Paul Spagnoletti
  1. Partner

As a partner in Davis Polk’s Litigation Department and co-head of Davis Polk's Civil Litigation Group, Mr. Spagnoletti regularly represents clients in complex civil and criminal litigation matters across the country and around the world. His clients include not only Wall Street banks and Fortune 500 companies, but also other competitor law firms, which frequently call upon him to represent them in connection with “bet the firm” malpractice and breach of duty claims. Mr. Spagnoletti recently won judgments on behalf of two international law firms facing malpractice, breach of duty and fraud claims in New York and California courts.

Mr. Spagnoletti has substantial experience in securities, civil RICO, real estate, breach of duty, negligence and FCPA matters, and he regularly advises clients in connection with post-closing contract disputes arising from merger and asset sale agreements. He also has extensive experience serving as counsel to independent audit and special committees in the context of internal corporate investigations and advising clients in connection with investigations by the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

Work Highlights

  • Lead counsel to a major pharmaceutical company in connection with litigation in Delaware regarding earn-out provisions in an M&A deal
  • Lead counsel to a major Wall Street bank in a dispute over post-closing indemnification obligations relating to the sale of a loan portfolio
  • Lead counsel to a multinational industrial client in connection with multi-billion dollar civil RICO and Robinson-Patman Act claims involving allegations of bribery and anti-competitive conduct
  • Led an international internal investigation of a large European bank in connection with allegations of money-laundering, bribery and drug-trafficking; settled threatened parallel civil RICO litigation regarding same allegations
  • Lead counsel to JPMorgan Chase in federal antitrust actions in Louisiana relating to allegations of price-fixing through the use of complex derivatives in the gold industry; settled favorably on the eve of the trial
  • Lead counsel to a large European broker and investment adviser in connection with an SEC investigation into alleged violations of the U.S. broker-dealer registration requirements under the ’34 Act
  • Lead counsel to Deloitte in connection with U.S. and Canadian securities-related matters concerning alleged misconduct by former executives of Canadian telecommunications giant, Nortel Networks Corporation
  • Lead counsel to multinational industrial client in connection with SEC whistleblower allegations relating to bribery and accounting irregularities in China; resolved matter without any charges brought against client
  • Represented Siemens in the largest FCPA investigation in U.S. history, which resulted in a landmark settlement of civil and criminal corruption-related charges with the DOJ and SEC; also advised on the company’s global defense to investigations in multiple jurisdictions and a settlement with the World Bank
  • Represented large European bank in connection with SEC investigation into alleged securities law violations relating to trading in mortgage-backed securities; resolved matter without any charges brought against client
  • Won a dismissal with prejudice in favor of Ingram Micro in connection with a suit brought by a Refco trustee (of a litigation trust established in the Refco bankruptcy) claiming that Ingram aided and abetted in Refco's fraudulent conduct through its participation in "round-trip loans"
  • Lead counsel to a large multinational corporation in connection with internal investigation in Brazil involving allegations of bribery, fraud and anti-competitive conduct
  • Represented the audit committee of a large European telecommunications company in connection with cross-border internal investigation into bribery and fraud
  • Won summary judgment and an award of attorneys’ fees in connection with a breach of duty lawsuit filed by the heirs of the IBM fortune in New York State Supreme Court against JPMorgan Chase Bank
  • Advised a global professional services firm in connection with $850 million settlement relating to New York State Attorney General Spitzer’s investigation into bid-rigging and price-fixing in the insurance brokerage industry
  • Represented Silicon valley software maker Mercury Interactive Corp. in connection with one of the first options backdating cases brought by the SEC


Mr. Spagnoletti has been recognized for his work by leading legal publications, including:

  • Chambers USA
  • Legal 500 U.S.
  • Benchmark Litigation 
  • Law360 

Professional History

  • Partner, 2006-present
  • Associate, 1998-2000; 2001-2006
  • Law Clerk, Hon. Michael B. Mukasey, U.S. District Court, S.D. New York, 2000-2001

Bar Admissions

  • State of New York
  • State of California
  • State of New Jersey
  • 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, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, E.D. New York
  • U.S. District Court, S.D. New York


  • B.A., Cornell University, 1995
    • Phi Beta Kappa
  • J.D., Harvard Law School, 1998
    • cum laude