Simpson Thacher & Bartlett

District of Columbia

Review

Dispute resolution

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett boasts a long history as one of New York’s, and the country’s, most esteemed full-service legal brands. Its litigation and disputes capacity enjoys access to a blue-ribbon client base that is generated entrepreneurially as well as spun off from the firm’s globally ranging corporate stock, which runs the gamut of everything from brand name pharmaceutical entities to online giants to hedge funds. Simpson Thacher is also noted as being one of the classic white-shoe firms that is more comprehensive in terms of national coverage, with partners in its DC and Palo Alto offices playing increasing roles in litigation individually or in tandem with the New York team. A dominant presence in the areas of securities, antitrust and insurance, the firm has also made more recent entries into other areas, such as intellectual property, with proven success.

     An area of particular note that the firm has doubled down on as of late is its white-collar and investigations area, a relatively recent development that has taken root with astonishing momentum. One client sums up the general consensus: “Simpson Thacher is one of the elite litigation shops in [New York] City and the country. They are especially impressive on white collar and agency enforcement work.” Several peers credit this invigoration to recent arrival of Stephen Cutler, the global head of the government and investigations practice. Clients also weigh in on Cutler’s behalf; one insists, “He is one of the very best lawyers in the area of securities litigation and especially SEC enforcement work.” A peer also declares, “With his boardroom experience, Steve is bound to impress. But make no mistake, he has a strong team  with him, and all have their individual talents that contribute to a collective strength.” One peer enthuses, “I think Michael Osnato is awesome.” Cutler and Osnato represented BlueCrest Capital Management in a $170 million, non-fraud settlement of a wide-ranging SEC civil investigation focused on disclosure, quantitative trading strategies, and cross-fund trader allocation related to the existence of a proprietary fund. Other peer favorites in this capacity include Brooke Cucinella and Nicholas Goldin, both of whom are identified as “the actual trial lawyers in the group.”
     The firm’s insurance capacity is routinely referenced as one of the strongest and most prominent in the area, with this view shared by both peers and clients. “[They are] Exceedingly great and effective at handling all aspects of complex big-dollar litigation. [They are] Experienced, savvy partners,” emphasizes a client. The firm, and in particular Bryce Friedman, is acting as national litigation counsel to the American Property Casualty Insurance Association to challenge as “unconstitutional” legislation and regulation that retroactively changes insurance contracts to require the insurance industry to pay COVID-19-related insurance claims that are not covered or excluded from coverage. Friedman has been busy servicing several other clients in the insurance and reinsurance industry on similar claims. “Bryce is everywhere these days,” observes an adversary, humorously adding, “I talk to him more often than I talk to my wife!” Andrew Frankel also receives enthusiastic praise as “a very good coverage lawyer” from peers, one of whom testifies, “He argued a case before the New Jersey Supreme Court that was the precursor to a case I argued in Connecticut Supreme Court, so I drove to Jersey to watch him argue it. Suffice to say, I was impressed.” Other luminaries in the insurance capacity include Mary Beth Forshaw, an evergreen peer and client favorite, as well as Michael Garvey and Lynn Neuner, both of whom also attend to practices outside of insurance – Garvey in securities and an international arbitration focus, and Neuner in securities, commercial and a niche practice in false advertising.
     Among her broad cross section of engagements, Neuner’s securities acumen was called into service in the defense of TD Bank, one of several entities to have been ensnared in class claims brought by plaintiffs alleging that the banks aided and abetted Robert Allen Stanford’s Ponzi scheme fraud by allowing billions of dollars to be wired through their correspondent banking accounts and failing to detect Stanford’s misuse of funds and money laundering. Acting with Neuner on this matter is Peter Kazanoff, who is singled out by a peer as “one of those rare securities people who does both M&A and stock-drop cases.” Jonathan Youngwood continues to generate acclaim for his securities-focused practice. “He is really a fine lawyer,” insists a peer who goes on to confirm, “I have a close relationship with him and have worked with him a bunch." Youngwood is active as lead counsel in securities class actions for a broad and diverse variety of clients, including Chinese online auction giant Alibaba and ubiquitous social media entity Twitter, but also takes on the occasional non-securities matter. He recently triumphed for Hilton in an ERISA-related class action and also has pursued a zealous pro bono agenda, which recently saw him scoring a milestone win in a landmark matter concerning racial profiling among police in Mississippi. The firm’s securities capacity is not limited to the New York team; James Kreissman and Stephen Blake in the Palo Alto office have also kept busy with a host of shareholder and M&A-related litigation.
     The firm’s antitrust practice, largely based out of DC, has also seen a spike in prominence as of late. The bulk of this work falls into the buckets of cartel work, regulatory defense and criminal matters, and also includes a good deal of work in the class-action space, in which John Terzaken, the global co-chair of the practice, dedicates a good deal of his time. Terzaken recently triumphed for Covestro in multiple class actions alleging a conspiracy to fix prices for methylene diphenyl diisocyanate and toluene diisocyanate. Sara Razi is known for attending to deals for private equity clients in strategic transactions, many of which are outside the US, as well as clients in industries ranging from energy to healthcare. Razi has been particularly active in the life sciences space as of late, representing entities such as McKesson and CSL Behring.