Class Action Defense
Corporate & Financial Services Litigation & Regulation
Corporate Governance Litigation and Counseling
Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG)
LIBOR Preparedness Team
State Attorneys General Practice
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York
U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
U.S. Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court
Harvard Law School - J.D.
Swarthmore College - B.A., cum laude
Ellen Holloman is a partner in Cadwalader’s Global Litigation Group. She focuses her practice on representing financial institutions, corporations and individuals in civil litigation and at trial, and in related regulatory enforcement proceedings and corporate internal investigations. She has extensive experience in securities litigation, including derivative and class action litigation, in contract and post-acquisition disputes, and in employment-related claims, including for enforcement of non-compete, non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements, and in #MeToo and other C-suite level crisis situations. Ellen regularly advises companies, boards, special committees and investors in connection with corporate governance matters, including takeover defense and contests for corporate control. She also frequently handles litigation arising from bankruptcy and financial restructuring matters, and has represented secured and unsecured creditors and debtors in Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases and out-of-court restructurings across a wide range of industries, including financial services, energy, shipping, licensing and apparel. Ellen’s practice routinely involves matters with complex cross-border intersections, including obtaining large scale overseas discovery under the Hague Convention and other agreements and conducting investigations in response to inquiries under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. She also has advised clients on Constitutional law matters, particularly First and Eighth Amendment jurisprudence. In addition to her civil litigation and trial practice, Ellen has significant experience with white-collar criminal defense matters, and has represented clients responding to regulatory inquires, requests and enforcement proceedings initiated by the U.S. Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Trade Commission, Federal Reserve, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, National Association of Securities Dealers, FINRA, Internal Revenue Service, the Office of the New York State Attorney General, New York Stock Exchange, European Commission, and the UK Serious Frauds Office, among others.
Ellen is active in pro bono engagements and committed to community service. She obtained a full pardon for a Vietnam War-era veteran, who overcame a 30-year period of addiction and homelessness, only to find that a decades-old felony conviction—for “trespassing” while sheltering in an abandoned building in the New England winter—was an obstacle to obtaining gainful employment. Working with the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, Ellen authored an amicus curiae brief submitted to the Supreme Court on behalf of several elite private research universities in Fisher v. University of Texas. Her work was cited by the Court. She also has been amicus curiae counsel for a citizens tax advocacy group in a challenge to the New York State property tax system. Ellen represents LGBTQ individuals in asylum proceedings and in securing name and gender marker changes. Working with KIND (Kids In Need of Defense), she also represents two children who were separated from their mother at the United States–Mexico border.
Ellen serves on the Board of Trustees for the Center for Employment Opportunities, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting men and women with criminal convictions with finding employment. She is a member of the Nomination & Governance and Audit Committees, and sits on the Board's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee. She also serves on the Board of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, and is a member of the Development and Nomination and Governance Committees. She is a soror of Alpha Kappa Alpha, a member of Cadwalader’s Global Diversity Committee, a member of the New York City Bar Association's Mergers, Acquisitions and Corporate Control Contests committee, a member of the Federal Bar Council's Bankruptcy Litigation and Civil Rights committees, and a member of the Women's White Collar Defense Association and the New York Council of Defense Lawyers.
Ellen is a frequent speaker and panelist on litigation, compliance, corporate governance, and diversity and inclusion topics. In 2020, she contributed the inaugural chapter on "Diversity and Inclusion" to the fifth edition of Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts, the preeminent treatise on the subject. She also is a principal author of the “Constitutional Framework and Evolving Issues” chapter of Defending Federal Criminal Cases: Attacking the Government's Proof, the leading treatise of its kind. She is a Lexis Practice Advisor author and has published articles with the National Law Review, M&A Lawyer, Law360 and the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, among others.
Ellen is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a global honorary society of lawyers, judges, law faculty and legal scholars who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the profession and service to society. The New York City Bar Association honored Ellen with the Thurgood Marshall Award in recognition of her representation of post-conviction inmates who are under sentence of capital punishment, and she has received the Award for Conspicuous Service from the New York County Lawyers Association. Ellen has been named a three-time Notable Woman in Law and also a Notable Black Leader by Crain’s New York and recognized by Lawdragon as one of the “500 Leading Lawyers in America.”
Prior to joining Cadwalader, Ellen was an associate in the Litigation Department in the New York and London offices of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and a partner in a New York law firm with an active trial practice in state and federal courts.
- Representing former SPAC directors in derivative shareholder litigation proceeding in Delaware and Arizona District Court, and in related matter.
- Representing world's largest financial services institution in CLO-related litigation proceeding in New York Supreme Court, Commercial Division.
- Representing hospitality REIT in a contract dispute proceeding in New York Supreme Court, Commercial Division.
- Advising investment management firm on multiple matters relating to litigation exposure and risks arising from acquisitions made by portfolio companies.
- Advising hospitality REIT on multiple matters relating to COVID-19 litigation risk.
- Advising financial services institutions on LIBOR transition matters.
- Representing investor in proxy contest resulting in replacement of majority of the Board.
- Representing two children in asylum proceedings, who had been separated from their mother at the United States–Mexico border.
- Represented two investors in successful campaign to replace entire board of directors with a majority female slate.
- Representing insurer in restructuring proceedings and related litigation under Title III of The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA).
- Represented activist investor fund in acquisition of an 8% stake in publicly held company and proxy contest seeking to elect three directors to the board.
- Represented largest investor in one of the world’s largest offshore drilling companies in restructuring over $8 billion in debt in chapter 11 proceedings.
- Represented activist investor fund in acquisition of a 6% stake in publicly held company and proxy contest seeking to elect 10 directors to the board.
- Representing citizens tax advocacy group, as amicus curiae, in litigation in New York state court challenging constitutionality of New York State tax code.
- Representing structured finance industry advocacy group, as amicus curiae, in litigations in Delaware Chancery Court and Delaware District Court related to consent decree proposed by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- Representing recycling incentives company in general corporate and litigation matters, including contract disputes with private and municipal counterparties.
- Representing pro bono a graduate student escaping LGBTQ+ persecution in her home country and seeking asylum in the United States.
- Represented post-confirmation estate in litigation against former company principals resulting in post-trial decision finding fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting fraud and breach of fiduciary duty, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, tortious interference with contract, and unjust enrichment.
- Represented debtor mortgage securities holding company in complex chapter 11 reorganization proceedings that included the settlement of outstanding multi-million dollar class action litigation, restructuring of $84 million senior note obligations, and acquisition during the proceedings of a new business that restored the debtor to profitability (deal was awarded Distressed M&A Deal of the Year ($10MM to $25MM) byM&A Advisor in 2017).
- Represented men’s active wear clothing designer in licensing dispute with licensee for athleisure clothing line.
- Represented electronic company and leading global provider of microwave tubes and other complex products and components in enforcing non-compete and confidentiality agreements with former employees and various corporate and general litigation matters.
- Represented startup technology and software companies in related SEC investigations.
- Represented Swiss investment bank in connection with customer lawsuit over broken trade.
- Represented sellers of organic candy company in post-M&A dispute with buyers.
- Represented and won absolute pardon for Vietnam War-era veteran for decades-old trespassing conviction arising from his seeking shelter in an abandoned building, while homeless and during winter.
- Represented amicus curiae—private research universities focused on STEM fields—in Fisher v. University of Texas; brief was cited by the Court in its decision.
- Represented Japanese commercial and investment bank in enforcing noncompete and confidentiality agreement against former employees.
- Represented Australian pharmaceutical company in class action securities litigation and related bankruptcy proceedings brought by shareholder alleging fraudulent statements and omissions in connection with FDA approval.
- Represented partner in New York State LLC dissolution proceedings.
- Represented construction company in dispute with labor union over dues audit.
- Represented hospital and research center in dispute with investor regarding removal of restrictive legend on share certificates.
- Represented technology company in fee dispute with former law firm.
- Won dismissal on behalf of a California-based Internet company of federal lawsuit alleging trademark infringement, unfair competition and false designation.
- Won a temporary restraining order in New York state court to block the imminent termination of a $50 million hotel franchise and prevent default on a $35 million mortgage. After partially settling the lawsuit, represented the franchise in its subsequent re-branding of the hotel to a new flag.
- Represented shareholder in books and records demand under Section 220 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, brought in Delaware Chancery Court.
- Represented directors in books and records demand under Section 220 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, brought in Delaware Chancery Court.
- Represented shareholder in Nevada state court in connection with lawsuit to compel corporation to hold an annual meeting and for declaratory and injunctive relief with respect to corporation’s unlawful bylaws.
- Represented investment fund in FINRA arbitration proceedings against prime and executing brokers concerning a share buy-in on foreign exchange.
- Represented a licensor prosecuting claims against licensee for breach of exclusive licensing agreement for U.S. and European rights to Japanese anime in expedited trial.
- Represented kitchen and homeware company in state and bankruptcy court litigations and arbitration proceedings following company’s acquisition of the Mikasa brand from French company.
- Represented shareholder in summary proceeding under Section 225 of the Delaware General Corporate Law to determine the composition of the board of directors of company, brought in Delaware Chancery Court.
- Represented broker-dealer and financial advisor in connection with FINRA examination concerning offerings of securities of Chinese companies and advisory services provided to those companies.
- Represented shareholders in dispute with chairman and CEO of defense contractor concerning wrongful redemption of shareholders’ investment.
- Represented investment bank in state-court lawsuit brought by creditors' committee to bankrupt issuer, alleging fraud and breaches of fiduciary duty.
- Represented investment bank in federal investigations and concurrent class action lawsuits in connection with underwriting and initial public offering practices, considered one of the largest securities class actions in history.
- Represented financial institution in connection with counterterrorism/OFAC investigation.
- Represented investment bank in connection with grand jury proceedings arising from DOJ investigation into Internet-gambling-related transactions.
- Represented foreign-based manufacturer in connection with SEC investigations of transactions made with Iraqi Oil Ministry under the United Nations Oil for Food Program.
- Represented foreign-based manufacturer in connection with DOJ economic espionage investigation.
- Represented insurance company in state and federal First Amendment challenges to New York state insurance regulations.
- Represented Georgia, Florida and Texas inmates in post-conviction capital punishment proceedings.