Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

United States (National)

Review

Dispute resolution

Freshfields Bruckhaus & Deringer is well-established as a strategically connected legal force around the globe, most notably for its international arbitration practice group. It is the only one of the London-headquartered “Magic Circle” firms to have established itself as a powerhouse in litigation, as opposed to just the corporate and transactional work that is the primary driver of this prestigious group. “[There is] extensive depth and breadth of talent in the organization,” testifies one client. “[They are] sophisticated and savvy practitioners capable of giving down-to-earth advice; their knowledge of the law is vast, and their connection to many jurisdictions is a plus.” Bringing new meaning to the phrase “long corridors” as it applies to larger firms, Freshfields has further extended its reach into the US litigation space with the addition of a securities and shareholder litigation practice, which, entering only its second year, has already demonstrated aptitude for complex bet-the-company disputes on both the East and West Coasts. The firm’s domestically domiciled general commercial litigation practice is also generating traction as well. Clients cheer the firm’s “creative solutions to and in-depth understanding of complex legal issues, litigation/arbitration strategy, and understanding nuances across borders,” particularly in one matter regarding “an international arbitration of significant value, with multiple legal specialist areas and very tight timelines.” Another client confirms, “The firm provided first-rate defense, but they also translated the learnings in the litigation to actionable business items that we can implement to minimize business and legal risk in the future.” 
     Much of the success of the securities and shareholder group is attributable to its co-head, Meredith Kotler of the New York office. Kotler is regularly entrusted by global institutions and corporations for her keen, sophisticated representation in financial securities-related disputes that often involve class actions as well as shareholder derivatives. Clients calling upon Kotler for counsel include Tyson Foods, AstraZeneca and 3M, the last of which Kotler triumphed for with the complete dismissal of a class action in September 2021. Another New York-based securities partner (and newly listed star in this edition) Mary Eaton currently represents Citigroup in numerous high-exposure securities derivative actions and related class actions, filed following Citigroup’s erroneous wiring of $900 million to lenders, arising from allegations that the board consciously allowed the company to maintain insufficient operational control and to violate regulatory settlement terms. The securities group has also been built out on the West Coast, with Silicon Valley partners Doru Gavril and Boris Feldman bookending the firm’s domestic securities operations. Feldman also spearheads the firm’s US-based technology group. New York’s Aaron Marcu is also among the firm’s key litigators, specializing in defense of clients in regulatory enforcement investigations and white-collar criminal proceedings. He recently negotiated a $24.86 million settlement in his lead role as counsel to the special litigation committee of Sinclair Broadcasting Group in three derivative suits seeking damages exceeding $500 million dollars from the company’s executives and directors relating to allegations of misleading federal regulators regarding the company’s failed $6 billion merger with Tribune Media Company. Other keystone members of the firm’s litigation team include New York’s Noiana Marigo and Adam Siegel, and DC’s Nigel Blackaby. 
     The firm’s general commercial team is making strides as well. New York’s David Livshiz, who handles a range of commercial and bankruptcy disputes, is a client favorite. “David is extremely dedicated and committed to getting the best result for his clients,” extols one. He digs into the issues, leaving no stone unturned. His legal intellect and ability to understand the commercial import to his clients sets him apart from others.” Another insists, “He has broad knowledge of the law, the ability to connect to others at his firm with special expertise, and is not afraid to take a position. He keeps in regular contact, and offers candid and thoughtful advice.” Also based in New York, Linda Martin is also a recipient of accolades from clients. “Linda not only leveraged significant litigation expertise but also took the initiative to learn about and closely understand the nuances of our business and industry. She used this expertise to be an effective and forceful advocate on our behalf.” One of Martin’s blue-ribbon clients is PepsiCo and Bottling Company, for whom she provides counsel in antitrust and breach of contract matters.