December 08, 2016
Jonathan Polkes, co-chair of Weil’s global Litigation Department, has been named by Law360 as an MVP for Securities Litigation.
Mr. Polkes is heralded for winning landmark cases over the past year, including a major jury verdict for Morgan Stanley in its first jury trial in more than a decade and an appellate victory on behalf of Marsh & McLennan in which the Second Circuit affirmed an employer’s right to discharge employees for failure to cooperate with an internal investigation. Mr. Polkes is also noted for successfully defending Lehman Brothers Holdings in several cases related to the company’s real estate holdings, including one instance in which the court dismissed the suit in the middle of discovery.
The profile highlighted Mr. Polkes’ particular expertise in litigating on behalf of clients in the financial services sector. In the case for Morgan Stanley, Mr. Polkes had the opportunity to conduct a jury trial, a rarity for a large bank. He enjoyed the challenge recalling, “Everything about it really required a sophisticated knowledge of financial products and the financial world, and being in a position to explain all that to a jury is just as good as it gets for a trial lawyer — exciting, rewarding, interesting.”
In the Marsh & McLennan case, Mr. Polkes brought together Delaware case law and Second Circuit precedent to demonstrate that companies should be able to discharge employees who refuse to cooperate with an internal investigation. Mr. Polkes won at the district court level and then in June 2016, the Second Circuit issued an opinion adopting Mr. Polkes’ arguments.
He also had a string of successful wins related to Lehman Brothers Holdings in which he was able persuade the factfinders, through careful parsing of evidence, that there had been no wrongdoing. Mr. Polkes described his approach to his cases stating, “If you really slow down the film and you really get an audience, whether it’s a jury or a judge, and you calmly explain to them the actual facts that are being dealt with, I think people can transcend … the negative noise … and reach a just decision.”