Shearman & Sterling

District of Columbia

Review

Dispute resolution

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