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Lawdragon 500: The Legends of 2019

By December 9, 2019Guides, News & Features

It’s no wonder that each year we struggle to find the right words to describe the astounding group of advocates who earn recognition as the Lawdragon Legends – the most elite of the nation’s elite lawyers who have made the Lawdragon 500 guide for a tenth time.

The 30 lawyers below in the class of 2019 include Supreme Court justices; the most fearless and creative counsel for employees and businesses; those who have successfully protected corporations over faulty products and those who have brought historic product-liability suits; lawyers who have handled billions upon billions of complex transactions; and a scattering of practice leaders focusing on everything from high-profile book deals to gross human rights violations.

As always, we are honored to include this esteemed group in our Legends feature online and in the  2019 print Magazine.

Charla Aldous

Aldous Walker – Dallas (Photo by Justin Clemons)

A natural in a courtroom, this acclaimed plaintiff lawyer has more than 200 trials to her credit, winning hundreds of millions for sex abuse victims, product liability and other wronged consumers.

Samuel Alito

U.S. Supreme Court – Washington, D.C. (Photo by Steve Petteway)

The son of an Italian immigrant, the conservative Alito shared his Supreme Court aspirations in the Princeton yearbook, achieving them after decades in government, replacing Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Kim Askew

K&L Gates – Dallas (Photo by Justin Clemons)

A top litigator in commercial and employment disputes, the exemplary Askew has blazed pathways for women and minority lawyers her entire career, opening doors from Dallas to the ABA.

Robert Barnett

Williams & Connolly – Washington, D.C. (Photo by Eli Meir Kaplan)

He wrote the book on D.C. powerbrokering through panache, integrity and unsurpassed connections leading him to represent every author from the Prince of Wales to Obama.

George “Gar” Bason

Davis Polk – New York (Photo by Laura Barisonzi)

Among the nation’s top dealmakers, Bason leads his firm’s vaunted global M&A dealmaking practice while handling billions in deals for Tyson’s, Citigroup, JP Morgan and ExxonMobil.

Cari Dawson

Alston & Bird – Atlanta (Photo provided by the firm)

Dawson is the Diva of Defense for Toyota, Porsche, Home Depot, Walmart and an astounding number of top corporates facing enterprise-threatening litigation claims.

Kelly Dermody

Lieff Cabraser – San Francisco (Photo by Gregory Cowley)

Dermody has earned a reputation as one of the top advocates for workers nationwide, fighting for gender equality, equal pay, minority and LGBTQ rights, and for #Metoo protections.

Jodi Westbrook Flowers

Motley Rice – Mount Pleasant, S.C. (Photo by Jack Alterman)

This fearless champion of the underdog has fought human trafficking, global terrorism, fraud, data breaches and harmful products from asbestos to lead pigment.

Agnieszka Fryszman

Cohen Milstein – Washington, D.C. (Photo by Eli Meir Kaplan)

A remarkable human rights advocate, Fryszman has litigated against profiteers of the Holocaust and advocated for Nepali laborers working at U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sergio Galvis

Sullivan & Cromwell – New York (Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser)

The leading U.S. lawyer for Latin American deals, savvy and wherewithal, Galvis has advised on matters in 25 countries worldwide while anchoring the international footprint of his top global firm.

David Goldschmidt

Skadden – New York (Photo provided by the firm)

From high-tech offerings to REITS and Israeli corporate affairs, Skadden’s capital markets guru is aces advising on international finance for a vast range of corporate leaders.

Thomas Goldstein

Goldstein & Russell – Bethesda, Md. (Photo by Eli Meir Kaplan)

With more than 125 merits representations before the U.S. Supreme Court, Goldstein has amassed a record of breadth and distinction in both oral arguments and cert petitions.

Richard Hall

Cravath – New York (Photo provided by the firm)

This Australian native heads the top firm’s EMEA M&A practice with a practice that would make a koala blush, handling billions of complex and innovative deals for major institutions.

Michael Hausfeld

Hausfeld – Washington, D.C. (Photo by Eli Meir Kaplan)

Quite arguably the nation’s leader in viewing – and successfully using – the law as a tool for economic and social change in a world of exploitation and greed, he has helped countless thousands of victims.

Lynne Hermle

Orrick – Menlo Park (Photo provided by the firm)

She wins. No matter the circumstances or the stakes, the unflappable Hermle has been the top defender for Silicon Valley and hundreds of other companies whose reputations she has protected.

James Hurst

Kirkland – Chicago (Photo by Anthony Tahlier)

The trial titan wins and wins and wins again, posting remarkable results in trial and appellate battles with the highest stakes.

Elena Kagan

U.S. Supreme Court – Washington, D.C. (Photo by Steve Petteway)

The fourth woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court has a history of firsts, including first female Solicitor General and Dean of Harvard Law School.

Jeffrey Kessler

Winston & Strawn – New York (Photo by Laura Barisonzi)

Mr. Competition towers over the fields of antitrust and player-side sports law like few other lawyers while serving as Global Co-Executive Chairman of Winston & Strawn.

William Lafferty

Morris Nichols – Wilmington (Photo provided by the firm)

A leading light of the Delaware bar he excels in M&A and Chancery litigation on behalf of a who’s who of private equity and global corporate elites.

Mark Lanier

Lanier Law Firm – Houston (Photo by Felix Sanchez)

No plaintiff lawyer has been more dominant winning the biggest trials over the past decade from talcum powder to hip implants - all while still teaching Sunday school.

David Lira

Girardi | Keese – Los Angeles (Photo by Amy Cantrell)

This acclaimed plaintiff lawyer has won hundreds of millions for consumers injured through faulty seatbelts, in bus rollovers and construction accidents.

Katharine Martin

Wilson Sonsini – Palo Alto (Photo by Annie Tritt)

This savvy dealmaker for companies including Lyft and Survey Monkey is also chair of the board of the fabled Silicon Valley firm.

Mark Mendelsohn

Paul Weiss – Washington, D.C. (Photo provided by the firm)

The architect of the Justice Department’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement program guides global corporate elites through the highest-stakes investigations.

Scott Musoff

Skadden – New York (Photo provided by the firm)

A highly respected securities litigation defense lawyer who wins the toughest cases, Musoff is also much admired for his firm leadership and pro bono dedication.

Stacy Phillips

Blank Rome – Los Angeles (Photo by Hugh Williams)

The doyenne of divorce for the 90210 set – and tens of thousands of other high net-worth individuals who need a friendly ear and informed guidance to navigate difficult family issues.

Darren Robbins

Robbins Geller – San Diego (Photo provided by the firm)

The founding partner of the nation’s biggest securities class action practice has won billions for investors in failed & flawed companies and is a leader in corporate governance reform.

John Savarese

Wachtell – New York (Photo provided by the firm)

This top Wachtell litigation partner gained valuable expertise as a prosecutor before joining the nation’s most illustrious firm to guide its fabled clientele thru 2008 fallout and other crises.

Kannon Shanmugam

Paul Weiss – Washington, D.C. (Photo provided by the firm)

One of this generation’s brightest lights in Supreme Court advocacy (and among the youngest Lawdragon 500 members ever), he’s now creating a deep appellate bench for his powerhouse firm.

Steve Toll

Cohen Milstein – Washington, D.C. (Photo by Eli Meir Kaplan)

Among the nation’s most admired lawyers, Toll has created a superb plaintiff securities practice, recovering billions for stockholders while passionately supporting pro bono.

Robert Townsend

Cravath – New York (Photo provided by the firm)

The head of Cravath’s M&A practice for North America has a deal sheet to envy, with combinations for Sprint, J.D. Power and Johnson & Johnson.

About the author: Katrina Dewey (katrina@lawdragon.com) is the founder and CEO of Lawdragon, which she and her partners created as the new media company for the world’s lawyers. She has written about lawyers and legal affairs for 30 years, and is a noted legal editor, creator of numerous lawyer recognition guides and expert on lawyer branding. She is based in Venice, Calif., and New York. She is also the founder of Lawdragon Campus, which covers law students and law schools. View our staff page

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