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Litigation 2010

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Firm
Ranking
Innovation
Originality
Rationale
Impact
Total
Description
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & GarrisonStandoutFighting actuarial malpractice in Alaska79824The lawyers acted almost as actuaries to obtain an out-of-court settlement of $500m. Doing all the work on a contingent-fee basis was testament to the firm's commitment to its client
Debevoise & PlimptonStandoutMain strategist for Siemens’s audit committee87823Advising the audit committee, the firm carried out the independent investigation into the European engineering group's business practices. Starting from a blank sheet, it helped Siemens negotiate smaller fines and ensured a win-win outcome
Weil, Gotshal & MangesStandoutDMX Music licensing litigation78722The first successful challenge to historic “double payment” penalties, which usually govern the licences to performance rights. Succeeding where others have failed, the firm has helped change the way music licensing operates
Paul HastingsStandoutDefending Eisai's patent to its $2bn Alzheimer drug against a challenge from Teva78722After convincing Eisai, the Japanese pharmaceutical group, to take an aggressive stance against the challenge from generic drug manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals, the firm devised a three-pronged strategy that was much more than a courtroom battle. It resulted in a hard-won preliminary injunction and eventual win in court
Davis Polk & WardwellStandoutDefending Siemens against an Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation77822Acting as Siemens' defence counsel, the firm represented the company in its negotiations with the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Lawyers secured the co-operation of the regulators with the company and the German prosecutor, and were able to announce a simultaneous settlement
Latham & WatkinsHighly commendedDefending railwaycompanies from being liable for the pollution of others77721The lawyers crafted a creative solution to their client’s environmental dispute that involved a return to first principles and 19th-century law. The resulting win in the US Supreme Court gave clarity to the law in terms of what constitutes reasonable apportionment
White & CaseHighly commendedStolt Nielsen Supreme Court victory57820Backed by a panoply of business groups, the firm appealed to the Supreme Court when its client, Norway’s Stolt Nielsen, faced the imposition of class arbitration. The ruling has massive ramifications for antitrust law, contract and securities disputes, and already affects 100 pending class-action arbitrations across the US
Simpson Thacher & BartlettHighly commendedObtaining victory for an Arizona real estate company after the collapse of the market68620By framing key issues of fiduciary duty as jury questions and drawing analogies with factually similar cases, the firm was able to circumvent the lack of clear appellate authority in Arizona. This enabled the lawyers to win $110m in damages for their client, Gray Development Group, in spite of the devastated property market
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & GarrisonHighly commendedEnabling Bank of America's SEC settlement to be approved77620When Judge Jed Rakoff of the southern district of New York overturned an initial settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the firm used a federal rule in a novel way to help prevent a trial and assist in getting the settlement approved
Latham & WatkinsHighly commendedAn epic battle over an artificial blood vessel77620Using sophisticated graphics and thorough preparation, the firm defended CR Bard, the inventor of the artificial blood vessel, and won $658m in damages from WL Gore & Associates, which tried to claim the patent in a battle spanning three decades
Davis Polk & WardwellHighly commendedDenial of class certification in $9bn structured investment vehicle case67720By proving that investor plaintiffs were sophisticated enough to make their own different assessments of investment opportunities, the lawyers successfully overturned a judge’s assumption that the ratings agencies were key to investment decisions
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & KatzCommendedUBS settlement66719Helped UBS, the Swiss bank, resolve a multi-year criminal and regulatory investigation by the US Department of Justice’s tax division and the SEC, focusing on the US cross-border business of UBS. Key to the resolution was achieving a balancing act to ensure all the parties’ interests, including those of the Swiss government, were satisfied
Sullivan & CromwellCommendedMicrosoft anti-trust cases67619The firm was adamant that the plaintiffs had assigned their right to bring the case against Microsoft, even after the court had already rejected this argument. Encouraging Microsoft to persevere, the tenacity of the litigators convinced a judge to change his mind and give summary judgment in favour of their client
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & KatzCommendedCitigroup settles with SEC57719To ensure that Citigroup was not overly penalised by the SEC for erroneous financial disclosures about its exposure to super senior risk, lawyers from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and from Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, together with the bank's in-house team, took a conciliatory approach with the regulators. The outcome, a $75m fine, was in stark contrast to Goldman Sachs’ $550m penalty
Paul HastingsCommendedRepresenting C-Bass in alleged $64bn securities fraud case66719When C-Bass, a sponsor of mortgage-based securities, was named as a defendant alongside Wall Street banks and ratings agencies, Paul Hastings obtained a precedent-setting ruling from Judge Jed Rakoff that the company could not be classified as an underwriter with the other defendants
Orrick, Herrington & SutcliffeCommendedTelenor versus Alfa Group66719After defending its Norwegian client’s interests in Russian and Ukrainian mobile telecommunications in a dispute with its Russian partner, the firm advised Telenor on setting aside six years of litigation and arbitration across multiple jurisdictions and creating a $23.8bn joint venture company to be located outside Russia
Ropes & GrayCommendedSupreme Court decision for the Mutual Funds industry66618Challenging the perceived wisdom in cases attacking the size of advisory fees charged by mutual funds, the firm convinced the court to determine an action in favour of its client without a full hearing. The case was the first of its kind to reach the Supreme Court, where the existing standard for evaluating fees was affirmed
Ropes & GrayCommendedFreddie Mac securities fraud class actions66618Reversing the trend for longer, more complicated claim documents, the firm successfully revitalised a 1930s rule that requires plaintiffs to file a plain and simple claim. A useful defence tool against a glut of sub-prime class-action suits
Morrison & FoersterCommendedRepresenting Novell against SCO in its long battle over the Unix operating system66618In successfully defending the rare allegation of slander of copyright, the firm established that the “first amendment threshold” also has to be surmounted in the corporate context. Getting the case moved to the US federal courts and producing killer evidence at trial were similarly key to winning the latest round of this open-source litigation
Morgan, Lewis & BockiusCommendedHecker versus John Deere66618Morgan Lewis defended John Deere, the tractor maker, from a claim of charging excessive fees for its pensions plan. To achieve this landmark ruling, the lawyers demonstrated masterful analysis of the unique issues and set the standard for defence cases in this new kind of class-action litigation
Latham & WatkinsCommendedHelping to set up one of the largest desalination plants in the US66618Breaking ground on the Carlsbad Ocean Water desalination plant in San Diego required an expert team of lawyers to jump over regulatory and litigation hurdles as well as help the sponsor, Poseidon Resources, meet its voluntary commitment to a carbon-neutral project
DLA PiperCommendedCrafting consensus in a "bet the company" case67518To assist its client, pet food manufacturer Menu Foods, to limit its reputational damage after initiating the largest product recall in the industry, the firm persuaded the other, less exposed defendants to the class-action suit to settle the claims early
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