Photo of Sherrilyn Ifill by Greg Endries.

Putting together our 15-year anniversary issue has been a rewarding task during these strange and unsettling times. Among the more enjoyable parts has been going through our many guides since Fall 2015 to determine the latest crop of lawyers who have made the Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America for a 10th time. The 30 newcomers to (in our view) the industry’s most elite group are so diverse that it feels appropriate to avoid any attempts at superlatives and instead rest comfortably on “Legendary.”

As in past years, we have a handful of lawyers who sue corporations and those who defend them in court or guide them through the world’s most complex transactions. We have pillars of in-house lawyering, leaders of the nation’s most important civil rights organizations and the lawyer who has spent much of the past dozen years defending the accused mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on Guantanamo Bay. It’s quite a crew. (You can view all of the past groups here.)

The other part of this process that is personally comforting is getting a glimpse of the lawyers who are likely to become Legends next year. Who knows, of course, but that makes us feel like the world will still exist.

Matt Abbott

Paul Weiss – New York (Photo by Greg Endries)

The co-chair of Paul Weiss’ M&A practice has closed a vast range of complex deals around the world, including more than 100 for General Atlantic.

Stephen Arcano

Skadden – New York (Photo provided by the firm)

Arcano heads one of the world’s most successful transactional practices, personally taking on deals for clients like Mobil Corp., Gilead Sciences and Alcatel.

Judy Barrasso

Barrasso Usdin – New Orleans (Photo by Sara Essex Bradley)

One of the region’s best litigators, Barrasso has represented insurers in massive litigations involving Chinese Drywall, Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy.

Timothy Cameron

Cravath – New York (Photo provided by the firm)

Many of the world’s leading companies, from Vivendi and Spirits International to Novartis and DuPont, trust Cameron with their most important cases.

Michael Elkin

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

Winston’s vice chairman ranks high among the nation’s IP litigators by remaining at the forefront of complex disputes arising in the digital media world.

Miguel Estrada

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

A former clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy, Estrada has been an integral part of Gibson Dunn’s top-tier appellate practice for more than two decades.

Ora Fisher

Latham & Watkins – Menlo Park (Photo by Gregory Cowley)

The Silicon Valley fixture led Latham’s growth in the region and has earned continued acclaim for guiding the firm’s strategic direction as firmwide vice chair.

Paul Geller

Robbins Geller – Boca Raton (Photo provided by the firm)

Plaintiffs in the opioid litigation could find no better lead counsel than Geller, who has an astonishing track record representing inventors and consumers.

Salvatore Graziano

Bernstein Litowitz – New York (Photo by Laura Barisonzi)

Graziano spring-boarded off prosecutorial experience to become one of the nation’s best securities litigators, earning billions of dollars for shareholders.

Shawn Chapman Holley

Kinsella Weitzman (Photo by Dave Lauridsen)

An alum of the O.J. Simpson “Dream Team,” Holley is the lawyer of choice for a diverse mix of celebrities embroiled in thorny criminal and civil litigation.

Sherrilyn Ifill

NAACP LDF – New York (Photo by Greg Endries)

Ifill has kept the LDF on the cutting edge of the nation’s most important civil rights issues and remained a trusted voice during the 2020 protests.

Roberta Kaplan

Kaplan Hecker – New York (Photo by Laura Barisonzi)

Kaplan’s caseload includes wins in the sharing-economy and financial sectors along with her ongoing commitment to groundbreaking civil rights litigation.

David Karp

Wachtell Lipton – New York (Photo provided by the firm)

This prolific dealmaker has handled billion-dollar transactions for Broadcom, Tesla, Cox Automotive, PetSmart and NYSE Euronext, among many others.

Jennifer Keller

Keller / Anderle – Irvine, Calif. (Photo by David Lauridsen)

Keller is hands-down one of the nation’s best trial lawyers – equally adept at litigating a plaintiff’s cause and defending companies against high-stakes claims.

Ethan Klingsberg

Freshfields – New York (Photo provided by the firm)

With a client list that includes Google, Hewlett Packard, Dun & Bradstreet, Levi Strauss & Co. and Verizon, Klingsberg has been a transactional star for decades.

Mark Lebovitch

Bernstein Litowitz – New York (Photo by Laura Barisonzi)

The head of Bernstein Litowitz’s growing Delaware presence is a national leader in litigating corporate governance cases that produce real reform and recoveries.

Sandra Leung

Briston-Myers Squibb – New York (Photo by Laura Barisonzi)

Leung is widely admired for her stewardship of the complex legal issues faced by the pharmaceutical giant, where Leung has spent nearly her entire career.

Jonathan Lowy

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

For more than two decades, Lowy has been a powerful legal force to limit gun violence by litigating cases against the gun industry and defending gun-control laws.

David Marriott

Cravath – New York (Photo provided by the firm)

Marriott has excelled for decades in the areas of antitrust, securities and intellectual property litigation, representing both large companies and individual creators.

Randi McGinn

McGinn Montoya – Albuquerque, N.M. (Photo by Kip Malone)

“Tough as nails” does not begin to describe this plaintiffs ‘ lawyer: She legendarily gave birth to her daughter just one day before taking a three-day bar exam.

David Nevin

Nevin Benjamin – Boise (Photo provided by the firm)

Nevin has showcased his amazing courtroom talents defending accused 9/11 plot mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammad on Guantanamo Bay.

Robin Panovka

Wachtell – New York (Photo provided by the firm)

Among the most accomplished REIT M&A lawyers of his generation, Panovka literally wrote the treatise on the subject (“REITs: Mergers and Acquisitions”).

Kathy Patrick

Gibbs & Bruns – Houston (Photo by Felix Sanchez)

Patrick wins big for both defendants and plaintiffs, including netting more than $20B for investors pursuing litigation over mortgage-backed securities.

Anthony Romero

ACLU – New York (Photo provided by the organization)

Romero has masterfully managed the ACLU’s litigation efforts, from Bush-era war-on-terror transgressions to Trump’s controversial immigration policies.

Steven Rosenblum

Wachtell Lipton – New York (Photo provided by the firm)

The co-chair of Wachtell’s unparalleled corporate department has provided sage counseling to a vast range of the world's major institutions.

Susan Saltzstein

Skadden – New York (Photo provided by the firm)

Titans of the global economy trust their most important cases to Saltzstein, who serves as co-deputy of Skadden’s acclaimed securities litigation group.

Karen Patton Seymour

Goldman Sachs – New York (Photo by Laura Barisonzi)

The onetime federal prosecutor assumed the General Counsel role at Goldman Sachs following a storied career at Sullivan & Cromwell.

Tony West

Uber – San Francisco (Photo provided by the company)

Uber scored big in 2017 by hiring West, who brings an uncommon mix of experience across private practice, in-house counseling and government service.

Marc Wolinsky

Wachtell Lipton – New York (Photo provided by the firm)

Few lawyers have had as significant an impact on the Delaware Court of Chancery and corporate governance as this litigation giant.

Damien Zoubek

Cravath – New York (Photo provided by the firm)

It’s difficult to keep track of the multibillion-dollar deals led by this mainstay of Cravath’s corporate team, who handles deals across almost every major industry.

About the author: John Ryan (john@lawdragon.com) is a co-founder and the Editor-in-Chief of Lawdragon Inc., where he oversees all web and magazine content and provides regular coverage of the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay. When he’s not at GTMO, John is based in Brooklyn. He has covered complex legal issues for 20 years and has won multiple awards for his journalism, including a New York Press Club Award in Journalism for his coverage of the Sept. 11 case. View our staff page

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