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Frances E. Bivens
Partner

Ms. Bivens is a member of Davis Polk’s Litigation Department and has experience in a broad range of high profile commercial litigation matters in federal and state courts and arbitrations around the country. She also regularly handles both state and federal regulatory matters for clients in a variety of industries.

Work Highlights

Commercial Litigation
Ms. Bivens regularly acts as lead counsel in commercial litigation matters. Some of her representations include:
  • The U.S. Department of the Treasury in litigation brought by Starr International challenging the government rescue of AIG. Ms. Bivens was lead counsel for Treasury in the derivative demand process before the AIG board of directors.
  • Con Edison in government investigations and civil litigation arising out of Hurricane Sandy and the East Harlem gas explosion
  • First Wind in civil litigation and arbitration proceedings related to a dispute with Clipper Windpower
  • Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Inc. (the manufacturer of the Deepwater Horizon) in MDL class action litigation related to the Gulf Oil Spill in the Eastern District of Louisiana
  • Con Edison in a mass action pending in New York Supreme Court related to a steam rupture in midtown Manhattan in the summer of 2007
  • Baidu, Inc. in a copyright infringement action related to MP3 downloading
  • Ernst & Young in a trial in Boston federal court arising out of the failure of the Bank of New England
Investigations
Ms. Bivens also handles internal investigations as well as regulatory investigations for a number of major clients. Some examples include:
  • Successfully representing Morgan Stanley in connection with investigations by the DOJ and SEC into FCPA violations relating to Morgan Stanley's real estate investing operations in mainland China, resulting in FCPA charges against a former Morgan Stanley employee for intentionally circumventing Morgan Stanley's anti-corruption controls; the decision not to charge Morgan Stanley was the first-ever publicly announced decision not to prosecute a company in an FCPA case based on the quality of its anticorruption program and its cooperation in the investigation
  • The audit committee of a large company in a SOX whistleblower investigation
  • A major financial institution in a FINRA investigation related to an institutional stock buy-back program, which resulted in no charges against the company

Recognition

  • “Excellent litigator and strategist,” Ms. Bivens is ranked for General Commercial Litigation in New York by Chambers USA
    • Clients are quick to praise her: “She's really excellent at representing our interests, and considering things from a litigation perspective and also from our standpoint.” 
  • Recognized as one of the “Top 250 Women in Litigation” by Legal Media Group’s Benchmark Litigation
  • Named in 2011 to American Lawyer’s “45 Under 45” List of Top Women Lawyers
  • Identified as both a National and New York “Star” in Legal Media Group’s Benchmark Litigation
  • Named one of the Best Lawyers in America for Product Liability Litigation 
  • Recognized in Practical Law Company’s Which lawyer? for Dispute Resolution

Of Note

Memberships
  • Trustee, Federal Bar Council
  • Board of Directors, The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights
Past Memberships
  • Sub-committee Chair, Professional Liability Committee of the ABA
  • Board of Visitors, Columbia Law School
  • President, Columbia Law School Alumni Association
  • Board of Directors and Fund Raising Chair, Advocates for Children

Professional History

  • Partner, 2001-present
  • Associate, Davis Polk, 1995-2001
  • Associate, Morrison & Foerster (New York), 1992-1993
  • Law Clerk, Hon. James L. Oakes, U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 1994-1995
  • Law Clerk, Hon. Jack B. Weinstein, U.S. District Court, E.D. New York, 1993-1994

Articles and Books

  • Product Liability and Associated Litigation
    A Corporate Journey to the West or How to Make a Successful Acquisition in the USA | Asian-Mena Counsel, 2013

Alerts and Newsletters

Contact

  • 450 Lexington Avenue
    New York, NY 10017
    P: 212-450-4935
    F: 212-701-5935

Bar Admissions

  • State of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, S.D. New York

Education

  • Sc.B., Electrical Engineering, Brown University, 1988
  • J.D., Columbia Law School, 1992
    • Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar