Securities Litigation

Regularly ranked among the very best securities litigation firms, our securities litigators represent a wide range of clients in high-profile, complex matters, including securities litigation in federal and state court and non-public securities enforcement and internal compliance matters. Our clients, including industry-leading financial institutions, auditors and issuers, time and again look to Davis Polk to handle their most important matters – so-called “bet the company” litigations and investigations.

Not surprisingly, Davis Polk has consistently represented clients in the most well-known investigations and litigations of the day, including those arising from the mortgage meltdown and financial crisis of 2007-08, the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, the massive ongoing Adelphia litigation, and the Stanford Financial investigations and litigations. We were also at the forefront of matters relating to options backdating, mutual fund market timing, Parmalat, Royal Ahold, Enron, Global Crossing, research analyst conflicts of interest, IPO practices and many, many others.


  • The American Lawyer – “Securities Litigation Department of the Year: Finalist,” 2014
  • Chambers USA:
    • Band 1 for Securities Litigation: Davis Polk is “[a] highly respected operator in the securities space, demonstrating considerable strength in litigation, regulatory advice and enforcement defense. Expansive client roster of major financial institutions and multinational organizations.” 
    • Davis Polk is “…really smart, they have the subject matter expertise. They stand out in that there are many different levels of seniority and they all have wonderful judgment.’ 
  • Legal 500 U.S. – 1st tier among law firms in Shareholder Litigation: Davis Polk is seen as a “…‘safe pair of hands’ by clients engaged in bet-the-company securities litigation.” 
  • Law360 – “Securities Group of the Year,” 2013
  • Benchmark Litigation – 1st tier in Securities, 2008-2015

Notable Matters

  • We represent underwriters of the May 2012 Facebook IPO against securities claims brought by Facebook shareholders in more than thirty putative class actions.

  • We successfully represented the board of directors of a major financial institution in derivative litigation in connection with an alleged conspiracy to manipulate and suppress LIBOR interest rates before and during the financial crisis .

  • In representing Pfizer executives named in several lawsuits alleging that Pfizer's directors and officers had consciously disregarded signs of misconduct, we were instrumental in reaching what is widely considered to be a landmark resolution, the centerpiece of which is the creation of a new committee of the company’s board of directors. 

  • We served as lead trial counsel on behalf of a major financial institution in the multibillion-dollar litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York related to Adelphia Communications, playing a lead role in a defense group composed of more than 20 of the world’s largest commercial and investment banks and securing a favorable settlement for our client. 

  • We represented PricewaterhouseCoopers US in all civil litigations and investigations relating to Bernard Madoff, including in a multidistrict litigation in the Southern District of Florida related to the Optimal Funds that was dismissed in its entirety; securities litigation and investigations arising out of alleged accounting fraud at Dell, including a consolidated securities action in which plaintiffs alleged a $40 billion market drop that we succeeded in having dismissed with prejudice at the pleading stage; multidistrict litigation proceedings and investigations arising out of alleged fraud by Tyco’s former management; and multidistrict litigation and investigations arising out of the Satyam scandal, which is one of the biggest corporate fraud scandals ever in India.

  • We won a significant victory on behalf of Citibank in connection with ongoing efforts by various plaintiffs (largely vulture funds) to collect on judgments against the Republic of Argentina resulting from the Republic’s bond default in 2001, successfully vacating an attempt to attach Citibank client funds.

  • We defended Palm and its directors against 13 separate lawsuits claiming that the defendants breached their fiduciary duties to Palm’s shareholders by agreeing to allow Palm to be acquired by Hewlett-Packard, obtaining a stay of 12 actions and settling the 13th on favorable terms.

  • We secured the dismissal of a multibillion-dollar securities class action case against Aetna and four of the company’s current and former directors and officers. The dismissal, affirmed on appeal by the Third Circuit, creates important law regarding the appropriate analysis for determining whether company statements should be viewed as forward-looking and accordingly subject to safe-harbor rules.