The American Lawyer has honored Davis Polk partner James Rouhandeh as a “Litigator of the Year.” Rouhandeh, head of the firm’s Litigation Department, was recognized for his precedent-setting appellate victories in the Second and Fifth Circuit Courts of Appeal.
He argued for and obtained a landmark ruling from the Fifth Circuit holding a law firm client immune from a multibillion-dollar class action brought by thousands of investors in what turned out to be a massive Ponzi scheme run by R. Allen Stanford. The Fifth Circuit held—for the first time—that the Texas attorney immunity doctrine is a true immunity from suit and not merely an affirmative defense. The decision ended seven years of litigation in federal district court, the Fifth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Rouhandeh also secured a key appellate win for the securities industry when he successfully argued in the Second Circuit on behalf of the lead underwriters of the Facebook IPO. Plaintiffs sought to recover over $100 million in alleged short-swing profits from the underwriters. After the Second Circuit invited the SEC to submit an amicus brief as to the critical legal issues in the case, both sides advocated their legal positions to the SEC, which ultimately supported the position of the lead underwriters. The Second Circuit held that requiring disgorgement would impair the process for public securities offerings and discourage IPOs.
“Litigator of the Year: James Rouhandeh of Davis Polk & Wardwell,” The American Lawyer (January 2018)