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Current Developments in Federal Civil Practice 2013

 
Author(s): Michele A. Roberts, Jonathan L. Frank
Practice Area: Litigation, Pro Bono
Published: Jan 2013
ISBN: 9781402419362
PLI Item #: 42818
CHB Spine #: H903

Jonathan L. Frank joined Skadden in 1999 after years as an executive assistant district attorney, special prosecutor and homicide prosecutor in Brooklyn, N.Y. As a prosecutor, Mr. Frank successfully tried numerous high-profile murder cases and was nationally recognized for his work.

Mr. Frank, likewise, has been nationally recognized for his commercial litigation work at Skadden, being listed in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers For Business where he is described as “wicked smart.” He also is named as a Leading Lawyer in the Legal 500 U.S. His practice at Skadden is focused on a variety of complex commercial disputes, including real estate, bankruptcy and securities litigations, as well as related white collar criminal matters, emphasizing the creation and execution of litigation strategies and tactics; trial, international and U.S. arbitral proceedings; the assessment of claims; and settlement negotiations. He has acted as counsel in numerous high-profile business litigations and arbitrations.

Among other matters, Mr. Frank co-led the bankruptcy trial team that successfully secured a complete victory on behalf of NextEra Energy, Inc. against the Adelphia Recovery Trust in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court against fraudulent transfer action, and then secured an affirmance, based on a de novo review, in the Southern District Court of New York. Employing a novel argument that combined analysis of two traditionally independent concepts — solvency and access to capital — the team convinced both courts that the plaintiff failed to carry its burden of establishing that Adelphia was insolvent or would have been unable to raise adequate financing to continue its operations at the time of the alleged fraudulent transfer, notwithstanding the undisputed facts that Adelphia (i) had committed $400 million of financial fraud; (ii) exceeded the permissible leverage ratios in its loan documents; and (iii) had no unencumbered assets.

Mr. Frank was a lead member of the trial team that won a defendant’s verdict on all claims in favor of DaimlerChrysler AG against Tracinda Corporation, owned by Kirk Kerkorian. The trial in the U.S. District Court of Delaware involved securities fraud claims of more than $1 billion, making it the largest securities case ever tried in federal court. The National Law Journal awarded the team the “2005 Top Defense Win of the Year.”


Notably, Michele Roberts is the first woman to head a major professional sports union in North America. In her role as Executive Director, Ms. Roberts serves as the primary advocate for all players, ensuring the protection of the organization and its membership, including serving as the lead negotiator in all collective bargaining activities. Prior to this selection, Ms. Roberts was a renowned trial lawyer and member of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s Litigation Group. Her practice focused on complex civil and white collar criminal litigation before state and federal courts and in administrative proceedings. Ms. Roberts has tried more than 100 cases to jury verdicts, representing clients in a wide variety of areas, including products liability, white collar, racketeering, securities regulation violations, Title VII issues and premises liability. She has been called the “finest pure trial lawyer in Washington, D.C.” by Washingtonian Magazine.

Ms. Roberts is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Ms. Roberts also served for eight years in the office of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, where she was named Chief of the Trial Division. She served as counsel in more than 40 jury trials.

Ms. Roberts is a frequent lecturer and presenter to both the bench and bar on a variety of topics related to litigation and trial practice. She served as an adjunct member of the faculty at Harvard Law School, teaching a Trial Advocacy Workshop and was an instructor with the National Institute of Trial Advocacy.