Recently named one of the top half-dozen securities lawyers in the United States (Law360 Securities MVP), as well as named in the 2018 "Best Lawyers in America" for Criminal Defense: White Collar, Thad A. Davis is a partner in the New York and San Francisco offices, and a former Co-Chair of the firm’s National Securities Litigation Practice Group. The latter group regularly received accolades from peer publications and rating organizations during Thad’s tenure. One of the recipients of Daily Journal’s "Top Defense Verdicts of 2011," and named in American Lawyer’s "Big Suits" for trial results in 2014, Thad is a generalist trial lawyer with a national practice of trying bench and jury trials, as well as arbitrations, in complex business and regulatory litigation matters, particularly against the SEC, DOJ, and in private litigation of all types. His expertise includes class actions, securities, corporate governance and control disputes, merger and acquisition matters, anti-corruption, antitrust, unfair competition, trade secret, data privacy, cybersecurity, employment, False Claims Act, ERISA, and related regulatory litigations. Thad regularly represents public companies, leading venture capital and private equity firms, portfolio companies, hedge funds, directors and officers, and high net worth individuals in a variety of complex commercial disputes and government and internal investigations. His business and matters have been recognized and covered by leading national and international publications, and he speaks and publishes widely on issues of key importance to clients and colleagues. He is undefeated in jury trials, and has both secured and defeated eight- and nine-figure awards as trial counsel. Thad is also a member of the leading D&O insurer "panels" for added service to his covered clients.
Before joining Gibson Dunn as Co-Chair of Securities Litigation, Thad built out from scratch the litigation department of the San Francisco office of a leading international law firm and was an equity partner at the business trial firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges in Los Angeles, having been invited to join the firm in 2001.
In addition to his service for clients and in firm practice group leadership, Thad has served as an ABA Presidential nominee to the Task Force on AML Gatekeeper Regulations; a co-editor and co-author of the firm’s PLI Securities Litigation Treatise; co-chair of the ABA Subcommittee on Corporate Criminal Prosecutions, and a commenter on the ABA Criminal Justice Monitors Standards. He is a highly reviewed trial advocacy instructor at Stanford Law School, and has also taught at the Stanford Directors College. His pro bono interests and clients have included San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, San Francisco Legal Aid Society, Cal Lawyers for the Arts, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, and the Marin Humane Society.
Thad served as a law clerk for the Honorable Laurence H. Silberman of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Mr. Davis is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US).
- After a six-week jury trial, in a matter the government had described as "slam dunk" and "open and shut," secured acquittal on two securities fraud counts mid-trial, and argued and won motion for mistrial as to remaining securities, conspiracy, wire fraud and false statement counts, in arguably first-ever criminal securities fraud case tried to verdict in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia; personally cross-examined all but one of the government’s witnesses, including most crucially the purported "whistleblower" former Audit Committee Chair, and according to jury after trial made those witnesses the "[defense’s] best witnesses" (United States v. Jiang (Case No. 13-cr-152)(D.D.C. 2014))
- Won directed verdict at trial of matter involving leading Bay Area restaurant entity and entertainment management group, in the middle of presenting defense case against claims of various attempted business torts and contract breaches.
- After a three week jury trial in California state court, secured complete (and unanimous) defense jury verdict for leading Bay Area client, on contract, fiduciary duty, discrimination and punitive damages claims brought by former CEO of the client (Chase v. Seton et al.).
- Won complete victory at trial before the Delaware Chancellor as company counsel resisting production of books and records to a dissident director attempting to take control of client (Gunther v. 5i Sciences).
- First chaired multi-week trial regarding election of directors of and management authority over group of insurance companies; post-trial, won writ protecting the companies and preserving clients’ board and management positions, and also won merits appeal.
- In a matter involving dismissal of co-founder of Fortune 500 company, won verdict on all counts, and fees, costs, and interest, when hired shortly before trial and after reopening discovery.
- Won judgment on all counts, including interest and fees, as plaintiff counsel in contract action after three-month trial for Bay Area client.
- First-chaired three-week arbitration for claimant asserting fraud and related claims arising out of a stock compensation agreement in a public specialty retail company; secured eight-figure award in case where respondent claimed client owed zero (Sullivan v. Lumber Liquidators et al.).
- Won complete defense verdict after 10-day arbitration, representing several leading venture capital firms in securities fraud dispute related to venture investment and alleged loss of $282 million.
- Representing respondent investment firm, helped secure award of only $1.5 million, representing roughly one percent recovery by claimant in arbitration over alleged $125 million in investment losses.
- On eve of injunction hearing and after expedited discovery, including depositions of senior management, secured settlement valued at $95.5 million of notes at full par value plus accrued interest and legal fees for Tang Capital and class, in a lawsuit brought against Affymetrix. Cash to satisfy the notes had been wrongly pledged as collateral by Affymetrix in order to borrow $190 million to finance its proposed $330 million purchase of eBioscience Holding Co. Inc., a fact withheld from the note holders; transaction also represented a fundamental change to Affymetrix under the relevant indenture.
- Secured declination letter from SEC after four-year investigation of leading health system related to accounting, pension funding, disclosure, and auditor issues.
- Successfully concluded year-long investigation exonerating company, management and board in mortgage finance space regarding various shareholder actions.
- Secured denial of injunctive relief in most prominent merger-related litigations throughout California over the past several years.
- In the Countrywide Securities Litigation (New York Funds case), counsel for one of only two defendants dismissed at summary judgment phase before settlement of matter for high nine figures.
- Took over before trial, five years into case, and secured summary judgment – after prior denial of summary adjudication – in alleged monopolization case against major national health care system (Fox v. Good Samaritan et al.).
- Secured summary judgment for clients Bain Capital and Catterton in dispute over alleged oral rollup agreement in restaurant franchise industry (T-Bird v. OSI et al.).
- Secured eight-figure settlement for private equity client Apax Partners after being hired before trial related to investment in Home Organizers and related litigation.
- Secured injunction for leading service industry software maker against chief rival, alleging trademark infringement, unfair competition, and cybersquatting claims (Finance Express v. Nowcom).
- Successfully dismissed price fixing class action against leading foreign electronics manufacturer (In re LCD Litigation).
- For leading video technology company client, helped secure standstill agreement and time-out order in trade secret, unfair competition, and related dispute over departure of a key employee.
- Secured terminating sanctions against a plaintiff for pursuing a frivolous claim of employment discrimination against Nanosyn, Inc. in the California Superior Court for Sonoma County; won dismissal on anti-SLAPP grounds in follow-on action by disgruntled plaintiff.
- Secured dismissal of over 80 percent of claimed damages in wage and hour class action, based on extraterritoriality arguments under California and Federal law (Wright. v. ARCC).
- Secured no-action letter from FTC in alleged monopolization case in the health care industry after year-long investigation.
- Secured dismissal of consumer class action involving alleged spam texting of over one billion messages (In re Jingle Networks).
- Part of defense team for largest data privacy class actions in recent history, and regular counsel for clients in matters related to data privacy practices and suspected breaches.
- In investigation by DOJ and Manhattan District Attorney, related to payment processing and related OFAC issues, settled for $297 million by other parties, secured no penalty and no mention of client (senior company officer) in settlement.
- Secured settlement to keep Doyle Park Elementary School open following a lawsuit brought against the Santa Rosa School Board in response to the announcement that the school, which has a high Latino enrollment, was to be closed at the end of the 2012 school year in part to make way for a newly created French American Charter School.
- Thad Davis, Kyle A. Withers, "Damages in Trade Secrets Litigation," The Recorder, November 2011
- "Securities Law Roundtable," California Lawyer – Special Section, August 2011
- Thad Davis, Veronica Alegria, "Dodd-Frank Endangers Trade Secrets," The Recorder, August 2011
- Thad Davis, Jarrod Schaeffer, "The International Summer of Hacking: Legal Responses to a Global Pandemic," Bloomberg Law Reports, July 2011
- Thad Davis, Kyle A. Withers, ‘The Evolving Role of IPOs for Second-Generation Internet Companies," Daily Journal, March 2011
- "Chancery Court Rejects Books and Records Request," Elizabeth Bennett, Delaware Law Weekly, December 22, 2010 (Volume 13; Issue 51)
- "Ropes & Gray Wins Unusual Chancery Court Ruling Barring Controversial Board Member from Access to Corporate Documents," David Bario, American Lawyer Litigation Daily, November 29, 2010
- Thad Davis, Michael McGovern, Vanessa Pastora, "Bounty Hunting Under Dodd-Frank," The Recorder, November 2010
- Thad Davis, Rocky Tsai, "Dodd-Frank Aside, Breadth of Downturn and Personal Impact May Translate Into Juries, Courts that ‘Get It’," Securities Litigation Journal, Vol. 21, Issue 1, September 2010
- Thad Davis, Michelle Behrens, "Theoretical Impact and Practical Effect of ‘Morrison’," The Recorder, August 2010
- Thad Davis, Kevin Dowell, "Viewpoint: Legislation Necessary to Enact True Financial Reform," The Recorder, July 2010
- Thad Davis, Mary Kelly Persyn, Ashwini Jayaratnam, "Analysis of New SEC Measures to Foster Individual Cooperation:The Devil’s in the Details?" Securities Law360, October 2009
- "A Three-Year ‘Look Back’ at Backdating – Scandal, Recovery and Deterrence – What Backdating Can Teach Us About the Current Enforcement Climate," Bloomberg Law Reports – Risk & Compliance, September 2009
- Thad Davis, Rachel Kent, "Green Law: Strings Attached," Law Technology News, August 2009
- Thad Davis, Rachel Kent, "Greenbacks for Green Projects," The Recorder, July 2009
- "Demand Futility in a Down Economy
- Thad Davis, Sarah Zenewicz, "Healthy Competition," Daily Journal, June 2009
- Thad Davis, Michael Li-Ming Wong, "Cooperation or Capitulation?: Forecasting DOJ and SEC Enforcement Efforts in 2009," Bloomberg Law Reports, March 2009
- "Stock Options Practices: The Scope and ‘Timing’ of Liability," 12/1/06 Emp. Benefit Plan Rev., 5, 2006 WLNR 21155252
- "Stock Options Backdating: What Matters?" Business Litigation Report, October 2006
- "Document Retention Under Sarbanes-Oxley: Putting the New Law in Context," Daily Journal, July 2003
- "A New Model of Securities Law Enforcement," 32 Cumb. L. Rev. 69 (2001)
- "TXO Production Corp. v. Alliance Resources Corp.," 107 Harvard Law Review 185 (1993)
- "Traditional Mechanisms of Response to Domestic Violence," 106 Harvard Law Review 1505 (1993)
Selected Presentations & Speeches
- Panelist, "Governance, Compliance, Privacy And E-Data Management In The Global Legal Industry", GOAL Conference, San Francisco, November 17, 2014
- Speaker, "Contemporary Trends in Corporate Litigation," Pepperdine University School of Law, Fall 2013 Symposium
- Instructor, 19th Annual Stanford Director’s College 2013, Stanford Law School, June 25, 2013
- Speaker, "SEC Enforcement in China," (美国证券交易委员会在中国执法), CPE SEC Accounting and Reporting Conference, June 20, 2013 (Shanghai, China)
- Speaker, "The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: Enforcement in China," (美国海外反腐败法在中国的实施), CPE SEC Accounting and Reporting Conference, (Shanghai China) June 21, 2013
- Speaker, "The Future of Global Anticorruption Enforcement and What You Need to Know Now to Avoid Being Targeted," CLE Seminar, (San Francisco) March 13, 2012, (Silicon Valley) March 14, 2012
- Speaker, "Intellectual Property Master Class: Trends in Trade Secret Litigation: Keeping Secrets," Webinar, February 7, 2012
- Panelist, "The Lifecycle of a U.S. ‘Class Action’ Lawsuit: What Chinese Companies Need to Know" (美国集体诉讼过程解析：中国企业需要了解什么), Marsh & McLennan Companies, Beijing, China, November 1, 2011
- Speaker, "Regulatory Update," ACS Financial Accounting & Reporting Update Conference, Los Angeles, California, September 2011
- Panelist, "Keeping It Under Wraps: Trade Secrecy Overview, Updates, and In-House Tips," Santa Clara County Bar Association (SCCBA), Silicon Valley, July 27, 2011
- Panelist, "Securities Law Roundtable," California Lawyer, July 2011
- Panelist, "Managing Departing Employees and Other Risks When Preparing to Go Public," Licensing Executive Society (LES), Silicon Valley Gaming Conference, Panel on "Video Games: Meeting the IP and Competitive Challenges," June 15, 2011
- Panelist, "What Sponsors Should Know About the FCPA," Middle Market Private Equity Webinar Series, June 1, 2011
- Panelist, "The Power of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act," Taipei, Taiwan, TEEMA (台灣區電機電子工業同業公會) (Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association), April 13, 2011
- Presenter, "Exporting of Securities Regulation and Litigation: The Extraterritoriality of U.S. Securities Laws," Hsinchu, Taiwan, ASIP (台灣科學工業園區同業公會) (Association of Industries in Science Parks), April 14, 2011
- Speaker, "SEC Hot Buttons," SEC Conference – An Accounting & Reporting Update for Public Companies, Phoenix, Arizona, November 2010
- Presenter, "Anatomy of a Cram-Down Financing," Webinar, November 2010
- Panelist, "Securities Law Roundtable," California Lawyer, September 2010
- Panelist, "Ponzi Tsunami," Golden Gate University, San Francisco, California, August 2009