New York, January 30, 2013 – Benchmark Litigation awarded its Lifetime Achievement Award yesterday to Gary P. Naftalis, co-chair of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP and its Litigation Department. He received the award at Benchmark Litigation’s annual gala held at the Essex House in New York.

“We join Benchmark in saluting Gary for a lifetime of consummate advocacy in which he has handled -- with grace, skill and understanding -- the most significant and high profile cases of his generation. He is someone to whom everyone turns when confronted with a difficult issue. There has not been a legal crisis in recent memory in which Gary did not represent a leading player,” said Paul S. Pearlman, Kramer Levin’s managing partner.

One of the nation’s leading trial lawyers, Mr. Naftalis has for more than 40 years represented individuals and corporations in complex bet-the-company criminal, civil and regulatory cases. Among his more prominent matters, he defended Rajat Gupta, the former Managing Director Worldwide of McKinsey, on insider trading charges. He won dismissal in favor of Kenneth Langone, former Chair of the New York Stock Exchange Compensation Committee, of all charges brought against him by the then Attorney General relating to the compensation of NYSE Chair, Richard Grasso. He successfully defended Michael Eisner, the CEO of The Walt Disney Company, in 37-day trial in the Delaware Court of Chancery of a shareholder derivative lawsuit relating to the hiring and termination of Michael Ovitz. He represented the City of New York in the inquiry relating to the fire at the Deutsche Bank building. Mr. Naftalis won summary judgment for Sirius XM Radio dismissing a breach of contract action by Howard Stern seeking $330 million in damages. He has successfully represented numerous securities industry clients, including Salomon Brothers in the investigation of US Treasury auction bidding practices, Kidder, Peabody in the Wall Street insider trading probe, and Canary Capital Partners in the market timing mutual fund inquiries. 

“I am very appreciative of this award and believe it also reflects the exceptionally deep and talented litigation team we have had at the firm for many years,” Mr. Naftalis said.

Mr. Naftalis has received many other honors throughout his career. The National Law Journal named him one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” the last two times it has compiled the list – in 2013 and in 2006. Legal 500 has named him one of the “10 Leading Trial Lawyers in the United States,” and Super Lawyers in 2012 named him one of the “Top 10 Lawyers in New York” as well as the top points recipient. In 2012, he received the New York Council of Defense Lawyers Norman Ostrow Award in recognition of his white-collar defense achievements. Mr. Naftalis also received the 2011 Chambers USA Award for excellence in White Collar Crime and Government Investigations. In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI honored him with the Benemerenti Award. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Mr. Naftalis has been a member of the faculty at Columbia and Harvard Law Schools. He is the author or co-author of numerous books and articles including the leading work on the grand jury system – “The Grand Jury: An Institution on Trial” (with Judge Marvin E. Frankel) and “Sentencing: Helping Judges Do Their Jobs” (also with Judge Frankel).

Benchmark Litigation annually conducts extensive interviews with litigators and their clients throughout the country to identify the leading litigators and firms. Since its inception, Kramer Levin has been ranked in the top tier of litigation firms in New York. The process concludes with the annual awards dinner, at whichBenchmark disperses awards to the nation’s top litigators, including a single lifetime achievement award.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP is a premier, full-service law firm with offices in New York, Silicon Valley and Paris.  Firm lawyers are leading practitioners in their respective fields.  The firm represents Global 1000 and emerging growth companies, institutions and individuals, across a broad range of industries.  For more information, please visit