Lisa has developed a fabulous South American practice,” confirms one competitor. “She is a homegrown talent, an unusual person in that respect.” Kim and Hou represent Nissan in regulatory investigations relating to executive compensation issues arising out of the arrest of the company’s former CEO, Carlos Ghosn. The Cleary duo assisted with the investigation and negotiated the settlement with the SEC, in which Nissan agreed to pay a $15 million civil penalty, and the SEC alleged that Nissan failed to disclose more than $140 million to be paid to Ghosn in compensation and retirement benefits. This same pair is also representing the former CEO of a publicly traded real estate investment trust in defending against criminal charges and SEC securities fraud charges.  
     A particularly versatile litigator with a diverse practice encompassing commercial and securities work as well as white-collar and enforcement, Hou is viewed as a standout by a near-unanimous level of peers. In an example of his securities acumen, Hou is representing Synchrony Financial, several of its officers, and its board of directors in a putative securities class action in the District of Connecticut against allegations of misleading statements and omitting material information. After a March 2020 dismissal in the client’s favor, plaintiffs appealed to the Second Circuit, who affirmed the dismissal in February 2021. Acting with Hou on this matter, Jared Gerber is a securities-focused star that has been similarly active of late. Gerber acted with Roger Cooper in representing the Hong Kong-based energy company Sky Solar and certain officers in another securities class action alleging material misstatements. Cooper also, along with Vicensrepresents International Flavors & Fragrances, Frutarom Industries and two of IFF’s officers in a putative securities class action alleging that the defendants made material misstatements and omissions concerning IFF’s acquisition of Frutarom, the integration of the two companies, and IFF’s and Frutarom’s financial reporting and results.  


Cohen & Gresser

Cohen & Gresser is a boutique handling litigation, intellectual property and white-collar matters. While formed in 2002, the firm’s lawyers have rich histories; several of them initially honed their crafts at some of the country’s most respected firms. “Have you checked out what’s going at Cohen & Gresser lately? You should! There is some interesting work going on over there right now, and they have made great strides in the niche that they occupy,” insists a peer. “The firm is doing tremendously well. We call them ‘Cohen and Growin’!’ I had lunch with [managing partner] Larry Gresser and he dispensed great advice as to forging your own boutique made up of former big-firm premier talent. That’s what they did!” Gresser has kept busy representing Goldman Sachs in a case alleging a group boycott among major investment banks. The plaintiff alleges that their patented securitization model making use of a bankruptcy-remote special purpose entity to finance airport terminal construction will lower interest rates and volatility on airport special facility bonds and that banks allegedly boycotted the model to protect their profits from secondary-market ASF bond trading. Mark Cohen leads a team (which includes Gresser) that continues to act as court monitor for the Fire Department of New York (FDNY.) The team was appointed in 2011 by the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York to oversee implementation of the Court’s remedial order. The Court’s order grew out of its finding that the FDNY’s practices and procedures for recruiting and hiring entry-level firefighters have had a disparate impact on black and Hispanic firefighter candidates. More recently, the parties to the litigation requested that Cohen and the team oversee the implementation of a settlement involving claims that the FDNY had intentionally discriminated against black and Hispanic firefighter applicants. As Court Monitor, Cohen and the team oversee an extensive and multi-tiered remedial process involving, among other things, the FDNY’s practices and procedures for recruiting, testing, and screening black and Hispanic entry-level firefighter candidates, and its EEO functions. “This is a fabulous appoint,” asserts a peer, “and best of all, it’s working!”

Cohen Ziffer Frenchman & McKenna

New York-based Cohen Ziffer Frenchman & McKenna only emerged in 2021 but has already made significant inroads over the course of its short existence by way of the individual and collective reputations of its personnel, all of whom are known for being leaders in high-end insurance litigation. “This firm didn’t exist two years ago,” marvels one peer, “and now they already have a seat at the table with high-stakes insurance work.” Clients have been equally impressed. One testifies, “I have used other firms for other types of work but Cohen Ziffer seems to have far deeper insurance defense expertise and much more willingness to work on mutually attractive fee arrangements.” Still another offers in summation, “The lawyers at Cohen Ziffer are the most skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable attorneys representing insureds in insurance litigation. They are responsive, direct, and prepared for every one of our calls.”

Arguably the firm’s most visible star, Robin Cohen, an insurance litigation luminary with Kasowitz Benson and then McKool Smith, continues to attract plaudits from peers and demonstrates enough trial acuity to keep her place on the Top 100 Trial Lawyers list secure again in this edition. “Robin is the best I've seen in terms of creativity, aggressiveness, thoroughness, preparation, grasp of market and knowledge of the insurance players and their playbook,” confirms one client. A peer testifies, “Robin Cohen is always a tough adversary and is doing a great job.” Cohen led New York commercial landlord Thor Equities to a major win in April 2021 in a policyholder case that addressed the existential, pandemic-specific question as to whether business interruption insurance applies. Thor had a $750 million policy for property damage and business interruption losses through FM Global. After FM denied coverage, Thor brought suit to recover tens of millions of dollars of business interruption losses arising from the pandemic. Cohen and Keith McKenna represent Verizon in a D&O coverage action involving more than $120 million in defense and settlement costs. The costs were incurred in connection with a 2014 lawsuit against Verizon brought by a litigation trustee appointed in the bankruptcy of FairPoint Communications, which asserted fraudulent conveyance claims and sought more than $2.3 billion in damages. Cohen and Adam Ziffer scored for Pfizer in a suit filed in Delaware state court against certain insurers and defeated the insurers’ competing lawsuit filed in New York federal court, which was affirmed by the Second Circuit. The case concerned the refusal on the part of several carriers to indemnify Pfizer for its loss following the settlement of a securities class action in 2016.


Cravath Swaine Moore

Still operating out of only one office in New York, Cravath Swaine & Moore remains the standard bearer as an entity that commands respect on the national stage for its prestige and unassailable brand in the legal community without expanding its physical geographic footprint. “They don’t need to have an office anywhere else, they’re getting calls from all over the country,” marvels one peer. The firm is also revered for its elite position on the hiring and fostering of its talent, holding to its long-held protocol of not hiring associates laterally. Long considered a leader in the fields of securities, antitrust and general commercial litigation, the firm has made considerable strides in areas that are more recent developments, such as the white-collar and investigations and intellectual property capacities. Cravath has also established itself as a leader in trial law, with a presence at the center of trial activity that is noted as somewhat rare for a “white-shoe” firm. Also rare for a firm of its breed, Cravath boasts a diverse client base that is not exclusively beholden to financial institutions. “Cravath lawyers are brilliant and tireless,” exclaims a client. “Their team approach to everything is fantastic.” Another client voices appreciation for the “practical, realistic advice and judgment on large and complex litigation matters and very strong courtroom advocacy.” Peers are equally reverent: “Cravath leaves no stone unturned,” testifies one.

The star power of Cravath Swaine & Moore continues undiminished yet another year, a stature exemplified at both the senior and “next-generation” levels. Evan Chesler and Daniel Slifkin, two of the firm’s towering figures in the trial lawyer capacity, remain active and still generate acclaim. A peer marvels, “Evan could retire at this point but he doesn’t want to, and I’m sure they don’t him to! His stamina and trial wisdom are still in demand.” Chesler and Slifkin led Tesla CEO Elon Musk to a major April 2022 trial victory, defeating a stockholder derivative action that had sought $13 billion in damages related to Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity Corporation. The highly publicized case claimed that Tesla’s $2.1 billion acquisition of SolarCity was a thinly veiled bailout driven by Musk, Tesla’s alleged controlling stockholder. The senior statesmen element on the Cravath team on this case was balanced by the contributions of two future stars, Vanessa Lavely and Helam Gebremariam, the latter of whom just joined the Cravath partnership this past year after rejoining the firm in 2019. “Helam has incredible judgment and self-possession and writes exceedingly well,” declares a peer. More recently, in July 2022, a team consisting of Chesler and newly elevated former future star Wesley Earnhardt (who argued the successful appeal) secured a precedential Ninth Circuit decision in favor of Starz Entertainment, affirming a California district court’s holding that the Copyright Act did not impose a time-based bar on damages for copyright infringement claims separate from the three-year statute of limitations and that, therefore, the copyright infringement claims brought by Starz against MGM Domestic Television Distribution were timely.

In recent years, Kevin Orsini has risen up to take his seat alongside more senior partners as an established, all-purpose trial powerhouse. A client raves, “Kevin Orsini is a creative strategic thinker, one of the best advocates I have seen, who is very responsive and cares about our matters.” A dedicated generalist and co-head of litigation at Cravath, Orsini attends to a remarkably diverse practice that touches on commercial, antitrust and the one-of-a-kind phenomenon of “event-driven” litigation, often of the most complex, contentious and highest-stakes variety. Orsini has logged various examples of his versatility; in one matter, he and Lavely are representing Occidental Petroleum in connection with multiple actions alleging various theories of liability related to climate change, including public and private nuisance, strict liability, negligence and trespass-based causes of action. These actions seek compensatory and punitive damages, equitable relief and disgorgement of profits, among other relief. In a commercial and securities case, Orsini and securities star Antony Ryan won a post-trial judgment for The Williams Companies in December 2021, awarding Williams a $410 million contractual termination fee, plus interest and reasonable attorneys’ fees, in connection with its now-terminated $37.7 billion combination with Energy Transfer Equity.

Cravath’s antitrust team, historically one of the country’s strongest, has been particularly active of late. Katherine Forrest, one of the noted team leaders and an established senior trailblazer at the firm, comes equipped with a keen level of experience and savvy in the tech and AI sectors as well as a fluency in antitrust more broadly. Lauren Moskowitz, a future star with a more generalist practice, has also had a hand in antitrust. In March 2022, Forrest and Moskowitz won summary judgment for Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Biosense Webster shortly before trial in antitrust litigation brought by a competitor alleging monopolization and restraint of trade in the nationwide market for the sale of high-density mapping and ultrasound catheters for use with the CARTO 3 cardiac mapping system for electrophysiology studies. This same pair also successfully represented the Boston Red Sox in a purported class action relating to Major League Baseball’s highly publicized electronic sign-stealing scandal, securing a decision dismissing the action with prejudice in April 2020 and subsequent affirmance by the Second Circuit in March 2022. A peer weighs in on Moskowitz’s behalf: “She is a 10-year partner, so still young! [She is] Really truly great, you will hear more about her. She’s also a traditional litigator in that she can do it all – clients would uniformly wax poetic about her, they love her!” Moskowitz acted with David Marriott in representing Alcon Laboratories in connection with more than 50 class actions and related matters centralized in Florida federal court alleging antitrust and consumer protection/unfair competition laws of various states with respect to Alcon’s unilateral pricing policies for contact lenses.


Davis Polk & Wardwell

Davis Polk & Wardwell has consistently shown its dedication to litigation, steadily growing its groups in strategic locations like New York, Washington, DC and California. The firm's reputation and presence has followed suit, earning increased acclaim as its bench has expanded. The firm remains at the forefront of high-profile litigation in the areas of securities, commercial, antitrust, white-collar crime, bankruptcy and intellectual property.

The New York office remains the cornerstone of the firm’s dispute resolution capabilities, featuring the highest concentration of litigators – specifically those in the firm’s securities practice. An established name of the securities bar is James Rouhandeh, well known for being Morgan Stanley’s “go-to”, especially for residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) actions. He currently defends the financial institution in two RMBS actions. One alleges fraud claims filed by German financial institution IKB and one of its subsidiaries in New York Supreme Court. IKB attempted to amend the complaint to include negligent representation claims; however, the team successfully defeated the motion. In another case, the team defends Morgan Stanley against the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago alleging state securities law violations and other related claims in the Circuit Court of Cook County in Illinois. The matter arises from the plaintiff’s purchase of three sub-prime RMBS. Rouhandeh has also been involved in cryptocurrency securities litigation. He secured a dismissal in entirety of a securities class action filed against Binance, a decentralized and foreign cryptocurrency trading platform. The action alleged that the company was unlawfully acting as an unregistered broker-dealer and exchange and solicited the sale of unregistered securities in violation of Section 29(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and section 12(a)(1) of the Securities Act of 1933, respectively. Dana Seshens is co-head of the civil litigation group alongside Rouhandeh. She has been leading the charge in securities class actions working with the West Coast team and New York’s Charles Duggan. They have represented underwriters in securities class actions arising from California wildfires, one of which was successfully dismissed at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in March. Seshens is leading the charge in a case currently pending a motion to dismiss filed by the team.

Paul Spagnoletti and future star Antonio Perez-Marques represent oil exploration entity EnVen Energy Corporation and certain affiliates in litigation between the company and its co-founder and former president, who sued the company in Harris County Texas District Court alleging that the company had breached his employment agreement by diminishing his role and reducing his relative equity compensation. The company sued the individual in Delaware Chancery Court alleging that he breached his duty of loyalty to the company by failing to disclose his father’s financial interest in one of the company’s major suppliers. The trial in the Texas district court occurred in July of last year, and is now on appeal. Spagnoletti and Perez-Marques lifted the motion to stay the Delaware Chancery Court litigation, and a renewed motion to dismiss filed by the defendant in that case is pending.

Elliot Moskowitz stands out as the firm’s leading lawyer in the bankruptcy space. “Elliot Moskowitz [is] a very fine bankruptcy lawyer,” declares one peer. “Very formidable opponent.” He is representing a real estate company in an adversary proceeding related to the Sears Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Southern District of New York. The motion to dismiss is pending. In a matter that was resolved in February, Moskowitz represented JP Morgan & Chase entities in fraudulent transfer cases related to the Tribune Company bankruptcy. The claims were heavily litigated, but Moskowitz prevailed on each one, securing dismissals at the district court, Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and before the Supreme Court three times, with the high court denying certiorari on the final claims.

Top 100 Trial Lawyer Greg Andres is co-head of the firm’s white-collar crime practice. He has been involved in a number of government investigations involving the Department of Justice (DoJ), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Federal Trade Commission. One of his high-profile representations includes senior DoJ official, Richard Donoghue, in connection with the investigations into the Capitol attack on January 6, 2021. Andres and Angela Burgess represented Cisco Systems in a SEC and DoJ investigation involving an alleged self-enrichment scheme by previous employees in China. The government entities declined to bring actions against the company following the team’s results. National practice area star for white-collar crime and antitrust litigation Jarrett Arp has received resounding reviews, as one peer considers him as a “big heavyweight in the antitrust world.”

Across the US on the West Coast, Neal Potischman leads the commercial practice and the Northern California office. The West Coast operations are continuously active in litigation, especially with Potischman’s diverse practice that encompasses securities, antitrust, commercial litigation, consumer class actions and even white-collar criminal matters. In the securities space, he has worked with Seshens and Duggan in the aforementioned class actions. He continues to work with Rouhandeh representing Novo Nordisk in cases alleging that manufacturers artificially inflated insulin prices. Previously, the team obtained a dismissal of an action brought by individuals with diabetes and certain health plans. In a separate lawsuit brought by Harris County, Texas, the team secured a dismissal. The county alleged it overpaid for insulin and, like the previous case, claims under the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act. Silicon Valley partner Ashok Ramani is the head of the intellectual property practice and a ‘jack of all trades’ IP litigator juggling patents, trademarks and trade secrets in his practice. He is defending Signify Health against alleged trade secret misappropriation and non-compete claims brought by CareCentrix in Delaware federal court. CareCentrix sought a preliminary injunction, but after arguments, the injunction was narrowed down to only enforcing a one-year non-compete for the company’s executive and found that, on the merits, the trade secret claims were unlikely to succeed. He is acting on behalf of Magnolia Medical Technologies against competitor Kurin in its lawsuit enforcing two of its medical patents related to Initial Specimen Diversion Devices. Ramani successfully thwarted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.

Debevoise & Plimpton

Through its office in New York and a smaller office in DC, Debevoise & Plimpton has etched itself a position of prestige in the legal market among peers, many of whom laud the firm’s approach as well as its practitioners’ proven skills across the board. “Debevoise is a very classy bunch,” opines one peer. “Always has been. The lawyers there all are very respectable.” It is also noted that Debevoise “has one of the more genuinely diverse benches around,” and that the firm “is not just playing catch-up. They put their money where their mouth is a long time ago.” Indeed, the firm has one of the highest percentages of women appearing as lead counsel on matters and nominated as star players, a metric that has quantified since Benchmark’s first edition in 2008. “It’s pretty remarkable,” observes a peer. “You can look at pretty much any department over there and find it’s populated by women leaders.”

This dedication remains on full display, with one the firm’s youngest female stars, Susan Gittes, landing a headline-grabbing pro bono win in October 2021 for a man who had been swept up in a gang-related incident (involving a shooting and attempted murder) in 2015, and, in 2017 was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Gittes’ client was acquitted of all but one of his six charges related to this incident. Gittes had previously won a new trial for this client in a direct criminal appeal based on serious juror misconduct involving a romantic relationship with a witness. Maura Monaghan, a versatile practitioner who primarily operates in the commercial and product liability/life sciences areas, has also been in the spotlight for her representation of certain former directors and shareholders of Purdue Pharma in defending litigation regarding prescription opioids in numerous fora across the country, including a federal multi-district litigation and actions brought by states attorneys general, and in efforts to negotiate a global settlement in bankruptcy court.

Several sources credit Mary Beth Hogan with fostering this dynamic atmosphere. A commercial litigator who is also recognized for her investigations work, Hogan is also the co-chair of litigation. “Mary Beth deserves a lot of praise for making Debevoise what it is today,” says one source. Most recently, Hogan has been called into service to conduct investigations of sexual misconduct within several major religious, academic and athletic institutions. The white-collar and investigations/securities enforcement space has long been a calling card for the firm and remains a staple. Former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) director Andrew Ceresney is a revered enforcement star. “When Andrew walks into a room, he just commands attention,” remarks a peer. “He is low-key and understated but he just exudes a presence that his entire being is brains. You just feel like he is the smartest one in the room.” In July 2022, Ceresney guided E&Y in a $100 million settlement with the SEC after investigators found its employees cheated on licensing exams (ironically, the “ethics” component.) Ceresney also represents Robinhood in responding to numerous regulatory inquiries by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the SEC, the Department of Justice, and various state regulators related to options trading, margin calls, customer support, trading restrictions, anti-money laundering, cyber issues, and outages on Robinhood’s trading platform. Securities star Maeve O’Connor represents Robinhood Markets and affiliates in several ongoing actions, including a nationwide securities class action arising out of Robinhood’s receipt of payment for order flow and alleged breach of the duty of best execution. 

International arbitration has also been a mainstay for Debevoise, with the firm boasting one of the deepest and most active teams in this capacity of any domestically headquartered entity. “I think there must be the biggest collection of passport stamps and languages spoken at Debevoise than anywhere else,” speculates a peer. A team composed of Mark Friedman, Dietmar Prager and Natalie Reid represented Tethyan Copper Company in a multi-billion-dollar investment dispute with both International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and International Chamber of Commerce arbitrations arising out of a mining project in a province of Pakistan. This case resulted in a $5.9 billion award, reportedly the second largest ICSID award ever. In March 2022, the client and Pakistan reached a settlement agreement. On the other side of the equation, Catherine Amirfar and Ina Popova have, since 2017, successfully defended the government of the Republic of Iraq against ICSID claims in two separate arbitral proceedings that together had a combined value in excess of $1 billion. Such is the duo’s success record in these matters that they have since been called into service for a third such arbitration.

     Debevoise has also made its mark in the intellectual property area, specifically concerning the trademark sphere. “Debevoise might fall under the radar for IP because they don’t do any patent work, which is more widely reported on, but in the trademark world, they are as good as it gets,” insists a peer. “And they are growing! Watch for them.” In this capacity, David Bernstein has long been the firm’s premier player. Bernstein was engaged to assist Fox Corporation with respect to the launch of a new football league, the United States Football League. Bernstein assisted with the acquisition, protection and management of Fox’s trademark portfolio, the development of their media strategy, and the preparation for the launch, and is now is defending Fox against trademark infringement, false advertising and tortious interference claims asserted by “The Real USFL,” an entity formed by some owners and executives who were connected with the defunct United States Football League of the 1980s, solely to seek an injunction against Fox’s new football league. Bernstein, along with Jyotin Hamid and new IP star Megan Bannigan, is also representing H&R Block in a trademark infringement suit against payment app Square, which recently announced that it was changing its name to Block and that it would start to offer free tax preparation and filing services through its Cash App. Bannigan is enjoying a rising profile; “She is coming up fast,” insists a peer. “She represents Mischief, the company that distorts sneaker logos and designs, and is doing a bang-up job with that.”


DiCello Levitt

Plaintiff specialty shop DiCello Levitt Gutzler enjoys its second year as one of Benchmark’s Top Plaintiff shops, an impressive accomplishment considering that the firm itself is only four years old. The firm has made considerable waves in a short period of time. This momentum could be attributed to the background of its founding partners – Adam Levitt was previously with securities plaintiff shop Grant & Eisenhofer, and Mark DiCello was formerly a prosecutor – but it could also be due to the firm’s business model. Eschewing the singular approaches employed by many other plaintiff firms, such as a class actions or a single-incident personal injury, the firm has remained dedicated to a variety of strengths across a number of different areas, with a particular concentration in the consumer class-actions area as of late. Several of its cases have made headlines. Ostensibly a boutique, the firm operates out of offices in Chicago, Cleveland, New York and St. Louis. “You MUST know Adam Levitt,” insists a peer. “He has [been] around and is fabulous.” Levitt was appointed to the plaintiff steering committee in a class action on behalf of consumers affected by a 2014 a defect in the ignition switch installed in nearly 10 million GM vehicles that was tied to over 100 deaths and countless other injuries. Levitt also represents plaintiffs who brough claims against ComEd under the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, the Public Utilities Act, and for unjust enrichment to remedy the harm caused by defendants, who bribed Illinois elected officials for the passage of legislation that guaranteed defendants billions of dollars in ill-gotten profits to the detriment of plaintiffs. The lawsuit was filed in late July 2020 in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chancery Division.   

     The firm’s star power extends beyond its name partners. In fact, a pronounced level of peers point to Amy Keller as one of the most quickly rising names in her field. “Amy has proven herself in fairly short order,” insists one peer who goes on to testify, “Over the past two years, we’ve really had the opportunity to get to know each other, and she is a tireless, fabulous lawyer. I have great expectations as to the work she’ll be doing in her future. Another peer extols, “DiCello are making a name for themselves and it’s really smart of them to be promoting Amy,” insists one peer. “She was appointed lead on the Equifax case, and she was the youngest lead on that, certainly the youngest female lead. [She is] Really impressive. The referred-to litigation stemmed from Equifax’s ineffective handling of a massive 2017 data security breach that exposed the Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and – in some cases – the driver’s license and credit card numbers of 147 million American consumers. Keller played a pivotal role in securing the latest settlement in a data breach to date, including a cash fund of up to $505 million, and a commitment from Equifax to invest $1 billion in security changes. In another data breach-related matter, Keller is acting on an ongoing class action in which over 300 million customers were impacted by a data breach announced by Marriott in 2018. In early 2020, the trial court largely upheld plaintiffs’ lawsuit against Marriott’s motion to dismiss, rejecting Marriott’s arguments concerning standing for consumers to sue and finding that consumer data has value. 

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is well established as a strategically connected legal force around the globe, most notably for its international arbitration practice group. It is the only one of the London-headquartered “Magic Circle” firms to have established itself as a powerhouse in litigation, as opposed to just the corporate and transactional work that is the primary driver of this prestigious group. Freshfields has further extended its reach into the US litigation space with the addition of a securities and shareholder litigation practice, which, entering only its third year, has already demonstrated aptitude for complex bet-the-company disputes on both the East and West Coasts. “Freshfields was able to pull a few great hires in,” observes a peer. “That firm has a huge footprint – they have a huge balance sheet so they can afford the talent.” A client describes the team as “forward-thinking and strategic,” going on to note, “Freshfields has a team of first-rate litigators who frequently practice in the Delaware Court of Chancery. They give us options with good explanations of pros and cons of the choices.”

Much of the success of the securities and shareholder group is attributable to its co-head, Meredith Kotler of the New York office, who decamped from Cleary Gottlieb to build out the Freshfields team. Kotler is regularly trusted by global institutions and corporations for her keen, sophisticated representation in financial securities-related disputes that often involve class actions as well as shareholder derivatives. “She did great,” attests one peer of Kotler’s incredible success with business development and recruiting. “She knew who she wanted and had the Freshfields machine supporting her.” A client raves, “Meredith is razor sharp and a master of the details. She can be both a tireless advocate for her clients and a wise counselor.” Another key member of this team, Mary Eaton, is also generating acclaim, further elevating the firm’s securities profile. “Mary is doing 3M cases, which are pretty messy,” confirms a peer. “She was building a strong following at Willkie [Farr & Gallagher] before she moved over [to Freshfields]. She and Meredith are a pretty strong duo.” This pair triumphed for the aforementioned 3M, and several of its executives and directors, in a federal securities class action, initially filed in New Jersey federal court and transferred to Minnesota, obtaining a rare writ of mandamus from the Third Circuit requiring transfer and then, in September 2021, obtaining full dismissal of the complaint with prejudice. The allegations related to the issue of disclosing contingent liability reserves and stem from 3M’s alleged failure to adequately reserve potentially billions of dollars to cover potential liability in environmental, mass tort, and other litigation based on 3M’s prior production of certain chemicals. Eaton also has historically represented Citigroup, a client that continues to call on her services.

Freshfields’ double-pronged securities offensive has been equally successful in California, where Boris Feldman, a “towering figure of the securities bar,” and Doru Gavril have established the firm’s foothold in that market. One peer testifies, “I know Boris Feldman very well – he was my mentor at Wilson Sonsini! He has such a big name, that anchor will drop deep in the [Silicon] Valley. He is a legend out here; I’ll be on a bus and talk to someone about him and they’ll know him! He’s also just a social animal, so he gets around. I also know Doru, who is great. The market out here is so huge and crowded already, but with those two at the helm, it’s a cinch for them to break into this market.” Gavril is specifically championed by a client for his “strong subject-matter knowledge,” and for “proactively keeping me informed of developments in relevant case law or practice. He understands legal issues well and did a good job of laying out alternative strategies and reasons for recommending one over another. [His] Writing is also well done.” The California team (along with Eaton) secured a complete victory in a putative securities class action for Pinterest, its CEO, and its CFO in the Northern District of California. Plaintiffs alleged that the defendants made false and misleading statements in the first and second quarters of 2019 about Pinterest’s future growth, purportedly knowing that there were limited opportunities for such growth due to allegedly increasing market saturation in the US. The truth was allegedly revealed when the company announced its results for the third quarter of 2019 and its stock prices fell. In September 2021, the court granted a motion to dismiss, holding that all the allegedly omitted information was disclosed, and distinguishing the allegations from those in other user metrics cases. The case was then dismissed with prejudice in October 2021. The Freshfields team also secured a successful settlement for Pinterest and several of its directors in three related shareholder derivative actions filed in the Northern District of California and the Delaware Court of Chancery, based on allegations of gender and racial discrimination at the company.


Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Formidable in a myriad of practice areas, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher remains one of the most in-demand and influential firms in litigation. With offices across the country, especially in major markets, there is no shortage of nationally recognized litigators who dutifully uphold the firm’s exceptional reputation. One former co-counsel with the firm raves, “I cannot speak highly enough of Gibson Dunn. [They were] terrific partners to us.” Another peer in the market confirms, “Gibson is one of the leading firms in the country.”

The firm’s antitrust team has garnered praise, as one peer voices, “On antitrust [side] I have been overwhelmingly impressed with Gibson Dunn.” The firm is seen as having “historically been very strong” in the practice area, and the depth of the team exemplifies its reputation. A diverse team that included Dallas-based partner Veronica Moyé and California’s Daniel Swanson and Richard Doren defended Apple in a high-profile and historic antitrust lawsuit filed by Epic Games, challenging the client’s business model and practices relating to its App Store and alleging violations of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act and the California Unfair Competition Law. Following a 16-day bench trial last May, the team secured several victories. The District Court upheld Apple’s core design choices at issue, and while the court imposed an injunction after agreeing with the unfair competition claims, the team successfully appealed that decision, and the Ninth Circuit Court stayed the injunction. The court also ordered the plaintiff to pay damages equivalent to 30% of the revenue it received from an unauthorized payment mechanism implemented in its Fortnite app without Apple’s consent. Both parties appealed the decision. Doren was specifically mentioned for his work and demeanor as an opponent in the Epic case. “I found him incredibly easy to deal with – he was a gentleman,” they said. “He tells a story, keeps his eye on the ball, and lets things go when you should let them go – really enjoyed being in the courtroom with him every day.” Two of the other partners on the case are nationally recognized for their antitrust expertise: Swanson is a national antitrust star and Moyé continues her reign in the Top 250 Women in Litigation. Rachel Brass out of the California office secured an industry-important victory for McDonalds in a “no-poach” putative class action. The decision denied class certification of millions of current and former restaurant employees. Plaintiffs in the case alleged that the client suppressed wages and restricted worker mobility in violations of antitrust laws. Brass’s win for McDonalds was the first of many to reach a decision on class certification, as many of the lawsuits filed against franchisors are still pending. Scott Hammond of the DC office is another of the firm’s antitrust specialists, known especially for his unique ability to “[play] both roles” as an investigator and litigator in cases, according to one peer familiar with his work.

The firm’s capabilities beyond the antitrust space are similarly well-known and established. The D.C. office houses Patrick Stokes, one of the firm's white-collar lawyers, known as someone who “really stands out” in the D.C. white-collar crime market. The firm’s practice as a whole is distinguished, as the peer goes on to say, “Gibson Dunn is one that is pretty well-known and who I come across regularly.” Helgi Walker is another of the firm’s revered women listed on Benchmark’s Top 250 Women in Litigation, and a member of the firm’s preeminent appeals practice. In April 2021, Walker secured a key victory at the US Supreme Court representing petitioners the National Association of Broadcasters in a consolidated matter that also included the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against Prometheus Radio Project. The matter was significant to the broadcast and newspaper industries – who Walker was lead counsel for – and the unanimous decision allowed the FCC to eliminate outdated media ownership restrictions. Richard Parker is famed as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer in Benchmark Litigation.

Orin Snyder, another Top 100 Trial Lawyer, is widely recognized for his mastery of trial litigation. “He certainly knows how to try a case,” says an opposing counsel on a matter. As co-counsel, a peer speaks to his collaborative demeanor in sharing, “Orin constantly complimented what we did. We didn’t have to fight for the opportunity to take an important role.” Snyder and California-based partner Scott Edelman have obtained several wins defending AMC in litigation against executive producers of the show The Walking Dead. The producers allege that AMC failed to pay millions of dollars in “profit participation” according to their contracts. Following a two-week bench trial in March 2020, the court ruled in favor of AMC on all issues presented during the trial, and in 2021 granted a demurrer to the remaining claims. Snyder and Edelman filed a motion for summary judgement, and in March 2022, the court tentatively dismissed the implied covenant and tort claims, which narrowed the case significantly. Edelman is one of the top entertainment lawyers with “a deep team that is generationally diverse” behind him. Edelman, Ted Boutrous, and Theane Evangelis represented Rachel Maddow, MSNBC, NBCUniversal and Comcast in a defamation lawsuit filed by Herring Networks, owner of One America News. The team's anti-SLAPP motion to strike the complaint with prejudice was granted in district court and confirmed by the Ninth Circuit panel on appeal. Based in the Los Angeles office, Boutrous has a well-renowned reputation for his appeals practice, giving him his National Practice Area Star title in Benchmark Litigation. In June 2021, he argued before the California Court of Appeals for the Sixth Appellate District and secured a major win for Hewlett-Packard in its long-standing contract dispute with Oracle. The appellate court affirmed the over $3 million verdict, making it one of the largest single-plaintiff verdicts. Evangelis is especially well-known for her successful employment and appellate litigation practice.

Wayne Barsky is an eminent intellectual property litigator based out of the Los Angeles office. He has recently worked with New York partner Josh Krevitt defending fitness product developer Fitbit in a patent infringement matter in the International Trade Commission (ITC). Industry rival Philips filed patent infringement claims against nearly all of the client’s products. In February 2021, following one of the first remote ITC trials, the judge issued a complete victory finding no infringement against Philips’ products. In another major victory, Barsky obtained the largest defense victory in a patent infringement case in EMD Serono’s and Pfizer’s history. In 2018, a jury unanimously found in favor of the clients, but the district court reversed the verdict and awarded judgement in favor of Biogen. The Federal Circuit then reinstated the jury verdict and, to secure the win, the Supreme Court denied Biogen’s petition for certiorari. Deborah Stein of the Los Angeles office led the team in one of the first COVID-19 business interruption and insurance matters at the Ninth Circuit. She defended Travelers in the case against Mudpie, which sought coverage for business interruptions related to the pandemic. The Ninth Circuit published its opinion in favor of Travelers, holding that Mudpie was not covered by the client. The firm’s San Francisco office features Brian Lutz, who obtained a dismissal with prejudice of the securities fraud class action against HP.

Hoguet Newman Regal & Kenney

Recognized by Benchmark as a Top Boutique, Hoguet Newman Regal & Kenney continues to distinguish itself as a formidable force in its native New York as well as nationally. Leveraging its abilities to adapt modularly to a variety of litigation matters and to offer a level of personalized client care that is largely unique to smaller shops alongside the “big law” drive and insight of its founding partners, the Hoguet Newman team boasts a stockpile of litigation armaments replete with, inter alia, premiere commercial, labor & employment, and insurance expertise.

Joshua Blosveren continues to develop in the role of emergent complex commercial litigation authority, successfully closing out a case in June 2021 wherein he served as counsel to Cox Enterprises and Cox Radio in their litigious pursuit of coverage from Hiscox Insurance Co., Inc. amid high-exposure invasion of privacy and defamation claims brought by professional wrestler Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea. The matter, arising in connection with allegations by Bollea that a DJ employed by Cox Radio distributed his sex tape to media outlets including Gawker, was resolved when Blosveren obtained favorable settlement from Hiscox.

Inextricable from the firm’s admirable legacy are founding partners Dorothea Regal and Fredric Newman. Whereas Regal represents international and domestic clients at trial and on appeal in complex commercial and insurance coverage litigation, Newman dedicates his practice to commercial trial representation. Damian Cavaleri’s practice, on the other hand, enjoys a distinct blend of commercial and employment expertise. Cavaleri currently serves as co-counsel to XPO Logistics, Inc. on a commercial action brought by XPO involving claims against architectural design firm Ware Malcomb in relation to design defects allegedly observed in connection with the XPO’s headquarters in Greenwich, Connecticut. The matter remains ongoing.

Holwell Shuster & Goldberg

Holwell Shuster & Goldberg is widely and duly revered as among the preeminent litigation boutiques both in New York City’s congested market and nationally. The firm’s team is noted for its laudable and widely acclaimed performance at the intersection of commercial and securities law, as well as for its adroit handling of antitrust matters.

     Continuing to serve at the forefront of the firm’s team, founding partner Michael Shuster year after year cements his position further as a complex commercial authority. Among the most active of Holwell’s litigators, Shuster, in addition to continuing to offer representation to regular client Visain numerous complex matters, currently serves as nationwide leadtrial and appellate counsel to Chubb Limited in all of the several insurance cases filed by pharmaceutical titans, such as those of AmerisourceBergen, McKesson, and Rite Aid, as they seek insurance coverage from Chubb under unprecedented theories in connection with the widely reported opioid liability litigation currently unfolding in jurisdictions around the countryWhile litigation of the many coverage proceedings faced by Chubb is at various stagesShuster was pivotal in obtaining a summary judgement decision in the California federal court, which ruled that Chubb had no obligation to defend the US’s largest distributor of pharmaceuticals, McKesson. Shuster is supported on the matters by partners Blair Kaminsky and Daniel Sullivan, who along with founding partner Daniel Goldberg, also represents TIG Insurance Company as it seeks appeal on the Second Circuit of a decision which awarded ExxonMobil Oil Corp. more than$25 million in coverage from TIG in connection with recent groundwater contamination matters.  

     Neil Lieberman represents Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) in a dispute which arises in connection with the $5.3 billion sale of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, Manhattan’s largest residential development. Commercial litigator Vincent Levy serves as lead counsel to LCM XXII Ltd. and other plaintiffs, all issuers of collateralized loan obligations, in a dispute against Serta Simmons Bedding LLC regarding the company’s COVID-19 refinancing. Levy is recognized for both his trial and appellate acumen.

Kaplan Hecker & Fink

Litigation boutique Kaplan Hecker & Fink is viewed by peers as “the place to be” at the moment. “They chose the right moment to form that firm,” opines one. “Their model is superb, and their approach dovetails perfectly with the issues of this time in history.” Another states, “They’re in a different space than we are but we still see them on occasion and hear a lot about them. They seem to be growing!” A client testifies on the firm’s behalf: “They are incredibly detailed, exhaustive in the options presented to us in litigation strategy, responsive, and understanding of the mental and emotional toll that this type of litigation takes on clients.” The firm’s partners continue to demonstrate the fierce commitment to social justice that has been in its DNA since its 2017 founding, and its partners, all formerly with “big law” firms, boast a remarkably trial-tested résumé for their relatively young vintage. Historically a New York-based shop, the firm recently expanded, opening a DC office and welcoming back Joshua Matz, who returned to the firm after serving as counsel to the US House Judiciary Committee, as a partner in February 2020. The firm also welcomed Mike Ferrara, a former prosecutor who attends to a white-collar focus, to the partnership in its New York office. “He’s wonderful,” raves one peer on Ferrara’s behalf. The firm’s one personnel loss, former prosecutor Marshall Miller, comes only because Miller was tapped for a senior role within the Department of Justice.

Founder and all-purpose trial lawyer Roberta “Robbie” Kaplan, who earned her stripes at Paul Weiss before initially launching this firm as Kaplan & Company, continues to earn plaudits for her role as a mentor and driver of the firm’s culture as well as for her unwavering commitment to pursuing cases dedicated to progressive causes. “Robbie Kaplan is our adversary most of the time,” testifies one peer, conceding, “and it’s tough to be on the other side of her.” Kaplan grabbed headlines in October 2017 when she was one of two partners retained by non-profit Integrity First for America to represent 11 plaintiffs from Charlottesville against 26 defendants implicated in the white nationalist/neo-Nazi rally that took place in Charlottesville that August and culminated in violence and other shameful turns of events. The defendants include named people and several organizations, such as the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and Nationalist Front. This case set precedent at the 2018 Benchmark awards ceremony as being the only case to be acknowledged with a prestigious “impact case” recognition well before a favorable decision was reached, simply on the strength of the principles and audacity of the case. The case set further precedent when it became the only case to receive the “impact case” honor twice, when it was recognized once again at the 2022 ceremony after jurors in the November 2021 trial found that more than a dozen white supremacist and hate groups were liable under state law for injuries to counter-protesters and ordered them to pay the plaintiffs more than $25 million in damages. A peer observation that “Robbie Kaplan has been doing a lot of work for universities” has certainly been on display this past year, with representations for institutions such as Brown and Columbia. The former concerned allegations regarding the school’s athletics programs and the latter involved a putative class action (filed in April 2020) demanding hundreds of millions of dollars in tuition refunds in response to the public health necessity of Columbia moving its classes online amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Kaplan enjoys yet another year as one of Benchmark’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers in this edition.

The firm has also etched itself a sterling position in the eyes of the white-collar community, particularly through its representation of high-profile individuals facing some manner of criminal imbroglio. In this capacity, Sean Hecker is a unanimous favorite of peers. “Oftentimes if I’m representing the company and I have an individual executive that needs his or her own counsel, I would call Sean Hecker,” confirms a peer. “He’s terrific, he has quite a reputation that’s still growing!” More remarkably, Hecker is known by all for being “willing to take cases to trial,” keeping his spot on Benchmark’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers list secure yet another year.

Hecker and Jenna Dabbs represent Gregory Dwyer, who was indicted by the Southern District of New York for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act. Dwyer is an executive of BitMEX, a cryptocurrency exchange and derivative trading platform, and was charged alongside the three co-founders of the company. The matter is also the subject of a parallel Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) investigation. Hecker and Ferrara, meanwhile, represent John Patrick Gorman III, who was sued by the CFTC for allegedly manipulating the prices of US dollar interest-rate swap spreads while working as the head of non-yen rate trading for Nomura. This same firm pair also represents the former chief investment officer of New York-based investment firm Infinity Q Capital Management. In February 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission informed Infinity of alleged evidence that the client had made improper changes to a pricing model used to value the fund’s investments. At that time, the firm halted redemptions to investors, and has since liquidated its hedge fund.


Kasowitz Benson Torres

Kasowitz Benson Torres has built its reputation as a formidable force, largely due to its trial-ready strategy to litigation. Leading up to trial, clients witness the team’s approach in action. One client calls attention to the well done “research, litigation, negotiation, [and] client contact.” Another also applauds the firm for its “overall strategic planning, focused discovery, ability to analyze voluminous documents, motions practice, ability to address changes in circumstances during the course of litigation with knowledgeable counsel in various areas of law within the firm, and settlement negotiations. And those are just the high points.” The client’s only suggestion: “Establish a branch office in Hawaii.”

That same client left high marks for San Francisco’s Jason Takenouchi, who is a new addition to this year’s litigation star recognition. He is described as “always thoroughly prepared” with “excellent planning for discovery.” The client goes on to further praise his representation, saying “[He] works very well with the employees involved with the issue being litigated, prepares solid legal motions, develops great strategies for settlement negotiations, keeps us (client) informed and engaged as the case progresses and is a pleasure to work with.” In summary, the client declares, “I can't think of anything that could have been done better.” Takenouchi is counsel with Mark Ressler of the New York office representing Thomas Rocco in a whistleblower lawsuit against SAP Public Services and Deloitte Consulting. The duo was successful recently before the three-judge panel of the Fourth District of California Court of Appeal. The appellate court reversed the decision of the trial court, allowing the client to amend the complaint.

Ressler, co-founding partner Marc Kasowitz, and antitrust expert Sheron Korpus are representing Teva Pharmaceuticals in its three separate actions involving antitrust, securities and white-collar crime. Ressler and Kasowitz are lead trial counsel for the international pharmaceutical manufacturer against an indictment brought by the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. The indictment alleges three conspiracies to suppress and eliminate competition. Korpus is handling the antitrust and securities cases. He represents Teva and its US subsidiary Actavis in a consolidated multi-district litigation (MDL) alleging price-fixing claims in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The class actions were separately brought by private plaintiffs and 48 states including DC and Puerto Rico. Korpus is the lead counsel representing Actavis and serves as a liaison counsel in the MDL. In January, he negotiated a $420 million all-cash settlement resolving the securities class action against Teva Pharmaceuticals and its directors and officers. The matter was one of the largest pending class actions in the securities space. The settlement is awaiting approval. Korpus continues to defend the client in direct actions against more than 75 opt-out plaintiffs. David Rosner and Kasowitz are representing TerraForm Power in their $300 million legal malpractice lawsuit filed against two global law firms. Recently, the New York State Supreme Court denied the law firms’ motions to dismiss, and discovery on the client’s claims is proceeding.

Commercial litigator Michael Hanin handled a COVID-19 related matter concerning commercial real estate loans stemming from the unprecedented disruption caused by the pandemic. He represented Cascade Funding, LP – Series 6 in its lawsuit against Bancorp Bank after the bank refused to honor a “market disruption” clause in its contract with Cascade. Hanin secured a summary judgment ruling on the breach of contract claim, which ordered Bancorp to return a nearly $13 million deposit, as well as court costs and interest. Jennifer Recine is a commercial litigator specializing in real estate litigation. She has been representing the BD Hotels and Chelsea Hotel owners, scoring multiple victories throughout the years of litigation. Following a victory that not only led to a full dismissal, but also uncovered key evidence of a Housing Preservation and Development exemption in the NYC Department of Buildings files. After that victory, a separate proceeding resulted in another win for Recine at the Appellate Division, First Department. The appellate court affirmed the dismissal of the case brought by vocal tenants who were against the client’s renovations and the building’s use as a hotel. Recine is now representing Chelsea Hotel owners and principals Richard Born, Ira Drukier, and Sean MacPherson in a $100 million lawsuit against New York City, the Housing Preservation Department and its assistant commissioner, and the Department of Buildings. The defendants have filed a motion to dismiss, and a decision is still pending. Paul "Tad” O'Connor is also a commercial and real estate litigator. He is currently engaged in litigation on behalf of JDS Development arising out of its luxury, 90-story building in Manhattan. One of the matters concerns the interpretation of the New York Zoning Resolution as it relates to the transfer of development rights and over 250,000 square feet of air for a Lower East Side development project.

King & Spalding

Internationally regarded for the breadth and depth of its global network, King & Spalding balances its force across 22 offices worldwide, giving the firm a strong presence in the markets in which it operates. The firm is nationally recognized in the US, especially for its litigation capabilities. The firm is most well-known for its expertise in international arbitration, product liability, and environmental litigation. One peer that brought the firm on a case describes them as “specialists in emissions regulations.”  

    One of the firm’s acclaimed environmental experts is Houston-based trial lawyer Robert Meadowswho holds a National Practice Area Star title for his work in commercial litigation. The Houston office also features two of the firm’s distinguished international arbitration lawyers who are nationally recognized in Benchmark LitigationDoak Bishop focuses on handling matters for Latin American companies, particularly in the energy industry. He has recently represented: Reficar in multi-billion-dollar International Chamber of Commerce arbitration arising from the construction of the Cartagena oil refinery in Colombia; Chevron and Texaco before the Court of Appeals at The Hague, which dismissed a renewed bid to overturn a treaty award against Ecuador; and Gente Oil in a separate case against Ecuador that resulted in a $10.7 million tribunal award. Craig Ledet is another international arbitration star with a focus on construction and environmental litigation. He has handled AAA and CPR arbitrations and has also been before the Dispute Adjudication Board in London, among many other venues. He also represents clients in federal and state courts.  

    The firm’s Atlanta office houses the product liability team’s authorities. Adam Spicer is a new addition to the firm’s list of litigation stars. A peer in the practice area considers Spicer to be one of the “dream people to try a case with.” He has represented medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers such as Johnson & Johnson in product liability cases and is especially wellversed in handling State Attorney General actions. Richard “Doc” Schneider is one of several national practice area stars for product liability litigation. As a trial lawyer, Schneider is trusted to handle clients’ largest high-profile cases, including acting as lead counsel in one of the e-cigarette products putative class actions challenging their labeling. Andrew Bayman is another product liability expert who is nationally recognized for his work in the practice area. He is seasoned in representing clients in multi-district litigation (MDL), predominantly in the life sciences and healthcare industries. Outside of those areas, he is also involved in an MDL pending in the Northern District of California representing a Fortune 500 company in a matter related to the marketing and selling of defective e-cigarette products. The firm’s strength does not stop at product liability litigation. Joseph Akrotirianakis is a commercial litigator with a wealth of trial experience. Hecontinues to represent NSO Group in a matter of first impression filed by Facebook and WhatsApp under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and its California analogue, the Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act. The team has petitioned for writ of certiorari at the US Supreme Court, which is still pending. San Francisco’s Kenneth Steinthal is an intellectual property litigator lauded for his work in copyright-related issues. He represents internationally known industryleaders such as Google and Amazon. He represents the former in Copyright Royalty Board proceedings and the latter in five copyright infringement lawsuits filed in the Western District of Washington and the Southern District of New York.  

    The firm is recognized nationally as a top-tier resource for white-collar crime and investigations expertise, and the D.C. office has an established group of lawyers specializing in the practice area. Many have previously held government positions, including Rod Rosensteinwho is a former Deputy Attorney General and US Attorney for Maryland and now handles government investigations, cybersecurity and national security issues, and related litigation. Chair of the government matters group, Wick Sollers navigates high-profile investigations and litigation for clients in the public eye. Across the country in New York, Andrew Hruska specializes in white-collar crime and investigations along with Carmen Lawrence and William Johnson, who both mix white-collar crime and investigations and securities litigation in their practices. Lawrence has represented major financial institutions and C-suite executives in Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice investigations, as well as investigations by international commissions and entities. Johnson is also involved in securities-related investigations and has experience with cybersecurity-related government investigations. The firm has also recently expanded to include white-collar crime and investigations lawyer Matthew Bibendeepening its experience in the New York office.  

    The office also features co-head of the international arbitration practice Edward Kehoewho represents clients in matters against republics globally, including the Republic of Ecuador, Republic of Peru, and Republic of Egypt. He handles commercial arbitration as well as investment-related disputes and is experienced in International Centre for Dispute Resolution AAA proceedings. Gerald Flattmanand Bruce Baber are intellectual property litigation authorities who are seasoned in both their specialties. Flattmann is the global chair of the life sciences patent litigation group and handles everything from abbreviated new drug application and Hatch-Waxman litigation to matters before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Baber is the founding partner of the IP, patent and trademark litigation group, and while he has handled all types of IP litigation, he is most known for his trademark expertise.  

   In addition, the firm has also brought on Miami-based securities litigator Brian Miller and Chicago-based trial lawyer Lazar Raynalwho focuses on commercial disputes.  

Kirkland & Ellis

Kirkland & Ellis has steadily risen from its roots in Chicago (where it remains a dominant brand) to become an international powerhouse. Kirkland is a very formidable firm – [they have] a lot of talent. They have a lot of really solid people. There’s just something ‘cool and tough’ about them that you just can’t touch.” One of the larger and more comprehensive litigation capacities, Kirkland stands out as a firm that boasts bench strength and high-level appointments in virtually every area of practice it offers, which include (but are not limited to) securities, antitrust, product liability, appeals, intellectual property, white-collar and investigations, commercial litigation, and bankruptcy, with the last being an area in which the firm is particularly dominant. In bankruptcy, it’s Kirkland every day – they have to be at the top,” insists one peer, himself a leader in this practice.  

    Kirkland is also noted for housing several leaders in the trial law specialty. Indeed, one of the firm’s marquis trial lawyers, DC’s Mike Brock (who has been consistently ranked as one of Benchmark’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers since its inception in 2014) led a team along with Chicago’s Leslie Smith and Anne Sidrys representing 3M Company and its subsidiary Aearo Technologies in product liability litigation concerning 3M’s allegedly defective dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs. In 2021, the Kirkland team secured a complete defense verdict in the second and fifth bellwether trials in this massive and headline-grabbing litigationOperating from the firm’s Los Angeles and San Francisco offices, all-purpose commercial litigator Mark Holscher is another of the firm’s trial stars – one who makes his debut on the Top 100 list this year. A local candidate on this list testifies, “Mark is terrific. He’s now on the plaintiff’s side and become a thorn in the side of entertainment studios.” Holscher is representing Stable Road Acquisition in a purported consolidated securities class action arising from a merger, as well as a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) action involving the CEO and founder of the merger candidate entity. 

     Domestically, Kirkland has exhibited a remarkable level of growth in its New York office in particular. Many credit Sandra Goldstein, a litigation powerhouse and “straight shooter,” for this phenomenon. “Sandra has not only a terrific reputation but a sizeable book of business,” states one peer. “She has a carousel of securities and Delaware-related litigation on the go. But she also benefits from having the Kirkland machine and a great team that is coming under her and, at this point, with her – people like Stefan Atkinson, Rachel Fritzler and Matthew Solum. They are all junior to Sandra but absolutely critical and playing major roles. Goldstein and Atkinson are representing private equity firm 3G, one of Kraft Heinz’s largest shareholders, in putative securities class actions and related shareholder derivative actions alleging violations of federal securities laws and breach of fiduciary duty related to the $15.4 billion write-down of Kraft Heinz’s assets and the disclosure of an SEC investigation into Kraft Heinz’s accounting policies, procedures and controls. In 2021, Kirkland won complete dismissal of the Delaware derivative action. A peer insists, “You’ve got to look at Kirkland harder for securities work! Just at the moment they’ve got Grubhub. Jeld-Wen. Six Flags. Honeywell…shall I go on? 

    Solum in particular is identified as “a securities star in the making,” with one peer stating, “We are seeing him everywhere and not just in one specific type of securities case, either. He’s got M&A work, derivative work, class actions, you name it.” Solum takes the leap from future star to full-fledged litigation star in this edition. Solum won dismissal in September 2021 for Hebron Technology, a Chinese pipe-and-valve fittings manufacturer, and certain of its officers, of a consolidated securities fraud class action for violations of sections 10(b) and 20(a) arising out of allegations of related party transactions and ineffective disclosure controls. Solum also played a role, along with New York’s Yosef Riemer and Devora Allon, representing Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and its subsidiary, Celgene Corporation, in antitrust litigation alleging that BMS’s acquisition of Celgene was a breach of the parties’ underlying commercial agreement to develop a Tyk2 inhibitor, for the treatment of psoriasis. In 2021, Kirkland secured a preliminary injunction, enjoining the plaintiffs from selling or transferring the intellectual property assets associated with the drug. A settlement was reached in 2022. Allon acted with another of the firm’s name-brand antitrust specialists, Jay Lefkowitz, representing Impax Laboratories and its parent company in antitrust litigation brought by the Federal Trade Commission challenging a 2017 pay-for-delay agreement between Endo and Impax. The Kirkland duo won dismissal in 2022. A Kirkland team led by Atif Khawaja (and also including Goldstein and Fritzler) represented real estate entity Urban Compass (doing business as Compass) and Robert Reffkin in a suit brought by an individual who claimed to have co-founded Compass and seeking an award of stock in the company. The Kirkland team successfully defeated the vast majority of the plaintiff’s claims, including atheft of trade secret claim. The remaining claims were successfully settled prior to trial in 2021. 

Kobre & Kim

Kobre & Kim is a unique, and, in the eyes of peers “elite,” firm that focuses exclusively on disputes and investigations involving international fraud and misconduct. “Kobre & Kim is just awesome,” extols a peer. “They have some black belt-level trial skills, and their model is so well crafted and strategic, and they were so far ahead of the curve with cornering that niche. They don’t chase repeat business, and they are strictly bet-the-farm litigation, so they are free to take on only the most select work. For international investigations, they are it!” Another peer marvels at the firm’s rapid expansion, both geographically and reputationally, which has allowed it to amass a sizeable book of business for such an elite firm. “Kobre & Kim is going to go down as the legends of our time. They have unique ways of hiring business strategies and fees. They grew from two lawyers and have done tremendously well, grown to amazing proportions.”

     Founding partner Michael Kim is based in New York but enjoys an international profile, particularly with entities headquartered in or doing business in Asia. “Michael Kim has become an authority in the area of finding hidden assets,” notes one peer. “He had a real vision and really keen sense of dealing with those matters.” Kim is part of a team acting as counsel to Marble Ridge Master Fund, a Cayman Islands-registered fund, in the Neiman Marcus Chapter 11 bankruptcy case and in a related adversary proceeding brought by the Neiman Marcus debtors, both pending in the Southern District of Texas Bankruptcy Court. The claims at issue in the adversary proceeding relate to alleged misconduct in connection with a bid for certain assets of the debtors. Soon after the commencement of the adversary proceeding, the Master Fund was placed into a voluntary Cayman Islands liquidation. is representing the Master Fund in the adversary proceeding in defending against claims arising from such alleged misconduct. Danielle Rose is acknowledged by peers as “very talented, and one of a rare breed of women who generate that level of business.” Rose was part of a team that acted as litigation counsel to Evergreen Coast Capital and Siris Capital Group, the private equity sponsors of Travelport, which were named as additional counterclaim-defendants in a case concerning a liability management transaction involving Travelport’s May 2020 transfer of over $1 billion in intellectual property assets to two newly created subsidiaries. Following the transfer, the subsidiaries were designated “Unrestricted Subsidiaries” under Travelport’s credit agreement, thus allowing Travelport to obtain critical financing secured by the intellectual property. The financing was provided by an entity indirectly held by Travelport’s equity owners, who were in turn managed by either of the firm clients. In late May 2020, an ad hoc group of lenders under the credit agreement directed their agent to send a notice of default to Travelport. The notice alleged that the transfer of the intellectual property violated the credit agreement. In June 2020, Travelport commenced the litigation by filing a declaratory judgment action to settle the parties’ rights under the credit agreement. In response to the lawsuit, the agent counterclaimed against Travelport, Evergreen, and Siris, again at the direction of the ad hoc group of lenders. The case was litigated on an extremely expedited track and scheduled for an expedited trial, until the parties reached a settlement in September 2020. 

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel

While Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel has been a mainstay of the New York legal community since its inception, it has, in recent years, expanded in a modest and measured fashion, starting with an office in Silicon Valley. Within the past year, however, the firm did nothing short of reinvent itself, taking the DC market by storm with its auspicious acquisition of prized local shop Robbins Russell, incorporating a deep team of celebrated practitioners across several practice areas. “That’s a big deal,” sums up one local peer, voicing the general consensus. “Robbins Russell were a classic DC firm and now the platform has given both sides many new opportunities.” Key among these new recruits is appellate “dynamo” Roy Englert, a frequent visitor to the Supreme Court and an authority in the practice. Englert is “all appeals, all the time,” and respected by a vocal percentage of the leading figures in the DC appellate community. “Roy is fantastic,” testifies one peer. “He brought an amicus in a case we are working on, and we were very impressed.” Gary Orseck is another recruit with fluency in appeals, as well as a broad-based commercial, securities and white-collar practitioner. “Gary is a tremendous lawyer,” extols a peer. “He has a really good sense of judgment and is a great writer.” The DC group comes with some youth factor to balance out the senior talent; future star Ariel Lavinbuk comes equipped with a practice that encompasses commercial litigation as well as a bankruptcy element, an area for which Kramer Levin, through its New York office, has historically been seen as Tier 1. 
     The bankruptcy practice has earned plaudits from fellow leaders in the area. “It is run by Ken Eckstein and Tom Mayer, who are great in court, great at deals, and just great at bankruptcy everywhere,” declares one peer, who attests, “I see them all the time and they give me and anyone else a run for the money.” White-collar crime is another field in which Kramer Levin boasts a unanimously lauded roster. “The Kramer Levin team actually does trials! That’s rare in the white-collar world, and these are actually for some very high-profile individuals,” marvels one peer. Barry Berke is an undisputed leading presence. He was recently thrust into the limelight when he was called into service as special counsel to the Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives in connection with its investigation and impeachment proceedings of Donald Trump, and as of February 2020, Berke returned to Kramer Levin with newly burnished credentials. Not that he needed them; even before this engagement, Berke has been routinely identified by peers as “absolutely one of the best,” with one elaborating, “Especially at his age point, he has some of the best experience you could ask for and credibility beyond question.” Clients agree; one calls Berke “a counselor, a litigator, and a strategist,” and goes on to assert, “No one is better.” While Berke’s profile in the community is undisputed, others in this group are making their mark. Paul Schoeman acted with Berke in representing Michael Cohen, formerly of Och-Ziff, in a criminal prosecution on charges relating to allegedly corrupt investments in Africa. Schoeman also represented Stephen Calk in a criminal prosecution in the Southern District of New York on charges arising from $16 million in loans made by Calk’s bank to Paul Manafort. Dani James acted with Berke in representing Theodore Huber, a partner and analyst at Deerfield Management, in parallel actions brought by the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York and the Securities and Exchange Commission arising from Huber’s trading based on purportedly confidential government information relating to Medicare reimbursement for healthcare services. A newly listed member of the team, Michael Martinez is “the most recent trial victor. He led an SEC enforcement case for an individual and won!” 
     Kramer Levin has also historically occupied a coveted space in the niche field of false advertising and Lanham Act cases, and as of late, Norman Simon has moved to the fore in this area, acting in both the plaintiff and defense roles. Simon is an authority in matters concerning the National Advertising Division and is also frequently involved in consumer class-action work, specifically in the defense capacity. The firm has recently developed a more “hard IP” practice, spearheaded by Dr. Irena Royzman, who is noted by peers to “occupy a definite presence in the pharma patent space.” Royzman represented Janssen, which sued eight generic manufacturers under the Hatch-Waxman Act for infringement of patents protecting Imbruvica capsules, a breakthrough treatment for certain B-cell cancers and chronic graft-versus-hostdisease. Royzman obtained a favorable Markman ruling on all claim terms and conducted intensive expert discovery remotely. The IP area is bookended on the West Coast by Lisa Kobialka in the Silicon Valley office (opened in 2011). Kobialka, whose practice is primarily devoted to the tech space, brought patent infringement actions against Xerox and Ricoh relating to systems and methods covering various aspects of printers and/or copiers as well as their processes, performance and maintenance, and workflow management. 

Labaton Sucharow

Plaintiff shop Labaton Sucharow historically has been viewed as, and still is primarily known as, a securities boutique. Operating in the financial district of New York as well as in Wilmington, Delaware and Washington, DC, the firm is well poised to feed heartily on a steady diet of corporate disputes arising on Wall Street and in the Delaware Court of Chancery. “Labaton is one of the few plaintiff firms that get the big, meaty securities cases and they litigate them,” confirms a defense-side peer. Another advises, “Look closer – Labaton is getting more into the consumer class-actions space as well, particularly with privacy and data breach work.”

     A noticeable change of the guard has transformed the front lines of Labaton’s bench, with a host of younger partners making their mark with lead appointments on some of the firm’s biggest cases of late. Exemplifying this, as well as the observations about the firm taking on more privacy-related work, New York future star, Michael Canty provided co-lead counsel and secured an all-cash $650 million settlement from social media juggernaut Facebook in a case alleging Facebook’s use of facial recognition technology to extract and store user biometric identifiers without consent and as required by the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. “They were actually working this up for trial against Facebook’s very formidable team of lawyers and it settled,” testifies a peer. Another New York future star, Carol Villegas is lauded for her “grit and talent,” both of which were put on display in several cases in which she provided co-lead counsel. In one such case, she served as lead counsel in a securities class action against data analytics behemoth Nielsen and certain of its executives, that alleges the company misrepresented the strength of its Buy business, the value of its goodwill, and the impact of the EU’s privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation. Villegas argued that the price of Nielsen publicly traded common stock was artificially inflated as a result of Nielsen’s allegedly false and misleading statements and omissions, and that the price declined when the truth was allegedly revealed through a series of partial revelations. The parties settled for $73 million in cash. Villegas also served as lead counsel in a securities class action against World Wrestling Entertainment – the sports entertainment company primarily known for its brand of professional wrestling – and certain of its executives, that alleges the company misrepresented the status of its media rights agreements in the Middle East and North Africa region, once again artificially inflating the company’s common stock, which suffered a precipitous drop following revelations about the stock. James Johnson, a more senior partner in the New York office, lays claim to several key victories of his own. He acted as lead counsel in a securities class action against Canadian cannabis producer CannTrust Holdings following a cross-border exposure of CannTrust’s illicit business practices and related regulatory violations – namely, secretly growing massive amounts of cannabis in unlicensed rooms in violation of Canadian cannabis regulations. Through a mediation process, Johnson and his team was able to settle with all but one of the named defendants, with preliminary approval of a $66.4 million settlement in the US.

     One of Labaton’s biggest developments as of late has been the rising profile of the firm’s Delaware practice. This has largely been attributed to the efforts of Ned Weinberger, a partner who has the community talking. “Ned is one of the leaders,” confirms one Wilmington peer. “There are no shortcuts in Delaware – you have to earn your way up through the peers and judiciary. Ned has gotten appointed lead counsel on several cases, important cases, OVER people from several other plaintiff firms that are more established in Delaware!” Another peer adds, “Courts love him, he’s an aggressive litigator who gets results.” Still another peer confirms, “These days, he has very quickly risen up to the position of being my first or second call if I needed to refer a case to a plaintiff. I would choose him over more established plaintiffs in Delaware, who are older and fading.” Weinberger is co-lead counsel in the class action and derivative lawsuit against certain officers, directors, and/or controlling stockholders of Expedia Group arising out of a transaction that allowed Barry Diller, chairman of Expedia’s board of directors and the company’s senior executive, to acquire super voting shares in the company. According to the complaint, Expedia suffers from an extreme separation of ownership and control. A peer offers in summation, “There’s something going on in Wilmington in the plaintiff bar – can’t you just feel it? And that’s Ned – he’s building that out.”

Latham & Watkins

Historically recognized and revered as one of the largest and most comprehensive global players in the corporate and transactional capacity (a position it still enjoys), Latham & Watkins has also proven itself to be an equally dominant presence on the litigation stage. The firm’s expansive US footprint covers a host of major markets, all staffed with partners deemed as “top class” in practices spanning antitrust, white-collar crime, securities, M&A litigation, intellectual property and even more niche practices like environmental law (an area the firm is said to have a higher-than-average concentration in compared to other firms of similar size.)

    While it is enjoying what peers acknowledge as “a real moment” across several practice areas, Latham has been notably “on a tear” in the IP capacity. Further amplifying what is already considered one of the strongest patent litigation groups in the country, the firm added Anthony Sammi, formerly the head of IP litigation at Skadden, to its New York bench in August 2021. Sammi adds balance to the firm’s presence on the East Coast, coming on the heels of several recent key augmentations to the DC-based IP team, including Adam Perlman and all-purpose commercial litigator Nicholas Boyle, both from Williams & Connolly. Perlman, a patent trial lawyer who is said to have “probably made a living beating another top IP firm in ANDA cases,” augments an already highly successful build-out in the IP area. Boyle meanwhile attends to a niche in trade secrets. Beyond patent work, Latham’s IP group benefits from a strong copyright element as well. A peer states, “Andrew Gass in San Francisco is the head of the copyright practice there and is building a very cool group that has been getting more and more of the interesting copyright work, especially things that are better suited for a very big firm, things like the music rate-setting cases. He’s doing some work for Amazon. The expansion of their practice has been very impressive. Joe Wetzel, who was a King & Spalding copyright guy, joined their group as well, and he’s great.” 

     Latham’s securities practice is another capacity in which the firm has seen a staggering streak of victories. The firm boasts leading litigators in this practice in nearly every one of its domestic offices. In DC, Andrew Clubok is the co-chair of the firm’s securities practice and is unanimously revered as “very skilled and very successful” by peers in this capacityA frequent opponent testifies, “I have a great relationship with him. He’s one of those guys who, if you go to him with a strong solid argument, will say ‘Let’s settle.’ Andrew may not have many fans among the plaintiffs’ bar but I really like him.” Clubok and San Francisco’s Elizabeth Deeley defended a number of clients including Facebook, NortonLifeLock, and AMD in some of the first shareholder derivative suits to allege breach of fiduciary duty relating to board diversity efforts. The Latham team secured dismissals in every caseThis duo was also involved in a matter led by Orange County’s Michele Johnson, in which the team scored a major victory in the Ninth Circuit on behalf of Twitter and two of its executives, affirming a prior win in the Northern District of California in a securities class action followingTwitter’s announcement that steps taken to address certain issues with user settings choices adversely affected Twitter’s ability to target advertising and negatively impacted itsthird-quarter 2019 revenue. Johnson, one of the few securities practitioners to lay claim to taking a securities class action to trialand winning, in recent years (for Puma Biotechnology) was also co-lead on a casewith San Francisco’s Peter Waldon behalf of NextGen Healthcare, a developer of computer-based healthcare practice management and electronic health records solution, which was embroiled in a “holder’s claim” brought by a shareholder and former director who claimed he suffered a $400 million loss following a retraction in the company’s financial guidanceJohnson and her team scored a complete defense verdict. Also based in Orange County, Kristin Murphy is acknowledged as another securities star in the making. “She just made partner this past year and is already first-chairing trials,” confirms a peer. 

     In Chicago, Sean Berkowitz is a near-unanimous recipient of acclaim in the white-collar field. “Sean has long been known as one of the best,” confirms a peer. “He is one of those white-collar people who would actually try a case!” Berkowitz led a team that secured a complete defense verdict in a 14-count federal criminal action in the Northern District of Illinois on behalf of former CEO and co-founder of Power SolutionsGary Winemaster, who was accused of a complex accounting fraud scheme to deceive investors by concealing information about certain transactions for the purpose of recognizing revenue in earlier reporting periods. The company settled with both the Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice (DoJ) in 2020. The criminal case proceeded to a four-week bench trial in May and June 2021,and in September 2021 Winemaster was found not guilty on all charges. This case, and Berkowitz’s role in it, received a prestigious “impact case” award at the 2022 Benchmark award ceremony in New York.

     Latham’s antitrust practice is also considered “premier league,” with Daniel Wall in the firm’s San Francisco office pointed to as a noted standout. Wall represents BMW in a pair of purported class actions filed by direct (car dealerships) and indirect purchasers (consumers) of German automobiles, who allege that BMW colluded with other manufacturers over the course of two decades to limit the pace and extent of technological innovations in their vehicles. Wall has successfully defended BMW from any liability in the US. New York’s Lawrence Buterman is also a peer favorite. “Larry was at DoJ and tried the eBooks case before he went to Latham. It’s been a pleasure to work with him,” testifies one contemporary.


McKool Smith

McKool Smith has built an esteemed reputation, especially in the areas of commercial and intellectual property litigation in which it reigns as the go-to firm in Texas. It has a network of strongholds in the state, with offices in Dallas, Austin, Marshall and Houston, while also steadily expanding its presence in New York and Los Angeles. The key practitioners for patent litigation include Samuel Baxter, William LaFuze, Mike McKool and Steven Pollinger.

The firm’s intellectual property practice has been historically well known for its work representing plaintiffs in patent litigation, and while that has since changed, it continues to bring a substantial number of cases on behalf of clients. Recently, in a high-profile win, Marshall-based Sam Baxter represented Optis Wireless Technology and other subsidiaries of PanOptis against Apple, which resulted in a $300 million jury award in a patent infringement trial before the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Baxter is also representing Blitzsafe in its lawsuits against numerous car manufacturers and retailers, alleging patent infringement claims related to automotive interface technology, which allows users to connect external third-party audio and multimedia devices to their stereos to play the content through the car stereo system and speakers. On the defense side, in March 2022, Dallas-based litigator David Sochia represented Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company against Semiconductor Connections, and successfully secured a favorable claim construction ruling from the district court that was upheld at the federal circuit. Austin’s Joshua Budwin is litigating against Qualcomm in a patent infringement lawsuit brought on behalf of ParkerVision. The patents at issue are related to the client’s transmitter and receiver patents. In addition, Budwin is defending two market-leading clients in the telecommunications industry, Ericsson and AT&T, in a six-patent lawsuit related to 3G, 4G, 5G and MSS patents filed originally by Hitachi and Bosch, but later divested to IPCom, now the plaintiff in this matter. Trial is currently pending.
In the commercial space, Houston partner Joshua Newcomer and Christopher Johnson of the New York office represent the trustee for Millennium Lender Claim Trust in three separate proceedings. The case in California state court against KPMG, the auditor, was settled confidentially. The trustee alleged that KPMG misrepresented the company’s financial condition, leading to a $1.7 billion loss to lenders. Currently, two other cases brought against bank defendants allege they are liable for state blue-sky law violations, fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation, aiding and abetting liability, and fraudulent transfers. The Delaware case is awaiting trial in 2022, and in New York, the team handled the appeal of a ruling received prior to their representation. Newcomer is also handling a matter in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Texas, defending Zachry Construction Corporation and its related entities against several alleged claims, including breaches of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting and fraudulent transfers, among others.

In another high-profile case, this time in the commercial space, Baxter partnered with Lewis LeClair to represent the State of Texas in its biometric identification lawsuit against Meta f/k/a Facebook. The State alleges violations of Texas’s Capture or Use of Biometric Identifiers Act, specifically that the social media platform took biometric identifiers of Texans for commercial purposes without their informed consent, disclosed the identifiers to other companies, and failed to destroy the collected information within a reasonable amount of time. Additionally, Texas also alleges the defendant participated in false, misleading and deceptive acts, violating the state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act. The case is currently in jurisdictional discovery, as Meta argues that the jurisdiction is improper. In addition to commercial matters, LeClair also handled an antitrust case on behalf of SC Innovations alleging that Uber’s predatory pricing and anticompetitive conduct drove the company out of business. The parties resolved the matter amicably in 2021.

Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo

The practitioners at Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo have, over the course of several decades, developefrom their venerable Boston roots a national litigation presence bordering on the indomitable. Extensively equipped to attend to a broad range of litigation needs, the Mintz team is recognized chiefly for its involvement in the spheres of whitecollar, commercial, and product liability matters.  

    Mintz’s Boston office, easily indexable as the keystone of both its legacy and current practice, in no small part owes its vitality to firm chairman Robert Popeoas well as litigation practice chair Scott FordIn addition to having garnered over four decades of recognition for his white-collar litigation might, Popeo is to thank for Mintz’s litigation practice itselfhaving been credited as its establishing partner. He and Ford are currently active in the role of defense counsel to the exiled former Saudi dignitary and top counterterrorism official Saad bin Khalid Al Jabri, who currently resides in Canada, in disputes in US federal and Canadian courts with Sakab Saudi Holding Company. Following allegations by Al Jabri that Sakab, a subsidiary of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund under the control of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS), deployed Saudi agents to travel to Canada to murder Al Jabri in connection with his extensive and intimateknowledge of the Kingdom’s royal family and inner workings, MBS responded with its own suit alleging that Al Jabri embezzled billions of Saudi State funds during his tenure at the Ministry of the Interior. Ford and Popeo have, so far, been successful in obtaininga complete dismissal of the claims against Al Jabri, and currently argue for the upholding of the decision on First Circuit appeal.  

    Also in Boston, insurance specialist Nancy Adams recently achieved a critical appellate victory on behalf of The Netherlands Insurance Company and Peerless Insurance in coverage litigation filed against Macomb School District, among those insured by Netherlands/Peerlesswho sought coverage under its policy’s errors and omissions policy in connection with student sexual abuse incidents. After filing suit against Macomb seeking declaration that a sexual misconduct exclusion barred coverage, Netherlands/Peerless was met with a federal district court decision ruling that the policy’s exclusion was ambiguous, and Macomb was thusly awarded $1.5 million of coverage. Adams, however, steadfastly obtained a district court ruling reversing the prior decision on the behalf of Netherlands/Peerless.  Other crucial Boston players include founder and co-chair of the insurance practice Kim Marrkand, securities litigation co-chair Adam Sisitskyand sports & entertainment co-chair Keith Carroll, among others. 

    At Mintz’s New York office, white-collar defense and government investigations co-chair Peter Chavkinis active in the role of counsel to Morocco’s former Ambassador to the United States, Abdeslam Jaidi, in unprecedented and politically sensitive proceedings as to the prosecution of federal charges of conspiracy to defraud the United Statesfaced byJaidi and members of his familyThe matter, arising in relation to claims that the defendants made materially false statements in visa applications concerning the entrance of domestic workers into the US over the course of several decades, raises numerous novel inquiries into issues of diplomatic privilege and immunity.  


MoloLamken has quickly become a favorite among the crowded field of litigation shops, although with three offices now housing more than 40 lawyers, it is shaking off its historical status as a “boutique.” The team of litigators throughout its offices in New York, Chicago and DC is consistently being augmented, with an additional six attorneys due to join the firm in the fall of 2022. “MoloLamken has been doing great with recruiting,” observes a peer. “Each one of these new people seem like they’re better than the last!” Clients are equally impressed; one raves, “They have outstanding knowledge of law, case history, appeal court strategy and Supreme Court consideration. They also have outstanding technical knowledge and application of law to software technology issues. They also give great advice to District Court attorneys.” Another testifies, “They took over a case mid-litigation from another law firm and they have done an excellent job getting up to speed, bringing creative new ideas to the approach to litigation, level-setting with the clients about merits-based issues, and developing offensive strategies that allow their client (a defendant) to put the plaintiffs on the defensive and change the leverage in the litigation.” Yet another speaks to the growing level of diversity on display among the team. “MoloLamken very much has fulfilled my expectations regarding diversity. The team is led on a day-to-day basis by a junior female partner, with a very strong and capable female associate assisting.”
     Firm founder Steven Molo is based in the New York office but still retains a strong following in his original Chicago home base. A Windy City peer confirms, “Steve Molo is a trial lawyer! He’s quite effective. He is a former Winston [& Strawn] guy and still has a presence in Chicago.” Molo is also credited for the firm’s successful recruiting and team mentoring. “Steve Molo is always available and present for high-level and strategic discussions and clearly has a very good rapport with his team members,” testifies a client. Molo’s active and varied caseload includes serving as trial counsel to a plaintiff class in a 10b-5 securities fraud stockholder class action alleging fraud leading to investor losses of $80 million. Jury selection for this case, one of the few of its kind that could wind up at trial, was scheduled for June 2022. Molo’s team in this matter included Sara Margolis, a New York-based future star who makes her debut in this edition. A client raves on Margolis’s behalf, “Sara is incredibly thoughtful, detail oriented, and responsive. I have been extremely impressed with the depth of her legal analysis notwithstanding her relatively early stage in her career. I know my client's subsidiary's matter is in very good hands with her leading the day-to-day of the litigation.” DC-based Robert Kry is also part of the team. A peer insists, “You must recognize him!”
     While the firm’s wheelhouse is largely commercial and business litigation, often in the plaintiff capacity, MoloLamken has been recognized for other areas as well. Chief among these is its appellate capacity, in which DC’s name partner Jeffrey Lamken is the most celebrated figure. “MoloLamken briefed and argued an appeal for us in a copyright case,” confirms a client. “They are smart, they write well, give practical advice and present oral arguments well.” Lamken is specifically beloved by several clients; one addresses him as “one of the nicest and cleverest people you will ever meet,” and another supports this with, “He’s brilliant and personable. He does an amazing job of being both legally elite while personally humble.” Lamken and Kry delivered an appellate victory in June 2021 as lead counsel for Arthrex in a landmark Supreme Court case challenging the appointment of the Patent Office’s Administrative Patent Judges under the Constitution’s Appointments Clause. A peer also notes, “In case you haven’t noticed, MoloLamken is developing a niche in IP!” In this capacity, another new future star, New York's Ben Quarmby, is developing a profile and an ardent fan base among clients, one of whom testifies, “He is super responsive, always provides practical solutions and works in the most efficient manner.”


Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello

From its New York office, Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello has built a premier white-collar crime and investigations practice recognized nationwide and sought by both domestic and international clients. As the firm has established its premier status in white-collar crime, it continues to stand as a formidable opponent in commercial and securities litigation, largely involving executives and cutting-edge issues. In parallel to its white-collar crime investigations practice, the firm has maintained a consistent stream of highly sensitive labor and employment investigations. The firm’s lawyers are continuously applauded for their communication, as one peer considers it to be “the most responsive firm in New York,” and another specifically recognizes Jeremy Temkin for being “responsive to clients.” The peer, working on a matter as co-counsel, remarks on Temkin’s “strong work ethic” and attention to the case, saying, he “[stays] current on recent developments and court decisions.” Commenting on his demeanor, Temkin is described as “easy to work with” during cases. Recently, he has handled numerous investigations, both in white-collar crime and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulatory investigations. He, along with Robert Anello and Richard Weinberg, represented the board of directors of Veon, the first Russian company to be traded on the US stock exchange. The team represented the company through a multinational Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation by the US and the Netherlands, involving alleged bribery in Uzbekistan. Anello also led the team in reviewing the investigation and its findings on behalf of the special committee, and additionally negotiated with the Department of Justice (DoJ), SEC, and Netherlands prosecutors. The case was resolved across three venues: the Southern District of New York, the SEC in Washington, DC, and the international action in Amsterdam. Anello’s practice is a fusion of white-collar crime and regulatory investigations, securities and white-collar litigation, as well as labor and employment, both litigation and investigations. In litigation, he has recently partnered with Edward Spiro in two separate cases. The duo is defending the founder and CEO of a public company against alleged stock manipulation in over a dozen class-action and derivative lawsuits. In a labor and employment matter, Anello and Spiro are representing a New York-based union in a federal case that challenges a city law that would impose registration, disclosure and qualification requirements on unions and officials. The team is also representing the union in a class-action lawsuit alleging that its welfare funds are structured in violation of federal law.

One of the firm’s most recognized and celebrated lawyers is Elkan Abramowitz. A seasoned criminal defense litigator who is revered by clients and peers, Abramowitz is regularly called upon to handle the most sensitive and high-stakes cases. He and Telemachus Kasulis are handling a COVID-19 related fraud case, representing Rafael Martinez, CEO of MBE Capital, a lender to minority-owned businesses, against alleged fraud brought under the federal COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program. The matter is being litigated in the Southern District of New York. Abramowitz is also handling COVID-19 related investigations. He has been tapped to represent the Chamber of the Office of the Governor of New York in the inquiries into nursing home orders and reports, as well as a large hospital systems for similar investigations.

In addition to the healthcare area, the firm has a burgeoning niche in handling cryptocurrency-related SEC investigations and related white-collar crime litigation. Anello and Brian Jacobs recently represented a programmer in a matter in which the client was extradited from Germany to face a criminal indictment involving conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and selling unregulated securities charges stemming from a cryptocurrency mining scheme. The matter was resolved satisfactorily for the client. Richard Albert and Lawrence Iason handled an SEC investigation into alleged false and misleading disclosures involving cryptocurrency assets, among others. In cryptocurrency-related litigation, the criminal and civil litigator Benjamin Fischer defended a private equity firm against alleged claims of a cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme. Beyond crypto, his litigation practice also involves arbitration proceedings, including a recent Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) customer arbitration matter with Christopher Harwood, in which the team represents a broker dealer and its executive against failure to supervise claims. While Fischer maintains an established litigation practice, he is also involved in numerous investigations involving the SEC, the DoJ and FINRA.

Commercial and criminal litigators Spiro and Weinberg represented an attorney in an investigation brought by the Southern District of New York (SDNY) into tax issues in connection with dividend arbitrage trading. The team was successful in convincing the SDNY to not file a criminal lawsuit against the client. The team continues their representation in a related lawsuit filed by Belgian tax authorities seeking to recover refunds. Jonathan Sack’s work in his civil litigation and criminal investigations practice has recently included matters involving online adult video content. Sack is also handling investigations brought by government entities such as the SEC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler

Operating out of a single office in Manhattan, Patterson Belknap elicits resounding praise from a vocal contingent of peers and clients, the likes of which are usually reserved for a national firm. “We think very highly of them,” opines one peer, summing up the general consensus. “They are not showy or flashy, they are just solid all across the board. We could use more like them.” A client extols, “Patterson Belknap is a premier litigation firm, with a deep bench of talented first-chair trial attorneys, who are supported by the brightest associates.” The firm’s practice offering covers a diverse spectrum, spanning commercial matters, white-collar crime, antitrust, intellectual property, securities and false advertising claims, an area in which the firm is said to be one of the few major players. The firm’s hybrid model also affords it the freedom to take on cases in the plaintiff and defense roles. Patterson Belknap has also made headlines as of late for matters involving a more novel nature. 
   The firm made news in May 2022, when a team led by Adeel Mangi scored big for Appian Corporation in a trade secrets and computer theft case in Virginia State Court. The Patterson team secured an eye-popping $2 billion verdict for the client. Mangi makes an impressive leap from the future star level to litigation star in this edition and, even more remarkably, earns a position among the coveted Top 100 Trial Lawyers list on the strength of this win. Other members of the team included Jeff Ginsberg and Muhammad Faridi, the latter of whom chalked up a victory with Arbor Realty, for whom he brought an action to prevent its former chief marketing officer and senior vice-president of digital marketing from sharing Arbor’s confidential information with their new employer,to prevent them from soliciting other Arbor employees and customers, and to prevent the new employer from using that information to its competitive advantage. The parties reached a favorable settlement, which included the parties who left for the new employer no longer being with that employer. William Cavanaugh, who is a noted authority in antitrust and intellectual property, represented Takeda Pharmaceuticals in patent litigation concerning hypertension drugs. A trial was scheduled for the spring of 2022. “Bill Cavanaugh is a top-tier trial attorney, who has a unique ability to distill complex matters to simple and persuasive propositions for juries,” testifies a client. 

    Patterson Belknap is also one of the few New York firms to have cornered the market on the false advertising niche, primarily through Steve Zalesin, a universally lauded partner in this capacity. Zalesin won a victory for Allbirds, a maker of footwear and apparel using wool and natural materials, in a putative class action that challenged the company’s claims regarding the sustainability of its products and raw materials sourcing practices. In April 2022, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York granted a motion to dismiss in full, with prejudice.  

   One peer also comments on the upside of some of the firm’s younger talent. “Patterson Belknap has all stellar people at the top but I’ll give you a few junior people you should consider. Stephanie Teplin is one – she grew up with this case we were on and took ownership of it after [former Patterson partner] Erik Haas went in-house, and I was very impressed with her. 

Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison

For a firm not exclusively dedicated to litigation, Paul Weisscontinues to be “the gold standard” in this capacity. “I think Paul Weiss might be the best law firm in the country,” asserts one peer. “They can figure out solutions to all the big problems.” Its litigation capabilities extend across virtually all major commercial practices, with star power at all levels within each of these, and the firm shows no signs of slowing in its agenda of recruiting and grooming this talent. Historically an East Coast powerhouse, the firm has since entrenched itself in the California market with the January 2021 addition of a San Francisco office, spearheaded by Melinda Haag and Walter Brown, two leaders in the white-collar area. This build-out came hot on the heels of the 2020 coup of luring antitrust specialist Bill Isaacson and all-purpose trial luminary Karen Dunn to the firm’s D.C. office. “Paul Weiss has done a great job,” sums up one peer. “They have hired a lot of people and are building up their capabilities.” 

     Peers are nearly unanimous in their crediting of New York’s Brad Karp for fostering this culture of hiring and retaining top talent. Karp, a media-savvy practitioner who is equally at home with the press, the C-suite and the courts, remains the firm’s chairman (a post he has held since 2008) and is also still a renowned securities advocate. “I honestly don’t know how he does it – does he ever sleep? – and also remain a total ‘mensch’ all the while,” marvels one peer. Another quips, “A colleague of mine was bragging about how much he works, and then whenhe told me the number, I laughed and retorted, ‘That’s about a third of the hours Brad Karp logs per year!’” Citigroup is a blue-chip client of the firm, and Karp in particular. “I’m sure it’s no exaggeration to say they’ve got him on speed-dial plenty,” quips a peer. Karp and Susanna Buergel, a frequent lieutenant on securities cases, represent this client in several ongoing qui tam lawsuits alleging that the client set rates in an aggregate process (termed by the plaintiff as “robo-resetting”), which violates the fraud statute in the states in which these cases were brought. The New York office is also home to the firm’s “A-list” trial lawyer, Ted Wells, a perennial and universal favorite. “Paul Weiss has superior talent across the board but when it comes to trial work, it’s Ted – period.” While peers admit that Wells “will be impossible to replace,” several do concede, “They are trying to get others up in the ranks, and people like Roberto Finzi and Lorin Reisner are stepping up to the task.” Reisner secured a resounding trial victory of his own, for Bloomberg, in an international broadcast licensing dispute in which Bloomberg faced more than $70 million in potential damages. In a May 2021 decision, the court ruled in Bloomberg’s favor, including the client’s $17.4 million breach-of-contract counterclaim. Dan Kramer is also a noted mainstay in the securities capacity. “I adore him,” raves one peer. “He is the stock-drop king!” This same peer also weighs in on Geoffrey Chepiga. “He ran a CVS case with us, and he’s awesome. He has a demeanor very similar to Dan [Kramer]: calm, cool, collected.” The firm also gets the nod in the bankruptcy capacity, with Andrew Rosenberg noted as “their really big bondholder guy. Andy has amazing people skills! He’s not the one coming into the room with the scythe in his hand like the angel of death, he’s more the guy who says ‘OK, this may be a fight, but we’re going to work this out.’” Loretta Lynch, a former US Attorney General and now a New York-based white collar and investigations practitioner, is also a peer favorite. As one says, “I had the opportunity to work closely with her over the last few months and she’s fantastic. Her reputation precedes her.

     In the firm’s D.C. office, Dunn and Isaacson represent Amazon in a putative class action brought on behalf of all consumers purchasing on the internet (other than on Amazon), alleging that Amazon’s pricing policies requiring third-party sellers not to use pricing practices that harm customer trust have raised the prices of products sold by those third-party sellers, violating antitrust law. The plaintiffs allege what would be the largest class action known, of purchasers of 600 million different products from non-Amazon websites, and claim they have been harmed because, as a result of Amazon’s fair pricing policy, they purchased products for a price higher than that listed by third-party sellers on Amazon. Also in D.C.Kannon Shanmugam reigns as “the appellate superstar” who has “already had great success at Paul Weiss, as well as an incredible track record at his former firm.” Shanmugam argued and won an 8-1 Supreme Court victory in June 2021 representing Goldman Sachs in a case in which the plaintiffs alleged that the client violated securities laws by making certain generic and aspirational statements, such as “our clients’ interests come first,” which impacted its stock price. In its decision, the Supreme Court held that the generic nature of an alleged misrepresentation is important evidence of impact on a security’s price that courts should consider at class certification.  

     Paul Weiss has made “remarkable strides” in its intellectual property practice, a relatively new development. In this capacity, a multi-office team composed of D.C.’s Kenneth Gallo and New York’s Eric Stone won a major victory on behalf of Genentech in patent litigation concerning Genentech’s breakthrough hemophilia treatment. In January 2022, the Delaware District Court granted Genentech’s motion for summary judgement, holding that the plaintiff’s patent is invalid for lack of enablement. One IP contemporary testifies, “There are only so many firms that do biologics work on any serious level, literally a group of about five, and Paul Weiss always seems to be one of themNick Groombridge is their showhorse and the charming trial lawyer, but Eric [Stone] has also really come up. He is really workhorse and deserves more credit.” 


A plaintiff shop with offices in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, covering both coasts as well as the heartland, Pomerantz is known for its prodigious capacity for cases and its tenacity to keep pursuing them. “I feel like Pomerantz is everywhere right now,” declares one peer. “They are filing everything!” The firm made heads turn and landed on national headlines when, iJanuary and February 2018, as sole lead counsel for the class, the firmalong with lead plaintiff Universities Superannuation Scheme Limited achieved aneye-popping $3 billion settlement with Brazil’s energy giant, Petróleo Brasileiro S.A., otherwise known as Petrobras. “That Petrobras case was just huge,” testifies a peer. “Everyone was pretty blown away when they scored that.” 
     The partners responsible for the Petrobras case, including New York’s Jeremy Lieberman and Emma Gilmore, have kept exceedingly busy ever since. Gilmore logged a substantial, newsworthy and, for her, personally satisfying win in May 2022 when the Southern District of New York denied in large part the defendants’ motion to dismiss all claims for securities fraud in a class action against Deutsche Bank in which Pomerantz is sole lead counsel.The complaint alleges that,between 2018 and 2020, the bank made materially false and misleading statements about its anti-money-laundering deficiencies and didn’t properly monitor or gave exemptions to customers it considered high risk, such as financier and accused sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, as well as oligarchs and/or alleged terrorists and, to quote a peer, “highly unsavory figures that were kept on as clients because they generated millions in revenue.  

     Lieberman set important, ground-breaking precedent for global investors in Perrigo with the first certification of parallel classes of investors, domestic and international, that purchased dually listed securities on the New York Stock Exchange and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Perrigo, a global manufacturer of over-the-counter consumer healthcare products, generic drugs, and branded pharmaceuticals, has been alleged to have made materially false and misleading statements regarding the company’s business and competitive environment, first to defeat a hostile tender offer from its competitor Mylan, then to stem the decline in its shares after the Mylan tender offer expired unsuccessfully in November 2015. More recently, Lieberman also led a group of opt-out investors from a class action in Pennsylvania to a 2021 victory against Israeli-based generic pharmaceutical giant Teva, when the court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss on forum non conveniens grounds and chose to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the Israeli law claims.Lieberman was also part of a team (led by Future Star Austin Vanrepresenting five major Israeli pension companies as lead plaintiffs against Mylanalleging that Mylan misled investors about wide-ranging wrongful conduct, namely overcharging Medicare for the EpiPen by hundreds of millions of dollars, and engaging in anticompetitive activity to raise the price of the EpiPenVan also heads up the firm’s litigation against META, official name of the entity of the Facebook enterprise, concerning the 26% one-day stock drop that caused some investors to take a billion-dollar loss. Plaintiffs allege that, upon discovery that Apple was changing its operating software to make it much more difficult for Facebook to measure results for ads, Facebook recognized that this would be a problem but did not disclose to the market how much of a problem this was. Van and Lieberman also triumphed on behalf of investors in TechnipFMC, an oil and gas services provider, who allegedly significantly overstated its net income in the registration statement issued in connection with its January 2017 merger, because the company was using incorrect exchange rates in translating the financial statements of its foreign subsidiaries. The company also misled investors about its compliance with accounting standards.  

     Matthew Tuccillo led a firm team that acted as lead counsel for 35 institutional investors in individual lawsuits against energy juggernaut BP, securing confidential but favorable monetary settlements for clientson a global scale, including public and private pension funds, money management firms, partnerships, and investment trustsMurielle Steven Walsh scored a newsworthy corporate governance-related win in July 2021 when the District of Nevada court denied, in part, the defendants’ motions to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint ina securities fraud classaction arising from Wynn Resorts’ concealment of a long-running pattern of alleged sexual misconduct by CEO and founder Steve Wynn against female employees of the company, which was confirmed by gaming regulators after a lightning-rod exposé via a 2018 Wall Street Journal article. Steven Walsh also scored a win in January 2021 when she secured a nearly $4 million settlement on behalf of defrauded investors in Ormat, a US- and Israeli-based renewable energy entity. 


With seven of its 12 global offices situated strategically throughout the US, Proskauer provides a wide range of services to clients across a broad spectrum of practices ranging from commercial to intellectual property to securities, to white-collar crime and investigations, as well as its near-unparalleled status in specialty areas of employment, entertainment and sports law.
     The firm has also seen a pronounced spike in its bankruptcy profile, solidly on the strength of its mammoth appointment as lead outside counsel to the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, which was created to oversee the restructuring of Puerto Rico's finances, valued at $125 billion. The Board's mandate is to return Puerto Rico to fiscal health with access to the capital markets, and to initiate pro-growth reforms designed to generate a free flow of capital between Puerto Rico and the US. In January 2020, the Proskauer team notched a watershed win before the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. This action involved a team of Proskauer attorneys from numerous offices, including Boston’s Timothy Mungovan, New York’s Martin Bienenstock, Margaret Dale and Stephen Ratner, and Los Angeles’ Michael Firestein. Dale, a commercial litigator who has made a noted pivot to bankruptcy, is involved in several other Puerto Rico-related issues, primarily dealing with employee retirement issues.
     A newly listed star this year, New York’s Peter Sherwin heads up the firm’s burgeoning international arbitration practice and dedicates a high percentage of his practice to cross-border actions. Sherwin successfully represented Bed Bath & Beyond in an action in Delaware Chancery Court to enforce an agreement by 1-800-Flowers to purchase a business line for $252 million. 1-800-Flowers sought to void the agreement, pointing to the unexpected impact of COVID-19.  After engaging in discovery, 1-800-Flowers settled and agreed to move forward with its purchase for $245 million. Another newly listed New York star, Hadassa Waxman is championed by a competitor as “an absolute superstar, a true leader in the area of white-collar litigation.” Brad Ruskin, whose practice straddles a unique intersection of antitrust and sports litigation, is defending Major League Soccer (MLS) against a lawsuit brought by the North American Soccer League (NASL) against MLS and the US Soccer Federation following US Soccer’s decision not to sanction NASL as a Division II professional league for the 2018 season. NASL alleges that MLS and US Soccer are engaged in an antitrust conspiracy to ensure that MLS is the sole Division I soccer league in the US. Summary judgment briefing was completed in April 2021.
     Proskauer’s California presence has been steadily increasing and the local market is taking notice. “We never saw them on our radar before but now we are monitoring their progress closely,” admits a peer from a local competing firm. In another action exemplifying Proskauer’s dominant position in sports law, Los Angeles’s Bart Williams represented the “Power 5 Conferences” in the trial of a high-profile class action brought by current and former NCAA Division I football and basketball players. The players filed an antitrust lawsuit challenging the limits on compensation and benefits for student-athletes. Plaintiffs sought an order removing existing limitations on compensation and benefits available to class members from schools or conferences. Following a 10-day bench trial, the court held that the challenged rules promote consumer demand for college sports by recognizing the distinction between college and professional sports. The ruling was upheld on appeal in May 2020. Williams also, along with Mungovan, represents Shamrock Capital Advisors, a private equity firm that was one of the principal investors in FanDuel, a bookmaker and fantasy sports provider. The litigation was brought by FanDuel’s founders and other minority shareholders against the client after a merger and alleges breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment. Having scored favorable rulings for Johnson & Johnson in talc litigation, Williams’ product liability trial acumen (as well as that of Manuel Cachan) was called into service by Monsanto and its parent company Bayer, in a California case alleging that the use of Monsanto’s herbicide, RoundUp, caused the plaintiff’s nonHodgkin’s lymphoma. The case settled weeks before trial in January 2020. Williams is also lead counsel for toy company Mattel and their co-defendants in 23 separate product liability wrongful death cases in Delaware and California state courts related to the Fisher Price Rock-n-Play Sleeper. The cases allege that the toy in question was not safe for use as a sleeping device for infants. Williams is also defending Gilead Sciences in various Northern California state and federal product liability actions related to Gilead’s HIV prevention and treatment drugs. The cases allege that Gilead failed adequately to warn about the increased risk of potential kidney disease and bone injury that could result from its highly effective and FDA-approved HIV medications. The plaintiffs also allege that Gilead held back safer drugs that it could have brought to market sooner. Further exemplifying his all-purpose versatility, Williams represents Ellen DeGeneres and her loan-out company Monkey Business in connection with the investigation by WarnerMedia into work environment issues on the Ellen DeGeneres Show reported to involve claims that the show’s producers verbally abused staff and made racist and demeaning comments regarding the show’s guests. Williams is a universally revered trial lawyer, with peers offering unanimous support. “I have tremendous respect for him. He is one who just shines in front of a jury,” offers one peer.
     Proskauer continues to make strides in its intellectual property arena as well. The twin pillars of Los Angeles’ Sige Gutman and Boston’s Steven Bauer represent Amgen in a high-profile life sciences patent matter concerning Amgen’s development and commercialization of a biosimilar to Genentech’s Avastin, a monoclonal antibody cancer therapy. The trajectory of the case wound its way to the Federal Circuit, where the Proskauer team defeated Genentech’s motion for an injunction pending appeal and ultimately prevailed on the merits.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan continues to reign supreme as the ubiquitous litigation juggernaut it set out to be upon its genesis. The firm name’s official subtitle of “Trial lawyers” makes no bones about its agenda, and the firm has fulfilled this boast with what has been observed as typical aplomb. The firm has placed as one of Benchmark’s Top 20 Trial Firms since that list’s inception, and no fewer than four of its attorneys have consistently been recognized in Benchmark’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America, an enviable percentage. “If you’re in the litigation game, not only do you know Quinn Emanuel but you are seeing them, and chances are good that you’re seeing them a lot. They just perennially acquire talent,” is how one peer sums up the firm’s dominant position, further confirming, “I know I certainly do. If I’m out with fellow litigators, they are sure to come up in conversation – I’m forever going, ‘Ah, I knew you were going to bring them up!’” With offices in New York, DC, Boston, Miami, Chicago, Houston, and in several venues throughout California, the firm’s geographic footprint has grown to further showcase its bench depth. The firm leaves no stone unturned when it comes to litigation services either; nearly every practice area is touched on by its expansive roster of partners, with particular pockets of strength in the areas of bankruptcy, white-collar crime, antitrust, intellectual property and commercial litigation. “Subject-matter expertise is down to each individual – but either way Quinn breeds you to fight in court, period.”

The firm has historically found itself in the national headlines for its role in milestone cases, and this year was no exception. Stephen Swedlow, a Chicago-based partner, led a team that recently obtained judgments against the US government in precedent-setting litigation from July 2020, recovering $3.7 billion for health insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act concerning the “risk corridors” created by the act. This eye-popping sum is even more remarkable considering that it was on a contingency basis. On the strength of this, Swedlow not only makes his debut as a litigation star in this edition of Benchmark, but also wins a coveted position among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers. Another consistent placer on the Top 100 Trial Lawyers list, New York’s Michael Carlinsky led long-time client AIG to a February 2022 victory (which also made the news) by getting a policyholder’s claim for $27.5 million worth of coverage tied to a settlement with the State of Texas denied. Carlinsky and his team argued that the policyholder had structured a settlement with the State of Texas for Medicaid fraud in a fashion that was intentionally designed to mask a contract case, which would allow for coverage. Yet another Top 100 Trial Lawyer, Los Angeles’ Bill Price is viewed favorably by several other candidates on this privileged list. “I think the world of him, he’s the best,” offers one peer, summing up the general consensus. Price’s recent client list includes Elon Musk, for whom Price scored in December 2019 in the defamation case brought against him by one of the rescuers of 12 children trapped in a cave in Thailand, after Musk referred to him as “pedo guy” following an online spat. Just weeks later, Price logged another win, in the plaintiff capacity, in an IP case in which he represented the California Institute of Technology in a patent dispute with Apple. Price chalked up a whopping $1.1 billion verdict for his client.

The firm’s bankruptcy practice is viewed by peers in the restructuring capacity as “one of those rare instances where they have actual bankruptcy trial lawyers, as opposed to just corporate or hybrid restructuring people.” This same peer elaborates further on the flinty approach employed by these practitioners, which include Susheel Kirpalani – a near-constant mention: “These are the bomb throwers, the people you think of when you’re going, ‘Who do I call when I need a rabid dog?’”
While the firm is certainly better known for its trial-level work, its appellate work – and particularly that of New York-based luminary Kathleen Sullivan – has also prominently featured in newsworthy matters. In December 2021, Sullivan, along with future stars Rollo Baker and William Adams, scored when they persuaded the Delaware Supreme Court to uphold a trial court decision allowing client Mirae Asset to walk away from a $5.8 billion deal to buy luxury hotels based on the seller’s breach of an “ordinary course” covenant. This decision, delivered via an en banc ruling, upheld what is reported to be only the second decision ever from the Court of Chancery allowing a buyer to back out of a merger.


Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd

Servicing mainstay jurisdictions such as New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., in addition to less congested markets such as those of Nashville and Boca Ratonfew plaintiff-focused litigation shops enjoy the widespread praise and geographical reach boasted by Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd. 

     Complex commercial and antitrust practitioner Stuart Davidson of Robbins Geller’s Boca Raton office focuses his practice on class action representation in connection with deceptive and unfair trade, as well as privacy and data breach matters. Davidson currently serves as co-lead counsel to a nationwide class of EpiPen consumers filing suit against Mylan Pharmaceuticals/Viatris Inc. and Pfizer for claims that anti-competitive and fraudulent behavior engaged in by the defendants forces patients to pay higher prices for lifesaving EpiPen treatment. Prosecuting the case for over five years, Davidson and the Robbins Geller team have successfully secured a $345 millionfavorable settlement for the plaintiffs of the Pfizer matter, and prosecution on the behalf of the class in the Mylan matter remains ongoing, with Davidson recently having defeated a motion from the Mylan camp to decertify the class. 

     Newly recognized by Benchmark as a litigation starsTor Gronborg and Daniel Drosman of the firm’s San Diego office are currently active in the role of co-lead counsel forthe National Elevator Industry Pension Fund in a landmark securities fraud class action against Twitter brought by the client and other investors of the social media platform. The matter regards allegations that Twitter misled shareholders by concealing stagnant growth among its user base, artificially inflating its stock price. Drosman and Gronborg have, after five years of hard-fought litigation,successfully negotiated a favorable settlement of $809.5 millionwhich will, if approved, amount to the largest Ninth Circuit securities fraud class action recovery in more than 20 yearsthe second largest of all time on the Ninth Circuit, as well as being distinguished as in the top 20 largest US class action settlements of all time. 

     Other central Robbins Geller figures include the firm’s founding partners, Darren Robbins of San Diego and Samuel Rudman, who maintains practices in Manhattan and Melville, Long Island. 

Robins Kaplan

Robins Kaplan is equipped with a team of trial lawyers who have the resiliency to take on high-stakes casesThe firm’s reputation has mostly been rooted in its intellectual property and antitrust capabilities; however, in recent years its recognition has expanded to becoming well-known in commercial litigation and securities class actions. Although the firm is often seen representing plaintiffs in litigation, its securities practice is defense-oriented. The firm’s Minneapolis and New York offices are the primary forces behind the firm’s recognition in litigation.  

     Several of the firm’s intellectual property litigators practice out of the Minneapolis office and are recognized nationally in the practice areaChris Larus is the chair of the intellectual property and technology group. He recently obtained a complete dismissal with prejudice on behalf of KVP International and Caerus Corporation in a patent infringement matter. The case involved alleged infringement of patents related to pulsed electro-magnetic field (PEMF) medical and veterinary devices. In addition to patent cases, Larus also has copyright and trademark infringement matters that are pending. He is representing in a copyright infringement lawsuit against Amazon after the client’s product descriptions were being used on Amazon’s website. The lawsuit also alleges a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and breach of contract claims. Larus represents Hubbard Media Group and ReelzChannel in a trademark infringement case against Facebook and Instagram challenging Instagram’s use of Reels on its platform. Jake Holdreith represented Collegium Pharmaceutical in its Hatch-Waxman lawsuit against Teva. The lawsuit arose following Teva’s announcement that it sought to market a generic version of the client’s XTAMPZA, a brand-name abuse deterrent of oxycondone. Originally, Holdreith alleged 12 Orange-book patents were infringed which increased to thirteen in the case. Last September, Holdreith obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of Collegium, which included a consent judgment confirming that Teva’s generic products infringed the asserted patents and that the client would grant Teva a license to market its generic Xtampza ER in September 2033. Ronald Schutz has been representing Chloe Coscarelli, known as the first vegan chef to win the Food Network’s top prize in “Cupcake Wars”The lawsuit erupted after former business partners ESquared Hospitality and its restaurant group BC Hospitality Group obtained a favorable arbitration decision in 2017 that removed Coscarelli as the namesake and identity for the business which include 10 restaurants. The lawsuit Schutz filed in 2018 alleged several claims, both commercial and intellectual property based, mainly asserting that the defendants exploited the client’s name, fame and image for their own benefit. On behalf of Coscarelli, Schutz sought compensatory damages, punitive and exemplary damages and disgorgement of profits, as well as a judgment that ESquared infringed her company’s trademark. The matter was litigated in the Southern District of New York in addition to the arbitration proceeding which granted a complete and final victory for Coscarelli. The client was reinstated as a 50% owner and the restaurant group BC Hospitality was enjoined from selling retail products using the “By Chloe” trademark. In addition, the client received a $2.2 million award in attorneys’ fees. The award was affirmed in district court in January 2021. Schutz also represented Coscarelli in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding investors of BC Hospitality Group filed. The matter additionally ended favorably with an order preventing the group from selling products with the “By Chloe” trademark without her consent.  

     The firm has been active in LIBOR-related litigation recently. Stacey Slaughter and Craig Wildfang represent the principal entities as direct-action plaintiffs in the BBA LIBOR rigging scandal against the rate-setting panel banksOn behalf of their clients, Slaughter and Wildfang have resolved cases against two of the banks, and other cases were transferred to Multi-District Litigation, including the “other-the-counter” class case, the “exchange-based” class case, and numerous other DAP cases. Thomas Undlin is lead partner as co-lead counsel representing plaintiffs in civil actions against bank defendants, including major financial institutions like Bank of America, Citibank, JP Morgan and Barclays. The suit alleges that the defendants conspired to suppress one- and three-month US dollar-denominated ICE LIBOR rates and returns. The matter is on appeal at the Second Circuit.  

     Wildfang and New York-based partner Kellie Lerner serve as co-chairs of the antitrust and trade regulation group. Lerner is the lead partner serving as court appointed co-lead counsel on behalf of a proposed class of direct purchasers of Merck’s mumps vaccine. The class alleges that the defendant monopolized the US market in a scheme to exclude competitors, in part by alleging an efficacy rate of 95% or higher. Merck filed a motion for summary judgment, which Lerner filed a sur-reply in oppositionThe parties completed their briefings on the motion in May 2020 and the court granted Lerner leave to file a second sur-reply to further oppose the motion. 

Schulte Roth & Zabel

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 leads. Klein 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 Ravenell, a 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 

Selendy Gay Elsberg

Since its inception in February 2018, New York’s Selendy & Gay has been one of the most talked-about firms in New York and beyond. Founding partners Philippe Selendy and Faith Gay, both venerated stars with Quinn Emanuel before launching this venture, have built a firm that encapsulates “diversity” in both its roster of partners as well as the varieties of work it takes on. It has emerged as a leader in securities (often in the plaintiff capacity), commercial, and appellate disputes, as well as novel public interest matters. The team of 13 seasoned litigators has been lauded for their “trial acumen, innovative courtroom strategies, and reputation for success” as voiced by a competitor. The firm is also one of the only majority women-owned firms of its status in the nation. 
     Gay and co-managing partner David Elsberg are lead counsel pro bono to the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in the Remington Outdoor Company chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in Alabama federal court. The shooter used a Bushmaster brand AR-15 made and marketed by Remington. The team secured favorable terms for the families in the Remington debtors' bankruptcy plan, including a mechanism to allow the families and other tort claimants to continue their litigation efforts against Remington. The families have since filed notices with the bankruptcy court that they intend to proceed with their litigation efforts in Connecticut, where the families also brought wrongful death claims against Remington, and a trial is scheduled for next year. Gay, along with co-managing partner Jennifer Selendyrepresent McKinsey & Company against claims by AlixPartners founder Jay Alix in a series of high-profile and high-stakes objections and motions brought by Alix in bankruptcy courts across the nation. Fellow founding partner Philippe Selendy and appellate specialist Caitlin Halligan (formerly a star with Gibson Dunn) are part of the lead counsel team appointed by a New York federal judge as interim lead counsel in what has been called a “blockbuster” bitcoin market manipulation case against Bitfinex and Tether. The team beat out two other sets of legal teams vying for lead plaintiff appointment in the proposed class action. The putative class action alleges that the controllers of the cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex falsely represented that their purportedly stable cryptocurrency Tether was backed by US dollars in order to control the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in a market-manipulation scheme that cost investors hundreds of billions of dollars. 

Shearman & Sterling

A fully integrated international conglomerate, Shearman & Sterling has been at the forefront of some headline-making litigation on a global basis and is routinely recognized as a leading legal entity by disputes lawyers from such locales as Europe and Southeast Asia. With most of its 20 offices being based in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, some would even argue that the firm is too globally integrated to even be relegated to assessment on just a one-country level. Nonetheless, within the States the firm is called upon most often for its experience and acumen with matters of the securities and white-collar and FCPA enforcement variety and is quickly developing a leading profile in the antitrust space as well.
     New York’s Adam Hakki remains a perennial peer favorite, with glowing reviews offered on a unanimous basis. Hakki’s practice is largely focused on, but not limited to, the securities, antitrust and governance fields, with experience in both the criminal and civil capacities. Hakki scored a victory for Sundial Growers by securing a unanimous affirmance of the dismissal of a putative securities class action after the client experienced stock price declines after its IPO. The litigation alleged, among other things, that the offering materials failed to disclose a purported product return and allegedly deficient quality control processes. In May 2020, the court granted the clients' motion to dismiss, which was unanimously affirmed in February 2021. Hakki and Richard Schwed achieved a victory on behalf of Bank of America and Merrill Lynch Commodities in a putative class action alleging that the clients, along with two of their former traders, were liable for "spoofing" trades (an order placed by a trader that intends to cancel) in the precious metals markets. This case was originally filed in 2019 the wake of a regulatory settlement between the clients and the DoJ/CFTC resolving an investigation into alleged spoofing by the traders in question. In March 2021, the motion to dismiss the class-action complaint was granted. Agnès Dunogué is called out by peers as “someone who is coming up fast and deserves more notice. She is very sophisticated in securities and does a lot of work with Adam Hakki.” In one such example, and a matter involving an intersection of antitrust and securities, Hakki and Dunogué achieved a victory for BNP Paribas in connection with a long-pending antitrust class action involving the market for US Treasury securities. Another frequent teammate of Hakki’s, Jeffrey Resetarits, is also generating a good deal of traction. “Keep your eye on him,” advises a colleague at one of New York’s top firms. “We’ve been seeing more of him lately and we are very impressed. He and Adam Hakki had a nice win [in March 2019] in a matter involving CDOR [Canadian Dollar Offered Rate.]”
     The firm’s white-collar criminal practice has remained equally active, logging favorable results for both individuals and entities. New York’s Stephen Fishbein obtained a victory on behalf of a former employee of a federal agency accused of leaking information that was then used by a hedge fund for securities trading. He was charged along with three other defendants and went to trial in the spring of 2018. The client was acquitted of 14 out of the 16 counts against him, including all of the conspiracy and securities fraud counts. Fishbein, along with John Nathanson, also represents longtime client SS&C Technologies in a number of litigations arising out of antitrust-related claims concerning certain software licenses. In another antitrust-related matter, Fishbein is defending 1-800 Contacts, an online retailer of contact lenses, against claims the client unlawfully orchestrated a web of anticompetitive agreements with rival online contact lens sellers that suppress competition in certain online search advertising auctions and that restrict internet advertising to consumers. Acting with Fishbein on this matter is Todd Stenerson, a DC-based antitrust practitioner that is steadily gaining more notice. One fellow leader in the antitrust space enthuses, “Todd is a very creative and out-of-the-box thinker. He will just generate idea after idea in a very thought-provoking way that benefits all involved.” A noted trial lawyer first and foremost, Stenerson represents clients – many of them being in the healthcare industry – on both the plaintiff and defense sides of the “V” in antitrust cases, occasionally crossing over into the RICO space and also occasionally incorporating elements of intellectual property.
     Shearman has been steadily gaining traction in its San Francisco office as well, and peers credit this largely to Daniel Laguardia, head of the firm’s Bay Area office (although also occasionally domiciled in the New York office as well.) Laguardia is another multifaceted litigator who primarily operates in the securities, regulatory and commercial litigation spaces. “He should get more notice,” insists a peer. “He is great to work with.”

Sidley Austin

International law firm Sidley Austin is home to lawyers across 20 offices worldwide. Headquartered in Chicago, the firm has a widespread footprint in the states with offices in Boston, Los Angeles, Century City, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Houston, Washington DC, and New York – hubs with significant authority in both litigation and corporate practice. Clients sing the firms praises on a multitude of areas: “What do they do well? Everything,” states one client in particular, adding, “Legal and technical expertise and client-friendly approach, by which I mean advice offering practical solutions, explained in a non-technical manner, executed promptly, with a minimum of management input, and cost-efficient.”

      A notable standout and co-lead of the Supreme Court and appellate practice is Peter Keisler, who clients describe as being “among the foremost litigators in the country” adding, “you could deduce that fact merely based on his team's remarkable clarity in written work and Peter's calm and compelling simplicity in oral argument. He is one of the only lawyers I have met that can effortlessly sound like a helpful advisor to the court, and at the same time a peer to the bench.” Clients also praise the team, declaring “The whole team is utterly humble and kind, and they approach their work with reverence, similar to how a concert pianist would approach a Steinway in a packed concert hall.” Another proclaims, “Mr. Keisler and his appellate group set the bar by which other firms are measured.” Fellow DC litigators Marinn Carlson and Jennifer Haworth McCandless are lead counsel in five large, ongoing investor-state arbitrations defending the Republic of Peru. Karen Popp and Kristin Graham Koehler are members of the lead counsel team representing a leading global network of higher education institutions in conjunction with False Claims Act allegations regarding one of their universities. Joseph Guerra, Carter Phillips, and new litigation star Virginia Seitz were members of the team that secured a significant high-profile victory on behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives in its challenge to the Trump administration’s diversion of $8.1 billion for construction of the southern border wall — billions of dollars more than Congress had appropriated for that purpose. The team represented the House in its appeal from a district court decision dismissing the House’s suit. Paul Kalb is defending Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in False Claims Act litigation filed by a former sales representative related to the drug Integrilin, alleging that defendants engaged in improper marketing of the drug, thereby causing false claims for reimbursement to be filed with the government. After a multistate investigation, the district court dismissed the case, which prompted appeals and cross-appeals. The Ninth Circuit affirmed all but one issue for the district court to reconsider. In April of 2020, the complaint was again dismissed. The decision is currently on appeal to the Ninth Circuit. Paul Zidlicky is representing the North American Meat Institute in its challenge under the Commerce Clause to California’s Proposition 12, which seeks to impose California’s animal confinement standards for pork and veal outside of California’s borders, and that allegedly discriminates against out-of-state competitors and imposes substantial burdens on interstate and foreign commerce. Mark Hopson is lead trial counsel for FleetCor Technologies in its litigation with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC is seeking a permanent injunction and hundreds of millions of dollars in consumer redress. The case is currently pending in the Northern District of Georgia and trial is expected.

      Appellate litigator Tacy Flint is an experienced Chicago-based trial lawyer in matters related to commercial, intellectual property and constitutional actions. Flint was a member of the lead counsel team who successfully defeated two preliminary injunction motions at both the U.S. district court and court of appeals on behalf of the Barack Obama Foundation against an attempt to block the imminent construction of the Obama Presidential Center. Five years after the Foundation announced the plan to build the Obama Presidential Library Center, construction finally began in August 2021 as a result of these victories. Tom Rein and Connie Trela are part of the lead council team defending CalAmp Corporation in a case that alleged infringement on four Omega patents. After unfavorable trial, the judgement was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the decision was vacated and remanded for a new trial on infringement, willfulness, and damages. After a retrial in 2019, the case remains on appeal.

      Dallas based partners Yolanda Garcia and Angela Zambrano were lead counsel to Forterra Inc. in a complete victory in a $100 million dollar “earn out” arbitration arising from the acquisition of certain building products companies by a private equity firm. Penny Reid leads the charge in representing the official committee of unsecured creditors of Highland Capital Management’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. Yvette Ostolaza serves as the managing partner of the Dallas office, and global co-leader of the litigation practice. She is lead counsel in an ongoing action on behalf of Airbus Helicopters Inc., and Airbus Helicopters S.A.S. in connection with a helicopter accident in the Grand Canyon on February 2018 that gained national attention. The team removed the case to federal court under a novel theory of federal officer jurisdiction that had been the source of a circuit split and untested in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. After the case was remanded then stayed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals pending an appeal by Airbus, the Ninth Circuit issued a 2-1 decision affirming the district court’s order. The case is now proceeding in the District Court of Clark County, Nevada.

      Joan Loughnane of the New York office represents one of the largest U.S. banks in an internal review and multiple parallel investigations concerning fraud in unemployment benefits applications and payments post-COVID through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. This includes dozens of state and federal investigations being conducted by the Department of Labor, the U.S. Secret Service, and over a dozen states’ U.S. Attorneys’ Offices. Andrew Stern achieved an important victory for Tavistock Group, the owner of RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing Corp. after a trial in the Delaware Court of Chancery. The team represents the client in expedited litigation arising out of a merger agreement between RoundPoint and Freedom Mortgage Corp.

      San Francisco partner Sara Brody served as lead partner representing the former Officers and Directors of SunEdison, Inc. in defending securities, shareholder, and other related litigation arising initially out of a dramatic decline in the company’s stock price and liquidity issues that culminated in the largest renewable energy company bankruptcy in 2016. After five years of litigation, in February 2021, the final set of securities claims against Sidley’s clients were dismissed with prejudice pursuant to a settlement. The team was able to negotiate the resolution of all of these cases within the available insurance. Century City partners Chad Hummel and Jack Yeh are co-lead trial counsel in defending a case brought by the California Attorney General alleging under California’s Unfair Competition and False Advertising laws that Ashford University, and its co-defendant parent company, defrauded students into enrolling in their online degree programs. This first-of-its-kind-in-California case is scheduled for trial in October 2021.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett boasts a long history as one of New York’s, and the country’s, most esteemed full-service legal brands“Where the big corporate work is, litigation often follows,” explains one peer, “and since Simpson gets the top-class corporate work, they did a fantastic job in installing top-class litigators to handle it when that occurs. ”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. 

     An area of particular note that the firm has doubled down on of late is its white-collar and investigations area, a relatively recent development that has taken root with astonishing momentumOne client marvels, “If you would have asked me five years ago about Simpson’s white-collar practice, I would have said, ‘They don’t have one.’ But that’s not the case now – they really caught up fast, and they did it the right way, bringing in the perfect mix of boardroom strategists and actual trial lawyers.” It is also noted that Simpson Thacher’s enforcement team extends beyond New York, with equal concentration in its DC office. Stephen Cutler, one of the firm’s aforementioned “boardroom strategists,” and the New York team also includes Michael Osnato and Nicholas Goldin, both of whom are peer favorites. The trio of Cutler, Osnato and Goldin represent JP Morgan in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation related to texting practices by personnel and obligations to maintain and preserve copies of all written communications. In DC, Cheryl Scarboro attends to a largely FCPA-related practice (developed during her stint as the SEC’s first chief of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act unit)while Jeffrey Knox, former head of the Department of Justice fraud section, represents companies and individuals in investigations and criminal litigation. Knox successfully guided Deutsche Bank to a settlement with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in 2020, shortly after which a proposed class action was brought by Rock Capital Markets alleging that the client was responsible for two former Tokyo-based traders' alleged 2013 illegal spoofing schemes on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. 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. Sara Razi is known for attending to deals for private equity clients in strategic transactions, many of which are outside the US, as well as clients in industries ranging from energy to healthcare.  

     Simpson Thacher has historically been heralded for its securities practice, and this continues under the stewardship of New York’s Jonathan Youngwood, one of the youngest leaders in this practice. A client reinforces this position: “They are a top-flight securities litigation firm with capacity to handle the largest and most important matters.”In addition to representing ViacomCBS in derivative and stockholder class action arising out of the merger between CBS and Viacom, Youngwood acts with several other partners on a variety of other cases. He acts with Palo Alto-based partner Stephen Blake for GO Acquisition in SPAC-related Investment Company Act litigation, and acts with New York partner Craig Waldman for Nielsen Holdings in ongoing securities class-action litigation. “Craig Waldman is a tough lawyer,” concedes a former opponent, “He gave us a run for our money. Forget having a dialogue with him, he’s going to make you say ‘Uncle!’” 
    Youngwood is also part of a team representing Chubb in connection with the settlement of Boy Scouts of America’s Chapter 11 proceedings and claims of coverage for sexual abuse claims. These cases are primarily handled by Bryce Friedman and Mary Beth Forshaw, two members of the firm’s celebrated insurance team. “Simpson Thacher is certainly at the top for insurance, always has been,” confirms a peer. “They know the top carriers in the country, and they service them very well.”  Friedman and Andrew Frankel represent Travelers in opioid epidemic-related insurance coverage lawsuits against Purdue Pharma in New York (the manufacturer of Oxycontin), AmerisourceBergen in California, Delaware and West Virginia (one of the largest pharmaceutical distributors), CVS and Rite Aid in Delaware and Rhode Island (two of the largest chain pharmacies), and Giant Eagle and Meijer in Ohio and Pennsylvania (large supermarket chains), which are seeking indemnification from Travelers and other insurers for opioid-related liabilities. Lynn Neuner maintains a practice that balances securities, insurance and a false advertising niche. Neuner is defending two providers of home warranty and other homeowner services in a suit brought by an on-demand home repair start-up company in Delaware state court. The plaintiff’s March 2020 complaint asserted breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing based on the parties’ unsuccessful efforts to have the two clients acquire the plaintiff in 2018. Neuner is a peer and client favorite, unanimously championed by contemporaries. A client praises her as “straightforward and transparent, extremely intelligent and knowledgeable.” Consistently recognized as one of Benchmark’s Top 250 Women in Litigation and one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers, Neuner was also made Simpson’s co-chair of litigation in December 2021, the first woman to claim this role.

Sullivan & Cromwell

Sullivan & Cromwell has grown from a small firm in New York’s Financial District to a 12-office international powerhouse routinely sought by clients for their most complex and pressing cases. Peers address the firm in tones of reverence. “They are a terrific firm with a deep bench. We view them as our primary competitors,” confirms one peer. Boasting a decades-long pedigree in the securities, commercial, white-collar and antitrust areas, Sullivan & Cromwell has recently emerged as a key player in the fields of intellectual property and bankruptcy, areas not typically known as the firm’s “calling cards.” One peer also observes, “I’m seeing more of them lately! Robert Giuffra was recently just made co-chair of the firm – that’s a good sign regarding their commitment to litigation.”

Giuffra, a mainstay in the firm’s New York office, remains one of the firm’s most established talents in the securities and class actions arenas. He is also lauded for his trial acumen, which, although rarely called into service, has been on display enough to impress peers. One insists, “Bob Giuffra knows how to try a case! That’s not always his clients’ M.O., for sure, but he can handle it if it came down to that.” Another extrapolates, “As far as defendants going to trials after class certifications, no one is willing to go the distance all the way to trial. But they are stretching it to see how far they can take it. A case with Bob Giuffra can go all the way up until two to three weeks before trial before settling.” Over the past several years, Giuffra has been at the helm of some of the most press-worthy and existential cases for his clients, which have included headline cases for Volkswagen, Fiat, UBS and Goldman Sachs, and this year was no exception. Giuffra acts with another all-purpose New York partner Sharon Nelles in the successful representation of current and former directors of Boeing in derivative litigation in the Delaware Court of Chancery alleging the directors breached their fiduciary duty by failing to adequately oversee airplane safety, concerning the design and development of the company’s 737 MAX aircraft following two 737 MAX fatal accidents in 2018 and 2019. The accidents led to the grounding of the entire fleet and an extensive recertification process with international aviation regulators. In November 2021, the parties entered into a proposed settlement to resolve all claims; the settlement was approved by the court in February 2022. Under the settlement, Boeing’s directors’ and officers’ insurers will pay $237.5 million to Boeing, and Boeing will undertake a number of corporate governance enhancements. Nelles is another of the firm’s most widely revered partners. “She is just the best,” raves one peer, summing up the general consensus. Nelles recently obtained the dismissal, upheld on appeal, on behalf of Volkswagen of an antitrust suit brought by an international supplier of automotive components who alleged that Volkswagen engaged in anticompetitive conduct by interfering with the plaintiff’s attempts to acquire other automotive parts suppliers, causing the plaintiff to allegedly lose roughly $1 billion in anticipated profits as a result. The plaintiff sought treble damages under federal and state antitrust laws. Leonid Traps, one of the firm’s impressive number of future stars, acted with Nelles on this case. Traps, along with Jonathan Carter, are recent entrants to the partnership and ones that have been met with commendations from their peers. “They are excellent lawyers and these are great promotions. S&C saw talent there and they recognized it and did the right thing. I have unlimited respect for them.”

Unanimously revered securities and antitrust partner Richard Pepperman leads a team that continues to represent Bayer AG on issues related to Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto and is also defending Bayer in an arbitration in Frankfurt brought by BASF, which purchased various businesses that the Department of Justice (DoJ) required Bayer to divest. The hearings took place in person in November 2021, and a decision is pending. Acting with Pepperman on this matter is another new future star, Dustin Guzior. Guzior also acts with IP star Garrard Beeney in a novel and hotly contested case for Columbia University, in which the pair secured a unanimous verdict in its favor in a two-week patent infringement jury trial against NortonLifeLock in the Eastern District of Virginia. The jury found that Norton’s SONAR/BASH feature, which uses machine learning-generated models to identify and block previously unknown malware, infringed two Columbia patents. As a result of Norton’s infringement, the jury awarded Columbia a royalty for past infringement of more than $185 million, including a royalty for sales to customers outside of the US. Another newly ranked future star, Ann-Elizabeth Ostrager represented JP Morgan in obtaining dismissal of a lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York in connection with a nearly $2 billion syndicated loan arranged by a group of banks led by JP Morgan for Millennium Laboratories. More than a year after the transaction closed, Millennium reached a $256 million settlement with the DoJ to resolve an investigation of its Medicare billing practices. Millennium eventually filed for bankruptcy after which the trustee filed a complaint asserting state securities and common law causes of action. In May 2020, the court dismissed all claims. Another newly appointed future star, Kamil Shields (based in the firm’s DC office) is lauded by peers in the white-collar capacity. “Between [longtime white-collar star] Karen Seymour, Nicole Friedlander and Kamil Shields, that is a trifecta of powerful female white-collar lawyers,” stresses one.

“I’m actually seeing more of Sullivan & Cromwell in Los Angeles,” ventures one peer, who goes on to credit the head of the firm’s West Coast litigation, Robert Sacks. Sacks represented AT&T and its current and former directors in the dismissal of class actions brought in New York State Court and the Southern District of New York arising out of AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner. Plaintiffs alleged that, as part of the acquisition, AT&T materially misled Time Warner shareholders to exchange their stock for newly issued AT&T shares at an inflated price based on misrepresentations regarding AT&T’s streaming service, DirecTV Now. In May 2020, the New York Supreme Court granted Sacks’ motion to dismiss the state action in its entirety.


Susman Godfrey

Historically known as an “old-line Houston firm,” Susman Godfrey has, within a relatively short period of time, reinvented itself as a litigation juggernaut with national ambitions, which it has fulfilled through its offices in New York, Seattle and Los Angeles. These offices, while newer, have quickly become key players in their respective markets due to them each being populated by high-level trial talent juggling a hybrid of plaintiff and defense commercial, antitrust, securities and intellectual property litigation with exceptionally high stakes. Susman is universally revered for its dedication to a prized culture – developed and fostered by founding partner and (since-deceased) trial lawyer extraordinaire Steve Susman – that grooms the “elite corps” of litigation. Eschewing market trends, the firm marches to the beat of its own drum. “Susman is an unusual firm, maybe a unicorn! I’m not sure that there’s another firm operating the way they do. They are the best of breed in so many ways.” A source within the firm confirms that its multi-pronged practice is booming to the point where further growth expected to absorb all the work, but in a measured fashion. “We don’t just hire the cream of the crop, we hire the cream of the cream! We don’t hire people out of judicial clerkships that would be the Top 5 draft picks at other firms.” Indeed, one peer, of similar ethos and standing among litigator, confirms the success of this approach: “I still think Susman is our primary peer and our main competition for the superstar associates coming out of law school.” Susman continues its reign as one of the “Top 20 Trial Firms” in this edition of Benchmark, with a healthy percentage of partners recognized as “Top 100 Trial Lawyers.”

     One of these, who has been consistently ranked in this elite group since the list’s inaugural publication, is Bill Carmody, who is domiciled in New York but universally recognized and nationally hired. “Bill Carmody is based in New York but he convincingly garners the style of the ‘Texas’-style trial lawyer,” observes one peer. In late 2021, Carmody led a team that stepped in one month before trial to defend Match and IAC in a multibillion-dollar case where the founders of Tinder alleged they were cheated out of the value of their stock options. The jury trial kicked off in November 2021, a month after which, a settlement was reached, the value of which was publicly reported to be over $440 million. Carmody also leads a massive class action against Google for misrepresenting its privacy settings when users employ “Incognito Mode.” This lawsuit, estimated to exceed $5 billion in value, alleges that Google leads users to believe that private browsing, whether by using Incognito mode on Chrome or “private” mode on other browsers, but fails to tell users that even when private browsing is enabled, Google still collects vast quantities of highly sensitive data. Carmody and his team cleared a major hurdle when, in March 2021, a California judge denied Google’s motion to dismiss. 

     Another of the firm’s top trial lawyers, Houston’s Neal Manne won a major victory in September 2021 for Vitol when a federal court in Puerto Rico rejected claims by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) to void six fuel-oil supply contracts and recover $3.89 billion. The court also ruled that Vitol was entitled to recover $28.4 million, plus interest, on its counterclaim for fuel oil that PREPA failed to pay for shortly before it filed the litigation. James Southwick is another Houston-based partner generating acclaim. “He is really smart and a great writer, with great judgment,” extols a peer.

     Los Angeles’s Kalpana Srinivasan is prosecuting claims of patent infringement on behalf of Caltech – the California Institute of Technology – against Samsung for technology related to its seminal WiFi patents on mobile and other devices.  Caltech previously successfully asserted the patents against Apple and the liability finding was affirmed on appeal. Srinivasan is also part of a team representing plaintiffs suing ubiquitous social media video-sharing app TikTok alleging breach of privacy. This team is led by newly ranked Los Angeles-based future star Michael Gervais, was among nine lawyers who were personally selected by a judge in the Northern District of Illinois to serve on the MDL Steering Committee. The team petitioned the court to approve a $92 million litigation-wide settlement. In October 2021, the judge granted the motion for preliminary approval of the deal. Gervais is representative of the younger generation of talent being groomed for trial stardom at Susman. New York’s Elisha Barron is another. “She was my classmate at Harvard and one of my good friends,” testifies a peer. “She represents Van Leeuwen ice cream and has a really impressive streak of wins for her vintage. She has just had a fascinating bunch of cases and does excellent work all around.”

Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz

Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz operates out of its one and only office in New York, but the firm’s prestige is undeniably national, and increasingly, international in scope. “Everyone knows Wachtell, or knows about them, and for very obvious reasons. They are masters at what they do.” The “what they do” is a reference to the firm’s famed M&A dispute practice, which, coupled with its transactional corporate practice, has allowed Wachtell do nothing short of corner a market. “Wachtell has decided that they want to pivot to doing work that is strictly focused around public company M&A work – that is where you get the premium work.” One peer marvels, “Increasingly, when I look at Wachtell, I am stunned by the growing level of diversity. I’m seeing a lot more international arbitration, which was never considered Wachtell’s forte, but with cross-border deals falling into dispute, [the firm’s services] are more in demand.” The firm has also been particularly active in the bankruptcy space (for which Emil Kleinhaus receives near-universal plaudits) and remains busy in the white-collar and investigations area as well (which has historically been the domain of John Savarese, still the firm’s dominant partner in this area.)
     Wachtell has seen increased activity in antitrust work as of late, mainly related to deals. The most recent and most public of these concerns the firm’s representation of Altria in the wake of an April 2020 complaint brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concerning formerly competing vape entities Altria and Juul. The FTC viewed Altria’s exit from the e-cigarette market and subsequent 2018 investment in 35% of Juul as anticompetitive and brought a suit to undo the deal. At trial, Jonathan Moses and Kevin Schwartz presented a straightforward defense: Altria made the decision to exit the e-vapor market following decades of difficulties in developing a product that would be both attractive to consumers and less harmful than cigarettes. The proceeding, which commenced in early June, was conducted remotely as the FTC’s first fully virtual administrative trial. Moses and Stephen DiPrima are also defending Altria in securities and derivative litigation connected with its JUUL investment after stockholder plaintiffs subsequently filed securities and derivative lawsuits, in the Eastern District of Virginia and in Virginia state court. The securities case survived a motion to dismiss and is proceeding through discovery, class certification, and summary judgment briefing on an expedited timetable.
     A unanimously revered practitioner, William Savitt has emerged as Wachtell’s central figure in the M&A litigation capacity. “Bill Savitt is better than everyone in M&A,” sums up one peer. “He is all over it and everyone loves him. [He is] Head and shoulders above everyone else.” Indeed, Savitt provides substance to this adulation with a lead appearance in a number of the firm’s key matters within the past year. One of these involves a $5.8 billion merger agreement deal entered in April 2020 by Dajia, the successor to Chinese insurance company Anbang, to sell 15 luxury hotels in the US. The other party to the deal refused to close, citing, among other things, changes in Anbang’s operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the purported failure of certain title insurance conditions. After an unfavorable ruling from the Delaware Court of Chancery, Dajia switched counsel to Savitt to represent them on appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court. Savitt also represents Dyal Capital Partners in litigation against Sixth Street Partners and Golub Capital. Investment funds affiliated with Dyal made minority equity investments in Sixth Street and Golub. In December 2020, Dyal announced a SPAC-related merger transaction valued at $12.5 billion. In February 2021, Sixth Street and Golub brought actions in the Delaware Court of Chancery and New York Supreme Court, respectively, seeking to block the transaction. In both cases, the preliminary injunctions moved for by the plaintiffs were denied and the transaction closed in May 2021. While peers are in agreement that “Bill Savitt is leading the charge,” it is also noted that “he has a great team around him that is also getting more prominent, and deservedly so.” In particular, Ryan McLeod, who acted with Savitt on the aforementioned Dajia matter, is singled out. McLeod also worked with Savitt on litigation concerning the merger of two satellite companies. The firm’s client was in the business of providing in-flight internet service, the business of which was severely interrupted during the height of the COVID pandemic, leading the other party to attempt to exit the deal. After the parties submitted dueling complaints in July 2020, in October, less than 48 hours before trial, a settlement was reached pursuant to which the parties mutually agreed to terminate the merger a $70 million cash payment was made to the client for the economic injury to its shareholders. An all-star firm team composed of Savitt, Jeff Wintner and Elaine Golin, as well as future stars Anitha Reddy and Lauren Kofke, acts as overarching strategic counsel, as well as resolution and corporate governance counsel, to Cardinal Health in connection with matters related to the opioid epidemic, as well as guiding the client through associated shareholder derivative litigation. In July 2021, the client agreed to pay up to $1.179 billion in a settlement agreement with the State of New York and its participating subdivisions to resolve opioid-related claims. A new partner at the firm, Sarah Eddy is working with Savitt in representing a special committee of independent directors formed to investigate allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct at Victoria’s Secret. “Sarah had a very senior role at the SDNY and is off to a very good start at Wachtell,” states a peer. A team composed of Marc Wolinsky, DiPrima and Carrie Reilly represents Match Group and IAC/InterActiveCorp in a $2 billion suit brought by a group of former employees of the dating app Tinder. The plaintiffs allege that the clients wrongfully interfered with a contractually established process for the independent valuation of Tinder by two national investment banks, resulting in a substantial undervaluation of Tinder and a consequent underpayment to the plaintiffs upon exercise of their stock options.


Walden Macht & Haran

Despite Walden Macht & Haran’s relative newness in the ever-packed landscape of New York litigation, the firm has distinguished itself as formidable in the mere seven years since its founding in 2015. With its team members boasting such glitzy credentials as previous tenures as in-house counsel, federal prosecutors, and members of leading “Big Law” shops, the firm makes up for what it lacks in legacy with irrefutable experience among its practitioners. The Walden Macht & Haran team is most widely recognized for its laudable display of ability in the white-collar defense space.

James “Jim” Walden is a crucial member of the firm’s central leadership and white-collar practice, involving himself on a number of high-exposure matters. Walden currently serves as counsel to Medallion Financial’s president, Andrew Murstein, as the Securities and Exchange Commission investigates allegations of several securities law violations.

Also serving at the firm’s forefront is Sean Haran, who has cultivated a practice which incorporates complex civil litigation in addition to white-collar. Haran currently represents InterActiveCorp as the company faces a civil dispute arising from its air and real estate development rights in relation to the company’s headquarters, of famed architect Frank Gehry’s design.

Timothy Macht recently achieved the settlement of a federal antitrust dispute filed against News America Marketing (NAM) and its parent by Valassis, who sought damages in excess of half of a billion dollars in connection with NAM’s use of in-store promotions.

Weil Gotshal & Manges

Weil Gotshal & Manges enjoys a reputation as a firm whose litigation bench is one of the most comprehensive in terms of practice depth. “They have all the bases covered,” confirms a peer. “A nice wide spectrum. And they have the depth and breadth in their personnel to cover it.” The firm’s national reach is spread among offices on the East Coast in New York and DC, throughout several locations in California, two locations in Texas, one in Boston and a location in Miami. Its practice area portfolio also covers a lot of ground, with product liability, bankruptcy, antitrust, commercial, intellectual property, securities and white-collar crime all playing prominent positions in the overall composition of the firm’s litigation service offerings. Going from strength to strength, the firm recently amplified its star power in DC, adding all-purpose commercial litigator Drew Tulumello to its bench from Gibson Dunn. Tulumello, a respected player in the field, joined Weil in June 2021 as the firm’s new commercial litigation co-head. 
     New York-based litigation co-chair David Lender is another all-purpose commercial trial lawyer that seems to be on the radar of many peers, all of whom view him favorably. “I’m seeing just a ton of him,” confirms one peer. “He’s a great lawyer and person, and it’s no surprise for me to see him continue to skyrocket. Lender was part of a team (which also included Gregory Silbert and Eric Hoschstadt, two other New York star players) that triumphed for C&S Wholesale Grocers as lead trial counsel in a significant antitrust class action after the court granted plaintiffs’ motion for class certification. Plaintiffs, encompassing more than 300 retail grocers alleged that the New England-based C&S and a Midwest-based competitor entered into a conspiracy to allocate the New England and Midwest territories between themselves for a period of five years, resulting in inflated grocery prices. The other defendant settled before trial. At the 2018 trial, the jury returned a complete defense verdictAfter winding its way through appeals stages, the case was finally laid to rest when, in December 2020, the Supreme Court denied the plaintiff’s petition for certiorariSilbert meanwhile did appear at the Supreme Court, where he successfully argued an appeal on behalf of Hungary and the Hungarian State Railways in a case testing the reach of U.S. jurisprudence over foreign sovereigns. Silbert sought to resolve a circuit split between the Seventh and DC Circuit Courts of Appeal involving the question of whether the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act’s treaty exception precludes US jurisdiction in two disputes surrounding efforts to seek recovery for misconduct occurring in Hungary during World War II. In February 2021, in a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court vacated the DC Circuit decision and remanded the case. 
     Another unanimously revered New York-based trial lawyer, one with a noted securities and white-collar and enforcement focus, Jonathan Polkes has been particularly active of late as well. Polkes and Silbert secured a complete victory for global insurance broker Willis Towers Watson when the Fifth Circuit affirmed a crucial $120 million settlement resolving allegations that legacy Willis (pre-dating its 2016 merger with Towers Watson) fraudulently induced investments in the R. Allen Stanford Ponzi scheme – the second biggest Ponzi scheme in history after Madoff. In June 2020, plaintiffs filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court requesting that the Court review the Fifth Circuit’s decision. The Supreme Court denied this petition in December 2020. In May 2020, Weil team including PolkesSarah Coyne (a recent future star recruit from Debevoise & Plimpton), Christopher Garcia and Caroline Zalka resolved an SEC investigation into claims that from 2012 to 2017, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney was negligent in not offering complete information about the actual cost for trades and transactions to clients who had “wrap-fee” accounts. Also in May 2020, Polkes and Zalka scored a resounding victory on behalf of Carlyle Group. The billion-dollar litigation in Delaware Chancery Court arose out of a proposed purchase of a stake in AmEx Global Business Travel by a Carlyle-led group from a group of current shareholders. In the wake of COVID-19, the AmEx travel division experienced significant losses and became a much less-attractive investment, so Carlyle invoked a material adverse effect (MAE) clause to abandon the deal, triggering the suit from the selling shareholders. The Weil team argued by telephone to convince the court to deny the sellers’ motion for an expedited trial that sought to force Carlyle to close, and to clarify whether the deal contract permitted an MAE based on the pandemic. Yet another New York trial star, product liability and commercial luminary Diane Sullivanacted with Lender representing Exxon in connection with a lawsuit filed against it by BP Products North America claiming that Exxon Mobil is obligated to indemnify BP in connection with a settlement agreement between the parties, related to defending against third-party environmental contamination lawsuits, and seeks damages for alleged breach. Peers also voice support for Adam Hemlock, whose practice is antitrust-focused and uniquely encompasses both criminal and civil elements.With big firm lawyers, it can often be like lemmings off a cliff, but not with Adam,” observes a peer. “He does his own thing and it works, [it’s] impressive.” Hemlock represents Torrent Pharma, a generic drugs manufacturer, in defense of multiple antitrust class and direct actions in a consolidated multi-district litigation in which plaintiffs allege that Torrent conspired with other generic drug makers to fix prices and allocate markets. 
     Intellectual property is another area in which Weil has seen a steady ascent, with twin pillars of star power on both coastsElizabeth Weiswasser in New York and Edward Reines in Silicon Valley. Both are co-heads of the firm’s national patent litigation practice. Weiswasser won a critically important victory before the ITC for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals when competitor Novartis withdrew its patent infringement case seeking to prevent Regeneron from selling a novel biologic to treat macular degeneration and other serious eye diseases. Reines meanwhile boasts a streak of impressive wins for biotech innovator Illumina. 

Willkie Farr & Gallagher

A global business firm, Willkie Farr & Gallagher has been steadily increasing its litigation profile in both market share and a literal headcount/geographic footprint sense. While its core strength in the US has historically been New York (and remains so), the firm has branched out and developed other domestic locations as well; it opened a Chicago office in 2020, luring partners from Windy City mainstay Jenner & Block and officially planting its flag on the Midwest legal landscape, continued developing its DC resources, and has doubled down on its expansion in California, where it now has three offices (Palo Alto, San Francisco and Los Angeles.) “The biggest disrupter in the L.A. market recently has been Willkie Farr,” quips a peer in observation of the firm’s build-out of that office. “I feel like anything that’s not nailed down, they’re trying to take!”

Willkie’s bet on California has paid dividends; the firm has attracted star partners in each office. In Los Angeles, that office’s managing partner Alex Weingarten is a peer favorite. “Alex was at Venable before moving to Willkie,” states a peer, who goes on to confide, “I was trying to get him to come here! He’s a terrific litigator who has some high-profile entertainment clients. [He’s] Unbelievable!” Weingarten for nearly a decade has represented the co-trustee of a family trust who was embroiled in a long-running, multi-generational family dispute concerning who was behind a conspiracy to steal tens of millions from the trust, built by the Chinese immigrant grandparents through a successful real estate venture. Following a 2018 settlement, in which the trustee’s mother essentially agreed to forfeit $30 million due to the likelihood of her being behind the conspiracy, the mother then changed her mind and spent four years attempting to void the settlement. In March 2022, Weingarten triumphed in convincing the California Court of Appeal to enforce the settlement. A peer also notes that multi-faceted commercial litigator Simona Agnolucci “left [revered San Francisco litigation boutique] Keker [Van Nest & Peters] to open Willkie’s San Francisco office. She’s a player.” Working on a team with DC’s Michael Gottlieb (a newly elevated former future star in this edition) and Mark Stancil, Agnolucci secured a decisive victory in the US District Court for the District of South Carolina in obtaining a dismissal of nationwide class claims brought against Navy Federal Credit Union, a federally chartered, member-owned, not-for-profit credit union serving the military, veterans, and their families. A federal class action was first filed in the Southern District of California, alleging on behalf of a nationwide class that Navy Federal breached its agreement with certain of its customers by charging debit card users a small fee for certain overseas transactions. After Willkie filed Navy Federal’s motion to dismiss, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed her complaint. Almost in parallel, another nearly identical lawsuit was filed by different plaintiffs in the District of South Carolina, which met with a similar voluntary dismissal.

Willkie’s insurance practice has made a substantial ascent as well. A peer advises, “Look into Christopher St. Jeanos – ask around about him! He’s a stand-up lawyer, and I think he’s only in his mid-40s! My litmus test when it comes to dealing with counsel is ‘Are you just a paper tiger?’ And Chris is not – he’s the real deal.” Another testifies that St. Jeanos is “doing AIG work and all the Marsh work, and he is at the upper echelon in terms of quality.” St. Jeanos and longtime insurance star Mitchell Auslander (both based in the New York office) obtained a significant victory for AIG in litigation concerning McKesson, one of the leading distributors of prescription opioids in the US and a target of the sweeping litigation against all entities in the chain alleged to have contributed to the national epidemic. McKesson, which recently agreed to contribute $7.4 billion to settle thousands of opioid lawsuits brought by government entities across the country, sought coverage from AIG for its defense costs, judgments, and settlements incurred in the opioid lawsuits. At issue in the litigation are AIG policies with $375 million in total policy limits. The Willkie duo scored when the Northern District of California held, for the first time, that a wholesale drug distributor’s conduct in distributing opioids was not an “accident,” and therefore not covered under commercial general liability policies issued by AIG. The same pair also logged victory for this same client in similar claims brought by Purdue Pharma.
New York-based securities partners Todd Cosenza and Tariq Mundiya are representing Curo in a shareholder derivative suit regarding the company’s plans to transition Canadian borrowers from one type of loan to another. The derivative litigation is follow-on litigation from a 10b-5 case in the District of Kansas that has settled. Individually, Cosenza recently achieved a significant win, obtaining dismissal of a derivative action against the independent directors of Wells Fargo in a case arising out of alleged failures by Wells Fargo and its board to comply with several consent orders issued by banking and other federal regulators in the aftermath of its high-profile 2016 customer account fraud. Mundiya defended Resideo Technologies against claims arising from Honeywell’s 2018 spin-off of Resideo and earnings guidance provided in 2019, upon which Resideo’s stock price fell precipitously, leading to class-action litigation in Minnesota and derivative litigation in Delaware.

The chairman of the Chicago office, Craig Martin, debuts as a litigation star in this edition. Martin attends to a diverse portfolio of matters that encompasses consumer class actions – including one for Ulta Cosmetics concerning the resale of returned makeup – commercial litigation, quasi-white-collar work and pro bono human rights issues.


With a network of international and domestic offices, WilmerHale has built a reputation as a global powerhouse. Nationally, the firm’s original mainstay in Boston continues to secure near-unanimous recognition in litigation, and the New York, DC and California offices have further bolstered the firm’s top-tier standing. It is lauded for its litigation capabilities nationwide, particularly antitrust, white-collar, securities and appellate, as well as intellectual property, one of the firm’s most notable practices.

Boston-based trial lawyer Bill Lee is of the most accomplished litigators in intellectual property. He continues to add to his enviable list of milestone patent wins, which have earned him a long-standing reputation in the practice area. In these high-stakes cases, he is well known for his distinguishing ability to translate his encyclopedic knowledge into comprehensive arguments that sway judges and juries. Lee and Denver’s Mary “Mindy” Sooter obtained a damages-less win for Comcast in a patent infringement lawsuit brought by NextStep. Last September in Delaware, the federal jury found in favor of the client on two of the challenged patents, and returned a “doctrine of equivalents” infringement verdict on the last patent. Sooter and Lee secured the zero-dollar victory with a granted motion to preclude the plaintiff’s damages case.

In the appellate arena, Lee also obtained positive results working with appellate expert Seth Waxman of the DC office. The duo represented Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie against the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) before the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The FTC filed a case alleging that the lawsuits filed by AbbVie against Teva and Perrigo were shams, thus violating the FTC Act. The District Court granted summary judgment in favor of the FTC, which AbbVie appealed. The Third Circuit in parts affirmed, reversed, and vacated the District Court’s decision. Notably, the appellate court held that its lawsuit against Teva was not a sham, and the court vacated the disgorgement award. On the Perrigo matter, the Third Circuit upheld the District Court decision that the suit was objectively baseless, which Lee and Waxman challenged in a petition for certiorari that was denied. However, in a complete victory, the FTC dropped the entire case.

Waxman serves as chair of the firm’s appellate and Supreme Court litigation practice, with, as one peer notes, “an army of talent behind him”. Such talent includes Noah Levine, who represented the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) in a putative class action challenging non-judicial foreclosures in Rhode Island, arguing that the client and co-defendant violated the Due Process Clause as plaintiffs also argued that the defendants should be considered government actors. The District Court rejected both arguments, dismissing the complaints. On appeal, the First Circuit upheld the decision, securing a win for the client.

In New York, commercial litigator Hallie Levin obtained a win for T-Mobile in a five-day bench trial before the Delaware Court of Chancery. The trial arose from a settlement agreement between T-Mobile and Cox Communications that concluded a patent infringement case. In the agreement, Cox agreed that should it begin offering retail customers wireless services, it would be done in accordance with a wholesale wireless agreement with Sprint, which T-Mobile acquired. Cox and another mobile network later entered into a wholesale wireless agreement, and sued the client last January, arguing that the provision was unenforceable. Acting on behalf of T-Mobile, Levin filed counterclaims and requested an injunction to enforce the exclusivity obligation. The District Court found that Cox had breached the agreement and the provision was enforceable. The court issued an injunction preventing Cox from offering mobile services with any other operator.

On the West Coast, Sonal Mehta is continuously recognized as a top-tier litigator in the IP space, especially for her role representing titans of the life sciences and technology industry. Recently, she represented Ionpath, a venture-backed start-up by three Stanford professors who sought to commercialize their technology for biological tissue analysis, against competitor Fluidigm. The Northern District of California, in an accelerated patent “showdown” procedure, ruled Ionpath did not infringe the “showdown” claims. After the decision, Fluidigm dismissed its interference with contract claims, and later the plaintiff dismissed the rest of the claims in its appeal. The matter closed confidentially.

Labor and employment
Kasowitz Benson Torres

The New York office of Kasowitz Benson Torres has an established labor and employment practice that is wellknown for its prowess and readiness to litigate. Peers and clients alike continuously share their high regard for the group’s work. One client recently applauded the labor and employment team’s representation, appreciating how they “delved deeply into content and provided insightful analysis.” The firm’s clients range from Fortune 500 companies to prominent law firms in the New York area, along with their continuous representation of clients in banking and finance as well as real estate.  

     Most recently, the group has broken into the California market with Mark Lerner representing Fortune 100 global logistics company YRC Worldwide in three wage and hour class-action lawsuits filed by 4,000 truck drivers and other employees. Lerner obtained summary judgment rulings in two of the actions, which are now on appeal and being defended by the team, and he won a dismissal on the pleadings in the third matter. A key component of his practice includes non-compete agreements and restrictive covenants, as well as commercial litigation with overlapping employment issues. Recently, he represented prominent real estate brokers, including celebrity broker Ryan Serhant of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing, in various matters involving commercial and employment issues, and defended Northwell Health in a non-compete matter against another one of the largest hospital systems in New York, Lenox Hill. In another matter outside of the employee mobility space, Lerner defends a top-tier national law firm in a dispute against the firm’s former director of information technology alleging national origin discrimination and hostile work environment. The matter has garnered significant press coverage.  

     Jessica Taub Rosenberg is one of the firm’s leading labor and employment litigators who also represents high-profile executives and employers, with experience both defending and asserting employment claims. Her clients frequently express their appreciation for her skill and demeanor. “Jessica has excellent energy and responsiveness,” one client raves. “She’s smart and insightful, and listens.” Rosenberg to defend Douglas Elliman, a national real estate brokerage, against a putative class action currently pending in the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County. The plaintiff had included a claim alleging that the client misclassified its real estate agents as independent contractors; however, after a series of successes in litigation, the plaintiff abandoned the claim. Acting as plaintiff, Rosenberg represents Chelsea Jia in a sexual harassment and discrimination matter against her former employer, the US subsidiary of a China-based investment bank, China Renaissance Securities, as well as its president, chief compliance officer and general counsel 

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel’s labor and employment practice regularly represents high-profile clients in a variety of respects, particularly emphasizing – though not limiting itself to – highly sensitive and complex single-plaintiff employment disputes 

No stranger to the public eye, employment law chair Kevin Leblang of New York is regularly active at the forefront of the most highly exposed disputes inemployment litigation. Leblang currently leads the firm’s representation of AIG in a federal suit brought by the former head of the company’s legal operations center alleging whistleblower, age, and gender claims. Eliza Kaiser, also of the firm’s New York office, represents leaders across a variety of industries in disputes whose provenances span the comprehensive range of the employee-employer relationship.Maintaining one of the firm’s most active employment practices, Kaiser currently defends Facebook against a Department of Justice action which alleges that the company engaged in discriminatory hiring practices in the US in relation to its immigration policies. Leblang and Kaiser’s fellowpartner Robert Holtzman centralizes his employment practice around such advisory matters as discrimination and whistleblower complaints, particularly those filed by high-ranking executives.  

Perry Guha

At the center of New York boutique Perry Guha’s activity in the labor and employment realm of disputes is one half of the firm’s namesake, Danya Perry. Herpracticespecializing in litigation and internal investigations –uniquely draws upon her demonstrated ability in the white-collar criminal sphere, distinguishing heras she handles industry-leading clients across a plethora of sectors, including sports and entertainment, media, law, pharmaceuticals, philanthropy, and numerous others. Perry currently serves in the role of counsel to former NBC Universal vice chairman Ronald Meyer as he faces claims of breach of fiduciary duty and fraud brought by filmmaker Joshua Newton, who alleges that Meyer agreed to act as his talent agent in an unofficial capacity. The matter remains ongoing. 


Proskauer houses one of the most recognized and established labor and employment practices. Its national reach restson what one peer describes as a “broad-based practice” which coversthe fullgamut of related litigation. Practitioners in the labor and employment practice span the US, especially in major markets such asNew York, California, Chicago, and Boston – with New York as the cornerstone of the practice. “They’re so prolific in NY,” comments one peer.  

     The New York team continuously displays its renowned capability in employment litigation and traditional labor dispute resolution. Many of the firm’s lawyers have held top-tier recognitiaon, including Elise Bloom,who is distinguished as a Top 20 Employment LitigatorShe has acted on behalf of New York’s most well-known individuals and companies against former employees, including Rockefeller University. Bloom is accompanied by Top 10 Traditional Labor Lawyers Neil Abramson and Adam Lupion. Both have recently been involved in various labor disputes and complex collective bargaining negotiations. In addition to their labor practices, they also represent major sports leagues in litigation. They acted as lead counsel for Major League Baseball in defense of a nation of origin discrimination lawsuit brought by Angel Hernandez, a current umpire for the league. Both parties moved for summary judgment, but Abramson and Lupion prevailed as the Southern District of New York denied the plaintiff’s motion as moot, and further denied his motion for reconsideration. Labor and employment litigator Joseph Baumgarten also represented a major sports league recently, the National Hockey League, in an arbitration against the National Hockey League Players Association acting on behalf of Nazem Kadri of the Colorado Avalanche. The matter arose after Kadri delivered a forceful hit on an opposing player and was suspended by the league’s Department of Player Safety, which the NHLPA argued was inappropriately severe. Both the NHL Commissioner proceeding and the arbitration found in favor of the NHL and affirmed the suspension.Co-head of the employment litigation and arbitration group, Steven Hurd,obtained a victory on behalf of the MTA-New York City Transit in a putative Fair Labor Standards Act collective action. The court dismissed the case, agreeing that the plaintiff, a current employee, did not satisfactorily assert the allegations of unpaid overtime under the act. The plaintiff has appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. In a matter that involved commercial and employment issues, Lloyd Chinn obtained a favorable decision on behalf of Altice USA against two former executives alleging breach of contract, New York Labor Law (NYLL) violations, and fraud causes of actionIn July 2021, the partial motion to dismiss was granted by the Southern District of New York, successfully dismissing the breach of contract and unlawful withholding of wages under the NYLL, among other claims. In particular, the court agreed that the alleged wages owed were not “wages” under the NYLL, and bonus payments were based on the company’s success, and thus excluded from the statutory definition. After the court’s decision, which limited the plaintiffs’ action, Chinn filed counterclaims on the client’s behalf. The case concluded in a settlement for a five-figure amount. Another New York partner who has received acclaim from the market for is Keisha-Ann Gray. One peerdeclares, Keisha-Ann Grayat Proskauer really does a fantastic job.” 

In California,Los Angeles-based partner Anthony Oncidi has gained a spot on the Top 20 Employment Litigators this year. Over the last year, he has been a key player in employment litigation related to the entertainment industry. He represented the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciencesin a matter against its former president and CEO Deborah Dugan. While the case is settledOncidi is now representing the academy in a related Equal Employment Opportunity Commission proceeding. Oncidi and Kate Gold affirmed their victory forViacom in its high-profile litigation against Netflix after the streaming company voluntarily dismissed its appeal against the injunction granted against it, effectively enjoining the company from interfering with the client’s employee agreements.  

Chicago-based Steven Pearlman also partnered with Gold, representing Cross Country Healthcare in a class-action lawsuit on appeal before the California Court of Appeals. The parties focused on whether an arbitration agreement was enforceable as a non-signatory to the agreement. The team was successful and obtained a favorable decision from the California court. Nigel Telman,also of the Chicago office, recently defended McDonald’s in lawsuit filed by a former employee who alleged claims of sexual harassment, sex discrimination, and retaliation,aswell as common law intentional infliction of emotional distress claim and constructive discharge. The case was litigated in the Northern District of Illinois, where the court ruled in favor of the client, obtaining a partial dismissal on the latter two claims.  

Sanford Heisler Sharp

Active in a variety of labor and employment regards, Sanford Heisler Sharp continues to distinguish itself in the market, garnering the praises of competitors across the nation. One notes that the firm’s team “certainly knows the area [of] wage and hour [litigation].” Another considers the firm a leader in the market, stating, “I look at what they’re doing – I think that they bring a lot of really interesting cases – seta tone for what the new issues are going to be.” The firm achieves widespread, national recognition in part through its strategic dispersal ofits labor and employment potency between jurisdictions around the country, boasting New York, Maryland, and DC offices, as well as California, Georgia, and Tennessee outfits 

     The re-emergence of the esteemed Nancy Rafuse into private practice is marked both by her joining the firm as its Atlanta managing partner and firmwide litigation head, as well as by the pivoting of her focus away from the sphere of labor and employment defense towards that of plaintiff representation. Rafuse's roster of wins on both sides of the "v" has gained her a spot on this year's list of the Top 20 Labor & Employment Litigators. 

     Based in New York, Alexandra Harwin serves as executive chair of Sanford Heisler Sharp’s discrimination and harassment group. Harwin currently serves as counsel to a plaintiff who brings forth a complaint detailing several claims against Hollywood mainstay Robert De Niro and his corporate holding Canal Productions, alleging that she has been subjected to a workplace environment characterized by unsolicited physical contact, untoward sexual commentary, verbal toxicity, pervasive stereotyping, and various other gender-based transgressions. The plaintiff seeks from De Niro restitution of an amount in excess of $12 million. Joining Harwin on the matter in auxiliary roles are firm co-founders Jeremy Heisler, who additionally serves in the role of co-vice chairman, and Top 20 Labor & Employment Litigator David Sanford, serving as chairman. Harwin, Sanford, and Heisler are also litigating against another well-known name – Giorgio Armani Corporation. The team represents the former General Counsel of the company who was terminated following complaints of discrimination and his cancer diagnosis announcement. The client alleges national origin and disability discrimination, as well as retaliation claims.  

     Michael Palmer and Andrew Melzer are co-chairs of the wage and hour practice group at the firm. Palmer currently represents a former Juul Labs senior vice president in a retaliation dispute and is also litigating a lawsuit filed against Oracle under PAGA. The suit involves commissions and alleges California Labor Code violations. Melzer secured a settlement of over $2 million, approved by the California Superior Court in September 2021, in a PAGA lawsuit on behalf of a former Chief Nursing Officer against Signature Healthcare Services, the operator of the acute psychiatric hospital where she was employed.  

     Partner in the firm’s Palo Alto and San Francisco offices, and one of the firm’s discrimination and harassment co-chairsDanielle Fuschetti is newly recognized by Benchmark Labor & Employment for her employment litigation practiceShe currently leads the firm in its representation of Indradevi Sabrina Joseph,who – bringing forth numerous claims including but not limited to gender wage equity and discrimination claimshostile work environmentwrongful dismissal, andtheft of IP materials filed suit against her former employer, the semiconductor manufacturing market leader Xilinx. Joseph seeks more than $300 million in putative, unjust enrichment, and other damages. Also involved in the matter are Sanford and Edward ChapinSan Francisco’s Felicia Gilbert is actively litigating on behalf of a former engineer in a gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against her former employer Honeywell International. 

     Out of DC, H. Vincent McKnight obtained over $11 billion for the Relator, a former Contract Director, who filed a complaint on behalf of himself and the US Government, alleging that his former employer, Navistar, violated the False Claims Act related to forged and fraudulent documents produced during negotiations for US Defense Department contracts. DC’s managing partner and co-chair of discrimination and harassment Kate Mueting recently secured a $10 billion settlement on behalf of women who alleged systemic pay and promotion and gender discrimination claims against KPMG.