Skip to main content

Pretrial Practice 2016

Author(s): David G. Keyko, Bruce A. Ericson, Vaughn R. Walker
Practice Area: Litigation
Published: Jun 2016
ISBN: 9781402426773
PLI Item #: 149938
CHB Spine #: H1019

Securities litigation, M&A and corporate governance disputes:

Bruce Ericson
is co-leader of Pillsbury's Securities Litigation & Enforcement Team and the managing partner of its San Francisco office. Over the last 17 years, his batting average in obtaining dismissals of securities class actions exceeds .785 and he is undefeated in defending such dismissals on appeal. Mr. Ericson represents public companies, their boards and their senior management in securities and corporate governance disputes of all kinds, in SEC investigations and SEC litigation, and in internal investigations, including situations involving disputes among senior management and significant questioning by outside auditors.

Banking investigations and litigation:

Mr. Ericson represented federal bank regulatory agencies in the investigation of Charles Keating, American Continental Corporation and Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, and in an action against the former officers, directors and shareholders of Southwest S&LA, including Governor J. Fife Symington, III of Arizona. The Southwest litigation resulted in an eight-figure settlement. Mr. Ericson also represented a federal bank regulatory agency in a mediation against a Big 4 accounting firm (obtaining a seven-figure settlement) and in other investigations of directors, officers, lawyers and accountants.

Mr. Ericson investigated directors, officers, shareholders, lawyers and others associated with Madison Guaranty S&LA of Arkansas. Mr. Ericson had principal responsibility for the Whitewater and Rose Law Firm investigations and drafted reports on these subjects. The reports were favorably reviewed by Garry Wills in The New York Review of Books, by Gene Lyons in Harper's Magazine and by Anthony Lewis in The New York Times. Lyons described the report as "far and away the most comprehensive and reliable account of what happened (and didn't) in virtually all aspects of the Whitewater matter." Lewis described the reports as "a voice of reason on Whitewater," adding that the reports' "findings are each backed by a painstaking statement and analysis of the evidence. Reading the reports, one is struck by the triviality of the long-ago events at issue—and by the detachment and clarity with which they are examined."

As part of the Madison Guaranty investigation, Mr. Ericson interviewed (then) First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Treaty Room at the White House and also testified before the Senate Special Committee to Investigate Whitewater and Related Matters.

Mr. Ericson's other banking litigation experience includes representation of foreign and domestic lenders in contract and securities cases, lender liability cases, predatory lender cases, ATM litigation, and disputes over trust accounts and letters of credit. Mr. Ericson represented a major bank in fiduciary duty litigation arising out of an investment, a major oil company in a lender liability/limited partnership class action in which he obtained summary judgment, and a trust fund established by a foreign government in litigation against its investment manager.


Mr. Ericson represented a major telephone company in In re National Security Agency Telecommunications Records Litigation, MDL No. 06-1791, a series of 40 actions alleging that telephone companies cooperated with the NSA's Terrorist Surveillance Program. He spoke on defending privacy actions at the Association of Business Trial Lawyers' 34th annual seminar.

Antitrust, trade regulation and unfair competition:

Mr. Ericson has defended and prosecuted civil antitrust and unfair competition cases and counseled clients in industries as diverse as banking, computers, geothermal energy, groceries, magazine distribution, membership campgrounds, petroleum, professional sports, shopping centers and sugar beets. He represented a major grocery chain in an action alleging a conspiracy to drive out magazine distributors. He represented a major oil company in a challenge to its merger with another major oil company; defendants defeated a preliminary injunction motion, and had that affirmed on appeal. He represented a major grocery wholesaler in a class action alleging

price-fixing and horizontal division of markets. He also represented a major commercial bank in unfair competition litigation challenging banks' disclosures of ATM fees, and three manufacturers of computer printers in unfair competition litigation challenging disclosures of inkjet printer speeds.

Appellate litigation:

Mr. Ericson has handled a variety of appeals and writ proceedings in both federal and state appellate courts. He is undefeated in obtaining affirmances of dismissals of securities class actions in the Ninth Circuit, having won such appeals in 2015, 2013, 2009, 2003 and 2000. In 2013 he won an appeal in the Federal Circuit and in 2003, he won several appeals of actions challenging the California gubernatorial recall election in the California Court of Appeal and California Supreme Court.

Firm management:

Mr. Ericson has served as a member of the firm's Associate Review Committee, Billings and Collections Committee, Compensation Committee and Nominating Committee and as the leader of the firm's litigation practice in San Francisco. He is co-leader of the firm's Securities Litigation & Enforcement Team nationwide and the managing partner of the firm's San Francisco office.

Honors & Awards

  • BTI Client Service All-Star (2014)
  • Super Lawyers (2006-2014)
  • Burton Award for Excellence in Legal Writing, Recipient (2013)


American Bar Association, Association of Business Trial Lawyers (member, Board of Governors), Bar Association of San Francisco, Civil Local Rules Attorney Advisory Committee (N.D. Cal.) (chair), Federal Bar Association, N.D. Cal. Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, Supreme Court Historical Society, Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society


Supreme Court of the United States, United States Courts of Appeals for the District of Columbia and Ninth Circuits, United States District Courts for the Northern, Eastern and Southern Districts of California, Pro Hac Vice to the bars of the United States District Courts for the Districts of Colorado, Maine and Utah, Northern District of Georgia, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern and Northern Districts of Texas, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware, and trial courts in Louisiana and Oklahoma.

David Keyko is a partner in the law firm's Litigation practice and is located in the New York office. His practice has focused on major, complex litigation, often involving multiple parties. He has handled cases involving allegations of securities or other types of fraud, antitrust violations, ethics issues and trusts and estates issues across the country, often involving insurance coverage issues. He has conducted internal investigations and represented clients responding to government probes. He has also served as an expert witness in connection with legal malpractice litigation. Among the prominent cases Mr. Keyko has handled was the representation of a defendant in a $1.4 billion antitrust lawsuit.

Mr. Keyko was named the "New York City Best Lawyers Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law Lawyer of the Year" for 2012, 2017 and 2019. He has lectured and written widely on securities, antitrust, legal ethics and general litigation topics, and chairs PLI's programs on federal pretrial practice and ethics for corporate lawyers. He is a former columnist for the New York Law Journal and has written several dozen articles on litigation and ethics issues for such publications as the National Law Journal.

Mr. Keyko has undertaken a variety of pro bono projects, including representing for over 20 years a death row inmate in Alabama asserting that the inmate is innocent of the crime for which he was convicted, serving as Chair of the Board of  Mobilization for Justice Legal Services, Inc., and serving two terms as a member of the Departmental Disciplinary Committee of the First Department. He was Chairman of the Professional Responsibility Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. He chaired the ad hoc committee of the Association that commented on proposed SEC regulations under Section 307 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. He is currently the chair of the Association's Legal Referral Service Committee and is a member of the ABA Legal Referral and Information Service Committee.

Mr. Keyko is a member of Pillsbury's Sarbanes-Oxley Committee, Opinions Committee and Professional Responsibility Committee. He is an adjunct professor at the Fordham University School of Law where he teaches legal ethics.

Vaughn R. Walker served as a United States District Judge for the Northern District of California from 1990 to 2011; he was chief judge of that court from 2004 to 2011. 

He graduated from the University of Michigan (1966) and Stanford Law School (1970).  After clerking for Judge Robert J Kelleher of the United States District Court in Los Angeles (1971–72), he practiced in San Francisco at Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro, now Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, until becoming a judge. 

Judge Walker was named to the bench by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H W Bush and was confirmed by the United States Senate on November 21, 1989, on unanimous consent. 

Judge Walker presided over a number of notable lawsuits. These include Apple Computer, Inc v Microsoft Corporation, involving the copyrights to the graphical user features of the computer desktop; United States v Oracle Corporation, involving the acquisition of PeopleSoft Corporation; In re Terrorist Surveillance Cases, involving federal government wiretapping for national security purposes; and numerous patent, antitrust, securities and other complex business disputes. 

Judge Walker retired from the bench at the end of February 2011 and established a mediation-arbitration practice in San Francisco to which he now devotes most of his time.  He also taught at the Berkeley School of Law and Hastings College of Law, University of California, and Stanford Law School. He served for many years as a director, and one year as chair, of the Saint Francis Foundation, which supports healthcare in San Francisco through an affiliation with Saint Francis Memorial Hospital, and serves on the boards of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Center for United States and Mexican Law at the University of Houston.