Cadwalader Adds Leading Trial Practice from Boies Schiller

March 01, 2019

The arrival of Sean O’Shea, Michael Petrella and Amanda Devereux represents a continuation of Cadwalader’s growth plan and lateral hiring initiative and will expand the firm’s trial capabilities and strengthen its services to financial institutions, corporate and fund clients.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP today announced that a market-leading trial group, including partners Sean O’Shea, Michael Petrella and Amanda Devereux, is joining the firm’s Global Litigation team in New York. Prior to joining Cadwalader, O’Shea, Petrella and Devereux were partners at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP.

“We are delighted to have Sean, Michael and Amanda join our firm,” said Cadwalader managing partner Pat Quinn. “The team has an excellent market reputation for trial advocacy that will enhance our strong litigation practice. The recruitment of this team is a further step in the implementation of our strategic plan to grow out our firm aggressively with top lawyers that align with our clients’ needs.”

Added Jason Halper, Cadwalader’s Global Litigation Chair: “Our clients insist on exceptional counsel in highly complex matters, some of which may be resolved in a courtroom. With Sean, Michael and Amanda, we are adding to our already formidable Global Litigation team three exceptional trial lawyers who are all well known and highly respected by our clients.”

O’Shea will join as the chair of the firm’s Trial Practice. The former Chief of the Business/Securities Fraud Section of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, O'Shea focuses his practice on complex business and white collar litigation. He has represented clients ranging from large corporations to prominent private equity and hedge funds to senior executives at major corporations. O’Shea has tried more than 85 cases to verdict, including federal and state jury and bench trials, arbitrations, and administrative proceedings. During his decade-long tenure as a federal prosecutor, O’Shea tried more than 35 jury trials to verdict and appeared as lead appellate counsel for the Department of Justice in dozens of appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He is particularly known for his skill in cross-examination, which has often changed the course of trials.

Specializing in complex commercial litigation experience, Petrella has 25 years of experience successfully litigating and trying business disputes in both state and federal court. His current and past matters include litigating suits involving securities fraud, intellectual property, antitrust, civil RICO and the full range of business torts. Petrella also has represented clients in shareholder disputes and leveraged buyout suits, and has extensive experience litigating investor and financial industry arbitrations before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the American Arbitration Association and the New York Stock Exchange.

Devereux’s practice focuses on white collar defense and complex commercial litigation and arbitration. Her white collar defense experience includes representing senior executives in investigations brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other federal and state regulatory agencies.

O’Shea and his team are noted for their aggressive and innovative approach to solving clients’ litigation problems. Currently, for example, they are representing entrepreneur Jay Alix in a multi-pronged effort to expose global consulting giant McKinsey’s systemic corruption of the bankruptcy system. The team is not only pursuing a civil RICO action in the Southern District of New York, but also individual challenges to McKinsey’s conduct in active and closed bankruptcies in courts around the country.

O’Shea recently led the defense of a civil RICO action brought against a national beverage alcohol distributor in the U.S., alleging a broad-ranging scheme to bootleg liquor across state lines and avoid tens of millions of dollars in excise taxes. In addition to securing dismissal of the action and affirmance on appeal, O’Shea and his team went on offense, investigated the plaintiffs’ own conduct, and filed suit against them, ultimately resulting in an award of attorney’s fees to O’Shea’s client.

“Amanda, Michael, and I are very excited to join the Cadwalader team,” O’Shea said. “Cadwalader is among New York’s elite law firms and provides us an exceptional platform to provide aggressive, innovative trial solutions to our clients. The last decade, in particular, has seen the rise of high stakes, so-called ‘bet the company’ cases. Our trial focus from day one maximizes favorable outcomes in both plaintiff and defense side representations and provides our clients with confidence that they are well positioned if the case proceeds to trial.”

The addition of O’Shea, Petrella and Devereux represents the firm’s latest move to grow its Litigation practice. Over the past 18 months, Cadwalader’s Global Litigation Group has added six lateral partners with varied and complementary capabilities. This includes: Ellen Holloman, who focuses her practice on securities, commercial and bankruptcy litigation, and regulatory enforcement defense; former Southern District of New York Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Blanche; Jonathan Watkins, who joined the firm’s Corporate and Financial Services Litigation practice in Charlotte; antitrust partner Joel Mitnick; and disputes and international arbitration partner Melis Acuner, who joined to lead the firm’s disputes efforts in London.

Cadwalader’s recent growth has gone well beyond the Global Litigation Group. The firm has also actively expanded its Corporate, Finance and other practices, with significant hires and internal partner promotions. Other lateral partner additions over the past year have included finance partners Duncan Hubbard, Samantha Hutchinson and Alan Lawrence; and corporate partners Chris Cox and Stephen Fraidin.