Mark A. Kirsch is a partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Mr. Kirsch is a trial lawyer whose practice focuses on complex securities, white collar, commercial and antitrust litigation. Mr. Kirsch served as Global Co-Chair of Gibson Dunn’s litigation practice from 2009-2014. Since then he has served as Co-Partner In Charge of the New York office.
Mr. Kirsch routinely is named one of the leading litigators in the United States. He is ranked Tier 1 for Securities Litigation nationwide and in New York by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and The Legal 500. The 2016 edition of Chambers USA states that Mr. Kirsch is "a very deep thinker who is always incredibly well prepared" and who "does a fantastic job when arguing cases." The 2015 edition of Chambers said Mr. Kirsch "is at the vanguard of the US securities litigation market and enjoys a stunning reputation." Chambers USA also states that Mr. Kirsch is "a force to be reckoned with," "a great strategist who’s detail-oriented and fantastic on his feet," "very good at strategy and very responsive to client needs" and "extremely pleasant to deal with." Mr. Kirsch is named as a leading commercial litigation attorney by The Best Lawyers in America©, and Benchmark Litigation’s Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys recognized him as a "Litigation Star." In 2016, Law360 named Mr. Kirsch as one of five Securities Litigation MVPs nationwide. In addition, he was named a "Life Sciences Star" by LMG Life Sciences 2017, and The Lawyer selected Mr. Kirsch as one of its "Global Hot 100 Attorneys," in 2006.
Most recently Mr. Kirsch:
- As the co-lead lawyer for Lynn Tilton, the "Diva of Distressed", defeated the SEC after a three-week trial in the SEC’s ALJ court, where the ALJ dismissed all fraud and negligence charges against Ms. Tilton.
- Obtained dismissal of a suit against the Diamond Resorts board challenging the result of a tender offer for purchase of the company by Apollo.
- Obtained a reversal of a denial of summary judgment from the New York Appellate Division, on behalf of Trust Company of the West, on grounds that the plaintiff hedge fund failed to establish loss causation in a case where TCW was the collateral manager for a large portfolio of mortgage-backed securities that failed to perform in the wake of the global financial crisis.
- Obtained dismissal from the bench after oral argument of a complaint against Merck challenging its tax disclosures. (Mr. Kirsch will argue the appeal in October 2017.)
On behalf of Corvex Management and The Related Companies, Mr. Kirsch was also the lead trial lawyer in a two-week arbitration (the result of which was publicly disclosed) that resulted in invalidating all the material anti-shareholder defenses of CommonWealth REIT, whose Trustees Corvex/Related ultimately removed in a consent solicitation. Many major media outlets described the outcome as a "major victory" for Corvex/Related.
Currently, Mr. Kirsch leads the defense of:
- As a lead lawyer defending Lynn Tilton in various civil actions challenging her stewardship of the multi-billion dollar Zohar CDO funds.
- UBS in class actions alleging that primary dealers of the New York Federal Reserve Bank price-fixed the auction market for U.S. Treasury securities.
- UBS in various LIBOR-related actions alleging price fixing.
- AmTrust in putative class actions and derivative suits following AmTrust’s restatement of earnings.
- Vale S.A. in class actions alleging fraud in connection with disclosures relating to the collapse of the Fundão dam in Brazil.
- Investcorp in a suit by a hedge fund seeking over $100 million on grounds of negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract.
- Macquarie in a suit alleging fraud and seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages in connection with the sale of a large infrastructure project.
- A leading global accounting firm in an SEC investigation of audit practices relating to a large public company.
- Susquehanna in a suit alleging fraud by a Susquehanna fund in the $115 million sale of Plimus to Great Hill, set for trial at the end of 2017.
- Public and private companies, including major financial institutions, in Department of Justice grand jury investigations, and SEC, State Attorney General and New York Department of Investigation investigations.
Previously, Mr. Kirsch led the defense of:
- On behalf of Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, UBS and BNY Mellon Capital Markets – after three years of litigation – Mr. Kirsch obtained the voluntary dismissal of a putative class action arising from BNYM’s foreign exchange business, alleging violation of the federal securities laws in connection with underwriting $2 billion of securities for BNYM.
- Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan, Deutsche Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland in a putative class action alleging violation of the federal securities laws in connection with underwriting $900 million of notes for MF Global Holdings.
- Moody’s: Resolved favorably for Moody’s the two most significant cases it had faced concerning ratings of structured investment vehicles. Mr. Kirsch was hired as trial counsel after the cases were already five years old and within six months of trial.
- Citigroup: Obtained summary judgment for Citigroup in connection with a securities fraud claim for $13.2 billion brought by Parmalat investors after Parmalat’s collapse.
- AllianceBernstein: Led the team that achieved five significant victories for AllianceBernstein in securities litigation arising out of the Enron collapse, including a seven-week state court jury trial in which Alliance defeated the Florida state pension fund’s attempt to recover $3.2 billion in losses the fund sustained in Enron and other stocks, and AllianceBernstein won its damages counterclaim and costs. The National Law Journal selected the trial victory as one of its "Top 10 Defense Verdicts of 2006."
- AllianceBernstein: In the Newby securities class action in Houston, in which Enron shareholders and bondholders sought over $1 billion in damages against AllianceBernstein, Mr. Kirsch obtained summary judgment for AllianceBernstein and costs against plaintiffs’ counsel, a victory written about twice by the Wall Street Journal in editorials, in which Mr. Kirsch was named specifically.
- Major corporations: In significant civil and criminal antitrust litigation, as well as major commercial litigation of various types.
Mr. Kirsch currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Center for Law and Economic Justice and of the American Friends of Hebrew University.
From 1991 to 1995, he served as Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York, focusing on complex financial crimes. In 1994, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno personally awarded Mr. Kirsch the Justice Department Director’s Award for Superior Achievement as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.
Mr. Kirsch was previously a partner with Clifford Chance, where he served as Global Chair of the Litigation Practice and as a member of the Global Management Committee.
Mr. Kirsch received his Juris Doctor from Yale University Law School, where he was Articles Editor of the Yale Law & Policy Review, and his Bachelor of Arts degree with distinction from Cornell University. He clerked for the Honorable John M. Walker, Jr. in New York.