Kaplan Hecker & Fink

United States (National)

Review

Dispute resolution

Litigation boutique Kaplan Hecker & Fink is viewed by peers as “the place to be” at the moment. “They chose the right moment to form that firm,” opines one. “Their model is superb, and their approach dovetails perfectly with so the issues of this time in history.” The firm’s partners continue to demonstrate the fierce commitment to social justice that has been in its DNA since its 2017 founding, and its partners, all formerly with “big law” firms, boast a remarkably trial-tested résumé for their relatively young vintage. Historically a New York-based shop, the firm recently expanded, opening a DC office and welcoming back Joshua Matz, who is returning to the firm after serving as counsel to the US House Judiciary Committee, as a partner in February 2020. The New York office also got an infusion of talent in 2020 with the recruit of Marshall Miller, a white-collar star who joined the firm from a competitor. “That’s a great addition,” offers a peer. “Marshall is a capable lawyer with a stellar track record.” More recently, the firm welcomed Mike Ferrara, a former prosecutor who attends to a white-collar focus, to the partnership in its New York office. “He’s wonderful,” raves one peer on Ferrara’s behalf. 
     Founder and all-purpose trial lawyer Roberta “Robbie” Kaplan continues to earn plaudits for her role as a mentor and driver of the firm’s culture as well as for her unwavering commitment to pursuing cases dedicated to progressive causes. “Robbie Kaplan is our adversary most of the time,” testifies one peer, conceding, “and it’s tough to be on the other side of her.” Kaplan triumphed for Airbnb, a longtime client of hers, in challenging a New York City Council law that, if passed, would have required the client to produce massive amounts of private business records to city officers with no procedural or privacy protections, doing irreparable harm to Airbnb’s business in New York City. In June 2020, Airbnb reached a highly favorable settlement with New York City, resolving the matter. Kaplan also led a team (which included Matz) that represented Brown University in expedited litigation brought by plaintiffs alleging violations of a 1998 agreement that requires Brown to satisfy certain gender proportionality requirements in its varsity athletics programs. In September 2020, the firm team reached a proposed class settlement in the suit on behalf of the client that was then approved by the court in December 2020.  
     The firm has also been observed to have “gotten much more into white-collar work now!” In this capacity, Sean Hecker is a unanimous favorite of peers. “He is just a total mensch and also a fantastic lawyer, with great trial skills in the white-collar world. Hecker and Jenna Dabbs represent Gregory Dwyer, who was indicted by the Southern District of New York for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act. Dwyer is an executive of BitMEX, a cryptocurrency exchange and derivative trading platform and was charged alongside the three co-founders of the company. The matter is also the subject of a parallel CFTC investigation. Hecker and Ferrara meanwhile represent John Patrick Gorman III, who was sued by the CFTC for allegedly manipulating the prices of US dollar interest-rate swap spreads while working as the head of non-yen rate trading for Nomura. This same firm pair also represent the former chief investment officer of New York-based investment firm Infinity Q Capital Management. In February 2021, the SEC informed Infinity of alleged evidence that the client had made improper changes to a pricing model used to value the fund’s investments. At that time, the firm halted redemptions to investors, and has since liquidated its hedge fund.