Securities litigation overview, by Cleary Gottlieb

Cleary Gottlieb gives a snapshot of life as a securities litigator

Our team of litigators in this area has had a significant impact in obtaining precedential rulings that shape securities law in the nation’s preeminent courts. Our work is challenging and often presents new factual scenarios which push each of us to work through complex issues. The opportunity to develop creative and novel legal strategies for our clients, with whom we have deep and long-standing relationships, makes each week that much more interesting and meaningful.

What type of work you can expect to do in this practice?

A week can vary widely. It can include a deposition or representing clients in investigatory interviews, drafting briefs, preparing and presenting arguments in court, or meeting with clients to discuss strategic direction. I am fortunate to work at a firm that is comprised of so many intelligent and creative lawyers. I work with many of our associates on a daily basis and I enjoy educating and mentoring them.

What preparations can you make to succeed in this practice?

Read the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Law Journal, and newsletters describing cases and other legal developments. There is no better training and preparation than being knowledgeable about both the law and the facts. Take advantage of opportunities to ask questions from other practitioners and to write.  Be courageous and confident in your views. And, as it relates to law school coursework, classes on civil procedure, evidence, and securities litigation would be beneficial. I would also encourage everyone to develop a practice of reading cases beginning to end in order to understand the stories they tell and the legal principles involved in the case.

Some recent securities litigation cases from Cleary’s standpoint.

  • We represented financial institutions – including Bank of America, BBVA, BNY Mellon, Caja Madrid, Citigroup, HSBC – that underwrote securities issued by Lehman Brothers in the 18 months prior to its collapse in the settlement of a class action arising out of the Lehman offerings; and in securing the dismissal or settlement of actions brought before the class settlement was achieved.
  • We represented global financial institutions, including HSBC, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, Citigroup and BNY Mellon, in defending matters arising from the Madoff fraud and the bankruptcy of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities. The case spanned the US, Italy, the UK, Ireland, Luxembourg and Bermuda.
  • We advised Atlantic Power Corporation: secured the dismissal of a putative class action in Massachusetts federal court, asserting securities fraud and unjust enrichment claims against the company and certain of its current and former officers and directors.
  • We represented Google: secured the dismissal of a shareholder class action filed in Illinois state court, arising out of Google’s 2011 acquisition of Motorola Mobility; our firm also represented Google in the underlying transaction.
  • We acted for The Dow Chemical Company: won the dismissal of a federal proxy case brought against the company’s directors and principal officers in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.
  • We represented ING: obtained the dismissal of Securities Act claims against the company, its directors and several affiliates based upon ING’s issuance of billions in hybrid securities in 2007 and 2008.

About the Author

Liman ClearyLewis Liman’s practice focuses on commercial and securities class action litigation, government enforcement, and appeals. He has been retained to represent leading financial institutions and Fortune 100 companies in securities litigation, and companies and senior executives in governmental enforcement actions. Mr. Liman joined Cleary in 2003 as a partner. Prior to joining Cleary, he worked for over five years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, during which time he was appointed Deputy Chief Appellate Attorney. He has also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Pierre N. Leval of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and to Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School, an M.Sc. in Economics, with distinction, from the London School of Economics, and an undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard.