Law Firm Defense

Leaders

Kevin S. Rosen Los Angeles
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James P. Fogelman Century City
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Overview

​The Law Firm Defense Practice Group defends regional, U.S. and international law firms in both U.S. state and federal courts at the trial and appellate levels in complex, high-stakes and often high-profile cases.  Actions filed or threatened against a law firm usually include the potential for severe financial consequences, negative press coverage and reputational damage.   

The Law Firm Defense group has an impressive record of success in trials, appeals, and pretrial dismissals as well as extremely favorable settlements.  Our capabilities include:

  • Legal malpractice actions
  • Bankruptcy-related litigation
  • Class and representative actions
  • Disqualification motions
  • Malicious prosecution actions
  • Third-party claims and investigations
  • Claims analysis and early resolution

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher has successfully defended law firms, their partners and their insurers in such matters for the past 30 years, with aggregate claims in the tens of billions of dollars.  We are well-positioned to defend against the most serious and complex claims that a law firm may face in any jurisdiction.  Our record of success and our extensive resources allow us to handle all facets of these complex cases.

Gibson Dunn's Law Firm Defense group regularly represents law firms in connection with threatened claims and investigations.  Our goal is to resolve matters before legal action is filed.  Gibson Dunn's vast and successful experience defending firms, in combination with our focus on obtaining early resolution of threatened claims, permits us to provide capabilities and legal services that are unparalleled in the industry. 

Recognizing that law firm clients are sophisticated and knowledgeable, we involve them in every step of the representation.  We invite our clients to participate in devising strategies, and give them opportunities to reduce legal fees and costs in areas where they can provide litigation support.  Our team sends regular updates and budget information to facilitate ongoing case analysis and accurate loss reserve determination.  At any time, as a client, your firm can obtain a computerized "snapshot" of actual and estimated costs in the matter.  On-site, state-of-the-art computer technology and support also allow us to store, organize and retrieve millions of pieces of information in seconds in document-intensive disputes.   

Our cost efficiency and effective case management result from lean staffing with lawyers throughout our offices who are highly experienced in malpractice law and other legal issues relevant to law firm defense and claim prevention.  We typically use fewer lawyers than other firms to handle a case from beginning to end.  In the words of one legal observer, "The firm is traditionally outnumbered but never outlawyered."  Additionally, due to our broad experience, we have abundant internal work product available that allows us to provide the most efficient representation.

Experience and Recent Representations

  • Obtained award in favor of large Los Angeles law firm on claims for alleged fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and disgorgement following firm's representation of former client in False Claims Act litigation.  Also obtained award of more than $1 million in legal fees, costs and interest.
  • Obtained award in favor of U.S.-based, international law firm, in international arbitration involving alleged damages in excess of $600 million in connection with claims for alleged transactional malpractice during client's acquisition of pharmaceutical company, and alleged litigation malpractice during subsequent arbitration stemming from the acquisition.  Also obtained award of substantial attorneys' fees and costs, including fees/costs incurred in the underlying proceedings as well as in the international arbitration.
  • Obtained jury defense verdict in $170 million lawsuit filed against a Los Angeles law firm for alleged malpractice in connection with a celebrity skin care line and marketing campaign.
  • Obtained jury defense verdict in lawsuit filed against law firm for claims involving alleged failure to convert general partnership to limited partnership, which subjected plaintiff to unlimited exposure in connection with accident at construction site.
  • Obtained jury defense verdict in lawsuit filed against labor and employment lawyer arising out of union negotiations.
  • Obtained favorable defense verdict, and successfully sued plaintiff for bad faith, in multimillion-dollar lawsuit in Washington, D.C., involving the promotion of automobile tires.
  • Obtained jury verdict finding plaintiffs almost 90 percent responsible in $20 million lawsuit against Los Angeles firm for alleged malpractice related to estate planning, ERISA, tax and real estate issues.
  • Prevailed on motion for judgment based on stipulated facts before opening statements in multimillion-dollar real estate legal malpractice case.​
  • Obtained summary judgment for U.S.-based, international law firm in lawsuit filed in Washington, D.C., in which large accounting firm sought hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.
  • Obtained dismissal of lawsuit arising out of the alleged malpractice by U.S.-based, international law firm related to various U.S. securities laws.
  • Obtained dismissal of three separate lawsuits filed in Arkansas, Texas and Illinois against law firm by nonclients, alleging conspiracy in connection with plaintiffs' tax-related transactions.
  • Obtained dismissal on demurrer of lawsuit against large U.S. law firm alleging malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty in connection with representation of plaintiff in derivative shareholder's lawsuit in Delaware.
  • Obtained dismissal of $60 million putative class action complaint alleging that large Los Angeles-based law firm aided and abetted a breach of fiduciary duty by the principals of various real estate and securities investment LLCs tied to mortgage lending.
  • Obtained dismissal of $250 million lawsuit against large Seattle-based law firm and two individual lawyers for alleged malpractice in connection with their representation of the plaintiff in lawsuit against a prominent university regarding a series of technology license agreements.
  • Obtained summary judgment in $275 million lawsuit against Los Angeles-based, U.S. law firm for alleged malpractice in connection with development of a 5,500-student academy complex.  The case involved issues related to real property acquisition, compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act, large construction project contracting and financing, environmental mitigation and remediation, and environmental insurance.
  • Obtained dismissal of securities class action complaint against national law firm based in the U.S. Midwest seeking $78 million in damages arising out of municipal bond offerings across the United States for the construction of health care facilities, where defendant firm had served as bond counsel.
  • Obtained dismissal of derivative malpractice action against Chicago-based law firm related to multimillion-dollar merger of two hospital corporations.  We also established new law in California essentially precluding derivative claims for legal malpractice.
  • Obtained dismissal of multimillion-dollar lawsuit alleging malicious prosecution, Section 1983 violations and abuse of process on behalf of Los Angeles-based law firm pursuant to California's anti-SLAPP statute.​
  • Obtained reversal of $31 million malpractice and fraud judgment against law firm involving the Talent Agents Act, judgmental immunity and numerous other issues.
  • Obtained affirmance of judgment entered on stipulated facts at trial in malpractice action against law firm seeking a multimillion-dollar damage award.
  • Obtained affirmance of summary judgment in malpractice action against Los Angeles law firm seeking $200 million in damages.
  • Obtained affirmance of summary judgment in malpractice action against law firm based upon failed real estate joint venture.
  • Obtained affirmance of dismissal of securities class action against U.S. law firm seeking $78 million in damages.
  • Obtained affirmance of dismissal of RICO and fraud action against law firm seeking $200 million in damages.
  • Obtained affirmance of dismissal of malpractice action against Hawaii-based law firm based upon failed real estate transaction.
  • Obtained affirmance of dismissal of malpractice action against law firm seeking in excess of $1 million in damages.
  • Obtained affirmance of dismissal of trustee's securities and real estate fraud claims against law firm seeking $160 million in damages.
  • Obtained affirmance of dismissal of trustee's securities and real estate fraud claims against law firm seeking $120 million in damages.​