IRVINE, CA, MAY 8, 2013 --- Four nationally prominent attorneys have joined forces to form a new law firm, Keller Rackauckas Umberg Zipser LLP (“KRUZ”) that was formally launched today. Jennifer L. Keller, Kay Rackauckas, Thomas J. Umberg and Dean J. Zipser will be joined by several other attorneys who were colleagues at their former firms. KRUZ is unlike nearly any other California trial and business litigation firm in that it has three partners with over 300 jury trials among them. Furthermore, KRUZ attorneys have won over $680 million in judgments in the last several years alone.
According to Keller, “One of our key strengths is the diverse backgrounds of our lawyers, who come from small/local to large international firms. We include a former assistant U.S. attorney, a deputy district attorney, a deputy public defender, an elected and appointed national and state government official, and two managing partners of a major law firm’s Orange County offices.” Zipser adds: “It would be difficult to find a group of lawyers with more experience winning bet-the-company cases than our firm.” Keller and Rackauckas were partners at their own firm, Keller Rackauckas LLP, before joining with Umberg and Zipser, who both came from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP in Orange County, and Morrison & Foerster before that.
Jennifer L. Keller, the former President of the Orange County Bar Association, has tried over 150 cases to jury verdict, ranging from complex civil matters — including business and intellectual property cases — to white collar to murder. In 2011, as last-minute lead counsel for MGA, Keller won the retrial of Mattel v. MGA (aka “Barbie v. Bratz”), a billion-dollar “bet the company” copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation case. In 2009, again as lead counsel, she won a $350 million plaintiff jury verdict in Los Angeles in a five-month business fraud trial; it was the largest business jury verdict in California in 2009 and one of the largest in the nation. She currently represents Standard & Poor’s in United States v. McGraw Hill Companies, Inc. Keller is listed annually in “The Best Lawyers in America ®” and is among the Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America. In 2012, she was named a “California Attorney of the Year” by The California Lawyer for extraordinary achievements in litigation. She appears repeatedly in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals as one of California’s Top 100 Lawyers. She is the only person ever to be named by the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association as Business Litigation Trial Lawyer of the Year (in 2010) and as Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer of the year (in 2000). And just yesterday the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals again named her to their list of California’s Top Women Lawyers.
With over two decades of trial experience and nearly 100 cases to jury verdict, Kay Rackauckas has earned a reputation as a leading trial attorney. She began her legal career 23 years ago in the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, and spent 12 years as one of its most respected prosecutors. In 2004, Rackauckas entered private practice as a criminal defense attorney, using her negotiation and trial skills to become one of the most effective defense lawyers in Southern California. She has handled all types of cases but emphasizes white-collar criminal defense. Recently, Rackauckas has extended her practice to include civil litigation. In 2013, she was co- lead plaintiff counsel on a business fraud trial which resulted in a jury award of $3,375,798 in economic and $1,465,528 in punitive damages. Rackauckas is listed in the elite “The Best Lawyers in America ®” in both white collar and non-white collar criminal defense.
Before joining KRUZ, Thomas J. Umberg was a partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, and prior to that was the Orange County office managing partner at Morrison & Foerster, LLP. He has extensive trial experience in both federal and state courts and has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” for Southern California. He has also been selected as one of the “Best Lawyers in America ®” in commercial litigation. Umberg is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles and Orange County. As a federal criminal prosecutor, he tried numerous white collar and civil rights cases. Umberg served three terms in the California Legislature, ending in 2006. In addition, he serves on the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA), which is responsible for developing the high speed rail system from Anaheim to San Francisco. In 1997, Umberg was selected by President Clinton to serve as Deputy Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). He is also a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve. Umberg served with the 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea and with NATO forces in Italy, as well as a paratrooper with the US Army Special Operations Command, US Army Special Warfare Center and the XVIIIth Airborne Corp. During his military career, he tried over 50 felony cases as a JAG officer in Korea, Italy and the United States. Umberg was recalled to active duty in 2004 as a war crimes prosecutor, and in 2009 as the Chief of Anti-Corruption in Afghanistan.
Dean J. Zipser is a recognized leader in the Orange County legal community, having served as President of the Orange County Bar Association and the Association of Business Trial Lawyers- Orange County Chapter. Prior to joining KRUZ, Zipser was a partner with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP (co-chair of the firm’s Class Actions and Financial Services Litigation practice groups), and before that was the was the managing partner and head of the Litigation Department at the Orange County office of Morrison & Foerster LLP. Zipser is known for his handling of large, complex, and “bet the company” cases, from preliminary consulting, through pre-trial, trial, and appeal. His civil business litigation practice includes complex matters in intellectual property, consumer class action, contract, business torts, real estate, construction, and lender liability. In addition, Zipser was named as one of the 176 lawyers nationwide to the BTI Consulting 2009 Client All-Star Team. The survey was the result of interviews with more than 270 general counsels at Fortune 1000 and other companies. In 2003, he received the Jurisprudence Award from the Anti-Defamation League of Orange County and Long Beach. He has been listed for years as one of the “Best Lawyers in America ®” in the fields of Commercial Litigation, Intellectual Property, and Bet-the-Company Litigation. In addition, he has been chosen as a “Super Lawyer” for Southern California since 2005.