Education/Alumni: Columbia Law School
Gary P. Naftalis is the co-chair of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, and of the firm's extensive litigation practice. One of the nation's leading trial lawyers, he was selected as one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America by The National Law Journal and one of the Top 10 Lawyers (Top Point Getter) in New York by Super Lawyers. Mr. Naftalis is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He represents individuals and corporations in all phases of complex “bet the company” civil, criminal and regulatory matters, including those involving allegations of accounting irregularities, insider trading, market manipulation and other financial fraud. Mr. Naftalis has also served as counsel to audit and special committees of a number of major public companies.
In a career spanning over 40 years, he has successfully represented numerous securities industry clients, including Salomon Brothers in the investigation of US Treasury auction bidding practices; Kidder, Peabody in the Wall Street insider trading probe; Canary Capital Partners in the mutual fund inquiries; and CIBC in the investigation conducted by the Enron Task Force. In each instance, he persuaded the government not to bring criminal charges. He also represented the CEO of Arthur Andersen in the Enron inquiry; the Chairman of Global Crossing; the COO of MF Global; the CEO of Refco; the CEO of WorldCom; and major figures in inquiries involving Drexel Burnham, Orange County, Cendant, Bristol Myers Squibb, Affiliated Computer Services, Tyco, BCCI, and British Petroleum.
He successfully defended Michael Eisner, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, in the shareholders' derivative lawsuit relating to the hiring and termination of Michael Ovitz. After a 37-day trial in the Delaware Chancery Court, Mr. Eisner and the other Disney directors prevailed on all counts. The case was chosen as one of the top defence wins of 2005 by The National Law Journal. Mr. Naftalis successfully won dismissal in favour of Kenneth Langone, former chair of the New York Stock Exchange compensation committee, of all charges brought against him by then-attorney general Eliot Spitzer relating to the compensation of NYSE chairman Richard Grasso.
Mr. Naftalis won summary judgment for Sirius XM Radio dismissing a breach of contract action by Howard Stern seeking US$330 million in damages. He represented the City of New York in the inquiry by the New York County District Attorney relating to the fire at the Deutsche Bank building at the World Trade Center, in which no charges were brought against the city or any of its agencies or its officials.
Mr. Naftalis defended Rajat K. Gupta, the former Managing Director Worldwide of McKinsey, in both a high-profile criminal insider trading trial and parallel SEC enforcement action, where he obtained a precedent-setting decision challenging the attempt by the Securities and Exchange Commission to utilize an administrative process rather than go to court.
Mr. Naftalis recently successfully represented Congregation Jeshuat Israel, the congregation that has worshipped for the past 120 years at Touro Synagogue, the nation’s oldest synagogue, in a dispute with a New York City congregation over the ownership of the synagogue and valuable silver bells (rimonim) that adorn Torah scrolls and were made by colonial silversmith Myer Myers. After a two-week trial in federal court, Jeshuat Israel prevailed on all issues and will now be able to sell the bells to create an endowment that will enable it to preserve the historic synagogue located in Newport, Rhode Island, as a place of worship. The American Lawyer Daily named Mr. Naftalis as “Litigator of the Week” for this trial success.
Mr. Naftalis received his AB from Rutgers University, his MA from Brown University and his LLB from Columbia Law School. He served as deputy chief of the criminal division in the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. He also served as special counsel to the US Senate subcommittee investigating abuses in the nursing home industry. Mr. Naftalis has been a member of the faculty at Columbia and Harvard law schools. He is the author or co-author of numerous books and articles including the leading work on the grand jury system, The Grand Jury: An Institution on Trial (with Judge Marvin E Frankel) and Sentencing: Helping Judges Do Their Jobs (also with Judge Frankel).
Last Updated 5th September 2017