Gibson Dunn & Crutcher continues to enjoy a coveted position as one of the nation’s strongest and most in-demand litigation institutions. “We view Gibson Dunn as our biggest and most formidable competitor,” confides one peer. Another offers in agreement, “I think these days you are seeing a ‘flight to quality,’ and Gibson Dunn really exemplifies that. They just get better and better.” Indeed, the firm’s star litigators, already one of the highest concentrations of any listed firm, seem to swell in number annually, and it is worth noting that these partners are distributed evenly throughout its offices and practice areas. “It’s hard to find an Achilles’ heel there! There are just no weak links,” confirms a peer, speaking to the firm’s balance of talent. That said, the firm is particularly celebrated in the fields of antitrust, white-collar crime, intellectual property, securities and commercial litigation, and its appellate and Supreme Court practice is regularly viewed as the most active and experienced in the country.
Gibson Dunn’s star practitioners have regularly appeared as counsel on cases that have made national headlines, and this past year – despite a global pandemic – was no exception. “Gibson Dunn is just everywhere,” confirms a peer. “If you want to know what they’re up to, just look in the news.” Indeed, one such newsworthy matter includes defending Apple against Epic Games, developer of the popular “Fortnite” game, in a massive showdown involving antitrust claims concerning Apple’s alleged enforcing of App Store policies in a monopolistic fashion. The California judge presiding over the case publicly praised the diversity represented on the teams on both sides of this case, and Gibson Dunn’s Dallas-based Veronica Moye was one such example of this. In a trial that concluded in May 2021, Moye directly handled the questioning of Apple CEO Tim Cook. In another matter that made the headlines, a team consisting of Los Angeles partner Ted Boutrous and New York’s Anne Champion successfully represented Mary Trump in a First Amendment case dealing with the Trump family’s attempt to halt the publication of her book Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. Boutrous, a noted First Amendment specialist, also handled another newsworthy matter of this variety, representing the New York Times in a case in which the DoJ sought information about the email accounts of four Times journalists in investigations about potential leaks of confidential government information. Along with Alexander Southwell, a New York white-collar star who has a niche in privacy and cyber-security, Boutrous secured a reversal in this decision from the DoJ in June 2021, protecting the confidentiality of the journalistic sources.
In the firm’s famed appeals practice, partners such as Ted Olson, Mark Perry and Miguel Estrada are considered “pretty much brand names at this point” in the eyes of peers. “That is basically like the Mount Rushmore of the Supreme Court practice.” Indeed, each of the aforementioned partners has been at the forefront of a staggering number of game-changing appeals that have forged new law and made national headlines. A name that is generating an increasing level of profile, Helgi Walker is commended by peers and clients. One such client testifies, “Helgi and [newly listed DC future star] Lucas Townsend are on par with the finest appellate lawyers in DC. They bring a thoughtfulness and expert caution to drafting creative and effective briefs.” Walker successfully represented petitioners, the National Association of Broadcasters and served as lead counsel for the broadcast and newspaper industry group before the Supreme Court in a case concerning the proposed elimination of media ownership restrictions that saddle the entities’ ability to efficiently consolidate. In April 2021, the Supreme Court handed Walker’s clients a unanimous victory. Perry, along with Los Angeles life sciences patent specialist Wayne Barsky, secured a huge patent infringement victory at the Federal Circuit on behalf of EMD Serono and Pfizer in a case involving a patent on a multiple sclerosis medicine for which the plaintiff sought more than $5.4 billion in damages.
Elsewhere in Gibson Dunn’s patent litigation gallery of IP litigation wins, New York’s Josh Krevitt scored a complete trial victory in February 2021 for Fitbit, in a patent case brought by Philips against Fitbit and Garmin in the ITC. Philips’ complaint asserted three patents against virtually all of Fitbit’s smartwatch and tracker products and sought an exclusion order to stop Fitbit from importing or selling the products anywhere in the US for the life of the patents. Krevitt also led a team that logged a complete defense victory on behalf of EMC (now part of Dell) in patent litigation that spanned seven years and in which the plaintiff originally sought nearly $1 billion in damages. Another New York partner with a particular flair for in intellectual property and entertainment, Orin Snyder leads a team that was retained by AMC to defend against two cases, each valued at $280 million, concerning the hit TV show The Walking Dead filed by former showrunner Frank Darabont and his agents at Creative Artists Agency as well as some other profit alleging that they are owed monies in connection with AMC’s accounting of the television series. Los Angeles entertainment authority Scott Edelman and New York-based future star Brian Ascher are also part of the team. Snyder also defends longtime client Jerry Seinfeld, whose hit Netflix show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee was targeted in a copyright lawsuit. Snyder secured the dismissal of the lawsuit and subsequent affirmance by the Second Circuit.
The firm’s white-collar and enforcement group is also considered one of the most power-packed among national firms. In particular, DC’s Joseph Warin is a peer favorite. “In the anticorruption area, if we’re conflicted out, we refer to him, because he has a really experienced team,” testifies one peer. Another insists, “If I was a GC in trouble, Joe would be on my speed-dial, certainly in the FCPA world, but he’s terrific with everything. Gibson has a ton of great people, but Joe is really the essence.” New York-based white-collar defense and investigations practice group member Matthew Biben, who also co-chairs the financial institutions group, was a former large bank general counsel before pivoting to private practice. His diverse practice includes advocating for clients in matters related to financial institutions, civil disputes, securities and bankruptcy litigation, and government actions.