November 14, 2019
Weil Global Litigation Department Co-Chair Jonathan Polkes has been profiled in Law360 as a 2019 Securities MVP. He is among just six litigators industry-wide recognized for outstanding achievements and contributions to the practice area over the past year.
Mr. Polkes was previously named a Law360 MVP in 2016 and 2017. He is the only attorney in the Securities category to receive three MVP awards in the last four years.
The Q&A profile highlighted Mr. Polkes’ victory at the Tenth Circuit in a decade-long litigation arising out of the $22 billion acquisition of Archstone-Smith Trust by affiliates of Lehman Brothers and Tishman Speyer. The appeals court upheld the summary judgment dismissal of an investor class action worth more than $4 billion, capping a sequence of wins in related disputes over the Archstone deal, one of the largest go-private REIT transactions in history.
The profile also noted his success in securing a novel $120 million settlement for Willis Towers Watson relating to the R. Allen Stanford Ponzi scheme – the second biggest Ponzi scheme in history after Madoff. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the settlement resolving the complex, multibillion-dollar dispute, which involved multiple class actions in both state and federal court over the course of several years.
Mr. Polkes emphasized the teamwork behind his record of success. Close collaboration and team focus is all the more crucial to winning the kinds of cases he specializes in, which often extend across numerous jurisdictions and complex areas of law, he noted.
The article also discussed Mr. Polkes’ path to becoming a securities litigator, the evolution of his career and the importance he places on mentoring the next generation of industry leaders.
He concluded by advising up-and-coming lawyers to engage in the broader legal community and forge the relationships that are key to a fulfilling and successful career. "Over the course of a career, the way to become a success, the way to become a business generator, is to have lots of people out there that know you,” Mr. Polkes said. “There is a real legal community in New York City, and it's fun and exciting to be a part of it."