One of the nation's leading trial lawyers, Co-Chair of Kramer Levin Naftalis and Frankel LLP and head of the firm's Litigation Practice. He was recently named as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America by The National Law Journal, and received the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from Benchmark Litigation and the 2011 Chambers USA Award for Excellence in White Collar Crime and Government Investigations. For some 40 years, he has represented individuals and corporations in all phases of complex bet-the-company civil, white collar criminal and regulatory matters including those involving allegations of insider trading, market manipulation, accounting irregularities, stock option backdating and other financial fraud. Mr Naftalis has also served as counsel to audit and special committees of a number of major public companies in connection with regulatory issues.
He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a member of the Trial Attorney Advisory Board of the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association. He has also served as a director of the Legal Aid Society.
During his 40 year career, he has successfully represented numerous securities industry clients, including Salomon Brothers in the investigation of US Treasury auction bidding practices, Kidder, Peabody in the Wall Street insider trading probe, Canary Capital Partners in the mutual fund market timing inquiries, and CIBC in the Enron investigation. He successfully defended Michael Eisner, the CEO of The Walt Disney Company, in the shareholders derivative lawsuit relating to the hiring and termination of Michael Ovitz. After a 37 day trial in the Delaware Chancery Court, Mr Eisner and the other Disney Directors prevailed on all counts. The Disney case was chosen as one of the top defense wins of 2005 by The National Law Journal. Mr. Naftalis won dismissal of all charges brought by then Attorney General Eliot Spitzer against Kenneth Langone, former Chair of the New York Stock Exchange Compensation Committee, relating to the compensation of NYSE Chairman Richard Grasso. Mr. Naftalis successfully represented the City of New York in the inquiry relating to the fire at the Deutsche Bank building. No charges were brought against the City, any of its agencies or its officials. He is counsel for significant figures and entities in the current inquiries and related civil litigation concerning corporate accounting irregularities including the recent successful representation of the Chairman and Founder of Global Crossing. He represented the CFOs of Affiliated Computer Services, Cendant and Bristol-Myers Squibb, the CEO of Refco, a director and senior officer of Tyco in securities class action and ERISA litigation, the former CEO of Arthur Andersen in the Enron civil litigation and the former CEO of WorldCom in securities class action litigation. He also represents United Rentals in various securities litigations and regulatory matters. He formerly served as an Assistant US Attorney in the Southern District of New York, holding the title of Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division. He also served as special counsel to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee investigating abuses in the nursing home industry. He has been a member of the faculty at Columbia and Harvard Law Schools. Mr. Naftalis recently successfully won summary judgment for Sirius XM Radio dismissing a breach of contract action by Howard Stern seeking $330 million in damages. The Court found that the “clear, unambiguous language” of the contract defeated Stern’s claim. Mr. Naftalis currently represents Rajat Gupta, former managing director worldwide of McKinsey, against charges relating to the Galleon Group. Mr. Naftalis also currently represents the former president and chief operating office of MF Global in government inquiries and related civil litigation.
He is the author or co-author of numerous books and articles including the leading work on the grand jury system: The Grand Jury: An Institution on Trial (with Judge Marvin E Frankel) and Sentencing: Helping Judges Do Their Jobs (also with Judge Frankel).
Received his AB degree from Rutgers University, his MA from Brown University, and his LLB from Columbia Law School. He was awarded the Benemerenti Medal by Pope Benedict XVI, the Robert M Morgenthau Award for the Legal Profession by the Police Athletic League, the George A Katz Torch of Learning Award by The American Friends of the Hebrew University, the Law & Society Award by the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, the Robert F Wagner, Jr Award by the Citizens Union of the City of New York, and the Norman S. Ostrow Award by the New York Council of Defense Lawyers.