Regularly hailed as one of the strongest litigation teams in the industry, the Debevoise litigation practice has been described by The American Lawyer as akin to “the Army Rangers—a small but elite group that works seamlessly and handles the most challenging cases,” consistently delivering outstanding results for its clients. Recent matters include:
Winning a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court victory concerning constitutional limits of state taxation for the Kaestner Family Trust
Securing a historic $6 billion ICSID arbitration win for Tethyan Copper Company Pty Limited
Dismissal of a $14.5 billion qui tam lawsuit filed against Prudential, John Hancock, AXA, Guardian, MassMutual, TIAA and others in the New York Supreme Court
Representing the Board of Directors of CBS Corporation in an investigation of sexual harassment allegations against the CEO and senior personnel
Defeating MZ Wallace’s trade dress infringement claim against our client Oliver Thomas in a complete victory at trial
Negotiating the favorable settlement of a lawsuit brought on behalf of Jane Doe, an 11-year old transgender girl, in her suit to use the girls’ restroom at her school
The firm’s litigation practice is led by co-chairs Mary Beth Hogan and Andrew Ceresney (the immediate past Director of Enforcement at the SEC) and features an all-star roster, including former Attorneys General Lord Peter Goldsmith QC and Michael Mukasey and former Chair of the SEC Mary Jo White, who returned to Debevoise in 2017 following her four-year tenure. Ms. White, who previously served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York for nine years, is Senior Chair of the firm and leads the Strategic Crisis Response and Solutions Group.
Their team also includes 14 former Assistant U.S. Attorneys or Department of Justice attorneys, including a former federal district court judge, the former Chief of the Criminal Division of the Southern District of New York, the former Acting Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ Criminal Division, the former Deputy Assistant Attorney General for National Security and three former Unit Chiefs of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.
The breadth of experience offered by Debevoise in and out of the courtroom sets their litigators apart. They bring personal attention, seasoned judgment, deep industry knowledge, credibility and substantive legal experience to each matter, tailoring advice to clients’ needs and circumstances. They work seamlessly and collaboratively with clients and co-counsel and across practices to achieve the best possible results for our clients.
Based in New York, Washington DC, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Shanghai and Hong Kong, their broadly skilled team of nearly 300 litigators handle domestic and cross-border disputes of every kind and complex matters in courts in the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, France and elsewhere, as well as before arbitration tribunals, agencies and administrative bodies worldwide.They represent clients as plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of areas, including:
Antitrust & Competition
Arbitration & International Disputes
Cybersecurity & Data Privacy
Insurance Industry Disputes
Labor & Employment Litigation
White Collar & Regulatory Defense
Another notable and distinguishing feature of the Debevoise litigation practice is the success of their women partners. For three consecutive years, Benchmark Litigation has named eight Debevoise women litigation partners among the “Top 250 Women in Litigation”—an exceptional ranking for a firm of its size.
We have represented clients in some of the world’s largest and most complex disputes, including domestic and cross-border deal litigation, corporate governance disputes, white collar and regulatory defense, commercial litigation, securities litigation, bankruptcy litigation, complex settlements, appeals, and arbitration. Our litigators have a long history of handling cutting-edge merger litigation, including many of the most significant takeover defense battles in history. We are called upon to play a central role in high stakes and high profile matters generally, including litigation related to the tragic events of 9/11, the recent financial crisis, and other litigations with fundamental consequences for our clients. We also assist our clients with sensitive internal and law enforcement investigations. In addition, our litigators engage in significant pro bono activity at both the trial and appellate court levels, write and speak in areas of expertise, and teach at the nation’s top law schools.
Our Approach to Litigation
A tight-knit group of approximately 75 lawyers, we approach each matter with intensity, thoroughness and creativity and build teams appropriate to the circumstances. We approach our clients’ legal issues within the larger framework of their strategic, business, and financial goals. We specialize in matters that require careful attention, tested experience, and a high degree of expertise. We handle litigation at all stages, from pre-suit counseling and investigations through trials and appeals. Engagements undertaken by the Firm are at all times afforded the direct personal attention of partners possessing relevant expertise. Our approach is to achieve the best result for the client as quickly as possible. We regularly take cases to trial and win before judges, arbitrators and juries. But we also know when it makes sense to settle, and we have structured some of the largest and most complex litigation settlements to date.
Takeover and Merger Litigation
We are known for trendsetting takeover, transactional, and corporate governance litigation. We litigated the Revlon, Household, and other cases in the 1980s that set the doctrinal framework for all subsequent deal litigation. And the Firm continues to lead in the area — year after year, Wachtell Lipton handles the most important corporate governance and takeover cases in the nation, from the seminal case Corwin v. KKR Financial, which recognized the merger ratification defense to the successful Airgas trial (in which the court reaffirmed the “poison pill” takeover defense against a generation of attack) to the successful Vulcan trial (in which the Firm secured an unprecedented order enjoining a hostile takeover bid) to the successful Sotheby’s defense of the company’s shareholder rights plan against an activist investor attack; to Allergan’s closely watched takeover battle with Valeant and Pershing Square, resulting in a groundbreaking preliminary injunction that set new federal precedent against unfair tactics in takeover bids. Other leading merger cases the firm has litigated include: Paramount Communications, Inc. v. Time, Inc.; Paramount Communications, Inc. v. QVC Network, Inc.; and IBP, Inc. v. Tyson Foods. In recent years, our litigators also have led the charge against appraisal arbitrage litigation, securing post-trial victories in the appraisals of Ancestry.com, SWS Group, PetSmart, and AOL. And we have been the thought leaders behind innovative corporate litigation developments in books-and-records suits and stockholder forum-selection bylaws.
Complex Commercial and Securities Litigation
Our approach to complex commercial and securities litigation also exemplifies our focus on fresh thinking and creative solutions and the fact that we are called upon to handle some of the nation’s biggest and most complex cases. We represented National Australia Bank in the landmark Morrison case, in which the United States Supreme Court held that Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act and SEC Rule 10b-5 apply only to purchases and sales of securities in the United States. The decision overturned 40 years of lower-court precedent and eradicated a burgeoning species of securities litigation (so-called “foreign-cubed” and “foreign-squared” class actions) along with billions of dollars in potential liability for foreign securities issuers. We successfully defended Goldman Sachs in Baker v. Goldman Sachs, a five-week jury trial in federal court in which co-founders and major shareholders of a speech-recognition software company, Dragon Systems, were challenging Goldman’s investment banking advice and seeking over half a billion dollars in damages. We helped Bank of America contain its mortgage exposures arising from the financial crisis, including by negotiating Bank of America’s landmark $8.5 billion settlement of claims involving more than 500 trusts for mortgage-backed securities issued by Countrywide and in resolving multibillion dollar claims arising from the foreclosure crisis with the federal government and 49 state attorneys general. Following the tragic events of 9/11, we were called upon to represent the leaseholder of the World Trade Center in two jury trials with its property insurers that ultimately helped it secure enough money to rebuild the site. And we continue to represent Philip Morris USA in arbitrations and litigation that have arisen under the landmark 1998 settlement between the major tobacco companies and 52 states and territories. Wachtell Lipton previously had the lead role structuring and negotiating this more than $200 billion settlement.
Bankruptcy and Restructuring Litigation
We have a long and successful record representing major parties in litigation relating to bankruptcy cases and other debt-related issues. We have represented major companies in the successful defense of actions brought by bankruptcy trustees and creditors. We represented JPMorgan Chase in: (1) the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, where the Firm obtained summary judgment dismissing $8.6 billion of estate claims; (2) the Bernard Madoff liquidation, where the Firm obtained dismissal of claims by the trustee seeking $18 billion in damages; and (3) the General Motors bankruptcy, where we successfully defended the bank at trial from fraudulent transfer claims seeking $1.5 billion. We represented Campbell Soup at trial and on appeal in defeating a fraudulent transfer challenge to the spin-off of Vlasic Pickles. On behalf of Education Management, the Firm defeated an attempt to enjoin the company’s $1.5 billion restructuring and won a precedent-setting appeal from a judgment under the Trust Indenture Act. We have represented private equity firms, hedge funds, and other clients in significant contested matters arising in chapter 11 cases, including Toys “R” Us and Energy Future Holdings. We also represent companies in defending litigation and default claims by activist debtholders.
White-Collar and Regulatory Enforcement
We have a leading white-collar criminal and regulatory practice. We have represented major financial institutions and multinational corporations, as well as their boards of directors and senior executives, in a broad range of the most complex and typically high-profile white-collar criminal and regulatory enforcement matters, both nationally and internationally. In the past few years alone, our litigators have handled both U.S. and foreign governmental investigations focusing on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, criminal tax evasion, criminal transfer pricing, the False Claims Act, insider trading, securities fraud, accounting fraud, criminal antitrust, and export control violations. In addition, we regularly represent boards, audit committees, and special committees charged with conducting special investigations in response to whistleblowers or governmental inquiries.
We have an active pro bono litigation practice. Our lawyers are encouraged to take on pro bono matters with the full support of the Firm and many take advantage of this opportunity. We have represented abused women seeking protection, indigent criminal defendants in the state and federal courts, immigrants seeking asylum, and non-profit organizations challenging government action. We file amicus briefs on significant legal issues on behalf of business groups and others. On behalf of the Chief Judge of the State of New York, we represented the state’s judiciary in historic and successful litigation over the state’s failure to increase the pay of its judges since 1999. We took on one of the earliest cases challenging the military’s policies discriminating against gay service members.
Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP is widely recognized worldwide as a leading law firm advising institutional investors on issues related to corporate governance, shareholder rights, and securities litigation. Since its founding in 1983, BLB&G has obtained over $33 billion in recoveries and achieved precedent-setting corporate governance reforms on behalf of its investor clients. Working with its clients, its cases have resulted in sweeping corporate governance reforms, changing deficient business practices and serving as models for public companies going forward. The firm has also prosecuted some of the most sig¬nificant employment discrimination, civil rights and consumer protection cases on record. Equally important, the firm has advanced novel and beneficial principles by developing important new law in the areas in which it litigates.As a result of its accomplishments, the firm and its attorneys have been the subject of numerous feature articles in major media publications in the United States and abroad. A distinguished group of trial-tested litigators, BLB&G has repeatedly and consistently earned high praise from the courts in which it practices, as well as the respect of the defense firms and insurance carriers it faces in court and across the negotiating table.
Recognized by industry observers as one of the leading law firms worldwide representing institutional investors in complex securities fraud litigation (“the biggest star in the firmament” – Financial Times; ‘one of the best, bar none’ – Euromoney; ‘consistently achieving the highest returns for investors’ – The National Law Journal), BLB&G is regularly appointed by the courts as lead counsel in US securities class actions,and has distinguished itself by focusing on the representation of respected institutional investors in meritorious cases. The firm is extremely selective in its prosecutions, only pursuing matters where its clients have significant holdings, and is well known for “consistently bringing high impact cases” (Securities Class Action Services).
The firm’s reputation for trial readiness is well established. Unique among its peers, BLB&G has successfully tried several of the largest and most high-profile civil fraud cases in history, and has obtained 6 of the largest securities fraud recoveries on record.
$6.2 billion recovery for investors in In re WorldCom, Inc. Securities Litigation
$3.3 billion settlement in In re Cendant Corporation Securities Litigation
$2.43 billion recovery in In re Bank of America Corp. Securities Litigation, by far the largest shareholder recovery related to the subprime meltdown and credit crisis
$1.07 billion recovery in In re Nortel Networks Corporation Securities Litigation
$1.06 billion settlement in In re Merck & Co., Inc. Securities Litigation
$1.05 billion settlement in In re McKesson HBOC, Inc. Securities Litigation
At the forefront of efforts to recover massive shareholder losses resulting from the global financial collapse, BLB&G served as lead counsel in numerous high-profile litigations arising from the subprime mortgage meltdown, recovering nearly $7 billion for investors in actions against Wall Street banks and other major financial institutions.
Corporate Governance & Shareholder Rights: One of the first law firms to demonstrate that litigation can be an effective tool for stimulating positive change in failing corporate management settings, BLB&G is a well-recognized leader in giving shareholders a voice. The firm litigates cutting-edge fiduciary duty issues in order to maximize shareholder value, protect the shareholder franchise and improve corporate governance practices. BLB&G has also obtained billions of dollars in additional consideration for investors, representing them in merger and acquisition transactions structured to deprive shareholders of fair value and unjustly enrich management. For example:
BLB&G prosecuted the unprecedented shareholder derivative litigation against Fox News parent 21st Century Fox, Inc. arising from the systemic sexual and workplace harassment at the embattled network. The case resulted in a landmark settlement with one of the largest financial recoveries – $90 million –ever obtained in a pure corporate board oversight dispute; and the first ever Board-level independent watchdog of its kind –the “Fox News Workplace Professionalism and Inclusion Council” of experts expected to serve as a model for public companies in all industries.
In the Allergan Proxy Violation litigation alleging an unprecedented insider trading scheme by billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management fund and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc, BLB&G obtained a $250 million settlement for Allergan investors after a three-year legal battle, creating precedent to prevent similar such schemes in the future.
In the UnitedHealth Derivative Litigation, BLB&G obtained an unprecedented clawback of approximately $920 million of ill-gotten pay from the company’s former officers and directors – the largest such recovery in history
Representing a group of public pension funds challenging a conflict-ridden transaction in In re El Paso Corporation Shareholder Litigation, BLB&G achieved a landmark ruling that rebuked Goldman Sachs for neglecting to acknowledge blatant conflicts of interests when advising their corporate clients, and recovered $110 million for investors, a settlement believed to be the highest post-merger closing money damage recovery in Delaware history BLB&G has confronted discriminatory management, sought to make corporate boards effective and independent, expanded accountability to the boardroom, and improved the quality of “due diligence” performed by investment banks, changing “Wall Street” practices for the better.
Complex Commercial & Corporate Litigation:BLB&G represents institutions and individuals in a wide range of complex commercial litigation – on a contingency basis – involving allegations of breach of contract, accountants’ liability, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and negligence. The firm litigates cases arising from private placements of debt or equity securities, derivatives and other specialty financial instruments; and prosecutes bankruptcy claims on behalf of creditors and litigation trusts or debtors-in-possession.
Asset Protection & Fraud Monitoring:BLB&G is the trusted securities fraud monitoring counsel for hundreds of public pension funds and institutional investors worldwide. The firm provides comprehensive analysis of the financial and business media, as well as all securities and shareholder derivative litigation to provide its institutional clients with complete reporting on potential claims that may impact their holdings.
International Work: The firm represents institutional investors worldwide in numerous commercial matters.
MoloLamken is a law firm focused exclusively on representing clients in complex disputes. It handles civil, criminal, and regulatory matters, as well as appeals, across the United States. The firm’s clients span the globe. MoloLamken is involved in some of the most significant disputes of the day.
The firm’s founding partners, Steven Molo and Jeffrey Lamken, developed national reputations based on their courtroom successes while partners at large full-service firms where they held leadership positions. With an abiding belief that complex disputes are most effectively handled by smaller teams comprised of smart, highly experienced lawyers focused on results rather than process, they formed the firm.
MoloLamken provides experienced advocacy – for claimants as well as defendants – before judges, juries, arbitral forums, and courts of appeals, including the Supreme Court of the United States. The firm also represents clients in regulatory and criminal investigations and conducts internal investigations.