December 20, 2017
Jonathan Polkes, Co-Chair of Weil’s Litigation Department, has been named an MVP for Securities by Law360 for his lead role in resolving a number of high-profile disputes, including the successful defense of more than 20 clients in an investor class action relating to the $22 billion sale of the Archstone-Smith real estate investment trust. This is the second consecutive year Mr. Polkes has earned this honor in this practice area.
Law360’s profile highlighted the complexity and magnitude of the Archstone case. “The Archstone deal was the marquee deal of the real estate bubble, and this was the marquee real estate litigation suit of the financial crisis,” Mr. Polkes explained. “You had everything. Any kind of high-stakes litigation dispute, we had it in this case.”
The article also highlighted his successful multi-jurisdictional representation of Morgan Stanley in a rare private insider trading case brought against the company related to a transaction made in the time leading up to the financial crisis. A federal jury in New York issued a verdict of no liability, which was later affirmed by the Second Circuit, and in a related case in New York state court, the court granted Morgan Stanley’s motion for summary judgment, a ruling that was also affirmed on appeal. “It’s nice to have that kind of vindication for your client, having all these assaults rebuffed,” Mr. Polkes commented.
When asked about what motivates him, Mr. Polkes put it simply: “When you’re in a real confrontation, wanting to win, to succeed to help your client, those things are deeply motivating,” he said.
With regard to advice he would provide to young lawyers, Mr. Polkes explained the importance of setting yourself apart from your peers. “Challenge yourself, get outside your comfort zone and get outside your building. Don’t just be part of your firm’s ecosystem. Get out there and meet clients, meet other lawyers doing what you do and become part of a broader community,” he said.
Law360’s MVPs are attorneys who have distinguished themselves from their peers over the past year through high-stakes litigation, record-breaking deals and complex global matters. A team of Law360 editors selected the 2017 MVP winners after reviewing more than 1,000 submissions.