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Charles S. Duggan


Highly regarded civil litigator focusing on securities matters, board representations and tax controversies. Also serves as Davis Polk’s general counsel.

Charles represents a broad range of clients in complex civil matters, with a focus on securities litigation, board of director representations and tax controversies. He has a varied appellate practice that includes arguing cases in the federal circuit courts of appeal and state appellate courts. He also serves as Davis Polk’s general counsel.

In his securities law practice, Charles represents issuers, underwriters, and individual officers and directors in securities fraud cases. Law360 twice named him a “Securities MVP of the Year.”

His board of director and committee representations have included matters involving accounting restatements, related-party transactions, insider trading, board oversight, executive and director compensation, and various aspects of the financial crisis.

Charles also represents clients in investigations by regulatory agencies.

Experience highlights

  • The special litigation committee of the independent directors of SCANA in connection with an investigation into matters relating to the construction of a nuclear facility
  • A special committee of the board of directors of a public social media company in connection with assessing a demand received from a shareholder regarding the company’s historical disclosures relating to users
  • The underwriters of the Facebook IPO in consolidated securities class actions, derivative litigation and other proceedings, including obtaining dismissal of disgorgement claims against the lead underwriters under Section 16(b) of the Securities Exchange Act
  • Morgan Stanley and certain of its officers and directors in securing complete victories in securities fraud actions, derivative lawsuits and ERISA cases in New York state and federal courts arising out of the client’s subprime-related trading losses
  • A major diversified multinational corporation as plaintiff asserting a federal tax refund claim in federal district court that resulted in a substantial recovery
  • The independent directors of a public investment company in an internal investigation into whistleblower allegations of improper accounting
  • A committee of independent directors of a major manufacturing company in an internal investigation of whistleblower allegations of related-party dealings
  • McGraw Hill Financial in obtaining the dismissal of multiple shareholder derivative suits brought in New York state court relating to ratings of residential mortgage-backed securities
  • The directors of a major financial institution in obtaining dismissals of numerous federal and state court derivative actions arising from the financial crisis and allegedly improper oversight of various corporate activities
  • The directors of a major financial institution in obtaining dismissal of securities fraud claims brought in New York federal court alleging inadequate disclosure of potential liabilities
  • Bank Leumi in obtaining the dismissal of derivative lawsuits in New York state court alleging breaches of fiduciary duties in connection with alleged failures to prevent customers’ evasion of U.S. taxes
  • The underwriters of the IPO of a global transportation company in obtaining dismissal of a putative securities class action in New York federal court
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Law360 – “Securities Litigation MVP of the Year,” 2013 and 2017

Chambers USA – Litigation: Securities

Benchmark Litigation – United States and New York, Star

Legal 500 U.S. – Securities Litigation: Defense


J.D., Harvard Law School
  • magna cum laude
  • Editor, Law Review
A.B., Harvard University
  • magna cum laude


Law Clerk, Hon. Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court of the United States, 1995-1996
Law Clerk, Hon. Laurence H. Silberman, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, 1994-1995

Professional history

  • Davis Polk, 1996-2004 and 2005-present
  • Special Assistant and Associate Counsel to the President of the United States, 2004-2005

Qualifications and admissions

  • State of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. District Court, Connecticut
  • U.S. District Court, E.D. New York
  • U.S. District Court, S.D. New York
  • U.S. Supreme Court
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