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James P. Rouhandeh


James P. Rouhandeh

Civil Litigation
New York

Head of Litigation Department and Management Committee member. Named an American Lawyer “Litigator of the Year.”

Jim is the head of Davis Polk’s Litigation Department. He was recognized as a “Litigator of the Year” by The American Lawyer in 2018 and is ranked as a Band 1 litigator by Chambers USA, with clients describing him as a “world-class trial lawyer” who “has the gravitas for the serious legal work and the client skills to engage at C-suite level.” Jim is also listed in the Legal 500 U.S. “Hall of Fame” and described as “the lynchpin of the firm’s litigation practice” and “absolutely superb.”

Jim has handled many of the largest investigations in U.S. history – from the tobacco industry and Enron-era prosecutions through investigations of the pharma industry to the 2007 financial crisis and antitrust investigations in the technology space, achieving declinations in many major matters. A highly regarded appellate lawyer, Jim has argued a broad range of appeals having had no prior involvement in the matter, with numerous victories in federal and state court.

Experience highlights

Civil Litigation
  • Leading energy company in securities litigation following deferred prosecution
  • Multinational software provider in securities litigation following short seller report
  • Tech company in antitrust investigations/litigation
  • Energy company in contractual dispute relating environmental liability
  • Largest worldwide cryptocurrency exchange in securities litigation
  • Walmart in litigation against Tesla asserting breach of contract
  • Dismissal of RICO class claims against Novo Nordisk
  • Novo Nordisk in securities litigation relating to long-term financial targets
  • Dismissal of RICO class claims against Walmart
  • Dismissal of securities class action against BT Group relating to accounting issues at Italian sub
  • Dismissals of Facebook IPO underwriters in securities class action asserting Section 16(b) and 20A claims
  • Dismissals of claims against major New York law firm relating to Stanford Ponzi scheme
  • Lead counsel to Morgan Stanley in 50+ lawsuits arising from the financial crisis, eliminating $10+ billion in potential damages
  • Denial of class certification of claims brought by SIV investors against Morgan Stanley
  • Numerous successes for Pfizer in class actions around the country, including multiple denials of class certification and dismissals of consumer fraud claims
  • Landmark resolution of shareholder derivative action against senior management of Pfizer following resolution of federal grand jury investigation
White Collar Defense & Investigations

Federal and state criminal/regulatory investigations including:

  • Tech company in FTC antitrust investigation
  • Morgan Stanley and another bank in DOJ and state AG investigations relating to subprime RMBS
  • Broker-dealer in internal investigation relating to potential insider trading
  • Major pharmaceutical company in multiple federal grand jury investigations
  • National law firm in federal investigation relating to tax opinions
  • WorldCom executive in federal investigation of alleged accounting fraud
  • Individual in federal criminal antitrust trial
  • Over 30 partners of a major accounting firm in SEC investigation
  • Tobacco company in DOJ’s investigation of the industry
Appellate Litigation
  • Recent victories in the Second, Fourth, and Fifth Circuits, and the New York Court of Appeals on behalf of Morgan Stanley, General Dynamics, a major New York law firm and an international real estate company.
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American Lawyer – “Litigator of the Year,” 2018

Chambers USA – Securities: Litigation, New York, Band 1

Legal 500 U.S. – Financial Services Litigation, Hall of Fame

Benchmark Litigation – Local Litigation Star and National Practice Area Star, New York

American Lawyer – “Litigator of the Week,” 2016

National Law Journal – “Litigation Trailblazer,” 2016

Law360 – “Securities Litigation MVP of the Year,” 2011, 2014, 2016

J.D., Harvard Law School
  • Editor, Harvard Law Review
B.A., Southern Illinois University
Professional history
  • Partner, 1996-present
  • Associate, 1988-1996
Qualifications and admissions
  • State of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Colorado
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court, E.D. New York
  • U.S. District Court, N.D. Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, S.D. New York
  • U.S. District Court, W.D. Michigan
  • U.S. Supreme Court
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