Due to the number of tables in this section, the editorial is in alphabetical order
by firm name.
Litigation - California
THE FIRM This full-service firm has an enviable national and international network, which gives it the breadth to maintain a robust litigation practice. Its capabilities extend to handling securities litigation tailored to serve the needs of accounting firms, hedge funds and leading financial institutions. Obtaining a favorable class action settlement for Pacific Capital Bancorp, and advising Anadarko Petroleum on ongoing matters related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, are among the team's recent undertakings.
Sources say: "I would rate the firm to be at the top for trial capacity, issue identification, written product, pragmatism and negotiating talent."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Marshall Grossman is "one of the best commercial litigators I have worked with. He can take a complex set of facts and really focus on what is important," enthuses a client. He is highly praised for his extraordinary diligence when assisting with complex commercial litigation. He acted for Agudas Chabad on its high-profile victory against the Russian Federation, ordering the return of several religious manuscripts and books confiscated during the the Bolshevik Revolution and the Second World War.
Donn Pickett maintains a respected securities and antitrust-focused practice. He led for Oracle in securing a $1.3 billion victory in a copyright infringement case, and represented Intel in antitrust litigation, among numerous highlights.
Distinguished litigator David Balabanian brings a wealth of experience when overseeing the most complex, high-profile energy, securities and antitrust disputes. He is hailed by a client as an "outstanding lawyer and a pleasure to work with."
Dale Barnes is a respected securities litigator highly regarded for his ability to handle high-stakes class actions and M&A litigation. He receives praise as a "responsive, thoughtful and intelligent lawyer."
John Pernick and Charlene Sachi Shimada are two notable additions to this year's rankings. A client states that Pernick is "bright" and "communicates complicated items in an easy to understand way." Shimada has considerable experience assisting with investigations by the IRS, SEC and DOJ and is highlighted as a "very experienced lawyer who does well for her clients," by one satisfied client.
THE FIRM This highly trusted litigation boutique is known for its high-profile appellate and litigation work. Representing Paramount Pictures in a $20 million copyright infringement dispute, and representing Obey Clothing in a high-profile copyright case involving a popular image of Barack Obama, are among its notable recent highlights.
Sources say: "They are very smart and strong litigators, who have a great ability to think outside the box."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Christopher Caldwell "sits down and talks to us, listens carefully and helps us find our ultimate goal," asserts a client. He is a senior litigator with a reputation to match his years of experience. He recently represented Countrywide Financial Corporation's former president in various investigatory and civil issues.
THE FIRM This full-service firm has a far-reaching national network that gives the five California offices the breadth to handle disputes of all complexities. It has seen recent action in the high-profile, $272 million Ernest Rady dispute, which involved alleged breach of contract and share-selling issues. Other notable clients include Facebook, eBay and Google.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Based in the Palo Alto office, Stephen Neal is cited as a top-notch lawyer by market sources. He is a highly experienced litigator with an impressive practice covering the spectrum of commercial litigation.
John Dwyer is well respected in the community for his experience. He was heavily active litigating on behalf of eBay in a landmark case that held the California Resale Royalty Act unconstitutional.
Michael Rhodes chairs the firm's litigation department nationally and splits his practice between the San Francisco and San Diego offices. Renowned for his privacy practice, he recently represented Google against a class action claim and also advises heavy hitters such as Sony Computer Entertainment America and Facebook.
THE FIRM This dedicated litigation firm stands at the forefront of plaintiff-side litigation. The talented team is skilled in handling complex litigation such as consumer protection, fraud and intellectual property matters.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Joseph Cotchett is a highly renowned litigator and, with over 45 years' experience, is considered "a legend in the state." He is recognized for his skill in representing a range of clientele including colossal multinationals and smaller local corporations.
THE FIRM Crowell & Moring makes its debut following rapid growth in California over the past few years. Sources praise its strength in managed care issues and class action representations. Among its major recent cases is acting for the Regents of the University of California and Dr Michael Jung in a contract case brought by Medivation concerning the ownership of a new prostate cancer drug.
Sources say: "We hire them when we have a particularly challenging matter and want somebody really good to handle it, somebody that we really trust."
KEY INDIVIDUALS "Excellent trial lawyer" Douglas Sullivan “has a tremendous capacity for retaining knowledge and then deploying it,” according to sources. He defended Enterprise Holdings in complex commercial litigation concerning the use of quick response codes in rented automobiles.
Sources hold Gregory Call in high regard, lauding him for being “tenacious and fearless” and having “everything you want in a litigator.” He undertakes breach of contract, antitrust and general commercial work and recently acted for a number of major retailers as plaintiffs on a case against Westfield Roseville Galleria.
Senior counsel Michael Kahn is described as a “master strategist” and “an unbelievably quick assimilator of information.” He acted for the Regents of the University of California on litigation and reviews into the use of pepper spray and batons during the 'Occupy' protests.
THE FIRM This group is able to deploy experienced litigators across a range of industries, including technology and insurance, and is praised by clients for its creative solutions and responsiveness. It acts extensively for DHL Express, representing it in five recent cases, including cases concerning DHL's decision to cease domestic shipping in the US.
Sources say: "The quality of analysis, creativity of thought and depth of research is exceptional."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Matthew Larrabee is an "excellent strategist, experienced litigator and a valued adviser on all matters related to litigation." He is a busy securities litigator in addition to taking on more general commercial work. He recently represented Lord Abbett Distributor in a FINRA arbitration concerning an alleged conspiracy with Merrill Lynch during the 2008 financial crisis.
William Oxley is described by sources as "a very skilled trial lawyer" who is a "gifted cross-examiner." He recently acted for DHL on the appeal against a trial judgment in a case against Falcon Express.
Christopher Ruhland gains positive comments from commentators for trial and brief writing skills. He acted for DHL on a federal breach of contract trial in Utah, leading a team of eight lawyers.
THE FIRM DLA Piper has impressed clients with its securities practice, which boasts experience across the area, including representing clients before the SEC, FINRA and the DOJ. Of late it has acted for Finisar Corporation on several matters, including shareholder class action litigation.
Sources say: "They've been absolutely outstanding in their approach to strategy, availability and correspondence and, most importantly, the result."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Shirli Weiss represented Finisar in its litigation as well as acting for the former CFO of Countrywide Financial on a case brought by the SEC alleging fraud and negligence. Sources particularly praise her negotiation skills, and describe her as a "terrific, really tough lawyer."
THE FIRM This firm's client list includes prominent names, such as Dell, Toyota and Google, for which it acted on a number of patent infringement cases. It is seen as a full-service litigation firm but has particular strengths in the technology sector and on intellectual property-related matters. It acts for both plaintiffs and defendants.
Sources say: "They are strategic, have strong juniors and do well in the courtroom."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Douglas Young is a "really smart guy who gives good, strategic advice" and has a "wonderful style in talking to judges, which ensures they're going to listen," according to commentators. He represented Dell in the LCD antitrust litigation and regularly acts on white-collar and IP matters.
THE FIRM Gibson Dunn continues to be one of the most formidable and well-respected litigation groups on the West Coast. It has 65 partners practicing in this area across the full range of litigation matters, including antitrust and securities. On the securities front, it maintains a deep roster and a busy practice, including such recent representations as acting for UBS on a case brought by billionaire Igor Olenicoff alleging mismanagement. More generally, it successfully defeated a putative class action claim brought against PepsiCo and South Beach Beverage alleging false advertising.
Sources say: "They are exceptional professionals who really care. They developed an outstanding strategy which worked perfectly as they anticipated and which they executed beautifully. They were rainmakers – amazing."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Dean Kitchens is an experienced litigator who practices general commercial law with a distinct securities flavor. Sources praise him for his client focus and describe him as a "terrific and savvy traditional trial lawyer who gets good results." He led in the UBS matter.
Another strong securities litigator, Wayne Smith has "an enormous amount of trial experience" and is credited for his ability to "sort out and simplify the factual areas that can bedevil cases." He led the firm's successful representation of ITT Educational Services in defending claims of securities fraud in its recruiting practices.
Cochair of the securities practice group, Meryl Young is "incredibly well connected with the judicial system and has a lot of insight into the SEC." She is co-leading in a case for Citigroup Global Markets in defence of a suit brought by Tri-City Healthcare District relating to the issuing of bonds.
THE FIRM Goodwin Procter has a busy and well-regarded practice in California, with practitioners noted for their knowledge in the field. It has acted for Countrywide Financial on a number of cases, including matters relating to mortgage-backed securities and other alleged breaches of securities laws.
Sources say: "They tend to take a holistic approach to representing clients and I like their expertise."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Forrest Hainline is a "fierce litigator" and "very effective advocate who fully appreciates the business realities of his clients." He practices across general commercial law and recently acted for Fairmont Raffles Hotel International on a case concerning the early termination of a hotel management agreement.
Sources are impressed by Daniel Tyukody's "detailed knowledge of trends in the securities field and his very sharp analytical skills." Recently, he represented Apollo Group in a class action relating to alleged financial misstatement and misleading of the market.
THE FIRM This team has an effective litigation presence that focuses on product liability and insurance, among other areas. In addition, it has a strong securities practice that often represents Hogan Lovells's numerous pharmaceutical and biotech clients. Among its recent representations was that for VIVUS in a securities class action concerning the drug Qnexa.
Sources say: "They are always very responsive to our requests. We're very pleased with the results and the working relationship."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Norman Blears focuses on complex securities litigation, for which "clients hold him in high regard." He acts for Dendreon on litigation relating to Provenge, a cancer drug. He heads the California securities practice.
The "very respected" Douglas Schwab is of counsel at the firm and has over 40 years' experience in securities and general commercial litigation. He recently acted for a number of senior individuals at Cadence Design Systems on a case alleging irregularities in financial statements.
THE FIRM This firm has a nine-partner California litigation group and is well regarded by clients and involved in several significant cases. It practices in a number of commercial litigation areas, including toxic tort and product liability. It recently acted for Twin Anchors Marine on a case concerning an boating incident which resulted in death and personal injury.
Sources say: "They stand out in my mind as one of the best at keeping their clients informed."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Matthew Vafidis is the head of the California litigation group. He is based in the firm's San Francisco office.
THE FIRM This group has a strong reputation for its litigation work, with a particular emphasis on intellectual property matters and, among other matters, has acted for DIRECTV on a complex government contract. On the securities side, it has a leading practice, led by the inimitable David Siegel. It continues to represent former head of Countrywide Financial, Angelo Mozilo, in a number of suits and has also acted for officers and management directors of MGM Resorts International on litigation brought by shareholders following the financial crisis.
Sources say: "They have very high-quality lawyers and do top-notch legal work."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Star attorney David Siegel is "in a class by himself" for securities defence and SEC work, according to sources, who point to his "laser-sharp advocacy" and "spectacular strategic insight." He has represented Angelo Mozilo in various cases and was also the lead lawyer for the officers and directors of MGM Resorts.
THE FIRM Jones Day has a solid litigation presence in California and is able to call upon its excellent national and international network when needed. Accordingly, the group undertakes work for a plethora of major clients. Among its representative matters has been acting for Chevron on alleged environmental liability in Ecuador resulting from Chevron's merger with Texaco. It also represented Yamaha in product liability matters concerning its Rhino SxS vehicle.
Sources say: "They do excellent work, their attorneys are always prepared and they're ready to go." "They work very hard and are responsive."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Robert Mittelstaedt is someone who "gets very good results" and who clients "put a lot of trust in." He is an experienced litigator who is also highly proficient in antitrust law. He represents Chevron in the Ecuador matter.
Rick McKnight is credited for his "great presence in front of a jury" by commentators, who also point out his trial proficiency. He was the lead lawyer on the Yamaha Rhino SxS matter, achieving a successful outcome.
THE FIRM Keker & Van Nest serves as a reminder that biggest is not always best, as this 65-lawyer litigation firm punches well above its weight in the California litigation market. It boasts a very strong bench of litigators, with particular strengths in white-collar matters and securities. In the latter category, it recently represented a former director of Citigroup in a case arising from CDOs sold by Citigroup.
Sources say: "They're the people you see when a big case with a lot at stake is going to trial. If they're on the other side, you know the other party is serious."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Superlatives abound when John Keker's name is mentioned, with one source calling him "the finest lawyer in the US" and "a legend in his own right." In particular, his "fearlessness" and strategy as a white-collar counsel are picked out, although he is equally proficient at complex commercial matters. He leads on the CDO case.
"Very accomplished trial lawyer" Robert Van Nest is described as "someone you go to with a case that needs to be fought, rather than settled." He is noted by sources for his prowess in IP-related work. He acted for the Regents of the University of California on a copyright infringement case relating to online video streaming.
THE FIRM This group is another of the major nationwide litigation firms with a presence on the West Coast, with three offices around California. Sources point out its abilities in class action litigation and this expertise has been brought to bear representing Facebook in a multitude of class action and shareholder claims following the company's IPO in 2012. Other clients include UBS and RBS.
Sources say: "I have enormous confidence when I have them on a case."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Mark McKane practices across a range of complex commercial disputes and has over 15 years' experience in this area. He acted for the special committee of Green Valley Ranch Gaming in an internal investigation relating to suspected illegal financial activity following a recapitalization.
THE FIRM Latham & Watkins is well regarded by sources for its litigation prowess, which includes complex commercial work, merger litigation and securities matters. It has an extensive roster of some 64 partners in California. It acted for Apple on the AT&T Mobile antitrust litigation and, on the securities side, represented Ernst & Young in a class action arising from the collapse of IndyMac Bank.
Sources say: "The work they have done has been fantastic."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peter Wald is singled out by sources for his "extraordinary level of commitment" as well as his foresight and team management. He is a skilled litigator who is extremely well regarded for his securities work. He recently represented Deloitte & Touche in a case related to the collapse of Washington Mutual, as well as acting on the Ernst & Young matter.
THE FIRM Within California, this group has a solid and respected litigation practice with expertise across a range of industries, including advertising and healthcare. Its clients include Wal-Mart and Sirius XM Radio, and it also acted for Ticketmaster on a consumer class action case alleging false advertising.
Sources say: "Very good lawyers."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Chad Hummel in its Los Angeles office continues to head the firm's litigation department.
THE FIRM This team brings its strong nationwide framework to California with a very capable litigation practice. It handles work in such industries as pharmaceuticals, technology and healthcare. It successfully represented Seagate Technology in a patent and trade secrets case concerning hard disk drives.
Sources say: "They don't just go through the motions. They are willing to go to battle for you and willing to think outside the box."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The leading lawyers for the firm in California are Tom Ryan, Rick Meyer and Dan Alberti.
THE FIRM This firm is well respected in California and beyond for handling a wide range of complex litigation matters. It is representing Hewlett-Packard in a series of disputes stemming from a decrease in its stock price, and assisting property developer Kitchell with a $68 million real estate dispute. The team regularly handles high-profile cases for major clients such as Shell Oil, Cisco Systems and Toyota.
Sources say: "They are really very high-quality litigators, who understand both the litigation in general and the securitization aspect in particular."
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Schrader's "court manner is very respectful and he is effective at keeping the case on track," praises a client. He is particularly noted for his ability to assist clients from the energy, life sciences and manufacturing industries. He is handling two separate complex groundwater contamination cases on behalf of EDO Corporation and ITT Corporation.
THE FIRM Drawing on excellent national and international resources, this litigation giant is a natural choice for big-ticket commercial and securities litigation. The firm continues to handle complex litigation matters, such as representing Capital One and US Bank in a major overdraft fee class action spanning several jurisdictions, obtaining a $21 million arbitration award on behalf of Marin General Hospital, and handling a $2.5 billion breach of contract dispute on behalf of EchoStar Satellite. It has also assisted clients with impressive securities matters, such as representing a Chinese automotive parts manufacturer in a class action involving insider trading and securities fraud allegations.
Sources say: "Excellent advocates. They demonstrate excellent judgment and a mastery of their subspecialties."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Arturo González is a "dynamic individual" praised for "reading judges well and bonding with the jury." He cochairs the firm's litigation practice and recently represented International Lease Finance and AIG in their suits alleging breach of fiduciary duty and trade secret theft.
Jordan Eth is championed by peers and clients for being "practical, thorough and experienced in the securities area." He is renowned for his prestigious securities practice and has a strong track record in advising public companies with SEC investigations and complex derivative matters. He recently handled a high-profile securities class action on behalf of Yahoo! involving Chinese regulations limiting foreign ownership of online payment systems.
THE FIRM This venerable California heavyweight continues to demonstrate impressive abilities in the litigation sphere. The team recently assisted Boeing and Boeing Satellite Systems with a reversal of a $604 million verdict, successfully dismissing class actions against Philip Morris, and handling mortgage-backed securities litigation on behalf of major financial institutions.
Sources say: "What I liked about them was their eagerness to take on tough cases from the beginning. They are hard workers and very trial savvy."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients are thoroughly impressed with Brad Brian, with one commenting: "He lives up to his fame and is one of the best trial attorneys." He enjoys a strong following among large multinational corporations and is considered to be one of the state's top trial lawyers. He was the lead in representing Transocean in various proceedings and investigations stemming from the BP oil spill.
Ronald Olson is well thought of as a skilled litigator with a peer stating that they "have only good things to say about him." His impeccable business knowledge is a vital asset when handling corporate investigations and complex litigation for financial institutions and a range of private and public companies.
A client enthuses that John Spiegel is "very strategic and a great all-around litigator." His distinguished practice covers the spectrum of business litigation. He was the lead partner representing Warner Bros. in Charlie Sheen's termination action, and defending Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in a stockholder class action.
Marc Dworsky enters the rankings this year and is highly regarded by clients, with one commenting: "His quality of work is beyond anyone else." He was the lead counsel handling $10 billion mortgage-backed securities litigation on behalf of Bank of America, and representing Citigroup Global Markets against Impac Funding in a dispute related to securities law violations.
THE FIRM With a strong bench of litigators in three California offices and a broad international network, this firm is equipped to deal with the full spectrum of complex litigation matters. The firm recently represented TV One in a suit against Northstar Media, Music World Music and BET Networks concerning the broadcast rights of the 2010 Essence Music Festival. The team also handled a high-profile cross-border matter on behalf of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation, securing its rightful ownership of a Camille Pissarro oil painting.
Sources say: "Impressed with the way they explained everything and covered all possibilities."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Anthony Barron serves as the managing partner of the firm's San Francisco office. He has a broad litigation practice and is noted for his ability to handle cases involving intricate banking, real estate and construction issues. Handling a $25 million dispute on behalf of Scottsdale Insurance, relating to its termination of a relationship with a broker, was a notable recent highlight.
THE FIRM This Los Angeles-based outfit boasts a deep bench strength and an established commercial litigation practice, most notably within the media and entertainment industry. The talented group also conducts securities litigation on behalf of numerous companies in the financial sector.
Sources say: “They have very good resources and looked at my case from every angle.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients single out Daniel Petrocelli for being "the best in the courtroom, but also the best at keeping you out of the courtroom." He has a tremendous reputation for his prowess in handling highly publicized litigation and ability to effortlessly tackle disputes spanning a broad spectrum.
Seth Aronson is cited as "excellent" on account of his highly distinguished practice. He handles every facet of securities litigation, representing directors, officers and corporations in SEC enforcement proceedings, class actions and many other issues.
THE FIRM This firm boasts a well-connected network of West Coast offices that can provide comprehensive advice on virtually any kind of dispute. The group is therefore well equipped to handle varying types of litigation, ranging from securities to IP and commercial. The California teams worked closely with New York in advising DISH Networks on a case against several broadcast networks.
Sources say: "They are exceptional and they get the whole picture."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "fantastic" Michael Torpey chairs the securities litigation group and his expertise in SEC investigations and class actions comes highly recommended. One client proclaims: “He goes in front of the board on a regular basis – they are a tough crowd but he has no problems in dealing with them.” He currently represents Sequans Communications in a securities suit brought by its underwriters and various directors and officers.
James Kramer enters the rankings for the first time, earned through his impressive and flourishing securities litigation practice. Sources commend his “amazing presentation abilities,” which made the opposition “appear like bumbling idiots.” He recently led the team to victory on behalf of IronPlanet in a two-year dispute regarding the ownership of shares valued at more than $20 million.
THE FIRM Paul Hastings is renowned for tackling sophisticated litigation matters across a broad range of areas including antitrust, employment, IP and securities. The team recently achieved a significant victory for Andersen after almost five years of litigation against Yancy, which sought over $40 million in damages. Other notable clients include Morgan Stanley, L'Oréal USA and Dow Chemicals.
Sources say: "They did a fabulous job. Each lawyer is very capable and hardworking."
KEY INDIVIDUALS William Sullivan is the respected global chair of the firm's litigation department and is praised for being “ten moves ahead of the opposition” and his extensive “knowledge of the law.” Sources also divulge: “He's very good at planning the long-term strategy for a case.” He recently concluded litigation lasting two years with a dismissal on behalf of Morgan Stanley, after a breach of fiduciary duty and fraud case was brought against it by over 50 plaintiffs in Hawaii.
THE FIRM This national litigation boutique is widely praised for its breadth of superlative advice, and is well known for representing plaintiffs in securities matters. The team also possesses recognized expertise in IP and financial services litigation. The group recently won a complete defense verdict on behalf of Micron Technology after six years of litigating against Rambus over an alleged antitrust law violation. The case sought over $12 billion in damages.
Sources say: “The team is excellent; aggressive, very smart, creative and a true pleasure to work with.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "exceptional" John Quinn heads the commercial litigation department and is regarded by peers as a “ferocious competitor.” He is a seasoned business litigator who is described as “enormously talented” and praised for his “ability to pick things up quickly and identify strong themes.”
Bill Price is described as a “fantastic” trial lawyer who specializes in bet-the-company cases. For example, he recently led the team in representing Micron in the $12 billion Rambus dispute. One source revealed: “He is just devastating in court; he's one to keep your eye out for.”
William Urquhart has a “well-deserved” reputation for his depth and breadth of knowledge in IP litigation matters. As a well-rounded business litigator he also maintains an active practice defending class actions on behalf of various corporations.
Harry Olivar heads the securities litigation department in Los Angeles and is characterized as “a true technician and impressive oral advocate” who “is really smart, thinks logically and is very client-friendly.” He is currently defending former chairman of Peregrine Systems, John Moores, in a securities appeal.
Molly Stephens enters the rankings this year amid praise for her “powerful and impressive” securities litigation practice. She is also described as “phenomenally bright, a critical thinker and great listener.”
THE FIRM This group offers a vast range of services under the commercial litigation umbrella and is highlighted specifically for its dedication to outstanding client service. The team recently acted as co-counsel to help win a product liability class action on behalf of St. Jude Medical following 11 years of litigation. Other clients include Siemens, Forever 21 and the California State Teachers' Retirement System.
Sources say: "They provide high quality and tremendous value."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Los Angeles-based Lorenzo Gasparetti is a key contact at the firm. He cochairs the firm's national commercial litigation group.
THE FIRM This headline firm is perennially considered a national market leader for the representation of investors in securities litigation. Many of its top players are equipped with previous government experience, ensuring clients have access to expert securities knowledge, regardless of case type or industry involved.
Sources say: “They have the tenacity, knowledge, experience and resources to stand up against big corporations.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Securities expert Patrick Coughlin is regarded as one of the finest litigators in the state. His impressive background includes handling numerous iconic securities litigation matters.
"Spectacular" Darren Robbins is hailed as a "sharp plaintiff lawyer," by peers. He is a go-to name for securities matters and has extensive experience litigating in federal and state courts.
THE FIRM This firm is acknowledged for its strong track record in commercial litigation and impressive Asia connections. It has been busy handling entertainment disputes and class actions relating to privacy, consumer and securities matters. The team has had several recent successes in healthcare disputes. In addition to its strong litigation presence, the group is often called upon to advise on arbitrations and other ADR methods.
Sources say: "Excellent in the entertainment space."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Fred Puglisi is a key contact and cochairs the firm's Business Trial Practice group.
THE FIRM This firm is equipped with a strong group of litigators renowned for their strength in handling a broad range of disputes. The team is adept at securities matters, notably for its expertise in assisting Chinese companies involved with US securities violations. It enlisted the strength of its national network when handling a series of complex shareholder cases on behalf of SMART Technologies. Goldman Sachs, Citibank, Wilshire Bancorp and China Green are some of the firm's notable clients.
Sources say: "They truly have defined the meaning of going above and beyond."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sara Brody splits her practice between the San Francisco and Palo Alto offices and serves as a global coordinator for the firm's securities litigation practice. She represented the former CEO of Diamond Foods in various derivatives and securities class action matters and parallel government investigations, and assisted with the SMART Technologies litigation matters.
THE FIRM Skadden has risen in the rankings having earned strong praise for its talented litigation team, which is talented at handling a catalog of challenging securities and commercial litigation. It has represented a range of clients including energy and technology companies, special committees and financial institutions in national and international proceedings. It successfully represented international auction house Christie's in a landmark class action related to the California Resale Royalties Act, and handled various federal and state derivative actions and securities class actions on behalf of American Apparel.
Sources say: "They are top of their game in terms of knowledge and expertise."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Palo Alto-based Raoul Kennedy is a gifted facilitator of mass tort litigation and cases involving complex RICO matters, and is often described by clients as being "fantastic." He represented Fresh Del Monte in a $13 million trademark violation and breach of contract action.
Thomas Nolan is a celebrated figure who enjoys extensive endorsement from clients as "one of the best litigators" and who "has really good instincts." A former federal prosecutor and current chair of the firm's West Coast litigation practice, he is highly experienced litigating a wide range of matters in federal and state courts nationally. He is currently involved in the colossal multidistrict litigation on behalf of client Toyota involving claims of faulty throttle control systems. Nolan also successfully represented Wells Fargo in litigation involving claims of race discrimination in pricing consumer mortgages.
Allen Ruby "is a legend and great in court," according to a loyal client. He is widely viewed as being one the leading attorneys in the state and offers a subspecialty in technology-related work. His recent highlights include assisting ConAgra Foods in a public nuisance dispute and handling shareholder derivative suits on behalf of past and present Hewlett-Packard directors.
Eric Waxman's "knowledge is incredible," beams a client. He is particularly well known for his experience in handling various tort and contract claims that include partnership disputes, breach of lender liability and loan commitments. He has been in considerable demand for handling M&A-related litigation and recently assisted Cost Plus in disputes involving claims under the Williams Act.
THE FIRM Sullivan & Cromwell houses a talented group of litigators who often handle M&A-related litigation, securities class action matters and a range of other complex commercial disputes. The firm assisted with high-profile matters including representing Standard Chartered Bank in numerous Madoff-related claims and achieving successful resolution of an antitrust case against Microsoft.
Sources say: "There is very little in the corporate world that they can't deal with."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Managing partner Robert Sacks's solid reputation is highlighted by a client whose view is that he is "very strategic in his thinking, tactically oriented and really great on his feet." His impressive practice encompasses handling complex matters before the SEC, advising on merger reviews and assisting with appeals in courts nationally. He recently represented footwear company Collective Brands in derivatives cases before the Kansas federal and state courts and the Delaware Chancery Court.
Michael Steinberg "really understands the law and all its nuances," reports a satisfied client. He represented Philips in a major class action related to allegedly defective parts in some of the company's flat screen televisions.
THE FIRM This impressive litigation group is split between the firm's Los Angeles and Palo Alto offices. The firm acts around the state and also has an established cross-border litigation focus, particularly advising Korean clients. The firm advises Facebook on its overseas disputes and is currently handling a significant volume of important cases across five continents. Other clients include Gerber Products, Nestlé USA and Time Warner Cable.
Sources say: "They have a deep substantive knowledge of the law."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Bryan Merryman "understands issues immediately and always has a solution." He successfully represented Comcast Corporation in a class action suit that alleged consumer protection law violations.
THE FIRM Securities litigation is a central plank of this international firm's service. The firm has a pedigree bench to tackle securities class actions, derivative lawsuits and intricate accounting fraud matters. The team recently assisted Occam Networks with a high-profile merger case involving allegations of breaching fiduciary duty. The team has also represented major clients including Expedia, Netflix, McAfee and Hotwire.com in various complex litigation suits.
Sources say: "They are a solid firm with lawyers who handle work aggressively in a positive way."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peers champion senior litigator Steven Schatz as one of the smartest practitioners in the market. With a federal prosecutorial background, he is highly sought for his advocacy skills. He has teamed up with Boris Feldman on various shareholder derivative matters on behalf of Hewlett-Packard. Peers have the "utmost respect" for Feldman, whose esteemed practice is dedicated to challenging securities litigation. He was the driving force successfully representing Stryker in a securities fraud class action.
A client applauds securities and commercial litigator Keith Eggleton as a "phenomenally capable lawyer with tremendously good instincts." He is noted for his focus on advising clients from the technology sector.
Nina Locker is an experienced securities practitioner and draws praise for her skills in handling shareholder class actions, internal investigations relating to stock options, and insider trading disputes. She and Schatz recently represented Strayer Education in successfully achieving dismissal of a case involving allegations of improper recruitment practices.
Michael Matthias of Baker Hostetler "delivers impeccable service and advice," states an impressed client. He is highly experienced in defending securities class actions and in handling complex business litigation. He recently defended Sharp Memorial Hospital and Eisenhower Medical Center in two separate groundbreaking class actions alleging violations of the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act.
A commentator admires the dedication of Joseph Tabacco of Berman DeValerio, remarking that "he went an extra mile to achieve a fair resolution." He is noted for his background as a senior trial attorney in the DOJ's antitrust division and is a respected force who regularly litigates landmark commercial high-tech, securities fraud and antitrust matters.
Maxwell Blecher of Blecher & Collins remains "one of the iconic" lawyers in California and is recognized for his antitrust knowledge and handling of high-profile appellate proceedings. He is an extremely distinguished figure with impeccable trial experience gained in federal and state courts, as well as the US Supreme Court.
David Bayless of Covington & Burling LLP is the firm's national chair for the securities and commercial litigation practice group. He enjoys a healthy reputation for his skills before SEC administrative forums and federal and state courts, with peers commenting that they are "very impressed with him." He represented the IndyMac Bank's former CEO Michael Perry in several matters, including a securities fraud suit brought by the SEC.
Patricia Glaser of Glaser, Weil, Fink, Jacobs, Howard, Avchen & Shapiro, LLP "continues to be incredibly impressive," asserts a market observer. She is an accomplished litigator lauded for her ability to assist diverse clients such as major movie studios, financial institutions and Fortune 500 companies with complicated high-stakes litigation disputes.
National chair of the firm's securities and litigation practice group, Bruce Vanyo of Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP enjoys an excellent reputation for his securities litigation practice. Most recently he assisted with several derivatives claims on behalf of Himelsein Mandel and various related entities, and defended DemandTec and its directors against allegations of breaching fiduciary duties.
Special counsel Larry Feldman of Kaye Scholer LLP is a respected civil litigator whose trial skills are rated very highly by clients. His broad practice includes expertise in the entertainment, real estate and insurance sectors.
Michael Mallow of Loeb & Loeb LLP chairs the firm's consumer protection defense group and is rated for his expertise in defending consumer class actions and unfair competition claims. He was instrumental in successfully defeating a class certification motion on behalf of Toyota Motor Sales USA relating to customer complaints about antilock brake systems present in some 2010 car models. A client praises him as "a fierce advocate and an excellent writer" and someone who "is really good at coming up with strategy that works."
Clients "thinks very highly of" Edward Johnson of Mayer Brown LLP, who is highly sought for his expertise in litigation related to antitrust and technology matters. He recently advised Philips Electronics on a highly significant cross-border case involving several of its LED patents.
"Creative thinker" Michael Hennigan of McKool Smith is a prominent and seasoned trial attorney with impressive antitrust and securities fraud litigation knowledge. He successfully obtained an appellate victory at the US Courts of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on behalf of Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds in a class action securities suit against Amgen.
Jonathan Shapiro recently joined Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky from WilmerHale. Shapiro is a formidable force in the securities litigation sphere. He frequently concentrates on complex federal securities fraud, major securities class actions and disclosure matters. He represented Frank Quattrone, former head of CSFB's technology group, in securing the dismissal of a securities fraud action brought by Time Warner's shareholders, in addition to other successes.
Daniel Woods of Musick Peeler & Garrett is a well-respected attorney whose practice concentrates on handling complicated trials and appellate proceedings in federal and state courts. He is noted for his experience assisting with disputes related to real estate and lender liability.
Michael McNamara of Steptoe & Johnson LLP is applauded by peers for being "energetic and sophisticated." He has nearly three decades of litigation experience on the local, national and international stages. He is presently the firm's practice head for the professional liability and legal malpractice defense group and is also well equipped in handling securities, entertainment and antitrust disputes.