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Randy M. Mastro is a New York litigation partner, who, for the past two decades, co-chaired Gibson Dunn’s Litigation Practice Group, which The American Lawyer named “Litigation Department of the Year” four out of its last seven competitions and a finalist seven times in a row – both unprecedented – and which the New York Law Journal honored as New York’s “Litigation Department of the Year”. Over that same period, he served on the Firm’s Management and Executive Committees, and oversaw the extraordinary growth of the Firm’s New York office to more than 430 attorneys today, making it the Firm’s largest office by far.
Mr. Mastro routinely ranks among the nation’s leading litigators and trial lawyers in surveys of corporate counsel and other practitioners. Mr. Mastro was recently named “Trial Lawyer of the Year” by both Chambers USA and Benchmark, a “Litigation Trailblazer” by The National Law Journal, and a “Trial Lawyer MVP” by Law360. The National Law Journal named him among the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America,” noting “his ease in the courtroom, delivery of arguments and command of the law have made Randy one of the most in-demand attorneys in the country by big-name clients.” The American Lawyer has named him “Litigator of the Week” five times and described him as among “the best known, most-respected litigators in the country.” City & State just honored him as one of the 20 “most influential” and “powerful leaders in New York’s legal community.” In Chambers USA, he is ranked among the nation’s top trial lawyers, described as “a world-renowned litigator” and “one of the premier litigators in the country,” who enjoys an “exceptional public reputation,” “just owns the courtroom,” is “in a class by himself,” “masters the facts of a case quicker than anyone I’ve ever met,” “can take on anyone,” “shows grace and style under pressure,” and is a “really fearsome advocate” and “real talent in the courtroom.” In The Legal 500—US Edition, he has been named to the “Hall of Fame” and featured among the “Leading Trial Lawyers” in the country, with corporate counsel saying he is “immensely impressive,” “simply excellent,” “flawless,” “captivating,” “in a league of his own,” and “deserves an Academy Award” for “bringing a sense of drama and theater to his courtroom appearances.” Benchmark ranks him a “Litigation Star” among the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America,” describing him as a “brilliant and effective litigator” who is “perennially revered,” with peers noting, “You do not want to meet Randy down a dark alley, but you REALLY don’t want to meet him in a lighted courtroom,” and “going against him” is “like wrestling an alligator.” It honored his achievements in “National Impact Cases” in 2015, 2017 and 2018. The New York Times has called him “the go-to lawyer for companies” suing the government, a “household name,” and a “fierce and combative litigator;” and The New Yorker has described him as a “merciless litigator,” “even by the pugilistic standards of the New York bar,” who “springs to life” and “is transfixing” in “the courtroom.”
Among many high-profile matters, Mr. Mastro won a two-month RICO trial barring the enforcement of a $9 billion Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron that The American Lawyer called “The Case of the Century.” Moreover, he won a month-long trial against the SEC, obtaining the dismissal of all charges against high-profile entrepreneur, Lynn Tilton, and thereby defeating the largest individual enforcement action the SEC ever brought before its in-house tribunal, where the SEC typically wins 90 percent of the time. Mr. Mastro also led the successful effort to defeat New York City’s controversial West Side Stadium project, and he represented the State of New Jersey in conducting a high-profile investigation into allegations concerning the “Bridgegate” controversy. He has tried dozens of cases in private practice and as a federal prosecutor, and he has also argued more than 100 appeals in federal and state appellate courts throughout the country. Indeed, over the past year, he won breakthrough Supreme Court victories in COVID-related cases, overturning New York’s fixed-capacity restrictions on “houses of worship” and the State’s eviction moratorium — both “firsts” in convincing the Supreme Court to void such COVID regulations.
Mr. Mastro has represented such diverse clients as AIG, Chevron, Amazon, Marsh McLennan, Vale, Madison Square Garden, Dow Jones, Verizon, Dart, DraftKings, Home Depot, Daimler, Wynn, JPMorgan, GE Capital, Estee Lauder, Medallion Financial, Quest Diagnostics, IAC, Bear Stearns, Bank of New York Mellon, Empire Merchants, Lynn Tilton, Peter Kalikow, Related, Vornado, LeFrak Organization, Durst Organization, Saks, UBS Financial Services, Octagon, Martina Hingis, Anna Kournikova, and Steffi Graf.
In addition, Mr. Mastro has litigated many high-profile public issues on a pro bono basis. On behalf of a diverse political coalition that included Bill de Blasio, Bill Thompson and Betsy Gotbaum, he challenged controversial legislation sponsored by Mayor Bloomberg in 2008 to overturn voter-ratified term limits, thereby permitting him a third term opportunity. After the 9/11 tragedy, he represented the families of fallen firefighter heroes in forcing the Uniform Firefighters Union Widows & Orphans Fund to turn over nearly $70 million that the Fund raised from generous Americans saying it was to help those families but then tried to keep for itself. In 2019, he convinced a federal court to declare unconstitutional Governor Cuomo’s attempt to require “good government” groups such as Citizens Union and the NYCLU to publicly disclose their donors. And now, he is getting justice for the peaceful protesters advocating for racial justice who were assaulted by federal authorities clearing Lafayette Park across from the White House in June 2020 so President Trump could do a photo op in front of a nearby church.
Before returning to Gibson Dunn in 1998, Mr. Mastro served as Mayor Giuliani’s Chief of Staff and then as New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Operations. In that capacity, he was responsible for overseeing all of the City’s operating agencies and budget, and served as the Mayor’s chief liaison with elected officials. In the Mayor’s absence, he was authorized to act on the Mayor’s behalf. While in City Hall from 1994 to 1998, Mr. Mastro oversaw many City initiatives, including the removal of organized crime from the Fulton Fish Market, private carting industry, and San Gennaro Festival. He also chaired the City’s Trade Waste Commission (now known as the Business Integrity Commission) and engineered the successful turnaround of the City’s OTB operation. For two consecutive years, NY1-TV named Mr. Mastro one of City government’s “Winners of the Year,” and Manhattan File magazine featured him among the “45 Most Powerful New Yorkers 45 and Under.”
As Mayor Giuliani’s top deputy during the 1990s, Randy played an integral role in the City’s remarkable turnaround. He personally spearheaded the City’s crackdown on organized crime, subjecting himself to death threats in the process. In the private carting industry, this resulted in one of the largest tax cuts in City history – the elimination of the “Mob Tax” on carting, which cost City businesses $600 million a year. In a precursor to same-sex marriage, he shepherded through sweeping domestic partnership protections that The New York Times called “historic.” His departure from City Hall prompted accolades from the press. “When Giuliani wanted to do the impossible . . . it was Randy who led the charge,” declared a Daily News editorial. “His contributions to the city he served so well will last a lifetime.” The New York Post praised Randy’s “tireless and dynamic” service, “energy and enthusiasm,” and “general good sense.” And The New York Times quoted a colleague describing him as “the administration’s conscience.”
In the early 1990s, Mr. Mastro was a Gibson Dunn litigation partner. In 1990, he served as Associate Counsel on the Independent Counsel investigation of HUD Secretary Samuel Pierce. In 1991, he was appointed Special Master and Monitor of the assets of a Saudi tycoon implicated in the BCCI scandal.
From 1985 to 1989, Mr. Mastro served as Assistant United States Attorney and Deputy Chief of the Civil Division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where he specialized in organized crime cases and spearheaded the federal government’s landmark racketeering suit that put the International Brotherhood of Teamsters into court supervision. Seven Days magazine named him one of “the 25 prosecutors and defenders other lawyers most admire, fear and talk about.” From 1982 to 1985, Mr. Mastro was a litigation associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, where he was part of the successful libel defense trial team in Westmoreland v. CBS. Before that, upon graduating cum laude from Yale College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was the school’s moot court champion, Mr. Mastro clerked for Justice Alan B. Handler of the New Jersey Supreme Court.
During his tenure as a federal prosecutor, Mr. Mastro received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award, John Marshall Award for Outstanding Legal Achievement, and Director’s Award for Superior Performance, among others.. Since then, he has been honored many times, receiving, for example, the Simon Rifkind Award from the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Civic Leadership Award from Citizens Union of NYC, and the Lumbard Bowl, awarded annually by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (in consultation with predecessor U.S. Attorneys) to distinguished alumni of that office.
Mr. Mastro has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he taught a course on “The Role of the General Counsel.” He also taught complex civil litigation and legal writing courses at Fordham Law School. He has authored articles in the Federal Communications Law Journal, Fordham Law Review, University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, and Seton Hall Law Review. His op-ed pieces have appeared in The New York Times, Daily News, and New York Post, and he wrote for the Washington Post and Time. He co-authored chapters on “White Collar Crime” in Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts, and on “Energy” in Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts.
Mr. Mastro has been a member of the bars of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and many federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He chaired two New York City Charter Revision Commissions. In addition, Mr. Mastro serves as Chair of Citizens Union of the City of New York, Chair of the Hamptons International Film Festival, and on the Boards of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Garden of Dreams Foundation. He also served as Vice Chair of the Legal Aid Society of New York City, and on the Boards of the City University of New York, the YMCA of Greater New York, Sanctuary for Families, and Hale House (at the request of the New York Attorney General), among others.
Please find Mr. Mastro’s full biography, including a list of representative matters he has handled, here.
University of Pennsylvania - 1981 Juris Doctor
Yale University - 1978 Bachelor of Arts
New Jersey Bar
New York Bar