United States (National)

Benchmark Litigation Reviews

Dispute resolution
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 fight tooth-and-nail with Bob Horkovich on a very frequent basis, but you can’t help but love him. 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.” 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.

Ballard Spahr
Founded in 1885, Ballard Spahr is a Philadelphia-based firm with over 650 attorneys in 15 offices across the country. The firm specializes in business, finance, intellectual property, public finance, and real estate litigation. One client highlights how the firm “has provided us outstanding support in litigation matters over the years. They have very talented litigators who provide great client service at a relatively reasonable price. They are extremely responsive and generally make the client feel his or her needs are their most important priority. They are known by our adversaries to be a formidable opponent, but they are excellent in looking for ways to find appropriate settlement opportunities.” Leslie John is chair of the firm’s antitrust group and focuses her practice on representing a number of healthcare and pharmaceutical clients in complex litigation. John is currently leading the team defending the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in an antitrust class action lawsuit filed by four physicians challenging the organization’s requirements for continuing certification. With over 50 years of experience, David Pittinsky is a seasoned litigator who has been involved in several high stakes matters. Throughout the years, Pittinsky has represented a number of companies in commercial, trial, appellate, class action, and consumer financial litigation. Pittinsky is particularly known for his expertise in appellate courts, winning several high profile cases for a range of clients. John Grugan focuses his practice on government enforcement matters, defending clients in a host of complex civil and criminal litigation brought by a number of federal and state institutions. Covering antitrust, securities, and corporate governance matters, Stephen Kastenberg has over 20 years of experience assisting clients in a number of industries. Kastenberg currently serves as lead counsel for NASDAQ in numerous cases involving the trading of a stock during the Facebook IPO, obtaining an injunction against an exchange member seeking substantial claims in arbitration.
Bartlit Beck

With offices in Chicago and Denver, Bartlit Beck continues to be lauded for its longstanding reputation as a stable of all-purpose litigation talent, with an emphasis on trial skills. “Bartlit Beck are definitely seen as somewhat of an elite shop, and they are national in profile – it’s barely even relevant where they are geographically based at this point – and they are ready to try just about anything, sometimes on a moment’s notice.”
     While founder and name partner Phil Beck remains on every shortlist concerning top trial lawyers in the country, others within the firm are emerging as leading practitioners of note. In particular, Chicago’s Rebecca Weinstein Bacon has “arrived,” peers stress. Bacon is lead counsel for USG, a drywall manufacturer, and its former distribution company against Sherman Act and state price fixing claims related to its drywall business. USG settled the class cases and subsequently, 12 of the largest homebuilders in the US brought similar claims that are currently pending. Bacon has and Sean Gallagher have been chosen by Johnson & Johnson to assist national counsel in providing strategic guidance for its pelvic and hernia mesh mass tort litigation. Gallagher and Bacon were chosen to try two bellwether cases in state court in Philadelphia. In the case tried by Gallagher, a jury in Philadelphia returned a defense verdict for Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon in a pelvic mesh case. Another swiftly risen star, Kaspar Stoffelmayr, has taken the mantle in several firm’s appointments to some of the country’s most thorny litigation matters. Stoffelmayr is lead counsel and trial counsel for Walgreens in a nationwide litigation relating to the distribution and sale of prescription opioids, including hundreds of cases brought by states, cities, counties, tribes, and private parties seeking recovery in connection with the opioid abuse crisis. Stoffelmayr is also lead counsel for Monsanto, acquired by Bayer, in cases pending in courts across the country alleging that Roundup herbicides cause cancer. After the first such case went to trial and resulted in $289 million verdict against Monsanto, Bayer retained Bartlit Beck and other new counsel to assist with the defense. The firm's first trial representing Monsanto in this matter is currently scheduled for August 2019. A second Bartlit Beck team is scheduled for an October 2019 trial. Managing partner Jason Peltz and future star Hamilton Hill are representing Spirit in a dispute with its customer Boeing regarding warranty issues. The claims relate to Boeing's refusal to pay Spirit money owed for parts due to separate warranty issues. A complaint was filed in July 2018 in King County, Washington and the case settled in January 2019. As part of the settlement, the remainder of the outstanding issues will now be arbitrated.

Berman Tabacco

Berman Tabacco has been referred to by peers as “one of the premier plaintiff shops.” One such peer, speaking to the San Francisco office where the majority of its litigation stars are housed, as “sort of the ‘Bernstein Litowitz of the West.’” While this comparison to one of the country’s other top securities class-action plaintiff shops is meant to be a flattering one, it is not entirely accurate, as Berman Tabacco also operates a Boston office. And while Berman is engaged in its fair share of securities class actions, its reach is broader and more diverse; one peer observes, “I’m actually seeing Berman Tabacco more in the antitrust space these days!” Lending weight to this claim, San Francisco’s Todd Seaver filed a class action in April 2020 accusing Juul and Altria of illegally monopolizing the market for electronic cigarettes in violation of federal antitrust laws, a result of Altria’s 2018 agreement to acquire 35% of Juul and subsequent exit from the e-cigarette market. This class action is one of several filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of a nationwide class of Juul purchasers, after the Federal Trade Commission in April filed an administrative complaint against both companies for violating federal antitrust laws through two agreements in 2018 and an amended agreement in 2020.
     In the securities space, the firm is continuing to evolve and expand into areas, such as health,  considered outside of its “usual” industries. The firm is also examining an increasing amount of opt-out opportunities for its clients, in addition to the class-action work. A peer notes, “They are getting fewer settlements, but they are getting bigger ones!” San Francisco’s Nicole Lavalee is cheered by a client for her “communication, strategy and expertise in the field.” A peer notes, “I’m seeing her on more securities fraud cases, making motions for lead plaintiff.” Lavalee is co-lead counsel representing lead plaintiff Plymouth County Retirement Association in a securities class action lawsuit against Aqua Metals on behalf of all persons who acquired the common stock of Aqua Metals during a period in 2016-2017. During the class period, Aqua Metals touted that it had developed a technology that had the potential to revolutionize lead recycling and make lead-acid batteries the only truly sustainable battery technology, which was discovered to have been rife with misleading statements. In August 2019, the court issued an order denying, in part, and granting, in part, defendants’ motion to dismiss the complaint. In June 2019, Lavalee was appointed lead counsel representing the sole lead plaintiff Utah Retirement Systems in a class action brought on behalf of investors in Healthcare Services Group, a provider of housekeeping and laundry services to hospitals and other healthcare service organizations. The action currently alleges that, between certain period between 2017 and 2019, defendants issued materially false and misleading statements and failed to disclose “earnings management” practices that allowed the defendants to consistently meet or beat earnings per share estimates that, in turn, caused the price of the company’s stock to be artificially inflated. In April 2020, the court issued an order denying the defendants’ motions to dismiss in full. The case will now proceed to discovery.
     The Boston office has also been busy. Patrick Egan represents whistleblower clients in a federal False Claims Act action against former pharmaceutical executives and sales managers stemming from their alleged off-label promotion of the orphan drug Juxtapid, which is used to treat an exceedingly rare cholesterol disorder. Plaintiffs allege that the defendants orchestrated a scheme to aggressively promote Juxtapid beyond that population through an aggressive misinformation campaign directed at doctors and other improper sales and marketing tactics.  As a result, the federal government was defrauded into paying millions of dollars through Medicare, Medicaid and other federal prescription drug programs for drug coverage for patients who did not have the underlying disorder. In 2017, the United States intervened in the whistleblowers’ action for purposes of settling claims with the company under an arrangement in which it agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges. Following settlement with the company, the whistleblowers continued with their litigation against the senior executives and sales managers allegedly involved in directing the wide-ranging off-label marketing scheme.  In March 2019, the court issued an order, largely denying defendants’ motions to dismiss and sustaining plaintiffs’ claims against the top executives and sales professionals. In December 2019, Egan announced a $6.5 million settlement with the eight former executives and employees, bringing the total recovery to the United States and certain individual states in this matter to $42.5 million. Nathaniel Orenstein is a member of Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee and Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee representing three residents of Andover, Massachusetts in this litigation filed in the wake of the September 2018, catastrophe in which widespread explosions and fires engulfed the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts as a result of the over-pressurization of natural gas lines. As a result of the incident, thousands of residents of Andover, North Andover, and Lawrence Massachusetts were displaced and suffered significant physical and emotional injury. Plaintiffs’ counsel negotiated an extraordinary $143 million, non-reversionary settlement fund for the benefit of the proposed class of residents, property owners and businesses in the three towns. The proposed settlement provides for direct cash payments to claimants in amounts calculated to reflect the harm they suffered from the Incident. 

 

Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann

Bernstein Litowitz has emerged as an undisputed leader in the securities-focused plaintiff arena. Peers on both sides of the “V” offer plaudits and admiration on a near-unanimous basis. A plaintiff peer endorses the firm’s standing as “the cream of the crop,” while a defense-side peer quips, “I see more of Bernstein Litowitz than I would care to. But you can’t argue with their quality and their market share. In the 10-B(5) securities class action space, their results speak for themselves.”
     Historically a New York-based institution position as “an attack dog for Wall Street,” the firm has also attended to a Delaware practice as well, a position that the firm cemented when it officially opened an office in Wilmington this past year and installed recent 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.” One peer observes, “Greg joining them was a very interesting development! He was at one of the classic white-shoe Delaware firms and then one day you wake up and he’s a plaintiff with Bernstein. It was a bit of a head-scratcher but I’m sure they know what they’re doing, they both are great in their respective roles.” 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.”
     In the New York flagship, Mark Lebovitch is also known for a Delaware element to his practice, which frequently involve derivative actions. “Mark is outstanding,” enthuses a peer, echoing the sentiment of others. “He’s very creative and very big in the activist space.” Lebovitch recently triumphed for shareholders of New Senior Investment Group in a derivative action brought in Delaware Chancery Court in 2016 arising out of an unlawful scheme to enrich Fortress Investment Group and its affiliates at the expense of New Senior and its stockholders, through self-dealing transactions that caused New Senior to overpay for the properties, issue a larger secondary offering than necessary to fund the acquisition, and pay higher management fees than necessary. The court denied the defendants motion to dismiss. Following a mediation process, Lebovitch secured a settlement consisting of $53 million to be paid to New Senior, as well as important corporate governance. The settlement was approved in July 2019. Sal Graziano is another frequent mention. “Sal is always in the mix, and he can certainly try a case if needed.” Graziano pursued a securities fraud class action on behalf of investors in SunEdison alleging that the executives of renewable energy entity SunEdison misled investors concerning its financial condition. In June 2019, following multiple mediation sessions and extended settlement negotiations, the parties reached an agreement in principle to settle for $74 million. The settlement was approved in October. Peers also note that one of the firm’s younger partners, Jeremy Robinson, “really has stepped forward as a true first-chair litigator.” One peer elaborates, “for someone at that age bracket at that firm to forge their own practice is very, very difficult. He is now the #2 guy on their Facebook case that’s been pending – dealing with the effects of privacy matters on shareholders. He’s got the aggressive, front-facing style that Bernstein likes.”

 

Blank Rome

Initially a Philadelphia-based firm and still one of that market’s key players, Blank Rome has since swelled to 13 offices in the U.S. and over 600 attorneys. The firm offers services in a wide range of areas, but arguably its most significant development as of late is its entry into an especially busy policyholder-only insurance recovery practice, which Blank Rome managed to cultivate through its absorption of several leading partners from now-defunct DC-based plaintiff shop Dickstein Shapiro. The firm didn’t stop there, however; the firm has since launched an insurance-led expansion that has netted the firm key litigators in the practice such as Linda Kornfeld from the Los Angeles office of Kasowitz Benson & Torres and, more recently, Mary Craig Calkins, who the firm lured away from the Los Angeles office of Kilpatrick Townsend in August 2019. Calkins, a member of the American College of Coverage Counsel, is viewed by fellow insurance litigators as a particularly prized acquisition.
     Kornfeld, a similarly celebrated insurance trial lawyer, represents Cottage Health, a group of hospital facilities in Central California, in the first insurance coverage lawsuit filed nationwide regarding coverage under a data breach-specific insurance policy for a data breach event. Cottage suffered one of California's largest data breaches and is pursuing coverage from Columbia Casualty Company and certain underwriters at Lloyd's of London for resulting class action litigation and regulatory proceeding expenditures. Trial is set for October 2019. Washington, DC’s Jim Murray and New York future star Jared Zola are leading the charge for numerous archdioceses across the country seeking insurance proceeds to cover defense costs and any potential settlements or judgments incurred from claims of alleged sexual abuse within the clergy, frequently many decades ago. Murray and Zola were also retained by Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Malik Jefferson to pursue a claim for insurance coverage under his “Loss of Value” disability policy while he was a student at the University of Texas. This line of coverage is marketed to top college football players destined for the NFL to protect the financial value of their NFL draft status in the event they suffer an injury playing college football. This retention follows on the heels of the firm’s representation of Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Marqise Lee under a similar policy.

Boies Schiller Flexner

Boies Schiller Flexner is the embodiment of a maverick litigation firm, with an innovative and unconventional approach to the practice and a team of practitioners dispersed throughout a network of 13 US offices, some in less typical locales, such as Albany, New York; Hanover, New Hampshire and Hollywood, Florida. The firm also made a recent push into California, with its 2017 absorption of the Los Angeles shop Caldwell Leslie & Proctor. “This made the whole LA market take notice,” observes one peer. “It was like, ‘What are THEY doing here?’ It threw a lot of people off balance.”
     In addition to the firm expanding its geographic reach, Boies Schiller has also made a notable investment in its grooming its bench for succession. Few would argue that the lion’s share of the firm’s gravitas rests on the shoulders of Armonk, New York-based David Boies, a celebrity litigator that has been at the forefront of some of the most high-visibility and high-stakes cases for decades, in both the plaintiff and defense positions as well as in both the trial and appellate capacities. “David Boies really needs no introduction, he is ‘Trial Law 101,’” quips a peer, summing up the general consensus. “He is still a force to be reckoned with, even into his seventies.” Other partners, however, are quickly rising to a level of prominence that, while perhaps not equal to Boies’, is at least significant enough to announce that the younger breed is a force to be reckoned. Most notably Karen Dunn, a Washington, DC-based commercial and “crisis” litigator, has left an indelible stamp on the litigation scene, with a series of high-profile appointments, including several key wins. In tandem with Robbie Kaplan of New York’s Kaplan Hecker & Fink, is representing 11 people who were injured during a tumultuous, and ultimately violent, white supremacist and neo-Nazi demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017. The team scored a big first-round win in July 2018 when a federal judge in Virginia refused to dismiss their suit against 24 of 25 defendants. Dunn scored big twice in 2019; once in March for Apple in a patent-related case against Qualcomm, for which Dunn secured summary judgment for her client, and again in August when she logged a bench trial victory on behalf of Uber in Massachusetts federal court in a case brought by Boston’s largest taxi conglomerate demanding more than $750 million in damages, alleging that Uber had competed unfairly in the Boston market when it operated without licenses, violating long-standing taxi rules. “Karen Dunn has just had one hell of a ride for the past couple of years,” ventures a peer, “but she deserves it because she really hustles.” Another declares, “I’ve been against Karen Dunn, and I can tell you that she is tough as nails, but with a level of civility about her that makes you want to witness her in action, even you are in an adverse position to her.” New York’s Nick Gravante, a multipurpose commercial trial lawyer, counts the Kushner Companies as one of the higher-profile names among his long list of clients. Gravante represents this corporate entity in connection with various criminal investigations regarding the EB-5 Visa Program; a Deutsche Bank loan to company made shortly before the last presidential election, and various incorrect filings made with various NYC agencies relating to company-owned buildings.

 

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings

Headquartered in Birmingham, Bradley has emerged as a dominant player in the legal services industry in the Southeast, boasting an ever-expanding network of offices throughout the region (in Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, North Carolina, Florida and Washington, DC, as well as its native Alabama.) An appreciative client raves on the firm’s behalf, “The Bradley team has helped me develop and resolve complicated product liability matters in Alabama that required deep understanding of our product and operations, and a creative approach to making our case. They are presently working on two other matters for me, in Tennessee and Arkansas, where they are showing the same excellence. I hold Bradley up as my premier firm when it comes to strategy development, legal research and writing, and overall case handling.”

In the firm’s Birmingham flagship, quickly risen future star, Lindsey Boney has been involved in several high-profile cases involving major pharmaceutical clients. Boney served as lead counsel for Bayer in a number of lawsuits involving the drug Xarelto, leading the strategy and legal briefing team. Litigation practice chair Kim Martin is another star who worked alongside Boney in the Bayer case, leading the discovery team. In addition, Martin is currently representing Avectus Healthcare Solutions in class action lawsuits spanning multiple states. Tripp Haston is highly regarded for his defense of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in numerous matters. He currently works alongside Boney and Martin, serving as lead counsel for Wyeth, a Pfizer subsidiary, in a set of litigation alleging injury from the anti-arrhythmic drug Cordarone. In addition, Haston represents another Pfizer subsidiary, Hospira, in a number of product liability cases. David Hymer leads Bradley’s role as co-lead counsel in a class action filed on behalf of an Indiana artist against Alibaba for copyright infringement, with a claim value of $30 million. Hymer also leads the firm’s defense of a confidential defendant in the massive, sprawling opioid litigation. Montgomery-based Charles “Chuck” Stewart is another product liability standout, and is cheered by a client as “client- driven, fantastic on his feet, a clear writer and strategist, and a true leader of his team. He is open to feedback and quick to develop in areas where we have discussed trying new things.” Stewart is also touted for his acumen in the labor and employment arena.

Lela Hollabaugh and Will Goodman, both based in the Nashville office, serve as Tennessee counsel for Amazon in a product liability litigation arising from the sale of hoverboards by third-party sellers on the Amazon Marketplace. The allegations in the complaint seek to hold Amazon liable as a seller of the products that are sold by others on its Marketplace. The matter value is $30 million.

Buckley

With domestic offices in Washington, DC, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, Buckley (formerly Buckley Sandler and renamed last year) was launched when several partners decamped from Skadden to form the firm over 10 years ago, cultivating a practice consisting largely of white-collar crime and investigations work, with a financial services focus. Peers sum up the firm as “a group that represents companies and individuals, and they go to trial. They are driven by the government policies like the FCPA. A lot of firms do FCPA work, but Buckley does FCPA trial work – they these cases! Nobody tries these!” Another peer offers the glowing review, “In assessing a firm, you have to ask yourself, ‘Would you refer your brother here if he had a problem?’ For Buckley, that is YES!”
     The firm made a recent key strategic hire when trial and appellate luminary Henry “Hank” Asbill recently decamped from Jones Day to join the firm in its DC office. “That speaks volumes, it’s a coup for both parties,” voices one peer. “Hank is one of the best, and he probably wouldn’t leave a comfy big firm environment like Jones Day to go just anywhere. Clearly he was looking for a firm with some more ‘fire in the belly,’ which he himself has plenty of.” Asbill has a particularly keen acumen with white-collar work. “Hank has been lucky enough over the course of his career to represent individuals without hurting the companies. He doesn’t get hired to cut deals, he gets hired to try cases or at least leverage his trial skills.” Asbill’s prowess was called into service when the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Northern District of Alabama charged two partners at a prominent Alabama law firm and the executive of a major local company, with bribing a former Alabama state legislator to take official actions to oppose proposals by the Environmental Protection Agency related to a Superfund Site in North Birmingham. Asbill led a team of attorneys from Buckley and Jones Day in defending the executive in a four-week trial. In another high-stakes matter, Benjamin Klubes and Preston Burton, two other DC partners, represent the former Director of Security for the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who was charged with lying to the FBI about his contacts with reporters. The client pleaded guilty in October 2018 to only one of the three counts in his indictment, and was sentenced to two months prison in December 2018. David Krakoff represents a former senior executive of Deutsche Bank who pleaded guilty to allegations of manipulating LIBOR. The client testified for several days in October 2018 as a key government witness at the trial of two of his former colleagues at Deutsche Bank, who were subsequently convicted. In April 2019, as a direct the client was sentenced to time served and a $300,000 fine.

Butler Snow

With 27 locations internationally, Butler Snow has developed its presence since its founding in 1954. The firm’s work elicits praise from clients, one of whom remarks, “The teams for each of the matters we used them on were top notch. The resolution of the matter in the SDNY was achieved cost effectively. The resolution of the matter in the Commercial Division was part of a complex litigation involving courts in three different states.” Another client agrees, specifically cheering the “High level of attention, sound strategic advice, and commitment to timely work product.”

Ryan Beckett chairs the firm’s litigation department and works out of the Jackson, Mississippi office. Among his numerous cases, he represented Global Tel*Link, a correctional technology vendor, in a consumer class action suit regarding civil RICO, fraud and consumer protection claims against the client. These claims are over rates, fees and commissions charged to inmates and their friends and family members. The case was dismissed for a third time. William Gage is the lead counsel for Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon in various matters, one of which relates to a pelvic repair system product liability litigation matter in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. Butler Snow is the national coordinating counsel for the client, due to the size and scope of the matter. Other key individuals at the firm Andrea La’Verne EdneyJohn Henegan and Kari Sutherland, who work in the Jackson and Oxford, Mississippi offices, respectively, are also assisting with the matter. At its peak, there were over 62,000 active cases in multiple multi-district litigation cases, making this one of the largest litigation matters. Also out of the Jackson office, Orlando “Rod” Richmond Sr. is a notable member on the executive committee who primarily works with the pharmaceutical, medical device and healthcare sectors. He represented Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals in product liability claims involving their product Pradaxa. Richmond successfully defended the company, gaining a verdict in favor of the defense from the jury following a multi-week trial in the second bellwether trial in Connecticut. Richmond is cheered for his trial acumen, with one peer extolling, “Rod is a great, level-headed trial lawyer, who knows how to go in front of tough juries in tough plaintiff-friendly venues like Philadelphia and Atlantic City, present compelling, persuasive arguments and WIN!”

Cahill Gordon & Reindel

Cahill Gordon & Reindel remains a favorite with its stable of loyal, longtime 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 gameplan” 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 office as well as DC, Brad Bondi has become known as a trusted advocate for white-collar and securities enforcement matters. “Over the years I have gotten to know Brad well and have trusted him on several important projects,” testifies a peer. Bondi represents former a KPMG senior partner and executive who is charged along with four others are charged in a high-profile case with wire fraud and related offenses relating to the misappropriation by the defendants of confidential inspection information from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. Bondi was also engaged by Tesla in the wake of statements made on Twitter by CEO Elon Musk in 2018. These infamous Tweets claimed “funding secured” for a transaction to take Tesla private, which caused a furor within the SEC, who responded with a securities fraud action. Bondi undertook an internal investigation and ultimately secured a highly favorable resolution for non-fraud charges. 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. A decision on that motion is pending. The response is also strong for Arinudh Bansal, a younger partner who is making a swift ascent. “I think Arinudh 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. Landis Best serves as co-counsel representing Hayman Capital Management and its founder in litigation brought by a real estate investment firm in Texas state court alleging claims of disparagement and tortious interference stemming from reports published by Hayman that were critical of plaintiffs’ business. 
     Cahill has long served 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 longtime 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 at the same time “being one of the more pleasant and well-spoken litigators you’ll encounter.”

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is one of the few firms of its ilk to span the globe with its disputes prowess while still being a champion of cases that set precedents through its practitioners in New York and DC. “Cleary benefits from having a really broad and international book of business,” states a peer. “This drives some great work their way and they have superb people there to look after it.” The firm excels in antitrust, white-collar and investigations work, securities, bankruptcy, commercial and even some intellectual property, in addition to being known as one of the dominant forces in the international arbitration arena.  
     Cleary’s antitrust capacity, already considered one of the country’s strongest, got a further boost in March of 2020 when it recruited Bruce Hoffman, a former leader of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, to its DC group. A peer offers in summation, “That was a fabulous hire,” a consensus shared by many in the antitrust sphere. Hoffman is already making his presence felt in cases; he and fellow DC partner David Gelfand are representing Molson Coors in the defense of a claim by a US brewer alleging an antitrust violation affected exports to Ontario, Canada. The case is on remand from the Seventh Circuit, which dismissed the majority of plaintiff’s claims. Another DC partner, George Cary, is widely considered the firm’s antitrust figurehead and is also a near-unanimous reference among fellow practitioners in the field. One peer hyperbolically quips, “George Cary is antitrust!” Another elaborates, “George has not only an encyclopedic knowledge of antitrust law, he also just has instant credibility. He actually manages to teach the judiciary about antitrust law, and that would only happen if you’ve got the kind of clout with them that George has.” Cary and a fellow antitrust star, Leah Brannon, represent Keurig in massive multiparty monopolization litigation in the Southern District of New York. Almost two years into discovery, 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. Cary and yet another antitrust star, Jeremy Calsyn, secured federal merger clearance and won an unprecedented multi-state lawsuit as lead antitrust counsel to T-Mobile and parent company Deutsche Telekom in connection with T-Mobile’s historic merger with Sprint Corporation. The lawsuit was brought by 17 Attorney Generals and culminated in a two-week trial in December 2019 and January 2020. Brannon and Calsyn, both based in DC, are quickly risen stars who represent the younger generation of the firm.
     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, “Cleary is great because they have about six people I can count on who are solid. When I have a huge case that I need to refer, I need the breadth and the depth, not just one star player who may or may not be too overwhelmed to be fully engaged. The Cleary team is smart, knowledgeable and experienced, and there are a bunch of them: David Brodsky, Joon Kim, Breon Peace, Lev Dassin, Victor Hou – these people are all a solid team.” Hou represents embattled Brazilian engineering and construction firm Odebrecht and related entities in two private securities actions in the Southern District of New York. At the heart of the matters is the defendants’ involvement in the biggest bribery scandal in history (the investigation of which resulted in the well-publicized “Lava Jato” (Car Wash) action), which resulted in a guilty plea and $2.6 billion settlement with the US DoJ as well as settlements with other foreign governments. “Victor is not just a white-collar guy, though,” insists a peer, speaking to Hou’s broad-based practice. “He kind of does it all, commercial and securities work, and he’s great with all of it. Plus he’s got relative youth and energy going for him, which you don’t often see with someone with his level of experience.”

     The firm’s international muscle is frequently on display in cases managed by Jeffrey Rosenthal and Howard Zelbo, two long-established figures in the global arbitration arena, as well as Ari MacKinnon, a future star who is increasingly moving to the fore in cases of his own. Another future star, Lisa Vincens, makes her debut in this edition on the strength of vibrant peer review. “Lisa has developed a fabulous South American practice,” confirms one competitor. “She is a homegrown talent, an unusual person in that respect.” The international team at Cleary frequently attends to cases touching on securities enforcement, white-collar crime and bankruptcy issues. Lisa Schweitzer is a practitioner engaged in bankruptcy specifically. Schweitzer represents bedding products company Tempur Sealy International in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases of one of its regional retailers, preserving the client’s litigation claims and other rights through the bankruptcy. In a recent development, Schweitzer is leading a team representing LATAM Airlines Group and its affiliates in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and the US in the voluntary reorganization and restructuring of their debt under Chapter 11 protection in the US. Under the Chapter 11 financial reorganization process, LATAM and its affiliates will have the opportunity to resize their operations to the new demand environment, given the effects of COVID-19, and reorganize their balance sheets. The group will continue passenger and cargo operations as conditions permit throughout the process. This cross-border procedure, which highlights unprecedented challenges faced by the industry in the face of the global pandemic, also involves Luke Barefoot, a rising star in the bankruptcy arena, as well as securities-focused star, Roger Cooper.

Cravath Swaine Moore

The star power of Cravath Swaine & Moore continues undiminished for yet another year. Still operating out of only one office in Manhattan, the firm commands respect nationally for its prestige and unassailable brand in the legal community. “Cravath remains one of the ‘usual suspects,’ for very good reason,” declares a peer, echoing the consensus of many. The firm is frequently at the forefront of cases involving elements of antitrust, securities and commercial litigation, and sometimes an intersection of all of these. Cravath has been identified as one of the few firms among its “white-shoe” ilk to feature a diverse client base that is not exclusively beholden to financial institutions. Even in practices into which the firm has made more recent entries, such as white-collar crime and intellectual property, Cravath has made notable strides.
     Cravath is also singled out for its dedication to trial law, and indeed the firm’s increased concentration in Benchmark’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers list reflects this. “If you look around at some of the top trial lawyers in the city these days,” confirms a New York peer, “many of them got their start at Cravath.” To a great extent, trial law figurehead Evan Chesler is credited for forging this culture over the years. Chesler himself has joked, “I try cases – that’s all they let me do around here.” Despite decades plying his craft in front of juries, Chesler still earns plaudits from peers and continues to appear in a lead role on some of the firm’s most groundbreaking matters. Others have stepped up and made their mark, however; notably, Daniel Slifkin is acknowledged by a peer as “Cravath’s most experienced trial lawyer after Evan. He is skilled and polished, with just the right amount of aggression.” Another peer notes, “Evan and Dan are the mentors. They foster the Cravath trial approach.” Chesler and Slifkin play lead roles representing Elon Musk and other members of the Tesla board of directors in connection with a stockholder class and derivative action filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery related to Tesla’s $2.6 billion acquisition of SolarCity Corporation. Plaintiffs allege that Musk exercised control over the Tesla board, despite holding only 22% of Tesla’s stock, and that the acquisition benefited Musk and others at the expense of the company and its minority stockholders. The Cravath team was retained as trial counsel after defendants’ motion to dismiss was denied. At a younger vintage point, Kevin Orsini, who a mere three years ago was still considered one of Benchmark’s “future stars,” has made an astonishing ascent in profile since then due to his increased presence as a first-chair trial lawyer. Although Orsini took home the award for “Antitrust Litigator of the Year” at the 2020 Benchmark awards ceremony due to his proven acumen in the area with a milestone win for AmEx, Orsini maintains an all-purpose approach, covering a broad spectrum of commercial issues. In just the most recent example, Orsini won a significant trial decision for Occidental Petroleum in November 2019. Plaintiffs, entities affiliated with activist investor Carl Icahn, filed the action in the Delaware Court of Chancery in connection with the company’s $57 billion acquisition of Anadarko Petroleum, which closed in August 2019. Plaintiffs criticized the terms of the acquisition and sought company books and records to support a potential proxy dispute to replace Occidental’s board of directors. Following a Chancery decision, plaintiffs appealed to the Delaware Supreme Court, where Orsini argued in February 2020, with both parties reaching a settlement shortly thereafter. Gary Bornstein is also noted for a practice that straddles antitrust and commercial elements. Bornstein also boasted a 2020 trial victory, this one in a judicial appraisal proceeding in North Carolina state court. An estimated $350 million to $400 million was at stake in the suit, which sought a determination of the fair value of shares of RAI common stock exchanged by former RAI shareholders in connection with the merger between RAI and a subsidiary of British American Tobacco. Bornstein is also part of a team, which also includes Antony Ryan and Yonatan Even, spearheading antitrust litigation on behalf of Qualcomm following the FTC’s 2017 complaint. The case was tried over 10 days in January 2019 and in May the court issued a decision finding in favor of the FTC and issuing a permanent injunction against Qualcomm. The Cravath team continued to represent Qualcomm on appeal, and oral arguments were heard in February 2020. Bornstein is said to have been “cautiously optimistic” regarding the outcome, and his sanguine outlook was validated when, in August 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously reversed the district court’s judgment and vacated the injunction in a complete defense win for Qualcomm.
     Cravath’s white-collar and enforcement capacity, while a newer development and small in size, has also seen a steady ascent in stature. “They are building [that group] up quite nicely,” speculates a peer, “and I think very highly of the two main people, John Buretta and Ben Gruenstein.” These two noted practitioners are acting as compliance monitors for Japanese auto parts manufacturer Takata, which has been subject to international scrutiny in the wake of an imbroglio regarding defective airbags. As part of a subsequent Consent Order, Buretta was brought on by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as the compliance monitor in 2015, with other Cravath partners, also including David Stuart, assisting as of 2017 as the monitorship took on global proportions.
     For a firm with such a historic pedigree, Cravath is also noted for doing an exceptional job in keeping an eye on the future by way of nurturing its younger litigation talent. Vanessa Lavely played a role in both the aforementioned case for Tesla. Omid Nasab brings a pronounced bankruptcy focus, a burgeoning area for the firm that dovetails with its representation of embattled California utility PG&E, which declared bankruptcy in the wake of its wildfire litigation, and also an area many law firms expect to emphasize following on to effects of Covid-19 on the global economy.

Davis Polk & Wardwell

While Davis Polk & Wardwell house one of the smaller litigation groups among firms of a similar stature, it has secured a notable presence at the forefront of some of the country’s most high-stakes securities, commercial, antitrust and white-collar matters. The compact group (34 partners in total) is also distributed among several strategic locations: New York, Washington, DC and Silicon Valley, CA. The firm is routinely revered by peers; one calls them “an excellent group, with a high-end pedigree and clientele.”
    Davis Polk has made a remarkable surge in its white-collar and investigations practice. “They have done a great job of making sure to build this group up after so many years of ‘the Bob Fiske show,’” confirms a peer, referring to a legendary former partner. “The team there now is younger and more diverse and, more importantly, a real team.” Even more impressive, the team at Davis Polk is truly trial tested. Greg Andres, who rejoined the firm in June 2019, represents clients in both civil and criminal trials. He previously served as a partner in Davis Polk’s white-collar group from 2013 to 2017 and has represented individuals, financial institutions and other entities in a wide range of regulatory and criminal investigations involving market manipulation, insider trading, securities, procurement and tax fraud, and money laundering. He also has extensive experience in anti-corruption matters, both in private practice and at the Department of Justice. From August 2017 to March 2019, Andres was a member of the Special Counsel’s Office in Washington DC, investigating Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and related matters. Andres served as the lead trial lawyer in the successful prosecution of Paul Manafort in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Andres makes his debut on Benchmark’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers this year. Another white-collar and investigation star seeing his profile surge is Neil MacBride, a former US Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia who joined the firm’s DC office in 2014. MacBride represented Exxon Mobil in successfully suing the US Department of Treasury and OFAC in federal court to vacate a penalty notice, dating from July 2017, imposing a $2 million fine on ExxonMobil for alleged violations of the Ukraine-related sanctions regulations. In December 2019 the court granted ExxonMobil’s motion for summary judgment, denied the government’s cross-motion for summary judgment, and declared that OFAC’s penalty notice violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.
     In the firm’s prized securities department, New York’s James Rouhandeh is a consistent fixture in cases, as is rising star Brian Weinstein. “We’re seeing a lot of Jim and Brian, they do a lot of Morgan Stanley work.” Indeed, this named client has been a loyal mainstay in the firm’s securities capacity, but recent cases are evidence of a greater diversity. Rouhandeh represented Walmart in litigation filed against Tesla Energy Operations related to solar panels that Tesla’s predecessor, SolarCity Corporation, had installed at numerous Walmart sites. In a complaint prepared by Davis Polk and filed in New York State Supreme Court, Walmart alleged that SolarCity had designed, installed, and promised to safely operate solar panels on the roofs of 244 Walmart stores – but, instead, SolarCity and Tesla had acted with gross negligence and failed to live up to industry standards in their operation of those solar panels. Walmart claimed that, as a result of that gross negligence, seven Walmart stores experienced fires due to Tesla’s solar systems between 2012 and 2018. Walmart and Tesla reached an amicable resolution of the litigation and entered a stipulation of voluntary discontinuance in November 2019. Rouhandeh also, along with Silicon Valley-based Neal Potischman, secured a victory for Novo Nordisk in two actions pending in the US District Court for the District of New Jersey, one of which is a putative nationwide class action. The cases are brought by consumers with diabetes and by certain health plans; both groups claim that they paid excessive prices for insulin manufactured by Novo Nordisk and other pharmaceutical manufacturers. The theory of the cases is that prices paid at the pharmacy counter are deceptive because they do not properly reflect the value of rebates that manufacturers pay to pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to ensure that the manufacturers’ products are made available to consumers on drug formularies. Plaintiffs in both cases alleged that each of the manufacturer defendants was involved in a conspiracy with different PBMs to inflate the price of insulin in violation of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Plaintiffs also brought claims under the consumer protection laws of various states. In February 2020, the court granted Davis Polk’s motions to dismiss all of plaintiffs’ RICO claims.
     The firm’s bankruptcy practice has also seen a rising profile of late, specifically New York’s Elliot Moskowitz. “Keep an eye on Elliot,” advises a high-profile peer in the bankruptcy capacity. “I’ve been impressed with him and I think he’s got quite a future.” Moskowitz is advising a major lender in the ongoing chapter 11 bankruptcy cases and related litigation in the US and Hong Kong involving China Fishery Group Limited and certain of its affiliates. Through its Peruvian subsidiaries, China Fishery Group, which filed for bankruptcy in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in June 2016 and has also been involved in insolvency proceedings in Peru, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong and Singapore since 2015. On behalf of this client, Moskowitz is currently defending a lawsuit pending before the bankruptcy court in which plaintiff is seeking at least $245 million in damages based on purported violations of Peruvian, Hong Kong and US law. In 2019 Moskowitz filed, argued, and submitted supplemental briefing in support of a motion to dismiss the claims. A ruling on the motion is currently pending. 

Debevoise & Plimpton

Debevoise & Plimpton has generated itself a well-earned niche as “the most worldly all of the US firms.” By way of supporting this claim, the firm’s nine offices, which span North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa, have only two locations in the US: its flagship New York location and a smaller outpost in DC. “Debevoise is the firm that, collectively, is a runner-up for the biggest number of stamps in their passports,” quips one practitioner. The firm remains a favorite of peers, who are taking notice of the firm’s talent roster. “They have been recruiting left and right,” observes one competitor, “and over the past year or two they have gotten some impressive names coming on board.”
     Already possessing one of the stronger securities enforcement and white-collar benches, Debevoise escalated to near-unassailable status in this capacity when it welcomed white-collar and enforcement luminary Mary Jo White (as well as her team partner Andrew Ceresney) back to the firm after a stint at the SEC under the Obama administration. “Debevoise benefits greatly from having Mary Jo,” opines one peer. “Boards and companies are coming to her to handle their stickiest matters.” Another peer extols, “In the criminal defense bar, Mary Jo has substantial credentials but she really has the skill set and ability to effectively accomplish extraordinary things. She really is the real deal.” White is noted for also becoming a leading force in matters involving a #MeToo element. Ceresney is not wanting for acclaim either. “I think the world of him, he is super smart and a pleasure to work with,” voices one peer. “Some people out there command the room, and Andy is not one of those people. But he is all brains, and is becoming a real leader. Although I should mention that I am also equally fond of [longtime white-collar star] Bruce Yannett and [relatively recent recruit] Helen Cantwell also. They are both great, and all together compose one of the deepest and most balanced white-collar teams.”
     In the securities capacity, Shannon Rose Selden represents Standard General in numerous cases across multiple jurisdictions arising from its 2014 investment in clothing company American Apparel, including disputes with the company's disgraced founder and former CEO. Maeve O’Connor provides lead counsel to the Winged Foot Golf Club, along with certain present and former members of the Board of Directors of the club’s holding corporation, in pending shareholder derivative and securities class-action lawsuits. The derivative action alleges that the Directors of the Winged Foot Holding Corporation breached their fiduciary duties to the Winged Foot Holding Corporation by running the corporation on a non-profit basis for the benefit of the Club and by leasing the land to the Club at a purportedly below market rate. The putative securities class action alleges securities fraud, common-law fraud, and breaches of fiduciary duty against the Club and certain Winged Foot Holding Corporation Directors based on the Club’s purchases of shares from members or heirs of members over the course of over 50 years.
     Another area for which Debevoise has long reigned supreme is its international arbitration and disputes capacity. In addition to the mainstay pillars of this practice, David Rivkin and Donald Donovan, both considered “icons” in this field, others have emerged as stars. Most notably, Mark Friedman and Ina Popova, who are representing Perenco Ecuador against the Republic of Ecuador in an ongoing ICSID claim concerning Ecuador’s 2006 amendment of the Hydrocarbons Law, through which the State increased its taxation rate over crude oil revenues to 99% above a fixed “reference price,” and its declaration that Perenco’s Participation Contracts had come to an end. Attending to a more Asian-focused practice, Christopher Tahbaz is noted for his foresight in seeing “an opportunity to develop an Asian practice and worked hard to do it. He just went over to Hong Kong, without even speaking the language at the time, and met people and developed this from the ground up. He is a tremendous writer, very calm, with a good pair of hands.” Another peer simply quips, “Chris is exactly the type of guy you’d want on your side in Asia to get through a major mess.” In yet another return to the fold, Catherine Amirfar has rejoined the firm after a stint with the State Department. “She’s back!” exclaims a peer. “She has gotten busy and is attracting work from clients already. She is an incredible expert on all things international treaty-wise.” Amirfar and Rivkin have been engaged by the Government of Qatar as lead counsel in one a high-profile and complex set of international disputes arising out of the coercive measures imposed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt on Qatar in June 2017 that include the expulsion of Qatari citizens from the four States and restrictions on the four States’ citizens traveling to Qatar; closure of airspace to Qatari aircraft; closure of the Saudi-Qatar land border; criminalized speech and other actions taken in “support” of Qatar, and a prohibition on ships flying the Qatari flag or those serving Qatar from entering the four States’ territorial waters and docking at ports. As a result of these coercive measures, Qatari nationals have been suffering grave human rights abuses. The Debevoise pair is lead counsel to the Government of Qatar in human rights proceedings against Saudi Arabia and UAE in the first ever State-to-State claim before the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, a human rights body within the UN system. Future star Jyotin Hamid obtained a significant victory in March 2019 for W. P. Carey in a dispute with a former senior executive.
     The smaller DC office received a considerable boost when Debevoise lured antitrust specialist Ted Hassi to its ranks from his former post at O’Melveny & Myers earlier in 2018. A peer and client favorite, Hassi is a recipient of a vocal level of praise and recognition from contemporaries. “We are encountering Ted quite often, and we are suitably impressed with him.” A client, meanwhile, confirms, “Ted was one of the leaders of the team of lawyers on our litigation. His preparation was tremendous and provided great leadership to team.”

Dorsey & Whitney
Dorsey & Whitney got its start in 1912 in Minneapolis . Over 100 years later, the firm has expanded to 19 cities throughout the US and abroad. Minneapolis-based William Stoeri represented UnitedHealth Group in other subsidiaries in seven putative class actions in clawback cases. The plaintiffs accused the client of illegally causing pharmacies to overcharge participants of their health plan for pharmaceutical products and then forcing these pharmacies to return the sums to UnitedHealth Group. Stoeri won a motion to dismiss the ERISA claims for benefits, fiduciary and prohibited transaction. James Langdon, also based in Minneapolis, co-heads the Class Action practice group and defended Robinson Outdoor Products in a false advertising claim. The client’s primary competitor claims that Robinson published false advertising in violation of the federal Lanham Act. Langdon joined the case midway and managed to reduce the settlement amount in favor of the client, in spite of prior counsel’s errors and pretrial rulings. Steve Lucke is also based in the Minneapolis office and co-chairs both the ERISA Litigation and Health Litigation practice groups. He also has extensive experience in class action litigation and often works with banking and financial institutions. Lucke represented U.S. Bancorp in a putative class action alleging that the client and other fiduciaries of the bank’s defined benefit plan were responsible for losses amount to over $1 billion. These losses resulted from a breach of duties when the defendants invested 100% of the plan’s assets in equities and performed prohibited transactions by investing about half of the plan’s assets into mutual funds by one of the bank’s affiliates. The districut court dismissed the case, which the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed. David Tank, widely known for his proactive and client-oriented style, heads the trial group in the Des Moines office. The bulk of his work is in complex business litigation and intellectual property. Peter Ehrlichman co-chairs the Banking & Financial Institutions industry group. Located primarily in the Seattle office. He is highly reputable in the general commercial, securities and banking practice areas. Steven Wells is highly skilled in business trial and appellate litigation. He successfully defended TEGNA in a defamation case, where the plaintiff alleged that TEGNA’s subsidiary KARE 11 TV falsely published news reports regarding financial fraud by an employee of a Minnesota automobile dealer. The dealer claimed that the news reports falsely implied that the dealer was the subject of the investigation as opposed to the employee, and as a result had suffered damages to its reputation. The district court ruled in favor of the defendant. Greg Tamkin works out of the Denver office and focuses on the intellectual property, international arbitration, securities and construction litigation practice areas. Reputable practitioner Steven Marsden represented Younique in intellectual property matters. Younique’s former Assistant General Counsel and Vice President for International Markets was part of the deal team when the client sold a majority interest to another business and was privy to other detailed confidential information. The lawyer then left Younique and started a company with the same products, market and web presence as the client. The court granted Marsden’s preliminary injunction, shutting the lawyer’s business down for five months and barring them from receiving compensation from the business or being involved with it. Bryon Benevento practices in the Salt Lake City office. His work focuses on general commercial and intellectual property litigation.
Gibbs & Bruns

Gibbs & Bruns is a nationally recognized litigation boutique. Recognized by Benchmark Litigation as one of the Top 20 Trial Firms in the country, the firm has continuously obtained favorable results on behalf of their clients in high-stakes business and complex commercial disputes.

                Veteran trial lawyer and firm figurehead Robin Gibbs has more than 45 years of litigation experience under his belt. His practice is dedicated to business and commercial litigation pertaining to contract, energy, oil and gas, antitrust, trade secret, legal malpractice, securities, director liability, intellectual property, construction, and partnership issues. Fellow partner Mark Giugliano represents clients in complex energy, construction, intellectual property focused on patent and copyright infringement, trusts and estates, products liability, class action, and securities litigation. He is active representing Enterprise in an engineering/construction lawsuit concerning a large petrochemical refinery recently constructed in Mont Belvieu, Texas. Enterprise seeks several hundred million dollars in cost overruns and lost profits from its original EPC contractor and parent company. After successful motion briefings and years of litigation that began in 2016, the trial is set for 2020. Fellow partner Scott Humphries is recognized for his work representing institutional plaintiffs in securities and contract disputes. His experience spans numerous state and federal courts, as well as across US and international arbitrations panels. Kathy Patrick is a seasoned trial lawyer who routinely represents big-name clients in high-profile, high-stakes cases. She is part of the lead counsel team representing OxyChem in a New Jersey federal lawsuit over cleanup costs allegedly related to a stretch of the purportedly polluted Passaic River. Patrick is renowned for her securities-related work, most notably recovering for a group of 14 large institutional investors who purchased securitized mortgages that contained fraudulent or ineligible loans prior to the financial crisis. Barrett Reasoner’s commercial litigation practice includes work on behalf of clients in securities, oil and gas, construction, environmental, and intellectual property. Reasoner recently represented Natural Resource Partners in a case brought by Anadarko. The client was alleged to have triggered an internal tax restructuring due to an anti-flip provision in an asset purchase agreement, leading to an allegedly owed buyout fee that ranged between $56 million and $78 million. In September 2019, the case was tried in a one-week bench trial.  After a successful motion on damages and following trial, the Court rendered a final, take-nothing judgement in favor of the client in November 2019.

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher enjoys a nationwide status as one of litigation’s most dominant entities. While its origins lie in California, the firm has grown in size and stature to transcend any notion of greater importance in any particular jurisdiction, boasting a star-studded roster that encompasses virtually all of its offices. Peers offer accolades aplenty. “From a litigation perspective, Gibson Dunn continues to rule the roost,” declares one competitor. “They just seem to attract the top-class work and seem to retain the most formidable talent to handle it.” Another assesses, “When I do a mental review of what competing firms are up to, I have to give the crown to Gibson Dunn. The trial victories, the appellate victories, cases running the gamut from resolving cutting-edge commercial issues to setting important legal precedent and even creating new law – they just seem to have it all covered.”
   The firm’s bench is flush with star talent all across the board, the past year has seen a particular spotlight on Los Angeles’ Ted Boutrous, a frequent first-call at the trial and appellate levels. Boutrous has been at the forefront of several major firm appointments over the past year, and has logged several significant victories throughout. Boutrous is part of a team leading the defense of Chevron Corporation in multiple lawsuits brought by state and local governments around the country seeking abatement and damages for climate change-related harms. The suits were brought by 12 state and local governments and target a group of major fossil fuel producers, including Chevron, alleging public nuisance and other torts arising out of the production, sale, and promotion of fossil fuels. In June 2018, the firm secured a groundbreaking motion to dismiss on behalf of the client litigation brought by the governments of San Francisco and Oakland in the Northern District of California. Boutrous also leads a team that has been retained to represent the McClatchy Company in a defamation lawsuit brought in April 2019 by a California Congressman seeking $150 million in damages, against the client, a reporter, and a political consultant. The lawsuit stems from a newspaper’s publication of an article detailing a 2016 lawsuit filed against a winery partly owned by the Congressman, in which a former employee alleged sexual harassment and other claims in connection with a charity cruise. The Congressman alleges defamation in connection with the publication of the article and a conspiracy between McClatchy and the political consultant defendant to defame him. Boutrous was also part of a team that scored a stunning August 2019 reversal of a commercial and antitrust case for Swisher concerning a dispute with a former business venture partner-turned-competitor in the space of the client’s “Cigarillos” brand. With potential treble damages, the case was valued at $44 million. Working with Boutrous on this matter was Daniel Swanson, a Los Angeles partner who has long been acknowledged for his profile primarily in the antitrust arena.
   Ted Olson, the appellate “icon” based in the firm’s DC office, logged another landmark win at the Supreme Court in May 2018 when the court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, opening the door for legal sports betting on a state-by-state basis. As a result of the decision, sports betting is now legal in seven states. Olson and Boutrous acted in concert to secure a temporary restraining order from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that ordered the White House to restore CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass given to reporters who regularly cover the White House because the White House infringed CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment liberty interests without providing due process as required by the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This pass was revoked by Donald Trump in November 2018 after the White House resident refused to answer Acosta’s questions that displeased him. Yet another firm practitioner who is no stranger to the Supreme Court, Drew Tulumello triumphed at the nation’s highest court for BNSF Railway in a case concerning allegations by two former BNSF employees that they sustained injuries while working for the railway. Rather than pursue relief in the states where they were injured, the employees filed suits in Montana state court, a forum known for its liberal construction of the Federal Employers’ Liability Act. In May 2017, the US Supreme Court reversed the Montana Supreme Court’s plaintiff ruling by a vote of 8-1.

     A team composed of New York’s Orin Snyder and Brian Lutz, who works from the New York and San Francisco office, represents Facebook and its directors and officers in all civil litigation, which includes securities class action cases, shareholder derivative cases, and consumer class action cases, arising out of reports of the alleged misuse of Facebook user data by Cambridge Analytica and related parties. A swiftly risen star, Lutz is cheered by a client as “excellent, a very good tactical and strategic thinker, very gifted on his feet.” Snyder has long been acknowledged as a “trial lawyer you don’t want to get on the wrong side of.” Also in the New York office, Avi Weitzman is heralded by a peer as “very sharp, talented and effective. He was a US attorney at the Southern District of New York, he was involved in the [Raj] Rajaratnam case. I’ve seen him take apart a witness or two.”
     The firm’s intellectual property capacity is seeing a steady ascent in profile. Los Angeles’ Wayne Barsky secured a unanimous jury verdict in favor of Merck-Serono and Pfizer in a patent infringement suit concerning multiple sclerosis medicine. In February 2018, a jury rejected the plaintiff’s staggering claim of $5.4 billion in damages.

 

Goodwin Procter

Headquartered in Boston, where it remains a market leader, Goodwin has since morphed into a global firm, with 10 offices (six in the US, covering both coasts) housing approximately 1,000 lawyers.

     Consistent with its Boston roots, the firm enjoys a particular niche in the life sciences area, with several wins on the part of its litigators in patent and patent-related actions. Christopher Holding provides lead counsel to Actavis in antitrust litigation challenging a patent settlement agreement between the client and another pharmaceutical entity concerning generic versions of Intuniv, an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medication. Holding is also playing a role in a case led by another Boston partner, Anthony Downs, for Teva USA as the company faced a $235 million judgment following a seven-day patent infringement trial. Goodwin persuaded the federal district court in Delaware to set aside the jury’s verdict as lacking support, and to find for Teva on the issue of infringement. Beyond IP and life sciences, Holding is also successfully defended BarBri, a provider of bar exam prep courses, in antitrust litigation involving claims of monopolization and collusion (including allegations of bribery) between 12 law schools. Holding secured a dismissal of all claims in the 13-count complaint. Downs meanwhile successfully defended longstanding client Applied Materials and its largest customer against infringement claims concerning a series of patents, employed by the client in a tool for creating very high-density semiconductor chips, allegedly owned by a sole inventor. Downs secured a favorable settlement for Applied and its customer in mid-2018. Boston ERISA authority Jamie Fleckner won a complete bench trial victory for American Century Investments in a class-action brought by former employees participating in American Century's defined-contribution 401(k) retirement plan who claimed that the client breached ERISA fiduciary duties by creating a 401(k) plan that included only American Century-affiliated investment options, when supposedly better-performing and cheaper investment alternatives existed.

     In the New York office, Elizabeth Holland regularly works on high-profile patent litigation cases for companies including Actavis, Teva, Boston Scientific, Ceva Sante, Enzymotec, Celltrion, and Lupin. A peer voices on Holland’s behalf, “I’ve never witnessed Elizabeth at trial but I have interacted with her and she presents excellently and I like her personally.” New York commercial partner Marshall Fishman acts for BNP Paribas, one of 12 defendants in a series of putative class actions and two individual actions alleging that the financial institutions conspired to maintain control of the over-the-counter interest rate swap market and exclude fund managers and other buy-side investors from trading IRS on electronic exchanges. Fishman is also representing Citigroup and several of its wholly owned subsidiaries in commercial litigation arising under an option a hedge fund purchased in the residual value of an undivided interest in a nuclear power facility pursuant to a complex sale and leaseback transaction. Brian Pastuszenski is another favorite among peers, with one insisting, “He is fantastic, and you should consider him for a national level securities listing. We see him in a ton of work.” In one such matter, Pastuszenski represents Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation in multiple securities class action, shareholder derivative, and related matters arising out of its September 2016 announcement that it had identified certain potentially improper payments made to government officials in India, where it operates nearly 45 facilities and has several tens of thousands of employees, in connection with obtaining permits for certain of its facilities. White-collar specialist Richard Strassberg represents John Stumpf, the former Chairman & CEO of Wells Fargo, in litigation and investigations arising from the September 2016 announcement that Wells Fargo agreed to pay $185 million to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and City of Los Angeles, to settle allegations that it opened unauthorized accounts and issued unauthorized products for customers, as well as other recent reports concerning Wells Fargo's alleged sales practices. Acting with Strassberg on this matter is another white-collar partner, Grant Fondo, based in the firm’s Silicon Valley office.
     Another Silicon Valley partner who has made quite a name for himself, Neel Chatterjee, who joined the firm from Orrick in 2017, has kept particularly busy in his tech-focused IP practice. Among several high-profile appointments for buzzy, Valley-centric clients, Chatterjee is representing Anthony Levandowski, star engineer at the heart of the widely publicized Google/Uber dispute over self-driving car technology. Chatterjee is also well known for defending social media network Facebook and at its founder Mark Zuckerberg against claims that the internet entrepreneur stole the idea.
     The DC office’s appellate practice has also seen a vibrant spike in activity, with Willy Jay keeping particularly busy. Jay argued on behalf of a group of Indian tribes from western Washington State in the Supreme Court in a matter involving the interpretation of a set of historic treaties that protect the tribes’ fishing rights. Washington State has redirected numerous salmon-bearing streams through culverts that are impassable to fish, endangering the fragile fisheries. The tribes have successfully argued that refusing to repair these culverts violates the tribes’ treaty-protected rights. Goodwin was hired after the Supreme Court granted certiorari to defend the decision in favor of the tribes. Jay is widely admired, with a vocal contingent of peers offering plaudits on his behalf. “I’m a HUGE fan,” raves one highly regarded and seasoned peer in the appeals space. “He’s young enough that I would say he’s ‘up-and-coming,” but nah, he’s ‘there’ already. Clients just love him, he’s like a walking encyclopedia of the law. He’s just awesome, very charming.” Another peer testifies, “We co-wrote briefs with Goodwin, and we have a great relationship with them. Willy Jay is just personally a very good guy and is a team player, who is not about trying to take all the credit for anything. He was very gracious in recognizing the contribution that we made to the briefs in a way that frankly you don’t always see. He is excellent, the go-to guy for appeals court work, and he was excellent in his presentation to the Supreme Court.”

Greenberg Traurig

Greenberg Traurig is a full-service law firm with a world-wide presence across a variety of practice areas. The firm hosts more than 2,000 attorneys in 39 offices across the world, and due to its global platform, is positioned to offer services to both domestic and international clients.

The firm is revered for its product liability litigation prowess behind the efforts of Atlanta-based partner Lori Cohen, who chairs the pharmaceutical, medical device and health care litigation practice, as well as co-chair of the global litigation practice. Cohen is recognized for her medical device and pharmaceutical litigation defense practice. She is a member of the lead counsel team representing Alcon Laboratories and fellow Novartis subsidiary Sandoz in several multi-state putative class actions. This case alleges that the manufacturers of brand-name and generic prescription eye drops intentionally designed their droppers to dispense drops of medication larger than the human eye can hold, allegedly resulting in waste of the product and purchase of more frequent refills. After the client's motion to dismiss was granted by the District Court on grounds of impossibility preemption, Cohen and company were chosen to represent all defendants in briefing and arguing the appeal. The First Circuit affirmed the District Court's decision. Cohen was also co-counsel to Medtronic in a case where a dismissal with prejudice was successfully obtained for the client, the world's largest manufacturer of medical devices. This dismissal—the first of its kind in Alabama—was granted on the basis of federal preemption of state law claims for medical device liability. Cohen celebrates her second year on Benchmark's Top 10 Women in Litigation list.

New York-based trial lawyer Alan Mansfield is on the lead national counsel team to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in the arbitration of payment adjustment disputes arising under the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement ("MSA") between certain tobacco manufacturers and 52 states, districts, and territories of the U.S. The firm also represents the client in all related disputes arising under the MSA, as well as disputes arising under R.J. Reynolds' settlements with four previously settled states. Additionally, the firm has served as lead trial and appellate counsel in state court proceedings before the courts of Florida, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana, and New Mexico, and before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, including appeals before the Florida and New Mexico courts of appeal.

Co-managing partner of the Silicon Valley office is William Goines, who dedicates his practice to complex commercial litigation and business disputes. Goines, along with New York-based vice-chair Richard Edlin were co-lead counsel to KT Engcore Corporation in a case against Moneual, an up-and-coming South Korean computer manufacturer that arose out of one of the largest corporate frauds ever prosecuted in South Korea. The client was positioned as an intermediary, providing certain financing support and acting as the computer manufacturer's exporter. After the two companies had worked together for several years, the Korean Customs Department and the Seoul Central District Prosecutors revealed that they had undertaken a large-scale investigation in which the founder of Moneual and his longtime associate were convicted of having run a massive scheme. It was determined that the computers that were supposed to have been shipped for seven years were, in fact, never shipped, and the entire scheme was a fraud. This matter is the first case of its kind to be tried in the United States and, after a five-week jury trial, Goines and Edlin scored a $32 million verdict and full damages awarded. In all, more than a dozen high-ranking business executives and government employees went to jail on the matter.

Miami-based Kerri Barsh co-chair's the firm’s environmental practice where she routinely represents public and private clients on environmental, regulatory, permitting and litigation matters. She served as the firm's lead counsel for Fane Lozman before the U.S. Supreme Court in a victory that vacated an earlier decision by the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in a case with implications for how governments must balance arrest powers with citizens’ constitutional rights of free speech. Fellow Miami partner David Coulson defends Champion Petfoods USA in a suit filed in the Federal Court in the Eastern District of Wisconsin alleging the client's dog food was tainted with dangerous levels of heavy metals, including arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury which in turn rendered some of the statements on Champion's packaging misleading. The plaintiff asserted claims for breach of express and implied warranties, unjust enrichment, and alleged violations of state consumer protection and unfair competition statutes. In February 2019, the District Judge granted summary judgement and dismissed plaintiff's complaint with prejudice on the basis that the small amounts found in Champion's dog food were naturally occurring, safe, and did not render any of Champion's statements on its packaging misleading or deceptive. Shortly after, consumers in 15 additional states, including another in Wisconsin, filed suits against Champion making similar allegations – for a total of 17 matters now being litigated state-by-state, rather than in a multi-district litigation proceeding.

Haynes and Boone

Haynes and Boone is home to more than 575 lawyers across 17 offices. The team of complex litigators offer specializations in 40 major practice areas. DC-based trial lawyer Barry Buchman is a leading policyholder insurance lawyer who routinely represents policyholders in complex insurance coverage matters, general liability coverage disputes, and other cutting-edge insurance coverage proceedings. Buchman’s practice is also inclusive of complex commercial disputes, business torts, actions involving private equity firms and automotive companies, as well as an active pro bono practice. Buchman is active representing a top company in a massive litigation against nearly 60 insurance companies over coverage for thousands of asbestos-related and silica-related bodily injury claims. Austin, Texas-based Leslie Thorne serves as co-chair of the litigation practice group. She recently, successfully represented a Honduran woman seeking asylum in one of the first court victories in family-separation litigation in a federal suit. Thorne is active in complex commercial litigation, cyber-related liability actions, and insurance disputes. Dallas partner Russ Emerson is lead counsel in numerous high-profile patent disputes related to technologies, medical devices, pharmaceutical products, and computer networking, among others. His practice also includes additional intellectual property disputes, such as cases involving trademarks and trade dress, copyrights, theft of trade secrets, and other complex matters. Fellow Dallas partner Nina Cortell is recognized as one of Benchmark’s Top 250 Women in Litigation. She is active in appellate, general commercial, and tort actions. Cortell is part of the lead counsel team that recently persuaded the Texas Supreme Court to vacate a $16.5 million judgment and deny injunctive relief in a trade secret dispute on behalf of client VHSC. The decision was obtained after a six-year long battle.

Hoguet Newman Regal & Kenney

Operating for nearly a quarter of a century, Hoguet Newman Regal & Kenney now occupies a unique space in the crowded New York market, taking on cases spanning several practice areas and servicing them with a more personalized, hands-on approach. While several of their founding partners come armed with “big law” credentials, the firm itself enjoys a maverick reputation as a smaller boutique taking on some of the largest litigation shops. One peer notes, “they are making a mark as ‘giant killers.’ They go up against, and beat, some of the big brand-name shops all the time.” The firm is noted especially for its commercial, insurance and labor and employment capacity, and the cases it takes on are often of a novel nature.
     One such example involves an ownership dispute concerning New York’s iconic Palm steakhouse, in which firm founder Frederic Newman scored several consecutive wins. An all-purpose commercial trial generalist, Newman won a $120 million award at trial in a dispute over the iconic Palm steakhouse. Newman represented the plaintiffs, who own a 20% stake in the entity and alleged that the grandsons of the founders, who own the other 80% of the entity, cheated the plaintiffs out of the financial rewards of the Palm's expansion by creating a series of companies, which the two grandsons own exclusively, to hold the new restaurants. In December 2019, a judge ordered defendants in the long-running battle to pay $4.6 million in attorney’s fees and expenses to HNRK for its successful prosecution of the case and, in May 2020, the New York Appellate Division, First Department unanimously affirmed the February 2019 judgment. Dorothea Regal attends to a robust insurance coverage practice that includes ongoing representation of Syngenta Crop Protection in insurance coverage disputes. Andrew Bourne is another partner earning accolades for his insurance acumen. A client cheers, “Andrew is masterful at insurance coverage disputes generally, and D&O coverage disputes specifically; [he offers] tremendous advisory services with respect to ex ante policy evaluation, and he has impeccable appellate advocacy.” Bourne and Regal represented China Merchants Bank in connection with an alleged $12 million claim of employment discrimination. This matter involves the interplay of two employment practices liability insurance carriers, both of which denied insurance coverage. The pair convinced the insurance companies to provide coverage without resorting to litigation, and the matter then settled without contribution by the bank. Bourne and Newman secured complete dismissal in a high-profile litigation concerning statements made by Former Fox News star Bill O'Reilly in a litigation alleging that he defamed a former producer and breached a settlement agreement with her related to non-sexual harassment allegations. Damian Cavaleri, who attends to a hybrid commercial and employment practice, represented Montefiore Medical Center in a six-week employment-related trial in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, which took place between November and December 2017. The matter was settled partially in the client’s favor in 2019. Cavaleri also acts for individual clients; one voices appreciation, stating, “Damian counsels his clients, and helps with perspective when clients are upset. [He worked on a] separation agreement after I was terminated. He drove the conflict to conclusion, explained everything, and kept me realistic.”

Holwell Shuster & Goldberg

New York litigation boutique Holwell Shuster & Goldberg has, since its inception in 2012, forged a reputation as one of the city’s most esteemed legal shops. Its partners, which span a comprehensive range of senior partners and younger talent, have received near-unanimous acclaim. “It’s a great boutique composed of smart and aggressive people, some of whom actually got their start at some of the best ‘bigger law’ firms out there.” Holwell Shuster is particularly adept at cases featuring an intersection of commercial, securities, and antitrust, which has afforded itself the opportunity to take on cases in the plaintiff role as well as defense.    
     Arguably the firm’s busiest and most visible partner, Michael Shuster continues to lead the charge, appearing in a lead role on a staggering number of matters attended to by the firm over the past year. Among the many residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) “putback” actions the firm has been engaged in, they represent represents HSBC Bank USA as plaintiff trustee in multiple cases against financial institutions that securitized residential mortgage loans. The cases collectively seek billions of dollars. Other partners involved in these matters include Daniel GoldbergAvi Israeli, and Daniel Sullivan, all of whom also receive the nod from peers. Shuster and Goldberg also were brought in to represent US Bank, then Wilmington Trust, as trustees to serve as lead trial counsel in the prosecution of RMBS “putback” claims against Lehman Brothers across more than 150 RMBS trusts. The claims are for breach of contractual representations and warranties concerning tens of thousands of defective mortgage loans that Lehman securitized before it imploded at the outset of the financial crisis. Shuster also is lead counsel for Visa, a mainstay client, in several key matters. In one, he and future stars Demian Ordway and Blair Kaminsky represent the client in a putative nationwide class action and dozens of individual antitrust cases in multiple jurisdictions brought by some of the largest retail merchants in the world. These merchants claim that Visa, among other parties, conspired to impose rules and fix fees governing credit and debit card transactions in violation of antitrust laws. Visa denies all liability. In September 2018, the parties reached a settlement for $6.26 billion with one of the putative classes of merchants, which is subject to possible reduction of up to $700 million in the event opt-outs exceed a certain threshold and is believed to be the largest-ever antitrust class-action settlement. Final approval of the settlement was granted in December 2019 and is currently being fought by objectors on appeal. That settlement aside, this team continues to defend Visa in dozens of cases brought by individual merchants as well as in a class action seeking injunctive relief (where plaintiffs seek changes to the fundamental rules underlying the Visa network). Goldberg, Israeli and Dorit Black represent AIMCo, an investment fund owned by a foreign sovereign, and also Wells Fargo, as a securities intermediary, in nine-figure, multi-district litigation against insurance carriers alleged to have improperly increased premiums on “universal life” insurance policies. The Holwell team has secured several important early wins in these high-profile cases, ensuring that the defendants’ alleged abuses will be adjudicated on the merits. Vincent Levy represents Aenergy S.A., an energy and transportation company doing business in Angola, in connection with various proceedings arising out of the termination of 13 contracts worth $1.1 billion between Aenergy and entities owned by the government of Angola. In May 2020, Levy filed a complaint in the Southern District of New York on behalf of Aenergy and one of its wholly owned subsidiaries against Angola and General Electric, asserting that Angola unlawfully repudiated its commercial contracts with Aenergy and expropriated Aenergy property, and that GE tortiously procured that unlawful repudiation and aided and abetted the expropriation. Aenergy seeks compensatory damages from Angola and GE in excess of $500 million for lost profits (before interest), as well as punitive damages. Levy is a future star generating an increasing level of peer acclaim. “Vince is fantastic and has a bright future ahead of him. He used to be at Wachtell, where he got some superb training, and he knows!”

Hueston Hennigan

Since its genesis in 2015, Los Angeles litigation boutique Hueston Hennigan has seen an ascent that can only be described as astonishing. Formed by a group of commercial litigators who peeled off of California institution Irell & Manella to launch this venture, Hueston Hennigan has forged itself a coveted position as a local litigation shop that has achieved statewide and even national prominence. The firm is noted for its mission of putting a premium on trial work, a mission that has been fulfilled with rapid momentum on several high-level appointments. “They have just been massively successful,” sums up one East Coast litigator, stating a consensus shared by many peers. The firm’s client base is remarkably diverse, ranging from individuals to a variety of entities encompassing tech giants, Native American tribes, the Boy Scouts and the California State Bar (to name but a few), with very little repeat business and virtually no “routine” cases. “Hueston Hennigan doesn’t do the ‘cookie-cutter.’ They do really cool, cutting-edge work,” declares a peer, who goes on to confide, “I admit it makes me jealous, and I’m sure I’m not alone!”
     The firm’s figurehead is John Hueston, a trial trailblazer who has carved himself an enviable position  among others in the elite trial lawyer circuit. “I’ve seen trial lawyers rise and fade but John is young and vibrant enough to be in this for the long haul,” opines one peer. Hueston’s proven activity as lead counsel on a number of high-level appointments more than supports this near-unanimous acclaim. In just one of several examples of Hueston’s prowess and versatility, he recently represented The California Institute of Technology (Caltech), which was sued by a former researcher who claimed he was terminated for exposing alleged misuse of government funds and research misconduct, and sought $65 million from the client. He further alleged that Caltech tortiously interfered and breached with his business relations and obligations. Caltech, on the other hand, argued that it acted entirely properly in all aspects of its dealings with the government and in eliminating his position after he failed to satisfy his obligations. After Caltech was granted summary adjudication on 10 out of 12 of plaintiffs’ claims, the issue at trial (in May 2019) was whether Caltech retaliated against the plaintiff for complaints he had made and wrongfully terminated him. After four weeks of trial and just two hours of deliberation, Hueston secured a full defense verdict for Caltech. Hueston’s dance card bulges with engagements from other clientele as well, including the Houston Astros, Endo Pharmaceuticals, and an individual caught up in the “Varsity Blues” college cheating imbroglio, to name but a few.
     While Hueston is undoubtedly the “center of gravity” at the firm, others in his orbit are also emerging as leaders in their own right. Moez Kaba is a noted example. Kaba, who as of 2020 still qualifies for Benchmark’s 40 and Under Hotlist (he made his fourth consecutive appearance in this year’s edition) has enjoyed a rapid rise in profile on the strength of his work in tandem with Hueston as well as on his own. An example of the former is his appearance with Hueston on the aforementioned case for Caltech, while an example of the latter is his representation of Ring in several class actions brought in both federal and state court arising from incidents in which Ring devices—including video doorbells and in-home cameras—were accessed by unauthorized third parties. Each of these cases seeks relief on behalf of all users of Ring devices within the US. “Moez attracts some very trendy clients,” opines a peer.
     The firm has been at the forefront of several “event-driven litigation” cases involving environmental crises. In one, Hueston and Kaba represent the Navajo Nation in all aspects of its claims arising out of the unprecedented 2015 acid mine wastewater spill from the Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado. This spill released more than three million gallons of contaminated water, and the toxic plume coursed into the San Juan River, which is a primary water source for the Navajo Nation, flowing through more than 200 miles of Navajo territory. In March 2019, the Navajo Nation won important victories in its fight for fair compensation for the harms caused by the US EPA and its contractors. The Federal District Court in New Mexico in denying the motions to dismiss, decisively ruled that all parties – the United States, the US EPA’s contractors, and mine owners and operators – must face the consequences arising out of the spill. In October 2019, the Navajo Nation won another important fight—the Court rejected the federal government’s motion for partial summary judgment on the Navajo Nation’s tort claims, paving the way for full discovery. In another matter, a Hueston Hennigan team including Hueston, Kaba, and Doug Dixon provide lead counsel to Edison International and Southern California Edison against civil claims and potential criminal charges arising out of the 2017 Thomas Fire, the 2018 Montecito mudslides, and the 2018 Woolsey Fire, three of the largest fires in California history.

Hueston Hennigan

Since its genesis in 2015, Los Angeles litigation boutique Hueston Hennigan has seen an ascent that can only be described as astonishing. Formed by a group of commercial litigators who peeled off of California institution Irell & Manella to launch this venture, Hueston Hennigan has forged itself a coveted position as a local litigation shop that has achieved statewide and even national prominence. The firm is noted for its mission of putting a premium on trial work, a mission that has been fulfilled with rapid momentum on several high-level appointments. “They have just been massively successful,” sums up one East Coast litigator, stating a consensus shared by many peers. The firm’s client base is remarkably diverse, ranging from individuals to a variety of entities encompassing tech giants, Native American tribes, the Boy Scouts and the California State Bar (to name but a few), with very little repeat business and virtually no “routine” cases. “Hueston Hennigan doesn’t do the ‘cookie-cutter.’ They do really cool, cutting-edge work,” declares a peer, who goes on to confide, “I admit it makes me jealous, and I’m sure I’m not alone!”
     The firm’s figurehead is John Hueston, a trial trailblazer who has carved himself an enviable position  among others in the elite trial lawyer circuit. “I’ve seen trial lawyers rise and fade but John is young and vibrant enough to be in this for the long haul,” opines one peer. Hueston’s proven activity as lead counsel on a number of high-level appointments more than supports this near-unanimous acclaim. In just one of several examples of Hueston’s prowess and versatility, he recently represented The California Institute of Technology (Caltech), which was sued by a former researcher who claimed he was terminated for exposing alleged misuse of government funds and research misconduct, and sought $65 million from the client. He further alleged that Caltech tortiously interfered and breached with his business relations and obligations. Caltech, on the other hand, argued that it acted entirely properly in all aspects of its dealings with the government and in eliminating his position after he failed to satisfy his obligations. After Caltech was granted summary adjudication on 10 out of 12 of plaintiffs’ claims, the issue at trial (in May 2019) was whether Caltech retaliated against the plaintiff for complaints he had made and wrongfully terminated him. After four weeks of trial and just two hours of deliberation, Hueston secured a full defense verdict for Caltech. Hueston’s dance card bulges with engagements from other clientele as well, including the Houston Astros, Endo Pharmaceuticals, and an individual caught up in the “Varsity Blues” college cheating imbroglio, to name but a few.
     While Hueston is undoubtedly the “center of gravity” at the firm, others in his orbit are also emerging as leaders in their own right. Moez Kaba is a noted example. Kaba, who as of 2020 still qualifies for Benchmark’s 40 and Under Hotlist (he made his fourth consecutive appearance in this year’s edition) has enjoyed a rapid rise in profile on the strength of his work in tandem with Hueston as well as on his own. An example of the former is his appearance with Hueston on the aforementioned case for Caltech, while an example of the latter is his representation of Ring in several class actions brought in both federal and state court arising from incidents in which Ring devices—including video doorbells and in-home cameras—were accessed by unauthorized third parties. Each of these cases seeks relief on behalf of all users of Ring devices within the US. “Moez attracts some very trendy clients,” opines a peer.
     The firm has been at the forefront of several “event-driven litigation” cases involving environmental crises. In one, Hueston and Kaba represent the Navajo Nation in all aspects of its claims arising out of the unprecedented 2015 acid mine wastewater spill from the Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado. This spill released more than three million gallons of contaminated water, and the toxic plume coursed into the San Juan River, which is a primary water source for the Navajo Nation, flowing through more than 200 miles of Navajo territory. In March 2019, the Navajo Nation won important victories in its fight for fair compensation for the harms caused by the US EPA and its contractors. The Federal District Court in New Mexico in denying the motions to dismiss, decisively ruled that all parties – the United States, the US EPA’s contractors, and mine owners and operators – must face the consequences arising out of the spill. In October 2019, the Navajo Nation won another important fight—the Court rejected the federal government’s motion for partial summary judgment on the Navajo Nation’s tort claims, paving the way for full discovery. In another matter, a Hueston Hennigan team including Hueston, Kaba, and Doug Dixon provide lead counsel to Edison International and Southern California Edison against civil claims and potential criminal charges arising out of the 2017 Thomas Fire, the 2018 Montecito mudslides, and the 2018 Woolsey Fire, three of the largest fires in California history.

Hunton Andrews Kurth

Hunton Andrews Kurth boasts more than 1,000 lawyers in numerous offices throughout the southeast region of the US, as well as in Latin America, Europe and Asia. The full-service firm is equipped with a strong litigation team that have landed major victories for clients in a variety of industries.

Virginia-based Lewis Powell was part of the lead counsel team that successfully challenged a consummated merger, which no private party has ever done, winning a jury verdict for Steves and Sons in the door manufacturer's antitrust suit. The jury found that the opposition's acquisition of CraftMaster violated Section 7 of the Clayton Act, which prohibits mergers that "substantially lessen competition." Fellow partner Michael Shebelskie is co-counsel to the County of Maui in an appeal to the US Supreme Court regarding whether the Clean Water Act prohibition on discharges to navigable waters without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit extends to facilities that add pollutants to groundwater that eventually migrate to navigable waters. The lower courts are divided on this question, and the Maui appeal, set to be heard in October 2019, is expected to resolve this long-standing question of national importance. Miami-based litigator Samuel Danon is co-lead counsel defending Yahoo in highly publicized consumer class action lawsuits over what is reported as the largest data security incidents in history. The breaches occurred in 2013 and 2014, and affected as many as 500 million and three billion accounts globally. The lawsuit includes 29 federal class actions and seven parallel state class actions. The parties informed the Northern District of California court presiding over the multidistrict litigation that the sides had reached an agreement where Yahoo! (now Altaba) would create a $50 million fund for the reimbursement of losses linked to the breaches, as well as provide credit monitoring for victims. In January 2019, a federal judge declined to approve this agreement and settlement discussions remain ongoing. One client asserts, "Danon is superb. There are no words. A relationship based on results and excellent understanding" adding," human factor included."

DC litigation Deidre Duncan is part of the lead counsel team representing Mountain Valley Pipeline on environmental matters involving the construction and operation of approximately 301 miles of a new 42-inch-diameter pipeline and associated facilities extending from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia. The firm is representing MVP on matters involving the Clean Water Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and the Endangered Species Act. Additionally, and are lead counsel on all Fourth Circuit appeals involving federal permits issued for the pipeline, including authorizations issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Forest Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. Texas litigator and retired Judge Scott Brister co-leads the firm’s issues and appeals practice group. His practice, which covers all aspects of litigation, is described by a client as "top-notch" and "first class."

Husch Blackwell

One of the heartland’s dominant institutions, Husch Blackwell is home to a diverse collection of attorneys who serve clients in numerous diverse industries and practice areas. A client declares, “The Husch Blackwell team has broad experience and good depth. I rate their litigation representation as excellent.” Another client identifies the firm as “top-notch on all fronts: cost, efficiency, capability and expertise.” Still another gets more specific: “Husch Blackwell attorneys are the premier lawyers in Higher Education work. They have the subject matter expertise needed for this complex litigation. They are diligent, strategic, and practical. The only weakness from my selfish perspective is their absence of an Iowa office, but you can’t everything!”

     In Kansas City, consistently noted top star Cynthia Cordes practices in the areas of government compliance, investigations and litigation, hospitality, human trafficking compliance, and white-collar criminal defense. Christine Miller, member of the firm's Technology, Manufacturing & Transpiration industry group, manages a diverse practice which centers on business, international, labor and employment, product liability, rail, trade secret, and information protection litigation. Rudy Telscher defends Emerson Electric against allegations of trade secret theft in connection with a winning bid to build a $200 million data center for Facebook. Telscher also scored in February 2019, when the PTAB entered a Final Written Decision providing client Cascades Canada a complete victory in its patent dispute with Essity Hygiene and Health AB over the configuration of folding napkins used in dispensers. It was the third consecutive victory that month before PTAB for Cascades in its long-running dispute with Essity. Kansas City future star Hayley Hanson is cheered by a client as “an exceptional attorney. She is thoughtful in her advice and always extremely responsive. She has the expertise to provide legal solutions and her team is the best in the field of higher education.”

     Husch Blackwell also made a recent play for the Wisconsin market, viewed by local peers as a successful one, when it acquired the Whyte Hirschboeck & Dudek firm. The team the firm took on was of solid enough standing to instantly propel Husch into the "highly recommended" category in this jurisdiction. All-purpose Milwaukee-based commercial and professional liability practitioner Ross Anderson, the firm's only elected member of the Wisconsin chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, is cheered by peers as "wonderful, a true trial lawyer and a very hard worker." Another Milwaukee partner, Anne Maher, is called "very smart and one of those appellate guru types but is also very articulate." Maher is also a leader in the firm's technology and transportation industry group.
     Bringing Husch’s Omaha office firmly to the fore, Marnie Jensen posted a huge victory in Nebraska in July 2019 in what was ultimately a family squabble wrapped around a valuation dispute of company valued at approximately $900 million. Jensen also scored a complete victory on summary judgment for Farmobile in connection with a lawsuit brought by Farmers Edge alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and seeking a judgment be entered declaring Farmers Edge to be the owner of certain Farmobile intellectual property. The court dismissed all claims brought by Farmers Edge.

 

Kasowitz Benson Torres

Headquartered in New York City, Kasowitz Benson Torres is known as a commercial litigation maverick shop with an aggressive litigation style, generating a reputation as a "rough-and-tumble" firm. One client affirms, calling them "Excellent, think outside the box, aggressive, focused on the outcome in the most direct way," adding, "The firm is top notch for disputes that will end up at trial. Not all get there but if trial is the likely route - don't leave home without them."

Kasowitz Benson Torres is a firm rated highly by a client for their litigation prowess, stating, "I rate this firm the best for litigation work that will need to go to trial." The firm is composed of “absolutely wonderful litigators-smart, efficient and aggressive” behind the efforts of firm founder and figurehead Marc Kasowitz, who hails from the New York office. He is lead counsel in an ongoing matter on behalf of Fairfax Financial Holdings, the largest Canadian insurance company, in a $6 billion New Jersey action arising out of insider trading, market manipulation and short-selling attack on Fairfax and its operating subsidiaries by a group of hedge funds and their operatives in connection with purportedly independent securities analysts. After more than a decade of litigation, one part of the trial commenced in September 2018, resulting in $31 million in jury awards and settlements in favor of Fairfax, not including prior settlements of Fairfax with other defendants. This case is notorious for helping to lead to several insider-trading indictments.

Other acclaimed New York litigators include Paul "Tad" O'Connor, Mark Ressler, David Rosner and Sheron Korpus. Korpus is described as "the best trial lawyer and litigator they have there now" by a client. Korpus is co-lead counsel in the largest pharmaceutical litigation currently active in the US, representing Teva, the world's largest generic drug manufacturer and its subsidiary Actavis. The matter stems from antitrust class actions consolidated in an MDL in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania that allege price-fixing of dozens of generic drugs. Korpus and Rosner, who chair the firm’s bankruptcy litigation and restructuring group, are also lead members of a trial team representing global asset manager MatlinPatterson, and certain of its principals and affiliates in a fiduciary duty action brought by DuCool. The lawyers secured the dismissal of $123 million breach of fiduciary duty claims brought by DuCool. The minority shareholder had alleged that the defendants had breached their fiduciary duties in connection with the management of the company, diluting the plaintiff's equity interest. Appellate litigator O'Connor. He obtained a significant appellate victory for InterContinental Hotels Group in an action involving their long-term license agreement related to the 795-room Crowne Plaza Times Square hotel in New York City. Fellow New York partner Ressler was part of the lead counsel team in a precedent-setting, multi-million dollar verdict in favor of client Copart. A jury in California federal court found a software consulting firm liable for professional negligence and fraud arising from a massively-botched implementation of SAP enterprise resource planning software for Copart. The jury delivered the favorable verdict for $20 million in damages for negligence and $5 million for fraud, after a four-week jury trial in the Eastern District of California. This groundbreaking verdict is the first verdict ever against a consulting firm for professional negligence in an ERP software implementation. Historically, only law firms and accounting firms have been found liable for professional negligence.

Los Angeles-based litigator Daniel Saunders was co-lead counsel to television stars Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz and author Kathleen Reichs. In a landmark victory on behalf of the producer and television stars of the long-running TV show "Bones", the firm obtained a $179 million arbitration award for fraud and breach of contract, including $50 million in compensatory damages and over $128 million in punitive damages, against 21st Century Fox, Fox Broadcasting Company, and other Fox entities. This is the largest arbitration award ever issued in a profit participation dispute.

Katten Muchin Rosenman

Founded in 1924, Katten Muchin Rosenman has its roots in Chicago, Illinois. It has since expanded nationally to 11 offices, including the Chicago office. The firm has offices in Austin, Dallas and Houston, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Irvine, Oakland and Los Angeles, California; New York, New York and Washington D.C. They have also established an international presence in London, UK and Shanghai, China. The firm has risen to become a star performer in the litigation sphere.

David Halberstadter serves as the firm’s deputy general counsel and is an acclaimed entertainment law litigator. He defended STX Entertainment in an intellectual property matter. The plaintiff, Sesame Workshop, filed a temporary restraining order, trademark infringement and trademark dilution actions in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. These matters were filed because of the use of the tagline “No Sesame. All Street.” in STX’s R-rated movie The Happytime Murders. The plaintiff demanded STX remove all references from Sesame Street, which the client did not comply with. The district court judge denied the temporary restraining order, concluding that the plaintiff failed to show that the tagline might confuse moviegoers that Sesame Street is associated with the movie. Following this ruling, the plaintiff dismissed the other matters in the lawsuit. Esteemed litigator Sheldon Zenner represented Wells Fargo in litigation matters regarding allegations of discriminatory lending. Wells Fargo was sued by the government of Cook County, Illinois under the Fair Housing Act. Cook County argued that it was entitled to compensatory damages due to the loss of tax revenues from foreclosures caused by the client’s discriminatory lending. The client moved to dismiss the complaint, which was granted by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois with leave to amend, but also stayed the proceeding pending a related decision from the U.S. Supreme Court. Following the Supreme Court’s decision, the district court allowed Cook County to file a new amended motion, which Wells Fargo then moved to again dismiss. The district court partially granted and partially denied the motion, while also denying the plaintiff’s motion to reconsider the decision. The case is now in discovery following the defendant’s answering of the second amended complaint. Michael Lohnes is well known for his skill and experience in securities and financial services litigation. He assisted in defending Spectranetics in a securities class action. The class action purports that the client missed its sales forecasts for two straight quarters due to a channel stuff scheme based on information from seven confidential witnesses. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, which was granted by the court. This ruling is being briefed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

King & Spalding

King & Spalding is an internationally-lauded law firm with a network of 20 offices worldwide, with 10 of these outside the US. Peers are quick to address the firm’s most obvious strengths; one being its global balance of power. “King & Spalding was way ahead of the curve in terms of establishing an international scope. That firm has as many tentacles internationally as it does in the US.” Another area in which the firm reigns supreme is the energy sector. One competitor confirms, “King & Spalding is very deep in the life sciences world, and in energy - forget it. No other big national firm can touch them on the litigation side.” The firm is also said to be “the best in the world when it comes to representing the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms.”

Atlanta-based trial lawyer David Balser was lead counsel to SCANA in criminal and SEC investigations. The dispute was related to the abandonment of SCANA’s new nuclear development at the V.C. Summer plant in South Carolina, including defense of ratepayer class actions, derivative claims, federal securities class actions, and state and federal governmental investigations. Additionally, an expedited federal court injunction proceeding seeking to block implementation of confiscatory legislation targeting SCANA was also at stake.  A multi-practice, cross-office team, led by Balser, were involved in a multi-week evidentiary hearing before the South Carolina Public Service Commission that sought to block SCANA’s proposed $14.6 billion merger with Dominion Energy.  A complete victory for the client was obtained, leading to the closing of the Dominion merger in January of 2019. Balser and fellow Atlanta partner Michael Smith were members of the lead counsel team representing Equifax in numerous high profile putative class actions arising from the cyber security incident announced in September 2017. The client is involved in more than 250 consumer and financial institution class actions from the data breach. Trial and global disputes practice group leader Andy Bayman successfully obtained a reversal of a $3 million jury verdict in favor of his client GlaxoSmithKline in a wrongful death lawsuit. Bayman was co-lead counsel in this matter, the first lawsuit ever tried under the “innovator liability” theory. The decision is the first by the 7th Circuit to find federal preemption in a prescription drug case since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in Wyeth v. Levine, which set out the standard for this issue.

Ursula Henninger hails from the Charlotte office of the firm. She routinely represents companies in tobacco, medical device, and pharmaceutical industries in personal injury, wrongful death and tort matters. She is a member of the lead counsel team continuing to represent RY Reynolds in engle progeny  tobacco cases pending in Florida, in which former members of a decertified class action may bring additional individual lawsuits. Kenneth Steinthal is a California-based intellectual property authority who often represents clients in media, copyright and licensing matters. He represented the Radio Music License Committee on behalf of over 7,000 commercial radio stations in the first rate setting arbitration against performing rights collective SESAC under the RMLC’s 20-year antitrust settlement with SESAC.

New York litigation luminary Richard Marooney continues to manage a stand-out practice dedicated to securities, general commercial and international disputes. He was the lead lawyer who won the dismissal with prejudice of a Section 10(b) securities fraud complaint against automotive transportation and logistics provider Jack Cooper Holdings Corp. and two of its officers in the Southern District of New York. The judge held that the plaintiff failed to plead either that Jack Cooper or its officers made any material misstatements or omissions. This early result not only dismissed the case against Jack Cooper Holdings Corp., its CEO and former CFO, but also denied River Birch the opportunity to file another amended complaint. Edward Kehoe is the managing partner of the New York office, and co-head of the international arbitration practice. He specializes in business arbitration and litigation. He is involved in an ongoing dispute between pharmaceutical companies relative to a joint venture agreement. Kehoe and Houston trial lawyer Doak Bishop obtained a groundbreaking victory for Spanish gas company Union Fenosa Gas in an international arbitration proceeding. A historic award of approximately $2.2 billion, including interest and legal costs, against the Arab Republic of Egypt was secured.

Seasoned trial lawyer Bobby Meadows also hails from the Houston office where he is recognized as a frequent face in trials in state and federal court, as well as arbitration proceedings. He is lead counsel to Chevron USA in multiple lawsuits arising from an explosion and fire at its Richmond, California Refinery. He has secured the dismissal of over 10,000 plaintiffs in the individual claimant actions. The court also agreed to a random selection of individual plaintiffs to go through discovery and eventually be tried. Of the 160 plaintiffs randomly selected, 100 elected to dismiss their claims rather than proceed through discovery and trial. The firm also achieved the dismissal of two purported class actions at the pleadings stage.

Texas-based Tracie Renfroe serves as the managing partner of the Houston office, as well as co-head of the energy practice. Her trial practice is centered on toxic tort, environmental, professional and product liability, and commercial disputes. She currently represents DePuy, a Johnson & Johnson company, in a multi-district litigation involving metal-on-metal hip implants. New York litigator Carmen Lawrence specializes in securities-related government investigations and litigation. She serves as co-lead of the firm’s Securities Enforcement and Regulation practice and often represents both public and private companies in regulatory and investigative matters. Renfroe, Lawrence, and DC litigator Dixie Johnson are also acclaimed as one of Benchmark's Top 250 Women in Litigation. Johnson is the deputy practice group leader for government matters of the firm, where she represents businesses and individuals in securities enforcement investigations and conducts internal investigations for corporate board committees and companies.

Fellow DC partner Michael Pauzé represented PricewaterhouseCoopers Auditores Independentes (PwC Brazil) in connection with a securities class action and five individual actions arising out of the corruption investigation of PwC Brazil’s audit client, state-controlled oil and gas giant Petroleo Brasileiro SA – Petrobras, which at the time was one of the largest companies in the world. As co-lead counsel, Pauzé successfully moved to dismiss class plaintiffs’ Section 10(b) claim and all individual plaintiffs’ claims against PwC Brazil, save the Section 11 claims. This multi-billion dollar matter resulted in announced settlements with PwC Brazil and with Petrobras and underwriter defendants. The total class settlement amount is approximately $3 billion, of which PwC Brazil contributed $50 million, or about 1.7%.  Despite an Order approving those settlements, a handful of objectors filed appeals from aspects of the settlements or related rulings. The parties briefed those appeals in late 2018 and early 2019.
Kirkland & Ellis

Nationally-recognized Kirkland & Ellis is an international institution with roots in Chicago. Since the firm's inception in 1909, it has grown to house approximately 2,200 lawyers with expertise in numerous practice areas, with notable strengths in commercial litigation, product liability, intellectual property, bankruptcy, restructuring and counseling matters and white-collar/investigations work. One client highlights the firm's bankruptcy practice, asserting, "They are preeminent in the bankruptcy space, debtors, and a lot of that comes out of their private equity. It’s pretty astounding how Kirkland managed to get to number one by a wide margin in bankruptcy."

Chicago's seasoned litigator James Hurst and DC-based appellate authority Paul Clement are part of the lead counsel team that represents AbbVie, AbbVie Products, and Abbott Laboratories in the AndroGel bellwether multidistrict litigation regarding testosterone replacement therapy products. This product liability dispute concerns allegations of injuries as a result of taking prescription testosterone replacement therapy drug.

Fellow partner Mark Filip heads the firm's government enforcement defense and internal investigations group. He and Jennifer Levy are one of the leading members of Kirkland's nationwide team that represents Allergan Finance in the nationwide opioid litigation, which is described as being on par to be the largest mass litigation in U.S. history. The litigation consists of over 1,500 separate lawsuits filed on behalf of states, counties, cities, hospitals, Indian Tribes, and putative classes of individuals. Hurst is also lead counsel with Kevin Van Wart on behalf of Central State Funds, a large multiemployer defined benefit pension plan, and its trustees, in a complaint for breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA brought by 11 participants in the fund. Senior litigation partner Richard Godfrey represents Aon Risk Services Central with respect to claims associated with its brokerage of insurance policies at issue in a dispute regarding the coverage of losses relating to the May 2010 flooding of the Opry Mills Mall in Nashville, Tennessee.

Antitrust partners David Zott, Daniel Laytin and Jeffrey Zeiger are lead counsel members in a team representing the Blue Cross & Blue Shield Association, as well as co-coordinating counsel for all defendants, in a series of putative class action lawsuits filed across the country challenging the structure of the Blue System of health insurance under the antitrust laws. Zeiger is also active in restructuring cases, with one client highlighting some of his recent work, stating, "Jeff Zeiger in Chicago, he's great! He just got a big win for Neiman Marcus in a litigation relating to their ongoing bankruptcy." Zeiger obtained a dismissal of a $1 billion fraudulent transfer lawsuit against Neiman Marcus. The state trial court has also decided the client can sue the debt investor Marble Ridge Capital for defamation over statements the firm made about its debt. Fellow antitrust authority Jim Mutchnik advised Geo Specialty Chemicals, a private global chemical manufacturing company, in a criminal DOJ antitrust investigation alleging price-fixing and customer allocation conspiracy in connection with water treatment chemicals sold to municipalities and other customers in North Carolina and elsewhere. He negotiated a plea agreement on behalf of the client, and the related civil suits alleging collusion in the sale of liquid and dry alum, a wastewater treatment chemical, on which Kirkland also advised, were settled favorably. The court granted final approval of the settlement in a matter where no other defendants have reached a settlement with any parties.

New York-based trial luminary Sandra Goldstein manages a diverse litigation practice. She serves as a member of the firm's global management executive committee. She and fellow partner Stefan Atkinson represent Barnes & Noble, a long-standing client since their days at Cravath, in a putative consumer class action. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a summary order just two days after oral argument that dismissed the appeal against the client for lack of jurisdiction. Dale Cendali heads the firm’s copyright, trademark, internet and advertising practice group, where she specializes in intellectual property litigation. As a nationally revered leader in the IP field, Cendali and her practice group have defended WeWork’s “HQ by WeWork” brand in a Texas trademark action, as well as shot down suits against Epic Games and Take-Two Interactive by celebrities claiming copyrights on their dance moves. Cendali has also persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to let a Ninth Circuit decision stand in favor of Nike in a dispute over a famous photograph of Michael Jordan. She is also actively defending Take-Two against a company that claims to control the copyrights on LeBron James and other NBA players’ tattoos. Fellow partner Leora Ben-Ami handles cases in all areas of technology, including biotechnology, medical devices, pharmaceuticals and chemistry, mechanical devices, and electronics.  Ben-Ami's experience includes trying numerous cases on behalf of Pfizer including, Pfizer v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, a recent case in which she successfully defended Pfizer's patents on Celebrex.

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.” Founding partner Michael Kim is based in New York but enjoys an international profile, particularly with entities headquartered in or doing business in Asia. Much of Kim’s work is of a confidential nature, but one of his few public appointments involves represents Daewoong Pharmaceuticals in an action brought before the ITC by Allergan and Medytox, who are seeking to block US imports of a new rival to the wrinkle-treatment "Botox," alleging that Daewoong's botulinum toxin drug was developed using misappropriated trade secrets from Medytox. Danielle Rose is acknowledged by peers as “very talented, and one of a rare breed of women who generate that level of business.”

Labaton Sucharow

Plaintiff shop Labaton Sucharow has been historically viewed as, and still is primarily known as, a securities boutique, although the firm has broadened its scope to take on cases in the antitrust arena as well. 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.
     One of the Labaton’s biggest developments over the past year 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 Weinberger is a real up and comer,” confirms one Wilmington peer. “He is not yet at the level of the big Delaware of the more established senior guys around [Wilmington] but he has a couple of wins under his belt and a lot of people really respect him.” Another observes, “There’s definitely something going over at Labaton in Delaware, you can feel it. And that’s Ned. He is making waves around here and is going to start making life a little more difficult for some of the more senior ‘swashbucklers’ who are used to running the show.” Weinberger scored a plum appointment in March 2019 when he was appointed co-lead counsel in a class action against Dell Technologies stemming from a $14 billion share exchange transaction that closed in December 2018. The action alleges that the controlling stockholders of Dell breached their fiduciary duties and expropriated billions of dollars in value from Dell's Class V Stockholders. According to the complaint, Dell's controllers created a sham special committee that was riddled with conflicts, failed to obtain appropriate and independent advice, and ultimately aligned itself with Dell.
     Another major development within the firm is blossoming of its whistleblower practice, an area that has received a significant level of attention from peers, opponents, and the media. The credit for this lies with New York’s Jordan Thomas. Over the past seven years, Thomas, a former SEC regulator himself, has cultivated “a very impressive space for himself in that world, and a very impressive pathway for this practice in general.” One peer insists, “He is the guy – the most renowned SEC whistleblower in the nation. He had a $13 million claim. He has a pipeline of about 30 matters that have been accepted by the SEC.” Thomas scored big in March 2018, when the SEC announced that it awarded a group of whistleblowers more than $83 million, the largest awards announced by the agency since the inception of the SEC's Whistleblower program in 2011. The firm’s clients tipped the SEC off to misconduct at Merrill Lynch, leading to a landmark enforcement action resulting in Merrill paying $415 million to settle charges that it misused customer cash to generate profits for the bank and failed to safeguard customer assets. Another New York partner, Jonathan Gardner secured a $42.5 million recovery in a securities class action against Intuitive Surgical. The action alleged that Intuitive violated federal securities fraud laws by making false and misleading statements regarding the safety and efficacy of its marquee product, the da Vinci Surgical System, and its compliance with FDA regulations.

Lathrop GPM

With offices in Boston, Chicago, two offices in Colorado, one in California, one in Dallas, one in Kansas and three in Missouri, Lathrop Gage has grown from its heartland roots to attain national prominence in its primary areas of service, much of which centers on environmental and insurance work. “Lathrop does various types of work but by far where they have gotten the most ‘push’ is in environmental litigation,” testifies one peer, echoing the sentiment of several others.
     Kansas City’s Michael Abrams is fresh off of a 2018 trial win for Nostrum Laboratories, a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical entity that will get to keep its specialty manufacturing equipment in Kansas City following a federal jury’s verdict in its favor. The plant’s equipment was acquired through seven capital leases from California-based Balboa Capital. Nostrum alleged that, upon expiration of the lease, it would obtain ownership of the equipment for a nominal fee. Balboa, however, maintained that the pharmaceutical company had to continue to make rental payments. In a declaratory judgment suit filed in 2016 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Nostrum sought to enforce its understanding of the agreement. Balboa filed a counterclaim, alleging it was owed $7 million plus return of the equipment. In August 2018, the federal jury sided with Nostrum and denied Balboa’s counterclaim. Abrams has since scored again in a very different, but no less important, capacity. A longtime dedicated champion of representing exonerated prisoners suing for civil rights violations, with a focus on insurers providing coverage for the cities and counties and states responsible for the wrongful convictions, Abrams has been leading a team that triumphed on behalf of the estates of three men wrongly accused of raping and murdering a woman in, Mississippi in 1979. The men (who have all since died) were exonerated by DNA evidence after serving a combined 83 years in prison. Their families settled with Mississippi authorities for $16.5 million, with the potential for $4 million more. Subsequently, the Lathrop team pursued Travelers Insurance and Scottsdale Insurance, and in May 2019 was able to convince the Fifth Circuit that the carriers have a duty to defend Forrest County and its officers in the suit will be obligated to settle for “a reasonable amount.” Also in the Kansas City office, Jennifer Hannah on malpractice liability, breach of fiduciary duty cases, trust litigation and non-compete litigation.
     Nancy Sher Cohen, who joined the firm from Proskauer, leads the firm’s Insurance Recovery and Counseling practice team in the Los Angeles office. Cohen practices in the area of insurance coverage, product liability, toxic and mass tort, class actions, and general commercial litigation. Her insurance practice includes prosecuting insurance coverage cases, providing counsel to clients with regard to designing insurance coverage strategies, conducting policy review, advising on policy implications resulting from a merger or acquisition, and other insurance related issues.

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein is nationally known and respected plaintiffs-only firm. Founded in San Francisco in 1972, Lieff Cabraser also has offices in New York and Nashville and handles cases involving consumer protection rights, intellectual property, product liability, labor and employment, securities cases, and class actions. The firm is also cornering an expanding niche of litigation concerning the automotive and auto parts industry as well as the “no poaching” statutes that govern employee movement between competitors. A glowing summary of the firm’s strategy and towering stature is offered by a peer: “Lieff Cabraser specializes in fraud. Quite simply, they look at fraud and how to combat it. They really pride themselves in doing their homework before taking a case, and when defense counsel sees that they’re involved that it’s serious – they know they’re in trouble. It takes years to develop this reputation but it’s hard-won. The defendants and their counsel know that they have a fight on their hands and they have to plan accordingly.” Another peer raves, “Lieff Cabraser is one of my favorite firms.." 

The firm’s flagship San Francisco office remains home to its highest concentration of star partners. Firm figurehead Elizabeth Cabraser is known nationwide for having handled some of the largest class actions in US history, as well as being one the firm’s, and the country’s, foremost trial lawyers. “There is no greater advocate for justice that I’ve witnessed than Liz Cabraser,” testifies a peer. “She takes her cases to heart.” In a recent example of this commitment to justice, Cabaser has also filed separate lawsuits on behalf of Northern California’s Yurok Tribe, seeking money damages, court orders against the named pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors prohibiting them from engaging in the unlawful overpromotion and indiscriminate over-supply of opioids in these areas, as well as the creation of abatement funds for the purpose of righting the wrongs created by the drug manufacturers and distributors and the attendant opioid catastrophe. 

Following on to her landmark settlement with Volkswagen concerning the German automaker’s well publicized emissions scandal, Cabraser is at the forefront of another auto-related MDL, the Takata Airbag Litigation. Cabraser serves on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in litigation against Takata, which allegedly equipped nearly 34 million vehicles, mostly manufactured before 2009, with defective and dangerous airbags that can explode in an accident, shooting metal casing debris. One opponent concedes, “When we’re about to go against Liz Cabraser, I warn my team to make sure they are extremely prepared, because it will be a fight. She is aggressive, but she is also unquestionably ethical, and just quietly always seems to know more than you do.” Another peer notes, “Liz Cabraser is known as having the lead, even if she doesn’t wind up trying the case. She is very good at organizing teams of lawyers and delegating work. If it’s a bellwether, she knows how to pick a case.” Peers also insist, “Don’t let Richard Heimann get overshadowed! He doesn’t get the press and he doesn’t seek it, but he is a very dangerous lawyer. I saw him come in and do a trial one time and people’s hair just blew back!” Heimann serves as co-lead counsel for Fire and Police Pension Association of Colorado and The City of Birmingham Retirement and Relief System in a consolidated shareholder derivative action alleging that, since at least 2011, the Board and executive management of Wells Fargo knew or consciously disregarded that Wells Fargo employees were illicitly creating millions of deposit and credit card accounts for their customers, without those customers’ consent, in an attempt to drive up the selling of complementary Wells Fargo banking products to prospective or existing customers. Heimann also provides lead in the firm’s representation of certain funds and accounts of institutional investors BlackRock and Senzar in recently filed individual actions against Valeant Pharmaceuticals and certain of Valeant’s senior officers and directors for securities violations, specifically the defendants’ alleged scheme to generate revenues through massive price increases for Valeant-branded drugs while concealing from investors the truth regarding the company’s business operations, financial results, and other material facts. In September 2018, the court denied defendants’ partial motions to dismiss in both action, and BlackRock plaintiffs filed an amended complaint. 

Robert Nelson maintains a focus on mass torts and consumer fraud. Nelson represented California consumers in a class- action lawsuit against BP Solar International and Home Depot U.S.A. that charged that the companies sold solar panels with defective junction boxes that cause premature failure and a fire risk. A proposed settlement was granted in January 2017. Nelson also represents Florida smokers, and the spouses and families of loved ones who died, in litigation against the major cigarette companies Philip Morris USA Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, and Lorillard Tobacco Company for their 50-year conspiracy to conceal the hazards of smoking and the addictive nature of cigarettes. In late November 2018, a unanimous panel of the 11th Circuit found in favor of plaintiffs with respect to the disputed application of Florida law and reinstated the original intentional harm and punitive damages findings. Antitrust specialist Eric Fastiff is a member of the plaintiffs’ steering committee representing indirect purchasers in a price-fixing class-action lawsuit filed against the world’s largest manufacturers of capacitors. Fastiff also represented California consumers and third-party payors in a class-action lawsuit filed in California state court charging that Bayer Corporation, Barr Laboratories, and other generic prescription drug manufacturers conspired to restrain competition in the sale of Bayer’s blockbuster antibiotic drug Ciprofloxacin, sold as Cipro. In May 2015, the California Supreme Court reversed the grant of summary judgment to the defendants and endorsed the rights of consumers to challenge pharmaceutical pay-for-delay settlements under California competition law. Additional settlements were reached with the remaining defendants, bringing total settlements to $399 million. Lexi Hazam represents patients prescribed the high blood pressure medication Benicar who have experienced chronic diarrhea with substantial weight loss, severe gastrointestinal problems, and the life-threatening conditions of sprue-like enteropathy and villous atrophy in litigation against Japan-based Daiichi Sankyo, Benicar’s manufacturer, and Forest Laboratories, which marketed Benicar in the U.S. The complaints allege that Benicar was insufficiently tested and not accompanied by adequate instructions and warnings to apprise consumers of the full risks and side effects associated with its use. In August 2017, a settlement valued at $300 million covering approximately 2,300 Benicar injury cases in both state and federal courts was announced.

The firm's New York office has also made its role. "David Stellings is someone that people really think highly of on the plaintiff side," insists one defense-side lawyer at a prominent white-shoe firm.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown

Founded over 150 years ago in 1863 in Hong Kong, Mayer Brown has expanded to 27 offices across four continents. The firm prides itself on its global “one-firm” culture that is, integration across all practice areas and regions. While they are particularly strong in the global financial services sector, they have a breadth of experience stemming from their decades of experience. Their litigation & dispute resolution practice is made up of over 450 litigators around the world.

Los Angeles based litigator John Nadolenco co-leads the Litigation & Dispute Resolution practice at the firm and is also on the Partnership Board. He represented Facebook in a matter related to the company’s use of facial-recognition technology. A certified class of Illinois Facebook users alleged that the company’s use of facial-recognition technology violated an Illinois privacy law. The Mayer Brown team filed a request for an early appeal of the class certification decision in the Ninth Circuit Court and an emergency motion to stay the district court proceedings, which the court granted. These cases are important as biometric cases are novel and the results of these matters will set precedents in regards to the relationship between biometric technology and state privacy laws. Chicago based lawyer Michael Olsen is the other head of the Litigation & Dispute Resolution practice and co-leads the Mass Tort & Product Liability practice area. He represented The Big Ten Conference in several putative class actions. These matters allege that the NCAA and numerous other NCAA Division I Conferences conspired to cap the value of scholarships to student athletes. Closing arguments were held in December 2018 and is awaiting the court’s decision. Laurence Urgenson co-leads the Global Anti-Corruption & FCPA practice area at the firm. Operating out of the Washington D.C. office, he is well known for his success as a FCPA practitioner. Fellow partner Andrew Pincus is an esteemed appellate litigator. He won a U.S. Supreme Court ruling while representing Lamps Plus regarding class-wide arbitrations, reversing the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision. In this ruling, the court maintained that the Federal Arbitration Act requires an affirmative basis in the contract for concluding that all parties agreed to class arbitration, separating it from individualized arbitration protected by the FAA.

Dale Giali maintains a strong reputation with the agribusiness sector, notably representing Nestlé Purina PetCare in an industry wide false advertising lawsuit. Specialty pet food marker Wysong alleged that the client as well as other leading pet food manufacturers misled consumers into thinking their pet food contained “human-grade” ingredients by featuring pictures of meat and vegetables on the label. The Sixth Circuit Court dismissed the case, upholding a district court ruling and setting a precedent. Washington D.C. based Andrew Tauber is another star appellate litigator at Mayer Brown. He successfully represented Medtronic in a case that went to the Arizona Supreme Court. The court ruled that federal law preempts state law failure-to-warn claims predicated on a manufacturer’s alleged failure to submit adverse event reports to the FDA. This ruling has wider positive effects on the medical device industry. Michele Odorizzi is a highly acclaimed appellate litigator. Based in the Chicago office, she focuses her practice on appellate litigation and brief writing at the trial court level. Fellow Chicago partner Andrew Marovitz serves as Mayer Brown’s General Counsel and specialized in antitrust and complex commercial litigation. He represented ArcelorMittal USA in a putative nationwide class action of indirect purchasers who claimed price fixing among steel manufacturers, including ArcelorMittal. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld a previous Illinois federal judge’s decision to dismiss the class action in a major win for the client.

Debra Bogo-Ernst is also based in the Chicago office. She co-leads the Chicago office’s Litigation & Dispute Resolution practice and co-chairs the firm’s nationwide Consumer and Class Action Practice. An outstanding litigator, Bogo-Ernst helped successfully lead a closely watched case, in which she defended Citigroup and CitiMortgage in a nationwide class action lawsuit. The plaintiff accused defendants of purported violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, alleging that they made unconsented collection calls to its customers and made wrong number calls. The court denied class certification after Citi proved that it did have consent for a significant portion of potential class members. Daniel Ring is the other head of the Chicago Litigation & Dispute Resolution practice. He also co-chairs the Product Liability & Mass Torts practice area. He is a notable practitioner, who specializes in product liability, toxic tort and complex commercial litigation. 

McDermott Will & Emery

Headquartered in Chicago, with nearly a dozen offices throughout the U.S., McDermott Will & Emery is comprised of a team of over 1000 lawyers specialized in various industries. The team is praised for their "diligence, accuracy, quick response time" and for being "client-oriented," as expressed by a client, who also highlights the firm's "international network [and] deep understanding of cultural differences between countries."  

Washington, DC-based litigator Fredric “Rick” Firestone represents corporations, financial institutions and individuals in investigations and enforcement proceedings by various federal and state securities regulators. Firestone represented ITT's Educational Services' former chief financial officer in a case that settled a suit against two former executives accused of hiding the defunct for-profit college operator's actual financial condition from investors. Kerry Scanlon's practice has included representation of some of the largest employment discrimination class actions. As head of the firm's U.S. labor and employment litigation practice, Scanlon has been at the forefront of recent high-stakes disputes, including serving as a member of the lead counsel team to Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. in a suit that accuses the company of lack of proper accommodation for their patrons with disabilities. The matter was recently sent to private mediation ahead of trial.  

Margaret Warner maintains a diverse practice including antitrust, product liability, class actions, and insurance disputes. Her expertise includes serving as first chair in numerous cases tried to verdict before juries, judges and arbitration panels. Fellow DC trial lawyers Paul Thompson and Raymond Jacobsen were part of the lead counsel team representing Impax Laboratories in multidistrict litigation brought by direct purchasers, indirect resellers, and end payers of digoxin and licocaine-prilocaine and in related congressional, state attorney general, and U.S. DOJ investigations into price increases by leading generic pharmaceutical manufacturers. Jacobsen Jr., who heads the firm's antitrust practice, and Chicago partner Katherine O'Connor represented American Gypsum Company and its parent company Eagle Materials, against allegations of price-fixing in the drywall industry following of 35% price increase.  

O'Connor, a Benchmark Future Star, was also instrumental in preserving a major victory for Steel Dynamics in the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit after the court affirmed the dismissal of claims against Steel Dynamics, preserving a major victory. The had previously secured another victory for the client in a nationwide class action alleging that steel makers comprising 85% of the US market conspired to restrict the supply and to fix prices of all steel products, with sales exceeding $100 billion. The firm took the lead for all defendants on a successful motion to dismiss all claims in the steel antitrust litigation indirect purchaser case. As a result of the motion, all indirect purchaser claims against defendants were dismissed. With $17.4 billion in claimed damages for direct and an undetermined amount for indirect purchasers, this matter is considered one of the largest private antitrust cases in the country. The antitrust team generated rave reviews from a client who states, "They got great results for us in our toughest litigation. In court, they are fierce competitors and well-prepared advocates.” Chicago’s David Rosenbloom is global head of the firm's litigation practice group and focuses his practice on criminal investigation and trials, qui tam litigation and health care fraud and abuse compliance, internal investigations and complex commercial litigation.  

Boston-based Sarah Chapin Columbia heads the firm's global IP practice. She has participated in infringement disputes and invalidity trials on patent and trademark litigation proceedings.  She is currently lead counsel for Amgen in a patent infringement action and jury trials involving biologic therapy for the treatment of high LDL cholesterol. 

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McKool Smith

McKool Smith developed deep roots in Dallas, Texas, where it started in 1991 with 13 trial lawyers. Since then, the firm has rapidly and strategically expanded to now include 185 trial lawyers in seven offices nationwide. They are located in New York, New York; Washington D.C.; Houston, Marshall, Austin and Dallas, Texas and Los Angeles, California, where they are known in the state as McKool Smith Hennigan. Their strategic and entrepreneurial approach has won them praise from clients and peers alike.

Mike McKool is the chairman and a founding partner, as well as a noted ace trial lawyer. McKool triumphed for WiLAN in patent infringement claims against Apple. The Southern District of California ruled in favor of WiLAN, awarding them $145 million in damages claiming that Apple infringed patents related to voiceover LTE wireless communication technology. The client has also filed a second patent infringement claims against Apple regarding iPhones that support VoLTE enhanced calling over the 4G network. Apple filed a damages retrial, which has yet to take place. Managing partner David Sochia is based in the Dallas Texas office, and specializes in complex commercial disputes and intellectual property litigation, specifically patent law. Sochia, along with fellow Dallas-based partner Douglas Cawley began defending Xerox, Conduent and New Jersey Transit in an intellectual property case. Bytemark accused the clients of patent infringement, theft of trade secrets, breach of contract, interference of business relations, unfair competition and unjust enrichment claims. Based in Los Angeles, Michael Hennigan specializes in complex commercial trial litigation. He was part of the team that defended City National Bank in five class-action lawsuits and multiple individual-action lawsuits. In these lawsuits, it was alleged that City National Bank aided and abetted a Ponzi scheme operated by Nationwide Automated Systems. The team won the dismissal of one action, exposed the remaining plaintiffs to the high risk of dismissal and blocked all discovery. The remaining cases settled in July 2018 and was approved by the Los Angeles Superior Court in January 2019. New York based litigator Robin Cohen heads the insurance recovery practice area at the firm. She is the lead principal in a matter in which she represented Verizon in matters against four primary and excess-layer executive and organization liability insurance carriers. Verizon filed a motion to recover unreimbursed defense costs plus interest from these carriers, who had denied coverage to the client from an underlying lawsuit filed against Verizon earlier. The Delaware Superior Court granted the client’s motion for entry of final judgment and prejudgment interest. The ruling succeeded an earlier ruling in which Verizon was deemed entitled to securities claim coverage for another underlying litigation matter against Verizon, setting a precedent. These rulings have all been appealed by the carriers and Verizon has settled with two of the four carriers. Christopher Johnson and Gayle Klein are also based in the New York office and specialize in business litigation. Johnson in particular focuses on structured financial products, especially residential mortgage-backed securities. They have worked together in representing US Bank, as trustee, in several securities litigation matters. They sought repurchase and/or damages stemming from defective mortgage loans against Morgan Stanley. These matters was settled in May and December 2018. In similar matters, they represented the same client seeking to recover costs stemming from defective mortgage loans from Goldman Sachs. Hugh Ray chairs the firm’s Bankruptcy practice area. He works between the Houston and New York offices and is highly respected in his field, receiving numerous accolades for his work.

Highly experienced litigator Samuel Baxter works in the Marshall and Dallas offices and is especially skilled in intellectual property matters. He, along with Dallas based partner Theodore “Ted” Stevenson III, who also is especially experienced in intellectual property, represented PanOptis Patent Management in a patent infringement case. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas ruled in favor of the client, finding that defendant Huawei infringed five PanOptis patents in relation to wireless communications technologies. Lewis LeClair acted as lead counsel in an arbitration matter against five entities affiliated with the aviation industry of China. LeClair sought confirmation of an arbitration award issued in 2015. In August 2018, a district court confirmed the arbitration amount in full against the aviation industry of China, which was appealed to the 5th Circuit Court.


Milbank

With domestic offices in New York, Washington, DC and Los Angeles, Milbank has a steady and uninterrupted ascent in its profile. “Milbank remains a force to be reckoned with,” confirms a peer. Another adds, “They occupy a space in the market that is kind of unique to them, a very interesting offering of practices.” Clients are equally appreciative, with one offering the plum accolade, “They have a deep bench of very skilled litigators that have actually gone to trial.

The firm’s LA office, and its intellectual property practice overall, got a significant boost in August 2019 when it lured a sizeable IP team from Irell & Manella to the firm’s bench. This includes the especially auspicious acquisition of David Gindler, a routinely revered patent and licensing partner. “This is big news,” offers a peer in the IP space. “Milbank definitely scored here, and their already strong IP team in New York is now complemented by a West Coast component.”

A member of the New York IP team, Errol Taylor, scored in the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit for Tris Pharma in a lawsuit concerning patents that cover Tris's ADHD treatment. In November 2018, the appellate court cemented Taylor’s hard-fought victory. “Errol is underrated and deserves more notice,” ventures a peer. “He is just awesome.” In a particularly novel matter spanning IP and international arbitration, New York IP specialist Chris Gaspar and DC-based international arbitration partner Michael Nolan chalked up a win in March 2017, when the Federal Circuit affirmed a $450 million arbitration award on behalf of client Bayer CropScience in an international-level dispute concerning infringement of a patent on a gene used by farmers to modify their crops to withstand weed-killing herbicides. The two cemented that win with a December 2017 order from Supreme Court denying certiorari. Nolan also represented the Government of Mongolia, prevailing in an arbitration brought by Chinese state-owned entities pursuant to the investment-protection treaty between the two countries over Mongolia’s revocation of a license for the Chinese entities to mine a vast iron ore deposit. The leases were cancelled in 2006 after the Chinese entities allegedly breached Mongolian laws and the terms of the license. The Chinese entities sought to recoup their investment, as well as potential profits and arbitration costs. The tribunal’s issued a unanimous award as of June 2017, dismissing all claims. Nolan logged another win for the developers and owners of a 148.5-MW wind farm in northeast Mexico against a subsidiary of the Spanish conglomerate Abengoa. In the award issued in the summer of 2018, the Arbitral Tribunal ruled that Abengoa had breached its obligations as general contractor for the construction of the wind farm. In 2019, the Southern District of New York confirmed the award in favor of Nolan’s clients. Fellow New York partner and securities enforcement and white-collar practitioner, George Canellos, who returned to the firm in 2014 after a stint with the SEC, receives plentiful plaudits from peers. “George has really built a nice practice over there,” confirms one, who concedes, “More litigators should try to be like him, not just in his work but in his approach. You feel like you can trust him, he has immediate credibility.” Another peer reinforces this claim. “George is just fantastic - one of the best and most experienced enforcement lawyers you’ll find, and, it should be said, one of the nicest and most easygoing. That’s a rare find.” Canellos represents the founder and managing partner of a private equity firm in connection with a federal government investigation of insider trading activity in the securities of a semiconductor entity. In January 2019, the court rejected the prosecution's request for a sentence of between six and a half to eight years' imprisonment, and sentenced the client to just three months’ imprisonment. New York’s Dan Perry is representing Primero Mining in a putative securities class action in the Central District of California, related to the Canadian company’s allegedly false or misleading disclosures regarding its Mexican subsidiary, which allegedly harmed investors when the company’s share price dropped. The matter is currently on appeal in the Ninth Circuit. A client weighs in on Perry’s behalf, “Dan is a highly skilled trial lawyer who strikes the right balance of taking the time to understand the details/nuances of a matter or issue while still being efficient and mindful of costs. He also communicates well with the business side where necessary.”

Managing partner of the Washington, DC office, Andrew Leblanc was recently a part of the lead counsel team (which also included Dennis Dunne and Atara Miller) who achieved a significant victory on behalf of Ambac Assurance Corporation before the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in a case that threatened to derail Puerto Rico’s efforts to reach consensual resolutions with its creditors. This decision allows negotiations to move forward without the distraction of creditor litigation, and supports important principles concerning the application of the Bankruptcy Code’s automatic stay. Leblanc enjoys a unanimous reputation as one of the leading genuine bankruptcy litigators in the US. “Andy is the real deal,” confirms a competitor. “He’s not just a restructuring lawyer, he’s not a litigator who just dabbles in bankruptcy, he is a true insolvency court fighter. Other clients go out of their way to avoid him - they didn’t want him cross-examining their CEO!” One peer quips, “Andy Leblanc is the one bankruptcy litigator that I’m really worried about going up against.”

Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo

Mintz

Starting as a New England-centric shop, with roots in Boston stretching back more than 80 years, Mintz has since expanded both its geographic reach and its reputation considerably since that time. The firm has even grown its footprint internationally, with an office in London, as well as making a substantial push into California in 2003, with three offices in the state. “Mintz is definitely not just the firm that people in Boston are going to know,” insists one local peer. “In fact, although they’re definitely still a big name here, you’re more likely to see them in the big cases outside of Boston.”

Exemplifying this view, Robert Popeo, a Boston-based litigation mainstay and a white-collar strategist, recently led a firm team in the representation of Oxbow Carbon against the efforts of one of its minority investors (private equity fund Crestview Partners) to force the sale of Oxbow against the wishes of its majority owners, a case that has been widely viewed as literally “bet-the-company.” “This was a big deal, it had the whole Delaware community’s attention, with a lot of major players in that market also involved,” confirms a peer. “It was a long, hard slog, and it took awhile, but Popeo delivered.” Another Boston-based partner, Keith Carroll attends to a varied practice that encompasses antitrust, life sciences, commercial, and sports and entertainment. Carroll represents Crescendo Bioscience, a subsidiary of Myriad Genetics, which had developed a blood test that would measure rheumatoid arthritis and would measure the medication. The client was sued for contract termination, which the plaintiff claimed was a breach. In a 2018 decision, Carroll won his client the right to terminate and knock out the plaintiff’s damages claim. Peers also give the nod to Nancy Adams, a Boston-based insurance coverage practitioner. Active in this space for over 20 years, Adams is a member of the American College of Coverage Counsel and is engaged by an active docket for a wide range of clients.

Arguably the most visible and auspicious acquisition to come from Mintz’s California expansion was its addition of Ralph Campillo, a Los Angeles-based national-level star in the mass tort and product liability capacity who joined from the now-defunct Sedgwick. “Ralph is based in California, but he is a nationally known trial lawyer,” testifies one peer. In one of many examples of Campillo’s prowess, he triumphed for Illinois Tool Works Food Equipment Group, who was sued by a meat department worker at a local super market, who suffered a catastrophic injury to her left arm while grinding meat using a Hobart meat mixer-grinder. The plaintiff alleged that her injuries were caused by known design defects with the machine’s operational safeguards. Additionally, the plaintiff alleged that the client was liable for punitive damages because it had prior knowledge of the alleged defects yet failed to recall, retrofit or warn customers of the known defects. At an October 2018 jury trial, a decision was rendered that both the market and plaintiff were ultimately responsible for this avoidable accident.

MoloLamken

A litigation boutique with offices in New York, Chicago and DC, MoloLamken has quickly become a favorite among the crowded field of litigation shops. The firm earns rave reviews from clients and peers. One client succinctly sums up the firm’s appeal: “MoloLamken has a strong reputation as being effective litigators, without the inefficiencies of a large firm.”

New York’s Steven Molo remains its most recognized and revered trial lawyer. “Steven Molo delivers the goods,” crows one peer. “I’ve worked with him and I’ve worked against him. Either position provides a learning opportunity.” Molo represents HPS, a hedge fund with over $46 billion under management, in a high-profile bondholder dispute that played out in Delaware Bankruptcy Court relating to the debt refinancing of LBI Media, a Spanish-language media company. LBI’s first-lien noteholders and second-lien noteholders contested issues of solvency and the validity of a pre-petition financing transaction. The bankruptcy court held two and a half days of trial in March 2019. In April, the court approved a settlement between the parties that resulted in a consensual plan of reorganization for LBI.

While Molo remains the most public figurehead within the firm, DC’s Jeffrey Lamken, an appellate specialist, has been in equal demand. Lamken represents VirnetX as lead appellate counsel in defending two judgments for patent infringement against Apple for $440 million and $500 million, respectively—which are on appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal circuit. Also in the DC office, Robert Kry is enjoying a steady ascent in profile. Kry and Molo represent the lead plaintiffs in a securities fraud class action against Alibaba and its senior officers concerning a September 2014 a $25 billion IPO, subsequent to which it emerged that Alibaba had been the subject of a regulatory proceeding in which it had received stern “administrative guidance” from Chinese regulators over the prevalence of counterfeits and other illegal goods on its online marketplaces. The regulators threatened to impose billions of dollars of fines unless Alibaba took costly remedial measures that would reduce its revenues and earnings. When the administrative guidance was revealed to the public, the company’s stock dropped substantially, and the company lost over $10 billion in market value. The case was settled in 2019 for $250 million. Kry and Lamken represented Dominion Energy in an appeal to the Fourth Circuit from a decision finding that Dominion had violated the Clean Water Act. In September 2018, the Fourth Circuit reversed. It held that Dominion had not violated the Clean Water Act.

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough

Nelson Mullins boasts a powerhouse presence in the Southeast, housing more than 500 attorneys and government relations professionals in offices throughout the Carolinas as well as in Georgia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, and Washington, DC. The firm also maintains a northeast footprint with offices in New York and Massachusetts, and western locations in Colorado and California.

South Carolina-based lawyer David Dukes is recognized for his diverse practice on pharmaceutical, medical device, business and patent litigation, as well as the coordination of national litigation. Dukes is lead trial counsel for Purdue Pharma in response to a lawsuit that was recently filed against the company. The State of South Carolina recently filed suit against the pharmaceutical manufacturer alleging improprieties in the marketing of the popular painkiller Oxycontin. South Carolina is one of a number of states to sue an opioid maker for allegedly deceptive marketing, joining several counties and cities across the nation. Michael Brown is a Baltimore-based litigator who frequently handles complex cases in the areas of products liability defense, mass tort litigation, as well as commercial litigation matters. Peers affirm Brown is "a leader in the room" adding, "He covers the biggest litigation in the state of MD. He was prized by every firm on the east coast [and] tries cases all over the country on product liability." Another peer exclaims, "He fills up the whole room. He is a gentle giant who could go into any courtroom, convince those tough juries and win!"

North Carolina partner Noah Huffstetler is lead counsel to Tyron Medical Partners in an antitrust matter. The dispute stems from a group of 92 physicians, servicing approximately 100,000 patients annually in various disciplines, employed by North Carolina's largest hospital system, Carolinas Healthcare System (now known as Atrium Health), in their attempt to break away from their employee status to form an independent healthcare provider. Subject to stringent non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, these physicians had been asked to agree to lower compensation or be terminated.  The firm filed suit against Atrium, asserting, among other things, claims for antitrust violations and seeking declaratory relief to invalidate the non-compete agreements. After litigation commenced, Atrium agreed to release the physicians from their contractual obligations. This is the largest physician separation dispute ever handled in North Carolina.

West Virginia-based Marc Williams, along with future stars Melissa Foster Bird and Robert Massie, were lead counsel to Eastman Chemical in numerous class actions and governmental lawsuits related to the January 2014 Freedom Industries chemical spill and water contamination event. This litigation ultimately involved over 300,000 class members and spanned across several Circuit Courts, federal courts and the West Virginia mass litigation panel. The matter was successfully resolved in favorable terms for the client.

Nixon Peabody

With 16 offices, including four international ones, Nixon Peabody has become a client favorite. “Nixon Peabody is excellent. Service is top notch, billings rational. I hire Nixon Peabody for virtually all of our construction claims and litigation,” one client enthuses. Another notes, “They provided an excellent service, both in terms of strategic advice and the detailed handling of the litigation.” One client succinctly describes the excellence of the firm by saying, “The firm has highly experienced trial lawyers at reasonable rates.”

While the firm has increasingly established itself outisde this region, few would dispute the firm’s bench strength and brand power in the New England market. Acclaimed practitioner Scott O’Connell chairs the litigation department and spends his time between the firm’s Boston and New Hampshire offices. O’Connell and Kevin Fitzgerald worked together to represent a consortium of over 300 health care providers, on behalf of themselves and a class of over 6,000 current and past policyholders in the New Hampshire Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Association (NHMMJUA) in a matter that challenged state legislation that required NHMMJUA to transfer millions in alleged excess surplus funds to the state’s general fund from 2009 to 2011. The Nixon Peabody team argued that the legislation impaired the clients’ contract rights in violation of the New Hampshire Constitution, which was confirmed by both the trial court and the New Hampshire Supreme Court. The team then filed a precedent setting class action on behalf of the client following successful judicial, administrative and legislative proceedings. The client won class certification and summary judgment, entitling them to receive an amount equivalent to the excess surplus funds. O’Connell and Fitzgerald also filed a companion case, representing an expanded class. This case was also a success, resulting in the recovery of additional excess surplus funds. Jeffrey Brenner leads the firm’s real estate litigation team and construction practice area, working between the Providence and Boston offices. He represented Endoscopy Associates in a significant matter involving the obtaining of a certificate of need. This certificate was required for the client to change its license status from physician ambulatory surgery center, limited to physician owners, to free standing ambulatory surgery center, allowing the client to gain corporate ownership. While the certificate was initially approved by the Rhode Island Department of Health, a competitor convinced an administrative law judge and the Rhode Island Supreme Court to overturn the approval. Following a hearing, the Rhode Island Supreme Court allowed the client to receive the certificate, granting the license change. Boston-based Brian Kelly represented Trinity Industries and Trinity Highway Products in a series of product liability actions and a federal investigation stemming from automobile accidents and Trinity guardrail end terminals. Plaintiffs accuse the client of product design defects resulting in injuries. The federal investigation ended with no findings of wrongdoing by the client. Working between the Boston and Manchester offices, David Vicinanzo leads the government investigations & white collar defense practice areas. He is an esteemed litigator who focuses his practice on government investigations and represents a wide variety of clients in complex civil and criminal matters.

O'Melveny & Myers

O’Melveny & Myers has grown from its roots as a vaunted California name brand in the legal industry into a commanding presence on the world stage, with 15 offices globally. The firm is viewed as a valued advisor by a vast and diverse span of business clients, several of whom have dominated the media over the past year.

Dan Petrocelli is not only the firm’s most celebrated trial lawyer, but is also arguably one of the nation’s most revered. “He’s a good example of someone who can specialize in a craft rather than a doctrine. [He’s a] Hell of a trial lawyer, who deserves the accolades, not that he’s wanting for any more.” Petrocelli made waves on the national stage again this year, securing a landmark victory for AT&T in a case in which the government attempted to block this client’s proposed vertical merger with Time Warner. Petrocelli’s trial prowess has been called into service locally as well, most notably for Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, for whom Petrocelli secured a complete defense verdict in the first, bellwether trial in a California Coordinated Proceeding involving more than 10,000 claims over the antipsychotic medication Risperdal. The trial involved claims by a 24-year old man that he developed gynecomastia from prior Risperdal use. The man was prescribed Risperdal “off-label” as a child for severe violence and behavioral issues, before it was approved by the FDA for children. The plaintiff argued that defendants could and should have warned of the risk of gynecomastia to children and adolescents even before the pediatric approval. After a more than two-week trial, the jury rendered a verdict for the defense in less than two hours. Demonstrating his flexibility and versatility as a trial lawyer, Petrocelli also represented Top Rank and boxer Manny Pacquiao, who was sued by plaintiffs after the fighter sustained a shoulder injury just prior to a scheduled fight that shattered attendance and pay-per-view records. Plaintiff lawyers filed over 40 class actions in state or federal courts seeking a refund of monies paid for tickets, pay-per-view broadcasts, or closed-circuit licenses, claiming that class participants would not have paid to watch the fight had Pacquiao’s injury (or the fact that he was not “100%” fit) been disclosed. After getting the state lawsuits removed to federal court and coordinated with the federal filings in a single multidistrict proceeding, last month Petrocelli and his team “knocked out” every one of them. Petrocelli is far from the only O’Melveny partner to claim headline-making victories, however. Los Angeles-based securities partner Seth Aronson secured a major victory for all class action defendants when the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of client China Agritech, holding that courts cannot extend statutes of limitations to permit endless follow-on class actions. This win also shows the firm flexing its muscle in the China-focused space, an area also attended to by William Pao, a commercial litigator also based in LA. Another LA partner, Richard Goetz, is currently representing Hill’s Pet Nutrition, owned by firm client Colgate-Palmolive, in more than 21 putative class actions brought by more than 300 plaintiffs in cases currently pending before 15 judges in 11 different courts. The allegations relate to a voluntary Hill’s recall of certain pet foods that, due to a supplier error, contained potentially elevated levels of vitamin D, an otherwise essential nutrient. Goetz is also actively representing a well publicized defendant in the nationwide opioid class actions. Intellectual property partner Ryan Yagura has mined a sizeable profile in the patent arena, particularly for clients in the tech sector. Yagura led a team that won victories for Samsung against plaintiffs seeking more than $1 billion in damages and an order that would have barred Samsung from importing any of its smartphones, tablets, computers, or smart watches to the US. The plaintiffs settled with Samsung for a fraction of their original claims. O’Melveny is also noted for being one of the few major national firms with an established California-focused environmental and land use practices. In this capacity, Matt Kline secured a significant summary judgment victory in favor of client Coachella Valley Water District in a federal groundwater rights lawsuit filed by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. The Agua Caliente Tribe filed suit in 2013, seeking to secure rights to groundwater in the Coachella Valley basin and to prevent the client, one of two primary agencies managing water resources in the Coachella Valley, from transporting water from the Colorado River to the Coachella Valley.

In the firm’s DC office, Ian Simmons has emerged as the firm’s antitrust figurehead. Simmons is representing Bitcoin.com and individual developers in the first federal antitrust complaint against a cryptocurrency. 
In civil litigation filed in the Southern District of Florida, United American Corporation alleges that defendants conspired to “hijack” a cryptocurrency fork. In its motion to dismiss, Simmons responded that the fork birthed rival cryptocurrencies and therefore increased rather than stifled competition. The decision on the motion to dismiss is currently pending in this closely watched case of first impression. Simmons also triumphed for Samsung, defeating antitrust claims seeking more than US$1 billion in actual damages—US$3 billion in treble damages—in multidistrict litigation alleging the company was part of a conspiracy to fix prices of optical disk drives, a key component for reading and writing data on CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray Discs found in computers, video game consoles, and other devices. The litigation included claims brought by indirect purchasers, direct purchasers, retailers, and states.
 In August 2018, the parties reached a final settlement, effectively concluding eight years of litigation, discovery, and investigations.


The New York office is home to one of the firm’s top securities practitioners, Brad Butwin. Butwin is cheered by a vocal contingent of peers. One calls him, “a superb litigator — tenacious, smart, high-energy and quite effective, with good judgment.” Another notes, “Brad has deep securities litigation experience. He is a senior- level advisor to many boards and GCs. He also has an incredible bench, which includes partner Jonathan Rosenberg.” 

Paul Hastings

With offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, New York, Washington, DC, six offices across California, and abroad, Paul Hastings has blossomed into an international full-service powerhouse. "Paul Hastings has really started to build up, in terms of office numbers and bench strength," notes one peer. "They have always had great litigators there."

Celebrated patent star Yar Chaikovsky serves as the global co-chair of Paul Hastings's IP practice in the firm's Palo Alto office. A peer states, "Yar is a real character – talking to him makes you think he was reading about patents while still in the cradle! He's a hell of a lawyer and has some 'star power' about him." Chaikovsky serves as lead counsel for companies in all stages of development, from start-ups to established companies. Among others, these companies recently include eBay, Fox, HTC, Rovi, Trend Micro, Twitter, Vitesse Semiconductor, and Yahoo! Another trial authority is white-collar and enforcement partner Thomas Zaccaro. Peers testify, "Tom is just great–if I were in trouble in LA [and] needed an SEC enforcement-type guy I'd call Tom. I've worked with him before and it's been a pleasure."

In the firm's New York office, global litigation chair Barry Sher earns a healthy share of peer plaudits. The New York office also houses IP star litigator Bruce Wexler who chairs the life sciences industry practice group and is the global co-chair of the IP practice group. Wexler served as lead counsel for Merck in patent infringement litigation where he defended Merck’s patent protecting the active ingredient in Emend for Injection, a drug for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. In a complete victory for the client after a six-day bench trial, a judgment was entered in favor of Merck on all aspects of invalidity defenses.

Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison

With a history stretching back to 1875, today Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison enjoys a pedigree that few other legal outfits can claim. One client sums sums up, “[They are] excellent lawyers, with a strong strategic vision and approach.” From its domestic offices in New York and DC, the firm has attained a reputation of first-call among a “who’s who” of corporate entities across an increasingly diverse spectrum of industries. The firm’s bench is becoming increasingly diverse as well; earlier in 2019 the firm lured “appellate whiz-kid” Kannon Shanmugam to its bench from his post at Williams & Connolly. Shanmugam boasts an impressive track record, particularly for someone of his relatively young vintage. Paul Weiss also welcomed Loretta Lynch, the former US Attorney General under the Obama administration, to its ranks in 2019.

New York’s Brad Karp, long a perennial favorite, continues to ride a decade-long wave of near unanimous accolades. “Brad continues to do a wonderful job for the institutions,” confirms one peer. “How Brad could work as hard as he does and still remain such a ‘people person’ is astonishing. He is out there pressing flesh, orchestrating favorable settlements for his clients, and at the same time, running that firm.” Another offers an anecdote to illustrate Karp’s stamina: “I was talking to a fellow partner friend who considered himself fairly ambitious, and I had to laugh when he told me he wanted to clock around 1200 hours – that’s about a third of what Brad Karp does.” Clients meanwhile call Karp “an excellent lawyer, with great judgment and superior presence in both court room and board room.” Karp’s primary blue-chip client is Citigroup, for whom Karp secured a highly favorable resolution in May 2017 of a global multi-year anti-money laundering probe. The investigation involved claims that Citigroup’s Banamex USA unit failed to heed red flags concerning thousands of suspicious remittances to Mexico and to adequately monitor more than 30 million remittance transactions worth $8.8 billion over a five-year period. The resolution - which involved a $97.44 million penalty, avoided any criminal charge and required no independent monitor - was dramatically more favorable than those secured by other banks. Karp did not act alone on this matter; Michelle Hirshman and Susanna Buergel also played a role, and both are seeing consistently elevated profiles. “Susanna is more and more being seen as second in command along with Brad on those Citi cases,” observes a peer. Karp also achieved a major victory for Glencore in March 2019 when the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida dismissed a lawsuit against the client and other oil traders for allegedly conspiring to cheat Venezuela's state oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, out of billions of dollars. The claims, filed by a U.S. litigation trust purportedly on behalf of PDVSA, alleged that the defendants had conspired to bribe Venezuelan officials and rig bids submitted to PDVSA for decades, allegedly costing PDVSA $5.2 billion in lost revenue.

Ted Wells is another evergreen choice among peers and clients for “hard-core trial work.” A peer sums up Wells’ standing in the community: “He obviously needs no introduction. He commands the room, he has charm and an 'aw shucks!' manner about him. Everybody loves him and wants to hang.” However, it is also noted that others at the firm are quickly rising up to grab the baton. “Paul Weiss is one of those white-collar departments that will actually try a case,” asserts a peer, “and Ted is usually the first-call but it’s not only about him anymore. Others have stepped up. I referred a case there once that Ted took in, but I saw Lorin Reisner pretty much exclusively after that, and he was fabulous, a pleasure to work with.” Another peer elaborates, “If I have to refer a case that is just getting started and looks like it might be another three years before it goes to trial, I frankly will be looking more at referring to someone like Roberto Finzi, who is really coming into his own and has a demonstrated skill set.”

It is also noted that the firm’s reach and reputation have steadily expanded beyond servicing the usual client cadre of Wall Street titans in securities actions. In the DC office, Nicholas Groombridge is being heralded as “the sleeper hit” in intellectual property circles. “Nick was way ahead of the curve in the biosimilar patent space, which has since become the sexy place to be in the patent world,” attests a peer. In March 2018, Groombridge secured an inter partes review for Edwards Lifesciences before the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB) that, if affirmed, ends Boston Scientific’s high-value patent suit against the client a transcatheter heart valve device. The PTAB invalidated all of Boston Scientific’s patent claims; meanwhile, Edwards’ infringement case against Boston Scientific over its rival transcatheter heart valve technology is set to be tried to a jury. Groombridge, along with fellow DC partner Kenneth Gallo, represent Genentech in patent infringement litigation brought by Baxalta concerning a potentially life-changing treatment for hemophilia A, which Genentech brought to the U.S. market. Another practitioner in the intellectual property capacity, Eric Stone (based in the New York office) is carving out a name for himself among IP peers. “He is the right-hand man of Nick Groombridge. Nick is good in front of juries and he’s good with the arguments, but I think Eric is the strategist. It’s his show!” Peer favorite David Bernick is defending Dow Chemical in several class actions alleging that Dow, together with a number of other manufacturers and sellers, engaged in a price-fixing conspiracy to raise prices for chemicals used in the production of polyurethane products. In October 2018, the actions were transferred to the Western District of Pennsylvania in a multidistrict litigation, where it is currently pending.

 

Polsinelli

Polsinelli is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri but maintains a national presence with the help of its 20 additional offices throughout the U.S. More than 800 attorneys provide legal counsel in approximately 100 practice areas and 70 industry areas, making it one of the most comprehensive firms serving individuals, corporations, and institutions. “Polsinelli has really made its mark," confirms a client.

Missouri litigators Dan Boulware and Russell Jones, Jr. were part of the lead counsel team that obtained a verdict on behalf of former Kansas resident, Gene Bicknell -the largest Pizza Hut franchise owner in the U.S.-in what is believed to be the largest individual tax case in Kansas history. The suit stemmed from a $48 million tax bill determined by the Kansas Department of Revenue claiming that he was still a Kansas resident and therefore owed Kansas taxes on the sale of his company. Following an eight-day trial in July 2018, the Court ordered the State of Kansas must return $48 million paid by Bicknell in tax, interest and penalties over the course of the 10+ year dispute. Boulware also represented 372 plaintiffs-farmers, landowners and business owners to victory in a mass-action lawsuit for flooding against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The suit, originally filed in 2014, alleged the Corps of Engineers' actions violated the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment that bars the Government from taking private property without just compensation. Kansas City litigator William Quirk chairs the appellate practice group, where he is active representing clients on appeals and trial motions in state and federal courts.

Denver trial lawyer Colin Deihl is a new addition to the Benchmark list for his work across all stages of business litigation. His more than 25 years of courtroom experience has made him a trusted authority on breach of contract, fraud, and representations, as well as environmental statute violations. He is active representing a theme park and entertainment company in two putative consumer class actions involving automatic renewal of annual passes.

Trial lawyer and newly acquired star litigator Connie Bertram joins Polsinelli’s DC office where she focuses her practice on whistleblower, trade secrets, government contractors and litigation. She routinely conducts internal investigations involving top-level executive employees in matters involving alleged fraud, theft or misuse of company data, trade secrets, sexual harassment and code of conduct violations. Recent representations include successfully representing a Fortune 50 food distributor on claims for trade secret theft, breach of contract and breach of duty of loyalty, as well as defending claims under SOX and the FCA. Polsinelli also added veteran healthcare litigator David King to their litigation team in the Nashville office. He routinely represents a wide range of health care entities, including profit and not-for-profit hospital systems, ambulatory surgery centers, air ambulance services, specialty providers, physician groups and ancillary service providers, and other medical device companies.

Proskauer Rose

With eight of its 13 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. Where Proskauer stands out from many others is its noted “near-monopoly” on the specialty areas of employment, entertainment and sports law. “No big firms can touch Proskauer in those areas,” opines one peer. “The only other firms with that much of a focus on those areas are boutiques or local shops. Proskauer does work for actual celebrities, not just celebrities in the financial world.” Indeed, the firm’s client roster includes household names ranging from Major League Baseball to Madonna.

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 under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) to oversee the restructuring of Puerto Rico's finances, the largest ever municipal restructuring in the US. Puerto Rico has approximately $74 billion of bond debt and $50 billion of underfunded public pension liabilities. 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. This action involves a team of Proskauer attorneys from numerous offices, including Boston’s Timothy Mungovan, New York’s Martin Bienenstock and Stephen Ratner, and Los Angeles’ Michael Firestein. A peer extols, “This is HUGE! Proskauer landed a deep and complex engagement with this, and they have a team of the right people working on it.” In another bankruptcy-related matter, New York’s Michael Mervis represented Sycamore Partners, the private equity owner of the woman's apparel company Nine West Holdings, in its Chapter 11 restructuring. A main focus of the case was allegations by creditors that Sycamore was liable for more than $1 billion in damages in connection with its 2014 leveraged buy-out of The Jones Group, then a public company, and the carve-out of certain Jones Group business lines from Nine West. Ultimately Sycamore reached a favorable settlement of the putative claims as part of a plan of reorganization. The plan, including the settlement, was opposed by bondholders and set for a three-week trial in February 2019. After several trial days, a global settlement was reached.

New York white-collar specialist Robert Cleary represented the former president of the US subsidiary of a Chinese construction company and former Chinese diplomat, in a one-month jury trial, in connection with federal criminal charges related to human trafficking and forced labor. “Bob Cleary is just the right person for this kind of work,” assesses a peer. “He has the patience and the calm demeanor necessary to unpack all of the messy legal issues, and also has the backbone to not flinch from them.” Sports law authority Brad Ruskin represents Major League Soccer in several active and high-stakes matters, including defending this client against a lawsuit brought by the North American Soccer League (NASL) against the client and the US Soccer Federation following the Federation's decision not to sanction NASL as a Division II professional league for the 2018 season. NASL alleges that the client and the Federation are engaged in an antitrust conspiracy to ensure that the client is the sole Division I soccer league in the United States, and further alleges that the client is an illegal monopoly in violation of the Sherman Act.       

Proskauer has also doubled down on California through some recent strategic recruits in its Los Angeles office. “Proskauer is definitely ‘having a moment’ out here,” observes one Los Angeles peer. “It’s been an interesting development, and we’ve all been watching it and keeping up on the news there.” One such strategic hire is in the intellectual property capacity, where Siegmund “Sige” Gutman has taken charge of growing this practice, bookending its power on the East Coast helmed by Boston IP partner Steven Bauer. Gutman (along with Bauer) represents Amgen in a high-profile life sciences patent matter brought under the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act concerning Amgen’s development and commercialization of a biosimilar to Genentech’s Avastin, a monoclonal antibody cancer therapy.

Another recent key recruit was trial lawyer “extraordinaire” Bart Williams, championed by a vocal and enthusiastic chorus of peers. “He is just magnificent in front of a jury,” raves one. Williams, along with Manuel Cachan, was retained as trial counsel for Johnson & Johnson in the first of potentially over 300 individual lawsuits filed in California regarding an alleged causal link between talc powder and ovarian cancer. The bellwether case was brought by a 63-year old woman claiming that perineal use of J&J’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products caused or contributed to the development of her ovarian cancer. The trial resulted in a plaintiff’s verdict, but in October 2017, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Nelson granted the defendants’ motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and entered judgment in favor of the defendants. In another matter that pulls Proskauer’s famed sports law practice into play, Williams, along with Scott Cooper, also represents the Pac-12 conference, and is lead trial counsel on behalf of the college athletic conference defendants (which includes the Pac 12, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, and ACC), in a nationally high-profile multidistrict antitrust litigation proceeding in the Northern District of California challenging the legality of NCAA amateurism rules in collegiate football and men’s and women’s basketball. The trial began in September 2018, and closing arguments ended in December 2018, and the matter is ongoing. Cachan meanwhile led a team representing Johnson & Johnson in a number of high-profile product liability trials, including as trial counsel in a three-week jury trial in Oklahoma City state court alleging that exposure to Johnson's Baby Powder causes mesothelioma. Following jury deliberations but before a verdict had been reached, the matter was resolved on highly favorable terms in April 2019.

Reid Collins & Tsai

While it maintains four offices (two in Texas - Dallas and Austin - as well as one in DC and one in New York,) Reid Collins & Tsai has crafted itself a niche as a true maverick trial boutique, one that is flexible to take on whatever cases it sees as suitable and desirable. The firm is often the fortunate recipient of cases that other, usually larger, firms refer or are conflicted out of, and these cases fall primarily on the plaintiff side of the ‘V.’ “These guys are definitely purveyors of an increasingly lost art,” offers one peer. “But they are not just ‘cowboys,’ they are strategic. They prepare incessantly and they are not just looking to do ‘the settlement dance’ and get out.” Another declares, “Reid Collins & Tsai is a relatively new force but they have come on the scene big-time. There is a lot to learn from Bill Reid and his bunch – they forcing other ‘trial lawyers’ to take a minute to reflect and decide whether they are really worthy of that designation.” The firm also has its fans among a dedicated and vocal client base. One such client cheers the firm lawyers as “responsive, smart and appropriately aggressive.” Another commends, “They are smart attorneys who give honest evaluations, have good judgment and experience in the certain key areas who also look to cost/benefit risks, as opposed to only looking to litigate for fees. They are also willing to be creative on arrangements for their fees.” Still another confirms, “I needed smart and efficient litigation counsel to handle one of the larger matters for a post-bankruptcy litigation/liquidation trust. I interviewed several top-tier litigation boutiques, and selected Reid Collins. It is a high-end, results-driven firm.”

Austin-based Bill Reid, an architect of the firm and an all-purpose commercial trial lawyer, scored a considerable victory on behalf of Claymore Holdings, taking Credit Suisse to task for fraud and breach of contract in connection with a $540 million loan to the developers of a Lake Las Vegas resort. Following a five-week trial, Reid and his team obtained a $287.5 million judgment against Credit Suisse, which affirmed on appeal in February 2018. Reid has also kept busy with representations for other clients as well, triumphing on their behalf on either appeals (including one in the US Supreme Court) or in favorable settlements shortly before scheduled trials. In May of 2018, Reid filed an amended complaint in the Supreme Court of New York on behalf of affiliates of Highland Capital Management against several individual defendants and a group of entities they created for breach of contract for defaulting on notes. The suit seeks to recover both the principal and interest owed on the notes, totaling over $500 million. In November, these claims survived motions to dismiss filed by the defendants. Only two months after this action was filed, Reid also filed a shareholder derivative action in New York state court on behalf of Renren against its CEO, chairman, and largest shareholder, and one of its directors. The complaint asserts claims for, among other things, breach of fiduciary duty in connection with Renren's spinoff of its most valuable assets — for far less than fair market value — to a private company owned and controlled by the defendants and other insiders. The complaint seeks to recover more than $500 million in damages. The firm is also noted for its bankruptcy prowess, with Reid and Eric Madden, a future star with a more decidedly insolvency focused partner, appearing as lead counsel in two separate major cases, one of which involves nearly $1 billion in damages and which survived a motion to dismiss when this was denied by the court in March 2018.

Robbins Russell Englert Orseck Untereiner & Sauber

Robbins Russell Englert Orseck Untereiner & Sauber is a litigation boutique renowned for its “leading industry expertise [and] excellent client service” in antitrust, appellate, and white-collar defense matters. One client describes the firm as “one of the strongest litigation firms in the United States” made up of a skilled lot of “very strong, smart and practical litigators.” Another praises the “excellent, practical lawyers [who provide] smart advice in tricky situations” and are “aggressive, but not needlessly so.”
     Appellate litigator and co-founder of the firm Roy Englert has experienced tremendous success before the various appellate courts and the Supreme Court. Englert won a decision from the Second Circuit in February 2019 allowing the trustee of Bernard Madoff's now-defunct investment firm to pursue claims against major investors that invested with Madoff through offshore funds. Englert persuaded the court to overturn a 2014 district court decision holding that money transferred overseas is out of the trustee's reach. The unanimous panel accepted Englert's arguments in all respects. In February 2019, Larry Robbins won a judgment in excess of $300 million on behalf of Aurelius Capital Master after a Manhattan federal trial in a dispute arising from a series of exchange offers and consent solicitations launched by Windstream Services, LLC. Windstream had bet its company on prevailing at trial, and filed for bankruptcy shortly after losing the case in all respects. Robbins also represented Dr. Jane Sanders, former President of Burlington College and wife of presidential candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders, in connection with a federal criminal investigation. The government terminated that investigation in late 2018 without taking any action against Dr. Sanders. Richard Sauber led a team that represented HMA, a large hospital system, in resolving nine qui tam lawsuits filed by private relators in which the United States intervened, and a related criminal investigation. Plaintiffs alleged False Claims Act violations related to inappropriate inpatient admissions and improper physician relationships and sought hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and penalties. In September 2018, after a lengthy investigation, HMA entered into a global settlement with the Department of Justice resolving all criminal, civil, and administrative claims against the company. That settlement involved a non-prosecution agreement, a comprehensive civil agreement, and a corporate integrity agreement, as well as one of its indirect-subsidiary hospitals pleading guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Mark Stancil led a team representing Wilmington Trust, the agent for PetSmart's term loan lenders, as defendant and counterclaim-plaintiff in litigation arising out of transactions through which PetSmart had transferred away equity in online retailer Chewy, putting that value beyond the reach of its term-loan lenders. After months of litigation, PetSmart provided the lenders financial incentives and increased value on the term loan in exchange for amending the term loan, leading to the litigation's voluntary dismissal.

Robins Kaplan

Robins Kaplan is one of the larger and more comprehensive plaintiff shops in the country, with eight US offices in Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Silicon Valley, Sioux Falls, Bismarck, Naples and its home base in Minneapolis. “Top-notch all around - strategy, efficiency, legal acumen, overall wise counsel” declares a client. Another client voices, “They are strong litigators, serious lawyers, and deeply knowledgeable about antitrust and class-action litigation,” adding, “They are very skilled, sophisticated and practical. They know the law well and are good in court.”

The Minneapolis headquarters are home to a robust group of trial lawyers. Craig Wildfang is a new addition to the firm's list of star litigators. He is the co-chair of the antitrust and trade regulation group where he frequently represents clients in civil antitrust actions. He and Thomas Undlin, an authority on business disputes, served as co-lead counsel in a multidistrict litigation for a class of over seven million U.S. merchants who accept Visa and Mastercard credit cards and debit cards for the purchase of goods and services. The defendants include Visa and Mastercard, and major card-issuing banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo and Capital One. In September 2018, the parties reached a $6.26 billion settlement for plaintiffs—the largest known settlement of a private antitrust case in the 120-year history of the Sherman Act. This case concludes more than a decade of litigation over an innovative theory that the organizational structure of Visa and Mastercard, and the voluminous rules they require retailers to follow, are anticompetitive in nature. The preliminary approval of the settlement was granted in January 2019. 

Fellow partner Ronald Schutz has significant trial experience where he has obtained favorable multi-million dollar jury verdicts for numerous clients. He represented celebrity chef Chloe Coscarelli in a suit filed before the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The suit alleges that former business partners ESquared Hospitality and its restaurant group BC Hospitality Group have exploited Coscarelli's name, fame, and image for their own benefit after an arbitration proceeding removed Coscarelli from the restaurant operations in 2017. The suit alleges copyright and trademark infringement, federal unfair competition, unjust enrichment, and violations of California's business and professions code, among other claims. While the California suit was voluntarily dismissed, another lawsuit was filed in the Southern District of New York, which added several more claims in addition to the claims included in the original complaint.

New York litigator Hollis Salzman, one of Benchmark's Top 250 Women in Litigation, was co-lead counsel in an unprecedented multidistrict litigation where nearly $1.3 billion in settlements was secured for victims of a massive web of anticompetitive conspiracies throughout the auto parts industry. The civil litigation stems from the largest criminal antitrust investigation in U.S. history. It has encompassed 41 separate actions against more than 160 defendants, each involving different auto parts, different anticompetitive agreements, different conspirators and different timelines. The firm represents "end-payor" plaintiffs—consumers and businesses that purchased auto parts, and cars incorporating them, subject to price-fixing agreements. The cumulative settlement figure, which now amounts to almost $1.3 billion, is believed to be the largest indirect purchaser recovery in U.S. history.

Schulte Roth & Zabel

With offices in New York and DC, Schulte Roth & Zabel (SRZ) is most notably recognized for its stellar work within the financial services sector. Clients vouch for the “excellent legal analysis and writing skills” of the firm’s partners, while also cheering them as “very responsive to client needs.” Widely regarded as the preeminent firm for hedge, private equity and regulated funds, SRZ advises leading investment firms investing in blockchain and digital assets. “This is not just a fad, this is here to stay,” comments one partner on this novel sector of the economy, “and Schulte is definitely doing a great job in getting out in front of the cutting-edge aspects of this.”

In one such matter, a team composed of DC partner Howard Schiffman and New York partners Michael Swartz and Gary Stein advised ParagonCoin in a trailblazing settlement with the SEC that effectively put an end to the uncertainties of the legal status of cryptocurrencies. A securities-focused partner, Swartz is also advising Starboard Value in a securities class action involving Advance Auto Parts and is also advising Veritas Capital in multiple class actions. New York’s Harry Davis represented National Bank of Canada and various Canadian and US subsidiaries in a major litigation relating to the alleged manipulation of a benchmark rate known as the Canadian Dollar Offered Rate (CDOR). In March 2019, Davis secured a dismissal of a putative class action alleging the manipulation of CDOR in its entirety. DC white-collar star Adam Hoffinger, who is championed by a client as “a superb lawyer and strategist,” is representing the former Chairman and CEO of Anham, a government contracting and procurement company, against an indictment filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, charging violations of Iran sanctions in connection with providing food to US troops in Afghanistan.


Seyfarth Shaw

Since its founded in 1945 in Chicago, Seyfarth Shaw has grown to 16 offices internationally, 11 offices nationally and five internationally. Beginning as a labor and employment firm, Seyfarth Shaw has expanded to a full-service firm with over 850 lawyers. Their commitment to their clients has not gone unnoticed. One client remarks, “Seyfarth Shaw has been great to work with, they are very thorough and are very attentive to all pertinent deadlines. I had previous counsel for this dispute before Seyfarth Shaw and the difference can be easily seen.” A peer meanwhile voices the observation that “There’s something going on over at Seyfarth Shaw these days. I’m not sure of the specifics, but they have made some really strategic key hires lately, especially in New York.”

One such key New York recruit, Greg Markel, who came to the firm several years ago after a lengthy stint with Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft, chairs the firm’s New York litigation department, co-chairs the national Securities Litigation practice area and is a member of the national Litigation Leadership team. He led an ICC arbitration on behalf of their client, who sought recovery of costs related to the purchase of another company. The Arbitral Tribunal ruled in favor of the client on all issues and awarded amounts totaling over $23 million in their favor. Another notable New York recruit, Steven Paradise, a trial-tested partner who joined the firm from Richards Kibbe & Orbe, defended Scotia Capital in an arbitration matter. The claimant accused the client of denying him commission payment that he claims to have earned under a consulting agreement. He sought punitive damages and to be considered an employee under the arbitration panel instead of a consultant so that he could claim a higher percentage of liquidated damages under New York’s Labor and Employment law. Following the arbitration hearing, the claimant’s claims were denied and was only awarded a portion of the damages he sought. “Steve Paradise is a great litigator,” insists a peer effervescently. “If you’re looking for some wimp to push papers around and sit around an office and analyze things, re-analyze things, and re-re-re-analyze things, look elsewhere. Steve is dying to get into court!”

William Berkowitz co-chairs the firm’s Antitrust practice area from the Boston office. He represented Mitsubishi Motors North America and Mitsubishi Motors Credit of America in matters brought forth by four affiliated Mitsubishi dealerships in Southern California, with the lead plaintiff being Surf City. The clients were accused of various contract, tort and statutory violations following the sale of property the client owned and historically leased to Surf City. The client was also accused of imposing excessive finance charges on the plaintiff’s vehicle purchases and forcing the plaintiffs to purchase inventory beyond their sales capacity. Berkowitz won summary judgment on all claims, which was affirmed in a subsequent appellate case. He also moved for and won a complete judgment of nonsuit following the plaintiff’s presentation of evidence in a second action filed by Surf City. Claims made by the three other dealers were tried in front of a jury, following which they delivered a verdict in favor of the client, which was again appealed and dismissed. Scott Lindvall heads the Intellectual Property Trial practice area at the firm. He is especially skilled at high-stakes patent litigation and is especially well known in the telecommunications, aerospace, automotive, pharmaceutical and software sectors. Robert Carty Jr. is an esteemed partner in the Labor and Employment practice area at the firm who also co-chairs the Appellate practice area. While he specializes in blockchain technology, he also has a broad range of experience with other sectors, such as pharmaceuticals, retail, oil and energy. Atlanta-based acclaimed practitioners William “Hill” Hill and Nancy Rafuse are new partners and important additions to the Seyfarth Shaw team, having moved from Polsinelli, where Rafuse headed their Labor and Employment department. She has experience over the full range of employment litigation. Notably, she has served as lead trial counsel in numerous diverse employment cases, specifically cases related to anti-discrimination statutes. Hill specializes in commercial and complex litigation, most notably in business torts, business divorces, internal investigations, contract disputes, ADR and early case resolution. He is also especially skilled in arbitrations, where he regularly serves as the neutral in mediations and arbitrations.

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. “Many firms talk the talk when it comes to their ‘long corridors,’ but Shearman really walks the walk when it comes to its seamless international reach.” 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. Clients offer vibrant support for the firm’s attentiveness to service: “Shearman offers top-notch service and work product. [They are] very attentive to client needs, they appropriately staff cases, and they are very thorough and careful.”

Perennial favorite Adam Hakki continues to elicit rave reviews. “Adam is someone you see everywhere now, in both antitrust and securities,” confirms a peer, “and you see him representing a lot of different banks, which is unusual, as most of the people in his practice tend to get identified with one particular bank. But he represents Goldman [Sachs], Bank of America, and a host of others. He has really carved out a big space for himself.” Another peer testifies, “I was on a case with Adam once, and he showed up for every deposition and was totally immersed in the case, which is something you can’t say about every litigator. He was strong but never acted outside the bounds of professionalism.” One appreciative client confides, “Adam is fantastic, just a dynamite lawyer. He has the kind of personality that you just implicitly trust, and I know for a fact that colleagues of mine a financial institutions feel the same.” Illustrating the alluded-to breadth of his portfolio, representing the underwriters of various securities offerings by SunEdison and TerraForm Global, one of SunEdison's “yieldcos,” in connection with multiple individual and class-action lawsuits filed at the end of 2015 and 2016. The plaintiffs, who seek unspecified damages, allege that the offering materials issued in connection with the offerings failed to accurately disclose the now-bankrupt SunEdison’s liquidity and access to capital to complete planned renewable energy projects for TerraForm Global, as well as the existence of certain loan agreements and SunEdison's ability to satisfy its obligations and/or the terms of the loans. In January 2019, the court granted in part and denied in part the motion for class certification in the class action, and, in March, four of the individual cases were dismissed with prejudice. Hakki is also representing a covey of major financial institutions that acted as underwriters of the IPO of Adeptus Health, an operator of freestanding emergency rooms in connection with securities class action lawsuits filed in late 2016. The plaintiffs, who seek unspecified damages allege, among other things, that the offering documents filed in connection with the offerings were misleading and omitted material information because they failed to disclose material problems with the company's billing practices and declining patient volumes. The parties are in the process of briefing class certification, which will be completed in May 2019, and fact discovery is ongoing. Hakki is acting in tandem with Jeffrey Resetarits on this matter, and the latter partner is developing his own fan and client base as well. “You definitely want to look more into Jeff, he is fantastic and is really starting to show up more,” insists a peer.

Stephen Fishbein, long revered for his acumen in the white-collar and enforcement space as well as his trial acuity, is representing SS&C Technologies, a fintech software and services company, as lead trial counsel in trade secret litigation. A competing entity recruited a client sales executive, who brought with him client’s sales pipelines, client lists and other confidential information. Fishbein argued that SS&C was entitled to a “reasonable royalty” based on the value of the information at the time of theft, and that the competing entity should also pay punitive damages. In April 2019, at the conclusion of a two-week jury trial in state court in Chicago, the jury returned a verdict of $44 million, consisting of $16 million in compensatory damages and $28 million in punitive damages.

Stuart Baskin is representing the independent directors of Wells Fargo in an independent investigation into the client’s retail banking sales practices and related matters by a special committee of the Board. Following Wells Fargo’s announcement on September 8, 2016 that it reached agreements with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Office of the Los Angeles City Attorney regarding allegations that some of its retail customers received products and services they did not request, the Board formed the committee. Following a six-month investigation, the Board’s committee issued its report publicly in April 2017. Acting with Baskin and Hakki on numerous issues, future star Daniel LaGuardia receives an increased level of praise and recognition. “Dan is a total gentleman and fantastic lawyer,” enthuses one peer. “With him, it is that rare opportunity where it’s a pleasure to be adverse to someone. And I think he will continue to emerge; he is being held out as someone who is getting his own cases.”

In the firm’s DC office, Todd Stenerson is gaining traction among the litigation community for his antitrust and general commercial hybrid practice that sees him acting on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants. “Todd is an incredibly smart and thoughtful trial lawyer,” testifies one. “With these big mega-cases, you think about trial or settlement, but Todd is taking depositions, making decisions, really thinking about how this is going to play out in trial. That’s not something you see every day.”

Sidley Austin

International firm Sidley Austin maintains its headquarters in the Midwest’s financial center of Chicago but today houses more than 1,800 attorneys in 20 offices around the world. The team of litigators spans a multitude of industries, including intellectual property, white-collar, commercial litigation and international arbitration.

Head of Sidley’s national IP practice is David Pritikin, a Chicago-based trial lawyer who remains at the forefront of intellectual property litigation, with one peer attesting he is “still on top of his game.” He recently made headlines with a blockbuster win in a patent dispute worth billions on behalf of client Amgen, and its subsidiary Immunex. Three subsidiaries of global biopharma company Novartis were trying to invalidate patents that protect a successful biologic drug Enbrel, made by Amgen, which is the world’s fifth-bestselling biologic, and methods to make it, so that they could import into and sell a biosimilar version of that product in the U.S. After a two-week bench trial, a federal judge in New Jersey sided with Pritikin in rebuffing the validity challenge—a decision that sent Amgen’s stock soaring. Mark Hopson joins Pritkin in representing Merck & Co. in a trademark and breach-of-contract case regarding the use of the name “Merck” in the U.S. It is just one front in a multi-jurisdictional battle between the “two Mercks” that has been described as one of the most significant trademark disputes in the world. The client is known as “Merck” in the U.S. and Canada, and owns the “Merck” trademark in the U.S., while Merck KGaA, the opposing party, has certain rights to it elsewhere. 

Patent litigator Rick Cederoth is representing Microsoft in a Delaware patent case brought by IPA Technologies involving six patents related to the navigation of electronic databases using software agents. The patents originated with SRI International, and were transferred to IPA. IPA asserts the patents against all the popular digital assistants in today’s marketplace, including Microsoft’s Cortana and Xbox. Three of the six asserted patents were dismissed on a patent eligibility motion directed to the complaint, and the case is now proceeding on the remaining patents. Fellow Chicago partner Maja Eaton is part of the lead counsel team representing Arkema in litigation pending in the Southern District of Ohio arising out of plaintiffs’ alleged exposure to per- and polyfluoroakyl substances (PFAS).  Sidley has filed a motion to dismiss on jurisdictional and pleadings-based grounds.  Eaton is the global leader for the product liability and mass tort practice where she specializes in the defense of toxic tort litigation, mass tort litigation on pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices.

DC-based Marinn Carlson co-leads the firm’s global arbitration, trade and advocacy practice, in which she focuses on international arbitrations and dispute settlement, most notably on investor-state arbitrations and international commercial arbitrations. Fellow DC partner Jennifer Haworth McCandless specializes in the area of international dispute resolution, including investment treaty arbitration and international commercial arbitration. Karen Popp is the global leader of the firm’s white collar/government litigation and investigations group. Popp is active representing clients in crisis-management situations, and in high-stakes matters within the legal, political and public relations area. She showed off her crisis-management expertise in her successful defense of OSU Head Football Coach Urban Meyer in an investigation directed by a special, independent working group of The Ohio State University Board of Trustees into allegations Coach Meyer mishandled allegations of domestic abuse against former OSU Assistant Football Coach Zach Smith.

Debra Pole is a Sidley luminary who manages her practice out of the Los Angeles office of the firm. Her trial expertise extends to include multi-district litigation, class actions, mass tort and product liability litigation. As a global leader on products liability matters, Pole has overseen local and international pharmaceutical and medical device litigation. She is involved in the ongoing talc litigation for Johnson & Johnson in a matter that was brought by 13 plaintiffs who alleged that talc caused their ovarian cancer. In January 2019, shortly before the commencement of trial, the Missouri Supreme Court issued an order that ordered that the trial court, among other things, take no further action on the case until further order. The case is stayed pending resolution of the Supreme Court’s order. However, the client continues to engage Pole as trial counsel on other ongoing talc-related matters, such as a case in St. Louis, Missouri that earned a mistrial in a matter brought by the families of three women who died of ovarian cancer.  Carol Lynn Thompson is a San Francisco-based trial lawyer who was part of the lead counsel team that defeated a putative class action filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on behalf of clients, New York Life Insurance Company and two co-defendants, UnitedHealth Group and AARP. The suit stemmed from allegations that the clients deceptively marketed AARP-branded life insurance and health insurance policies to a class of elderly California consumers. The judge dismissed plaintiffs’ claims against New York Life with prejudice, finding that the plaintiffs lacked standing to pursue their claims against New York Life and failed to state a claim as to New York Life, while permitting the case to proceed as to AARP. 

The Dallas office of the firm has been a hotbed for high-stakes commercial disputes work, behind the efforts of firm-wide practice co-leader Angela Zambrano. Yvette Ostolaza is managing partner of the Dallas office, as well as global co-leader of the litigation practice. Yolanda Garcia represents corporations, corporate officers and directors in matters including national class actions, multi-jurisdictional cases, domestic and international arbitrations, securities cases, and internal investigations. The trio of powerhouse trial lawyers represents Forterra and certain of its officers and directors in three putative securities class actions pending in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York. These actions involve claims under Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 arising from Forterra’s 2016 Initial Public Offering. Two of the lawsuits also allege claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The Court has not yet ruled on the pending motions for consolidation. After a motion to transfer, the plaintiffs agreed to the relief request in the motion and the cases were transferred to the Northern District of Texas.

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

Founded in 1948, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom is one of the most recognizable and respected full-service firms in the nation. Around 1,700 lawyers work in 22 offices over four continents, with nine of those offices being in the United States. Their litigation department is separated into 10 practice areas, consisting of approximately 600 highly skilled practitioners worldwide.

Jennifer Voss in the Wilmington office of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom is an authority in the area of securities litigation. She routinely defends companies, directors, and officers in derivative claims, shareholder disputes, fiduciary duty challenges, and government investigations. Voss served as co-lead counsel in the biggest appraisal defense victory ever on behalf of Sprint when she successfully defended Sprint’s $3.6 billion buyout of Clearwire Corp. Hedge fund Aurelius Capital appealed the decision to the Delaware Supreme Court, but, in April 2018, the Court affirmed the Court of Chancery’s decision. Head of the Wilmington office Robert Saunders was the other lead counsel in this case. His specializations lie in the securities and intellectual property practice areas. One peer notes that he is, “very knowledgeable, articulate, composed.” Fellow Wilmington partner Paul Lockwood represented Sellas Life Sciences Group in contract claims and a purported securities fraud claim against the client. The plaintiff alleged that the stock price floor used in the formula for calculating the quantity of shares issued upon conversation adjusted for a previous reverse stock split under a convertible debenture agreement between the plaintiff and defendant. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled to dismiss the securities fraud claims and passed judgment in favor of the defendant on the contract claims. Esteemed litigator Anthony Clark founded the Wilmington office’s corporate restructuring and bankruptcy litigation practice. He specializes in corporate restructuring, representing debtors, creditors and acquirers.

Jennifer Spaziano co-chairs the D.C. litigation group at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, where she specializes in civil litigation representing individuals, corporations, and financial institutions in both state and federal courts. She has extensive experience in the health care, life sciences, and cybersecurity and privacy sectors. Fellow partner Colleen Mahoney heads the securities enforcement practice out of the D.C. office. Her prior experience in senior positions with the SEC has bolstered her expertise in representing financial services firms, board committees, corporations, officers, directors and employees in law enforcement investigations. New York based Julie Bédard heads the international litigation and arbitration group at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. Bédard’s expertise stems from ample trial experience on civil and common law matters across state and federal courts. She is active advising clients on their global investments under international treaties and provides strategic advice on drafting dispute resolution clauses in international commercial contracts. She also utilizes her fluency in four languages—English, Spanish, Portuguese and French—in international disputes and arbitration proceedings.

From the Chicago office, Patrick Fitzgerald has extensive experience in trial law and is notably the longest serving U.S. Attorney in Chicago, leading numerous high profile investigations and prosecutions during his tenure. At Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Fitzgerald represented the CME Group in a 15 year long antitrust lawsuit filed by the United States Futures Exchange. The CME Group was accused of anticompetitive conduct, which resulted in the plaintiff’s failure to wrest the market for U.S. Treasury futures from the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). The district court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, rejected the plaintiff’s theories and dismissed the case in its entirety. In its ruling, the court stated that submissions to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission from CME and CBOT were protected by the First Amendment and that CBOT’s transfer of open interest to CME was immune from a lawsuit because the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission approved of the transfer, setting a precedent due to the fact that is gives clarity for lobbying activities. Fellow partner Matthew Kipp represented the former board members of Tecumseh Products Company in a shareholder action stemming from the client’s sale to a joint venture of Mueller Industries and Atlas Holdings. The members were accused of breaching their duties of loyalty by conducting a deficient sales process and manipulating internal forecasts to makes the company’s outlook look less optimistic, therefore selling at a lower price. The client moved for summary disposition, which was granted by the court. The plaintiff an appeal as of right and an application for leave of appeal, which the Michigan Court of Appeals dismissed and declined, respectively and the plaintiff then subsequently appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court, who denied the appeal as well. R. Ryan Stoll is a key individual in the Chicago firm. Much of his experience lies in trial and appellate litigation. His specialties include complex litigation, internal investigations, white collar criminal defense and U.S. and international arbitrations. He is representing a global insurance company in an internal investigation.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan is a multidisciplinary firm known for providing legal services to some of the nation’s leading corporations, investment funds, entrepreneurs, and financial institutions. The firm's litigation team is compiled of some of the most skilled trial lawyers in their profession.

Kristopher Hansen chairs the nationwide financial and restructuring group where he specializes in deal-making and bankruptcy and appellate disputes. Hansen is lead counsel to the largest non-insider lender under a second lien credit facility extended to Sears Roebuck Acceptance Corp. and Kmart Corporation in connection with the chapter 11 cases of Sears Holdings Corporation and its affiliated debtors and in connection with their credit-default swap purchases.

Alan Klinger, a noted labor and employment litigation expert and co-chair of the litigation group, lead outside counsel to the Municipal Labor Committee and its constituents in ongoing negotiations for a new multiyear healthcare savings agreement. One client commends the labor practice group, testifying, “The Stroock team is the best for all aspects of public sector labor relations in NYC. They have extensive experience, depth of client knowledge, [and are] very responsive. They provide creative and smart solutions to all manner of disputes and negotiation situations. They always see the bigger picture of client needs and inform their work on any specific matter.” The client continues to praise the “depth of knowledge of substance, players and client needs” and adds, “They win. They play a major role in achieving our goals.” Another client notes Klinger for taking “the time to get to know our union and our members and always [approaching] matters with that knowledge in mind.”

Sullivan & Cromwell

Founded in 1879, 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. “Sullivan & Cromwell is where the biggest companies in the world look to when they need their biggest problems solved - not garden-variety headaches but literal bet-the-company issues.” A client cheers, “S&C simply has the best bench strength of any law firm supporting financial institutions in the myriad matters in which they become involved, and this has been the case for a long time. The level of service, in terms of expertise, efficient use of partner/associate/other professionals for tasks, cost, responsiveness and client management is unparalleled in my 35 years of litigation management.”

Lending support to this claim, Sullivan & Cromwell, and specifically New York’s Robert Giuffra and Sharon Nelles, served as National Coordinating Counsel for German automaker Volkswagen Group in connection with an unprecedented agreements in principle with the US DoJ, US EPA, the US FTC, the California Air Resources Board and the Plaintiffs Steering Committee, to resolve a significant portion of the massive multidistrict litigation arising from the company’s recent emissions scandal. A settlement was reached in April 2016, and it includes offering to almost 500,000 US owners of certain Volkswagen vehicles buybacks, repairs, compensation and environmental remediation. The overall value of the settlement is estimated at over $14 billion. Since the initial global settlement, the team has guided Volkswagen to reaching multiple other settlements arising out of the litigation, including a $1.2 billion settlement of consumer and environmental claims; a $4.3 billion settlement with the DoJ, EPA and Customs & Border Patrol at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security resolving claims for criminal penalties, civil penalties and injunctive relief; a second settlement with CARB totaling $153.8 million in civil penalties and reimbursement of certification costs; and a $1.2 billion settlement with 652 Volkswagen franchise dealers. “This is just huge, historic,” marvels a peer. “Bob and Sharon have literally saved that company from being brought to its knees.”

Giuffra and Nelles have both been plenty busy with individual engagements since then. In January 2019, Giuffra secured a series settlements for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles between the client and state and federal regulators, as well settlements of a putative class of consumer plaintiffs, concerning allegations of excess emissions from approximately 100,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles sold in the US. The settlements, which do not include any admissions of wrongdoing, resolve the vast majority of FCA’s emissions-related civil litigation in the United States. Beyond the auto-related litigation, Giuffra also triumphed on appeal in May 2019 when the Fifth Circuit confirmed dismissal of decades-long litigation against longtime firm client UBS in a case dealing with the former Paine Webber entity, which was absorbed by UBS in 2000. Plaintiffs allege that UBS had knowledge of the dubious goings-on at Enron, whose stock was being purchased by Paine Webber retail brokerage customers even as Enron was about to tip into crisis. “Bob Giuffra is just a trial lawyer,” opines one peer. “He doesn’t get to try cases nearly as often as he could, but he’s definitely got the spirit and the gusto to do it when it’s inevitable. I’ve heard judges remark, ‘[Bob] really wishes he was going to get a full trial out of this case.’” Nelles meanwhile represents another blue-chip firm client, Goldman Sachs, against a lawsuit accusing the bank of discriminating against more than 2,300 women in pay and promotions. The eight-year-old case was brought by female associates and vice-presidents who have worked in Goldman’s investment banking, investment management and securities divisions since September 2004. Nelles also scored for Airbnb in January 2019, obtaining a preliminarily injunction against the City of New York from implementing an ordinance that would have gone into effect in February and would have required Airbnb and other home-sharing platforms to hand over to the City, on a monthly basis, massive amounts of data belonging to the platforms and their hosts, including hosts’ names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and information for each rental listing about its length, whether it was for a portion or the entirety of the accommodation, and the amount of fees received. The City argued that this information is necessary to enforce state and City laws prohibiting the rental of most apartments for fewer than 30 days unless a permanent resident remains on the premises. Nelles is widely regarded as “one of the best people at Sullivan and absolutely one of the top women litigators at any firm, anywhere. She knows the law, but she knows how to translate it to those who may not, and that’s a major advantage.” Beyond the aforementioned pair of mainstays, others in the New York office are making their mark. Marc De Leeuw, who attends to a varied practice encompassing commercial, intellectual property, securities and antitrust, is generating a rising level of peer commendations. “Marc is great – watch for him!” Peers also insist, “You’ve got to give it to Richard Pepperman. He’s got a practice that sits nicely on that line between securities and antitrust, and he has exhibited great skills in both areas.”

 

Although primarily recognized and revered for being a guardian of Wall Street, Sullivan & Cromwell has also steadily maintained its West Coast presence through its Los Angeles office. LA managing partner Robert Sacks represented Pabst Brewing Company in a three-week jury trial in its $500 million lawsuit against MillerCoors for MillerCoors’ breach of the parties’ decades-old Brewing Agreement and unfair competition. On the second day of jury deliberations following the liability phase of trial, Pabst reached a favorable settlement with MillerCoors. 

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 litigation with exceptionally high stakes. “Susman grooms some of the best litigators you’re going to find,” declares one peer. “If you’re taken on by that firm, you have to be damned good and you’re going to do even better once you are there.” Another testifies, “In my 40 years of lawyering, the best oral argument I’ve ever heard was delivered by Susman Godfrey’s New York team. They are very smart lawyers who work hard for the client, [they offered a] brilliant strategy in extremely difficult case.”

     The Los Angeles office has swiftly made its mark on this crowded legal community. Kalpana Srinivasan, a younger partner who is nonetheless considered “a force,” serves as co-lead counsel for HouseCanary in its misappropriation of trade secret case, fraud and breach of contract case against Title Source (now known as Amrock) related to HouseCanary’s real estate appraisal and valuation technology. At the conclusion of the seven-week trial, a 12-person jury found unanimously in favor of HouseCanary, awarding the client $706.2 million against Title Source on counterclaims in this high-stakes legal battle. In late 2018, the court entered final judgment of $740 million including fees and interest. The court rejected Amrock’s motion for a new trial in January 2019. Houston intellectual property “heavyweight” Max Tribble acted with Srinivasan on this matter, and has his own stable of work and vocal plaudits from peers who acknowledge it. One peer bemoans, “We see Max Tribble all the time, usually by looking over our shoulder – he always seems to be there bothering us. He has made a semi-career of suing Samsung.” Srinivasan was also chosen by the court to represent millions of consumers allegedly impacted by Qualcomm’s anticompetitive conduct. This case involves issues at the intersection of antitrust and technology law and involves Qualcomm’s alleged monopoly in the modem chipset market to extract exorbitant licensing fees on its intellectual property. The damages are estimated to top $5 billion. Srinivasan also, along with fellow Los Angeles partner Steven Sklaver, secured a settlement valued at $100 million – including a $43 million cash fund and an agreement by Spotify to pay future royalties to copyright owners to resolve a class-action copyright infringement lawsuit with Spotify brought on behalf of music copyright owners. The suit alleged that Spotify made music available online without securing mechanical rights from the tracks’ composers. On the other end of the generational spectrum, fellow Los Angeles partner Marc Seltzer is a seasoned trial veteran. Seltzer serves as the West Coast half of a pair of firm litigators serving as court-appointed co-lead counsel in a consolidated antitrust proceeding arising out of the LIBOR-rate fixing scandal. Susman Godfrey represents a direct purchaser class, which was certified by the Court in 2018, the only one of several proposed classes to receive certification. Recent agreements with several defendants, including Barclays, HSBC, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank, have brought settlements to date to $590 million. Litigation remains ongoing with non-settling defendants.
     Seltzer and New York-based Bill Carmody are a core members of a team serving as court-appointed co-lead counsel in a consolidated antitrust proceeding arising out of the LIBOR-rate fixing scandal. The Susman Godfrey pair represents a direct purchaser class, which was certified by the Court in 2018- the only one of several proposed classes to receive certification. Recent agreements with several defendants, including Barclays, HSBC, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank, have brought settlements to date to $590 million. Litigation remains ongoing with non-settling defendants. Carmody, an all-purpose bet-the-company trial lawyer, is lauded by all fellow litigators who are familiar with him. “Bill Carmody can just strut into the court like he owns the place,” extols one peer. “For the wrong person, this could be considered off-putting but for him, it just works.” Another contemporary notes, “When you hire Bill Carmody, your metric should be not just be ‘How much do I want to win?’ but more ‘How much can I afford to lose?’ If the answer to the latter question is ‘I can’t,’ you should hire Bill.” Another New York favorite, Jacob Buchdahl also has a vocal fan base amongst loyal clients. “Jacob is an incredible lawyer – just brilliant,” raves one.

   In the firm’s Seattle office, Parker Folse, another all-purpose commercial litigator, remains a revered presence, who generates plaudits from peers well outside the city. “Oh man, this guy is just ‘King Cool,’” quips one peer. “Great lawyer, has the skills and the polish. He is so good that they basically set up the Seattle office of the firm just to accommodate him when he decided to relocate there. How cool is that? That’s how you know you’re good.”

Thompson Hine

Thompson Hine is a Cleveland-based national law firm that currently maintains eight offices throughout the US, from which lawyers counsel clients across a variety of industry sectors spanning a plethora of practice areas. One client highlights the firm's "excellent performance with persistence."

Cleveland trial attorney John Mitchell is experienced in criminal, administrative and civil trials in state and federal courts, most notably on matters relating to white collar, securities, product liability, and business litigation. One client testifies, ""I needed the best possible lawyer for a complicated case requiring discretion, patience, and confidence. John Mitchell was the best and gained our trust with every step thanks to his incredible dedication and get-the-job-done-right mindset. A lot was at stake, and we felt incredibly fortunate to have someone of this caliber in our corner." Another client echoes this sentiment, stating, "John Mitchell showed the highest professionalism. First, he was always accessible and responsive. Second, he showed unfailing level-headedness while methodically putting in place the various pieces (criminal, employment, public relations) needed to make certain that we were fully protected. Third, he genuinely cared about our well-being, investing personally in each phase of the process."

Fellow partner Timothy Coughlin chairs the mass and toxic tort group and leads the chemical industry group. He is revered for his work in the emerging technologies sector where he is keen on finding creative solutions to clients in the chemical industry. He represented PolyOne in a novel claim in California where the plaintiff claimed pulmonary fibrosis from occupational exposure to plastics. The client took the lead of an industry wide joint defense group in confronting these first of a kind claims. Litigation luminary Kip Bollin is the partner in charge of the Cleveland office, where he manages a practice dedicated to product liability and business disputes. He was counsel in defense of multiple ROI class action lawsuits against multiple defendants alleging violation of a New York Public Health Law, which governs the costs for copying medical records, along with claims for violations regarding deceptive business practices and unjust enrichment. Elizabeth Wright tried a case to a jury in federal court in St. Paul, Minnesota where she obtained a favorable defense verdict in a case where a woman was rendered a quadriplegic after she lost control of her vehicle in reverse and hit a building. She alleged there was an electronic defect in her throttle control that allowed her vehicle to accelerate at a high rate of speed without driver input on the accelerator, and that the brakes were also ineffective.

Dayton-based hiring partner and vice chair of the business litigation practice group Christine Haaker is experienced in business, product liability and securities and shareholder litigation. She served as lead trial for Thoroughbred Resources in an action related to coal mining and coal lease agreements, settlement agreements and other agreements, including claims for breach of contract, tortious interference with contracts, trespass, unjust enrichment, and declaratory judgment brought by a coal investment entity and royalty trust in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky.  This matter involves issues dating back to a 2008 settlement agreement by and among several entities, which went through bankruptcy in 2017-2018. The issues involved rights to mine coal under certain land, hauling of coal under certain land, payment of royalties, claimed trespass to lands, and demands for payment of amounts owed by entities that have gone through a reorganization in bankruptcy.

Troutman Pepper

Multi-practice firm Pepper Hamilton is home to roughly 400 attorneys with expertise ranging from intellectual property, health sciences, government regulation and business services litigation. The firm, with a home base in Philadelphia, operates out of seven other locations.

Distinguished litigator Thomas Gallagher chairs the executive committee. His practice is dedicated to white collar litigation and investigations work. He routinely represents pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, payers, providers, and defense contractors in antitrust investigations, as well as federal criminal, civil and state investigations. Duncan Grant heads the Delaware litigation group where he is recognized for his corporate and commercial litigation work, most notably in securities and antitrust matters.

Experienced trial lawyer Francis Devine III manages his practice with a focus on complex commercial and business dispute, professional liability and malpractice, insurance coverage, products, directors, and officers liability, and intellectual property disputes. His expertise involves having tried more than 70 cases to verdict in both state and federal courts throughout his career. Michael Baughman co-chairs the firm's higher education and first amendment and newsroom practices. He obtained a full defense verdict in weeks-long bench trial in certified class action alleging nearly $1 billion in damages in alleged breach of contract case. The case was upheld on appeal. Robin Sumner is dedicated to antitrust and competition law, as well as the False Claims Act work, securities law and complex civil litigation.

Venable

Venable is not only the largest firm in Maryland, but also the oldest, having opened its doors in Baltimore in 1900. Since that time, the firm has not only switched its headquarters to Washington, DC but has also stretched well beyond its Mid-Atlantic roots and established a more nationwide footprint. Already acknowledged as a national player for its work in product liability and work revolving around the federal government, the firm recently doubled down on the intellectual property space, acquiring the IP stalwart firm Fitzpatrick Cella Harper & Scinto in 2018.

In the firm’s DC office, Lisa Jose Fales is championed as the firm’s “antitrust expert.” Fales’ practice encompasses a wide spectrum of industries, ranging from health care to e-commerce and advertising. The firm’s product liability depth is exemplified by Baltimore’s Bruce Parker and Craig Thompson, who operates from Baltimore and DC and is revered by a peer as “one of the best trial lawyers I have ever witnessed,” a sentiment shared by many who have witnessed his courtroom acuity. Thompson attends to a “more diversified” practice; one peer attests, “He really is one of the most ‘complete’ litigators I can name.” One prominent piece of litigation Thompson attends to outside of product liability is a case he was called to try for the State of Maryland concerning the State’s alleged underfunding of a historical African-American college. DC’s Allyson Baker is a commercial litigator with a niche in banking and consumer financial services. In the firm’s San Francisco office, Jessica Grant is another trial lawyer attending to a varied practice that encompasses labor and employment, class actions and IP. “If I were assembling a trial ‘dream team’ right now, Jessica would be on it,” confirms a peer.

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 pr actice, has allowed Wachtell do nothing short of corner a market. However, peers are quick to note, “They are not only about Delaware corporate disputes, although they obviously occupy a huge space in that world.” 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 forté, but with cross-border deals falling into dispute, [the firm’s services] are more in demand.” The firm is also considered to be “second-to-none” in the white-collar and securities capacities. One peer also observes, “In the past few years, I’m noticing them doing more trial work! More of the cases that they are dealing with are not ones that can be easily swept away by other means.”

William Savitt is championed by several peers. “Bill Savitt is the best in the business. His judgment is exquisite,” extols one. Another peer, based in Delaware, confirms, “Bill is constantly in Delaware, and he has exactly the right tone for the Chancery court. He’s sort of become the go-to here. Wachtell of course has a really good core, but Bill is omnipresent.” Savitt, along with another celebrated younger partner, Steve DiPrima, are litigating for Cigna regarding its merger transaction with Anthem, which did not go forward on antitrust grounds, regarding the question as to whether or not Cigna can obtain a breakup fee, estimated to be roughly $1.5 billion. Savitt and DiPrima are being assisted in this case by future stars Steven Winter and Graham Meli. Another future star, Ryan McLeod, is also championed by peers as “incredibly smart. He clerked in Delaware and is very strategic in his thinking.”

Peers also voice an ever-increasing level of enthusiasm for Marc Wolinsky. “He’s becoming a leader in the M&A world, following in the footsteps of those Wachtell lawyers of an older vintage. I see a lot of him in cases and it’s always a pleasure. He comports himself in a very professional manner, in the classic Wachtell style, yet never makes things unnecessarily difficult or uptight. In this field of law, you’d be surprised how rare and appreciated that is.” Another peer ventures, “Marc is trying the GM case in front of the bankruptcy court, and is trying all kinds of cases. I think Wachtell is holding him out as their main young star right now, and he is definitely rising to it.” Rachelle Silverberg is also noted as “a real standout, who is very active in cases. She is Petsmart’s counsel and is doing great work for them.” Elaine Golin, in a litigation brought by ResCap Liquidating Trust against over 60 mortgage originators, not only serves as lead trial for PNC Bank, but also as one of the leaders of the Joint Defense Group responsible for coordinating an overall defense strategy. “Do NOT mess with Elaine Golin,” warns a peer. “She does not suffer fools! Bring a weak argument to the table when you’re against her and she will knock them down like dominoes. She is not arrogant or off-putting, she is just confident and knows her [stuff.]” At the future star level, Emil Kleinhaus is making his mark. Peers herald him as “a real up-and-comer who is establishing himself quickly and soon going to be right there with the more established stars at Wachtell. He had a great win at the Second Circuit with that Marblegate case.” In this referred-to matter, Kleinhaus was lead trial and appellate counsel for Education Management in litigation relating to its $1.5 billion restructuring. The firm’s white-collar capacity is spearheaded by David Anders and John Savarese, both of whom earn a unanimous affirmative response from those familiar with them, which includes many out-of-state practitioners. One Florida practitioner confirms, “John Savarese is a regular here, and I view him as a true trial lawyer. He is absolutely unafraid, with a huge backbone.”

 

Weil Gotshal & Manges

Weil Gotshal & Manges is noted for the diversity of its business model. Its 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 comprehensive litigation service offerings. Weil is also noted for its recent strategic hires; within the past year, the firm managed to lure Sarah Coyne, a New York-based swiftly rising white-collar and investigations star, to its ranks from her former post at Debevoise & Plimpton.

Arguably the firm’s largest and most high-profile engagements – and game-changing victories – involved its representation of Johnson & Johnson. In particular, Diane Sullivan, a nationally revered trial lawyer, provided lead trial counsel for this client in a four-week bellwether trial in New Jersey state court involving claims the client’s baby powder caused cancer. Sullivan secured a unanimous defense verdict, the first defense verdict in New Jersey courts, where thousands of cases in the talc mass tort are pending against the Company. “Diane Sullivan does it again,” trumpets a peer. “She is just a force of nature.” Sullivan and  Miami partner Edward Soto, represented Spanish energy company Repsol in litigation involving allegedly more than a billion dollars in liabilities in connection with the pollution of the Passaic River in New Jersey, one of the EPA’s largest Superfund projects in history. This litigation, which saw its genesis more than five years ago, saw the Superior Court of New Jersey entering final judgment in favor of Repsol in November 2018.

The firm’s commercial capacity is helmed by David Lender, an all-purpose litigator whose practice incorporates almost all of the components that Weil is known for. Lender secured a complete defense jury verdict for C&S Wholesale Grocers following nine days of trial in April 2018 in an antitrust class action in the Minnesota federal court. The jury’s verdict erased several hundred million dollars sought in treble damages, plus attorneys’ fees, and brought nine years of litigation to a close. Plaintiffs alleged that the client, as well as another wholesale grocery operator, entered into a conspiracy to allocate their respective geographic territories between themselves for a period of five years, resulting in inflated grocery prices. (The other defendant settled before trial.) Lender also serves as counsel for Credit Suisse and certain of its affiliates in a series of real estate loan disputes in courts around the country, with billions of dollars at stake, regarding Yellowstone Resort in Montana. The plaintiff, who is now in jail, is trying to say he was duped into taking a loan on real estate that went bankrupt in the post-2007 environment. In 2018, Lender led the client to an appellate victory before the Ninth Circuit in a unanimous decision dismissing the claims. Lender also is part of a team representing Sears Holdings Corporation, the parent company of the Sears and K-Mart retail brands, and certain of its debtor affiliates in connection with their Chapter 11 proceedings before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The team assisted the restructuring by handling the disputed, proposed sale of the debtors’ assets to Sears’ chairman and largest pre-petition shareholder, ESL Investments. “Lender killed it on that,” crows a peer. “He led Sears at the trial to decide if they were going to get sold to Eddie Lampert! If they lost this trial, 85,000 people would have lost their jobs! But they WON!” The firm’s bankruptcy prowess was also on display in its representation of Pacific Gas & Electric in its Chapter 11 filings and restructuring in the wake of litigation filed against the utility monolith following deadly California wildfires. A peer at a firm assisting Weil in this litigation offers commendations for the lead partner on this matter, Ted Tsekerides. “He’s really good, and I’ve enjoyed strategizing with him. He has a good practical common sense about him, and is kind of an understated guy, no ego.” Securities and white-collar star Jonathan Polkes is also widely acclaimed. “I’ve sent him cases without hesitation,” confirms a peer. “He tried a game-changer of a case for Morgan Stanley against a Russian oligarch and did a fabulous job.” This case ended in triumph for Polkes and his client when the Second Circuit affirmed the federal jury verdict in Morgan Stanley’s favor in June 2017. Elaborating on Polkes’ appeal, one peer declares, “You’d be hard pressed to find someone more easygoing, who keeps their cool and keeps the ego out of the way when dealing with these huge, tangled, messy cases than Jonathan. He’s got immediate credibility, you always know you’re going to get solid and even-handed lawyering when dealing with him.”

The firm’s intellectual property practice has seen elevated recent attention as well. New York patent-focused partner Elizabeth Weiswasser triumphed in October 2018, obtaining an appellate victory for LiquidPower Specialty Products in a major patent infringement dispute with competitor Baker Hughes. Acting with Weiswasser on this matter was Edward Reines, a Silicon Valley partner who himself won a major victory for a UnitedHealth subsidiary, Optum, when the Federal Circuit vacated a $12.3 million jury verdict finding that Optum infringed a patent for measuring doctors’ efficiency. The appellate court held that the lower court erred in its construction of one of the key claims in the case.

Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell
Operating two offices in Denver and St. Louis, Wheeler Trigg & O’Donnell is recognized for having an established footprint in the Midwest. The firm hosts a number of highly skilled litigators skilled in a number of complex civil and commercial matters. Managing Partner Carolyn Fairless, one of Benchmark’s Top 250 Women in Litigation, won a complete defense jury verdict for a leading auto parts maker in federal court in Kentucky in a nine-year-old breach of contract claim brought by a sub-subcontractor—a third-party beneficiary to the contract in question. The suit alleged the client’s termination of the contract entitled the plaintiff to millions of dollars in damages and penalty payments per the terms of the agreement. The firm was hired just six months prior to the trial, which the Court had twice dismissed in separate rulings, only to see the plaintiff successfully appeal to the Sixth Circuit. After the firm’s intervention, a successful defense verdict was rendered. John Fitzpatrick is highly regarded for his mass tort practice. Fitzpatrick served as lead counsel for Intermountain Power in highly complex litigation, successfully negotiating a settlement on favorable terms for his client concerning a consortium of 18 dairy farmers who alleged that stray electricity from the client’s power system depressed dairy herd production in excess of $1 billion in damages. Firm president Hugh Gottschalk successfully represented IBM in a Denver court in a dispute involving tax assessments by the City of Golden, with the court invalidating previous penalties levied against the company. Habib Nasrullah is lead counsel to long-time client McKesson, the largest pharmaceutical distributor in North America. The firm was hired as national settlement counsel to handle all litigation involving its subsidiary Northstar Rx and its chemotherapy drug Taxotere. The cases were consolidated in federal multidistrict litigation in New Orleans, and Nasrullah was able to prove Northstar Rx was not liable for the alleged damages, and plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the subsidiary without any payment by the client. Michael O’Donnell is lead counsel to Skyjack, who hired the firm to take over its entire portfolio of U.S. product liability litigation including over 20 active matters with the vast majority involving claims resulting from lift accidents. The firm has resolved most of the original portfolio and is handling all of Skyjack’s new cases going forward. High-stakes litigator Theresa Wardon Benz obtained a complete defense verdict for client Michelin in a product liability lawsuit that received national attention. Michael Williams currently represents Whirlpol in a multistate consumer class action lawsuit involving allegations of defective dryers. A new addition to this year’s list is Kathryn Reilly, who focuses her practice on complex commercial and antitrust litigation. Among her current matters, Reilly is representing clients in a federal class action lawsuit involving alleged collusion to keep au pair wages artificially low.
Winston & Strawn

Winston & Strawn has grown from its Chicago beginnings and has blossomed into one of the nation’s most prominent and prolific litigation hubs. It is also recognized as one of the country’s most trial-centric. “Of all the ‘big-law’ firms, Winston really seems like the one that is focused on building out a bench stocked with true trial lawyers,” observes a peer. “They are also attracting stars in the making, undoubtedly with the agenda of giving them the platform to hone their trial skills further.” The firm has also chosen wisely with its expansion strategy, shying away from going all-in with any particular market and instead maintaining a geographically even roster of trial talent, which is spread among its offices in New York, DC, Texas, Illinois and California.

The most obvious example of the firm’s trial star power is Chicago’s Dan Webb, long a figurehead within the firm. “Once upon a time, I thought that Winston wouldn’t have the light bulbs changed without consulting Dan Webb first, so big was his gravitas,” quips one peer hyperbolically. “Nowadays, there are plenty of other great trial lawyers at Winston with their own skills and reputations…but I still think they would not change the light bulbs without Dan Webb’s blessing!” Despite his senior status, Webb remains active and visible, with near-annual trial victories to confirm this. Webb represents TreeHouse Foods in one of the largest antitrust cases in food industry history, concerning single-serve coffee pods. In late 2017, the Southern District of New York handed TreeHouse a victory when it summarily denied Keurig’s motion to dismiss the client’s complaint that Keurig engaged in anticompetitive conduct designed to maintain the coffee giant’s monopoly of the single-serve coffee pod market. Another Chicago star, Robert Sperling earns plaudits for his securities and financial institution-focused practice. Sperling represents the former CFO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals in a putative class action brought by holders of Valeant common stock and debt securities. Plaintiffs filed suit after the prices of Valeant securities declined significantly following negative publicity concerning prices that Valeant charged for certain drugs, Valeant’s relationship with a now-defunct pharmacy, and a restatement of certain of Valeant’s historical financial statements. The plaintiffs allege billions of dollars in damages.

Winston & Strawn recently doubled down in its white-collar capacity, making the auspicious recruit of DC trial veteran Abbe Lowell to its ranks. Lowell, a politically savvy and connected practitioner who attends to both criminal and civil matters, joined the firm in May of 2018 from Norton Rose Fulbright (after that firm had absorbed Lowell’s longtime former firm, Chadbourne & Parke.) Peers view Lowell’s hire as “unquestionably a win-win situation.”

Lowell’s position within the firm was via an invitation from his old pal from law school, New York-based Jeffrey Kessler, another Winston partner not wanting for recognition. Kessler attends to a unique hybrid of sports and antitrust law. While his work in the latter practice often depends on keeping his clients out of the limelight, the former practice lands Kessler squarely in the headlines. Kessler won a major victory in March 2018 on behalf of college football and basketball players challenging the legality of the National College Athletic Association’s (NCAA) restraints on compensation when the Northern District of California denied the NCAA’s motion for summary judgment and granted partial summary judgment in favor of Winston’s clients. Kessler first brought the suit in 2013. Subsequent to several earlier rulings, a potentially history-making showdown bench trial was held in September 2018 and, in March 2019, Kessler led the Winston team in scoring an historic victory when the court ordered a permanent injunction against the NCAA's limitations on colleges and universities providing education-related benefits beyond tuition. “Jeff Kessler is a huge name, and he’s on board for plaintiffs and defendants,” testifies a peer. “He has a superstar presence in the sports arena, for which he gets all the publicity, but we actually see him a lot more in the defense arena for antitrust matters. He can drive you crazy because he pounds the table to get what he wants. But quite often, get it he does.” Beyond Kessler, Susannah Torpey is noted as someone who is “getting a lot more active on the plaintiff side of antitrust. She just filed two major cases in this capacity.”

Intellectual property star Michael Elkin secured a major victory for client PNY Technologies and its CEO, who was named individually, when the District of New Jersey entered judgment in PNY’s favor on all 11 claims brought against it by a former consultant. The court also preserved all of our clients’ counterclaims. The protracted and contentious litigation, initiated in state court in Florida in 2015, alleged that PNY had failed to compensate the consultant plaintiff fully and in accordance with certain “secret” terms that were never written down or memorialized, which allegedly entitled the plaintiff to upwards of $500 million in damages.

Winston has also been making strategic augmentations to its California presence as of late. It has also been observed that some of its strongest players in California are women. In the Los Angeles office, Nimalka Wickramasekera, an intellectual property specialist, is currently representing Alphatec in connection with a patent infringement suit filed by a competitor that filed this suit after a number of key executives left the competitor for Alphatec. The patents asserted are related to spinal surgery systems. After unsuccessfully seeking expedited discovery, the plaintiff filed a motion for a preliminary injunction directed to Alphatec’s lateral surgical instruments and devices. “She has really come up and jumped in,” asserts a peer. “She is really one to keep your eye on.” The San Francisco office will soon be augmented by the arrival of Sandra Edwards, who will soon join the firm from her former post at Farella Braun & Martel. Edwards is a peer favorite, with one remarking, “I worked on a products case with her, and I considered her an experienced trial lawyer. I was impressed by her trial skills and her poise and strategic abilities as well.”