Lawrence Portnoy
  1. Partner

Mr. Portnoy, a partner in Davis Polk’s Litigation Department, is a nationally recognized securities, M&A and general commercial litigator. Major financial institutions and companies regularly call on him to handle securities, commercial and derivative litigations in federal and state courts throughout the country, and arbitrations. Clients know that they can rely on his judgment, preparedness and extensive courtroom experience.
Mr. Portnoy has represented a wide range of high-profile clients in their largest and most significant matters before, during and after trial. Clients also turn to Mr. Portnoy to guide them through SEC and CFTC enforcement matters, grand jury investigations, internal investigations and in connection with inquiries from various bank regulators, including the Federal Reserve Banks of New York, San Francisco, and Chicago. Mr. Portnoy has also represented clients in AAA, FINRA, NASD and NYSE arbitrations.

Work Highlights

Recent Representations
  • Investment banks and other financial institutions as well as industrial and manufacturing companies in class action litigations in federal district courts in New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Texas, California, Puerto Rico, Florida and the District of Columbia

  • Clients in state court matters in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, California, Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina and Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement matters, grand jury investigations, internal investigations

  • Representations have included acting for CVS Caremark, BNY Mellon, JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse in securities class action litigation and representing various financial institutions in SEC investigations
  • Other clients have included Morgan Stanley, Comcast, Roche, Deloitte & Touche, ExxonMobil and Banco Santander


Mr. Portnoy is consistently recognized as an authority in securities litigation matters in several leading industry publications, including:

  • Chambers USA
    • “Lawrence Portnoy is held in high esteem as a ‘go-to guy for securities-related litigation,’ and is praised as an ‘incredibly bright and effective lawyer.’”
    • He is “a terrific lawyer and great professional,” who is “focused, hardworking, and pays attention to clients’ needs.”
    • Sources appreciate that he “keeps an eye on what you need to worry about.”
    • He is a “powerful presence in securities litigation: ‘When he speaks, people really listen. He brings an interesting perspective to problems.’”
    • He “impresses market sources with his ‘even-handed, low-key and deliberate approach.’”
    • Clients described Mr. Portnoy as “the future of the practice” who is always “thoughtful and constructive.”
    • Clients depicted him as a “talented and hardworking” securities lawyer “with a great touch.”
  • The Legal 500 U.S.
    • He has “extensive courtroom experience and represents a wide range of high-profile clients.”
  • Benchmark Litigation – “Star”: National and New York
  • Law360 – “Securities Litigation MVP of the Year”, 2012
  • The American Lawyer – “Litigator of the Week,” 2012
  • The Best Lawyers in America

Of Note

  • Member, Committee on Securities Litigation, New York State Bar Association
  • Member, Committee on Class Actions & Derivative Suits, American Bar Association
  • Member, Committee on Pre-Trial Practice & Discovery, American Bar Association

Professional History

  • Partner, 1996-present
  • Associate, 1989-1996
  • Law Clerk, Hon. Ronald S.W. Lew, U.S. District Court, C.D. California, 1988-1989

Bar Admissions

  • State of New York
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Connecticut
  • U.S. District Court, E.D. Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, E.D. New York
  • U.S. District Court, S.D. New York


  • B.A., University of Michigan, 1985
    • with highest honors
  • J.D., Harvard Law School, 1988