Roster to Complement Winston’s Global Litigation and Real Estate Practices; Bringing Renowned Capabilities in White Collar Defense and Complex Commercial Litigation; Extensive Expertise in Real Estate Financing, Workouts, and Restructuring
Los Angeles, CA – February 16, 2021 – Winston & Strawn LLP is pleased to announce a significant expansion of the firm’s West Coast presence and capabilities with the addition of 18 attorneys. Included in this expansion are 15 attorneys focused on white collar and complex commercial litigation from the law office of Scheper Kim & Harris LLP.
In addition, three former partners at Sidley Austin, LLP, with wide-ranging expertise in real estate finance, restructurings and workouts, and related litigation have joined Winston.
A boutique firm in Los Angeles, Scheper Kim & Harris concentrates on complex commercial litigation and related appellate proceedings, as well as all aspects of white collar defense, including pre-charging investigations and litigation in state and federal courts throughout the United States.
“We could not be more thrilled to be joining Winston & Strawn,” said David Scheper. “Our firms are very well known to each other and have enjoyed a close and a collaborative relationship for many years. Joining Winston as a team will allow us to address a broader range of client needs, particularly combining Winston’s commanding presence in commercial litigation, restructuring, corporate lending, private equity, intellectual property, and technology with our capabilities in white collar defense and complex commercial litigation.”
Winston also snagged highly regarded real estate and workout attorneys Paul Walker, Liz Walker, and Bruce Fraser, former partners at Sidley, having worked together for over 25 years on the West Coast and for clients in more than 30 states. They have represented sources of institutional capital in relation to real estate finance, loan workouts and restructurings, structured finance, real estate asset sales and purchases, equity investments in real estate assets, and all related litigation.
“We are honored to be joining Winston & Strawn during such a pivotal moment for the real estate sector,” said Paul Walker. “The past year has been one of severe disruption, with commercial real estate particularly hard hit with the sudden shift to remote working. As terms of forbearance end, we anticipate a sustained need for legal guidance and clarity on resulting restructurings and complex workouts. We also have had long-standing professional and personal relationships with the attorneys at Winston and Scheper Kim and look forward to working together as we help our mutual clients navigate this difficult time.”
“I am excited by what this expansion means for Winston’s clients, and for the firm’s ability to address growing regional opportunities in financial services, technology, intellectual property, and the growing complexities of real estate in a post-COVID environment,” said Eva Davis, Los Angeles office managing partner and co-chair, Private Equity Practice for Winston & Strawn. “Scheper Kim & Harris’s complex commercial and securities litigation capabilities are a terrific complement to Winston’s core transactional practices in California, the U.S., and internationally. Paul, Liz, and Bruce will immediately elevate our capabilities in addressing the growing number of commercial real estate restructurings, workouts and complex litigation generated by the extended COVID lockdown. These additions represent a significant increase in Winston’s ability to serve the unique and growing needs of the West Coast market, and we look forward to their valued contributions.”
The former Sidley partners’ practice areas are set forth below.
Paul R. Walker, partner, assists clients in a variety of real estate transactions, including real estate loan workouts and restructurings, the origination of and investment in real estate loans such as structured, mezzanine, and syndicated real estate-secured financings of all types, real property and loan portfolio purchase and sale transactions, and equity investments in real estate assets or investment vehicles. He also has significant experience in partnership disputes and commercial leasing. Paul’s experience spans over 30 years in all asset classes in 25 different states. Mr. Walker has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America California—Real Estate Litigation 1989–2020 and in Chambers USA Real Estate 2003–2020, where he had the highest rankings and was listed as the sole Band 1 Real Estate Lawyer in California in 2003. Mr. Walker received a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame in 1966 and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1969.
Elizabeth W. Walker, partner, has substantial real estate litigation, bankruptcy, and workout experience, including the exercise of remedies, lender liability, UCC and judicial/non-judicial real estate foreclosures, receiverships, plans of reorganization, debtor-in-possession financings, and actions on guaranties. Her representative clients include investment banks, opportunity funds, hedge funds, “bad” banks, liquidating portfolios, pensions, trusts, and national banks. Elizabeth has substantial trial experience in federal, state, and bankruptcy courts. She has been involved in numerous single and multiple asset real estate workouts, real estate litigation, UCC foreclosures, or real estate bankruptcy matters in over 20 states. These matters involved commercial and retail buildings, condominium conversions, hotels, casinos, golf courses, multi-unit apartment complexes, manufactured housing, raw land, and land assemblage for both residential and retail developments. Ms. Walker has been listed since 2016 in The Best Lawyers in America in Real Estate. Ms. Walker received a B.A. from the University of Oregon in 1977 and a J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law, cum laude, in 1983.
Bruce W. Fraser, partner, practices primarily in the areas of real estate finance, workouts, and joint ventures. Mr. Fraser has extensive experience in representing hedge funds, commercial banks, life insurance companies, and other sources of institutional capital in connection with the origination of real estate loans, including construction loans and structured, mezzanine, and syndicated real estate-secured financings. These involve many property types including office, retail, multi-family, and hotel and resort properties. Mr. Fraser also has significant experience in real property and loan portfolio purchase and sale transactions. Mr. Fraser has designed and implemented many real estate lending programs. Mr. Fraser is recognized in the 2011 edition through the current edition of The Best Lawyers in America in Real Estate Law. Mr. Fraser received an A.B. from Columbia University in the City of New York, summa cum laude, in 1978 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, cum laude, in 1981.
The incoming team from Scheper Kim & Harris represents clients on a wide range of white collar criminal cases and complex commercial litigation issues, including appellate, commercial, and employment litigation, False Claims Act defense, securities litigation, intellectual property issues, and corporate compliance.
Formed in 2004, Scheper Kim & Harris is recognized as one of the West Coast’s leading boutique litigation firms. The firm was named “White Collar Litigation Department of the Year” in California in 2015 and has been perennially recognized by Chambers in “Band 1” of white collar litigation firms in California.
The women joining Winston are accomplished and award-winning attorneys, including Angela Machala (B.A. UCLA, summa cum laude; J.D. Yale Law School), Kathy Farkas (B.A. Yale University; J.D. UCLA School of Law, Order of the Coif), Peggy Dayton (B.A. Duke University, summa cum laude; J.D. Stanford Law School), Alexandra Aurisch (B.A. Rice University, cum laude; J.D. University of Virginia School of Law), Miranda Lievsay (B.A. Georgetown University, magna cum laude; J.D. Fordham University, magna cum laude), Jana Russell (B.S. Cornell University; J.D. UCLA School of Law, Order of the Coif), and Liz Walker (B.A. University of Oregon; J.D. University of San Diego School of Law, cum laude).
David Scheper, partner, practices in the areas of complex commercial litigation, internal investigations, and white collar criminal defense. A Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Mr. Scheper is described in the authoritative Chambers USA professional directory as “rapidly emerging as one of the best trial lawyers in the country” (2012) and as a “premier, go-to lawyer” (2013). In the civil arena, his practice is both international and varied; he has represented numerous businesses and financial institutions in federal and state courts throughout the country. He currently serves as lead counsel for an international law firm facing allegations arising out of its defense of a client that operated a Ponzi scheme. Just last month, in that matter, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge stated that Mr. Scheper’s client was “fully entitled to hire the A-team … and get a great service as they did. I’ve never used the word ‘superb’ before in a fee motion and I don’t know if I’ll ever use it again, but [your] work was certainly superb.” In recent years, Mr. Scheper served as lead counsel for a German-based manufacturer of wind turbines in multiple international arbitrations involving allegations of design defects and fraudulent inducement. His white collar practice is similarly diverse. He currently serves as lead counsel for a partner of an international law firm facing conflict of interest charges, and recently negotiated a deferred prosecution agreement in a food contamination case for an international restaurant chain. Mr. Scheper received an A.B. in history from Harvard College in 1980, where he was the center on the football team, and a J.D., cum laude, from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 1985.
Alexander Cote, partner, represents clients through all phases of arbitration, trial, and appeal, in both state and federal courts. He has represented clients in issues related to First Amendment and free speech, torts, intellectual property, insurance, real estate litigation, False Claims Act, Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class action, education, and legal malpractice and contract disputes. Mr. Cote graduated cum laude from Connecticut College in 1997 with a B.A. in economics and a self-designed interdisciplinary minor in ethics. Mr. Cote received his J.D. from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law in 2000, Order of the Coif.
Peggy Dayton, partner, represents clients in both civil litigation and white collar criminal defense. Her practice encompasses all phases of litigation, including appeals, in both state and federal court. In civil matters, Ms. Dayton has represented clients in fraud actions, contract disputes, business tort matters, legal malpractice cases, class action litigation, False Claims Act litigation, and securities matters, including actions brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. In white collar matters, Ms. Dayton has represented individuals and business entities in connection with internal investigations and federal investigations. Ms. Dayton received her B.A. from Duke University in 2007, where she graduated summa cum laude. She received her J.D. from Stanford Law School in 2010.
Kathy Farkas, partner, is a seasoned litigator and focuses her practice on labor and employment, real estate, and complex commercial litigation. Ms. Farkas has represented clients in arbitration, in state and federal trial courts, and in appellate proceedings. In addition to representing a wide variety of commercial clients, Ms. Farkas currently serves as pro bono counsel representing students and community organizations in challenging the University of California’s use of the SAT and ACT for admissions and scholarships. She received her B.A. from Yale University in 1993. She received her J.D. from UCLA School of Law in 2004, where she graduated Order of the Coif.
William H. Forman, partner, counsels and represents clients in a wide range of complex commercial disputes, consumer class actions (including health care), securities fraud matters, and unique and precedent-setting First Amendment cases. He oversees and coordinates litigation for an international organization and in that capacity also provides counseling on corporate, employment, and a variety of U.S. and international regulatory issues. As first-chair trial attorney, he has tried cases successfully in both state and federal court in criminal and civil matters. He has argued and won appeals in numerous state and federal appellate courts, and argued successfully before the Federal Multi-District Litigation Panel. Mr. Forman received his A.B. from Princeton University in 1987, where he graduated summa cum laude and with highest honors in history. He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1990, graduating cum laude.
Angela M. Machala, partner, focuses on the representation of companies and corporate executives in regulatory and white collar criminal investigations, as well as state and federal litigation. She has extensive experience advising clients in a broad range of industries, including financial services, health care, environmental, and technology, in matters involving securities fraud, health care fraud, theft of trade secrets, environmental crimes, FCPA violations, and other alleged offenses. She also advises clients on negotiating with the government and responding to civil investigative demands and broad investigative subpoenas. In addition, Ms. Machala has extensive experience assisting companies in conducting sensitive internal investigations. In the civil arena, Ms. Machala has represented businesses and individuals accused of negligence in hiring, Lanham Act and civil RICO claims, as well as breach of fiduciary duty, usurpation of corporate opportunity, and fraud claims. Ms. Machala received her J.D. from Yale Law School in 2001. She graduated summa cum laude from UCLA in 1997 with a B.A. in political science. Ms. Machala clerked for U.S. District Judge Nora M. Manella in the Central District of California, and Judge Pamela Ann Rymer in the Ninth Circuit.
Michael Swartz, partner, focuses on complex commercial and securities litigation. For both plaintiffs and defendants, Mr. Swartz represents corporations, law firms, and individuals in a wide array of commercial disputes, including claims for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, malpractice, malicious prosecution, and misappropriation of trade secrets. He also represents banks and institutional investors in pursuing and defending against securities fraud and appraisal claims. He has tried cases in courts in California and Delaware, and successfully argued before the Delaware Supreme Court. In 1988, Mr. Swartz concurrently received a B.A. in economics and mathematics, summa cum laude, and an M.A. in economics from Yale University. In 1992, he received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was a member of the Yale Law Journal. Mr. Swartz clerked for U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson in the Central District of California.
Gregory Ellis, of counsel, is a civil litigator with extensive experience in both state and federal court, whose practice includes breach-of-contract disputes, real estate disputes, business torts, banking, securities fraud, intellectual property, and defense of personal injury and class action matters. Mr. Ellis has represented clients successfully at all stages of litigation, including at trial and on appeal. Mr. Ellis graduated magna cum laude from the University of Southern California in 1996 with a B.A. in political science and a minor in American history. He also received his J.D. from the University of Southern California, graduating in 1999.
Marc Harris, of counsel, focuses his practice on the representation of companies and individuals in connection with state and federal criminal investigations and prosecutions, as well as complex business litigation. In his white collar practice, Mr. Harris has successfully defended clients charged with or investigated for tax fraud, securities fraud, national security offenses, campaign finance fraud, health care fraud, and mail fraud. Mr. Harris received an A.B. from Duke University in 1985, graduating magna cum laude. He received his J.D. from University of California, Berkeley, School of Law in 1988.
Jana Russell, of counsel, is an experienced litigator representing clients in all phases of litigation in both federal and state court. Ms. Russell’s practice includes defense of civil and criminal investigations as wells as commercial disputes and class actions. Her practice has included litigation of matters involving health care fraud, environmental violations, financial services, securities, consumer products, and antitrust, and defense of legal, accounting, and tax professionals. In addition, Ms. Russell has experience conducting privileged internal investigations for corporations. Ms. Russell received a B.S. from Cornell University and her J.D. from UCLA School of Law, Order of the Coif.
Alexandra Aurisch, associate, is an experienced litigator who has represented clients in all phases of litigation, including trial. Her experience includes a broad range of civil matters and criminal investigations. Her civil practice has focused on business disputes, fraud, and employment law, ranging from wage-and-hour class actions to single-plaintiff actions alleging discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination. She has extensive experience handling law and motion practice in state and federal court, as well advising employers on best practices for legal compliance and on pre-litigation matters. Ms. Aurisch received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and a B.A. in psychology, cum laude, from Rice University.
Michael Lavetter, associate, is a litigator representing clients in all phases of litigation in both federal and state court. Mr. Lavetter’s practice includes commercial and contract disputes, environmental, products liability, intellectual property, and Internet litigation. Mr. Lavetter has also advised corporate and individual clients in a variety of regulatory and compliance matters. He received a B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1994 and a J.D. from the UCLA School of Law in 2002.
Miranda Lievsay, associate, represents clients in all phases of litigation in both federal and state court. Ms. Lievsay’s practice includes complex commercial litigation, white collar criminal defense, and civil and criminal investigations. Ms. Lievsay received her B.A. in classics, magna cum laude, from Georgetown University in 2010. She received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Fordham University School of Law in 2017, Order of the Coif.
Aaron O’Dell, associate, has built his career focusing on commercial, complex, and employment litigation, as well as internal investigations and white collar criminal defense. Mr. O’Dell has extensive experience litigating cases from their inception through trial and appeal, including trying multiple cases and arbitrations to verdict. Mr. O’Dell received his J.D., cum laude, from Notre Dame Law School in 2011. He graduated with a B.A. in political science in 2008 from the University of Texas at Austin.
Jeffrey L. Steinfeld, associate, has extensive trial experience and a broad complex commercial litigation practice representing clients in federal and state court at both the trial and appellate levels. Mr. Steinfeld’s practice focuses on white collar criminal defense and SEC enforcement actions, class action defense, federal and state securities laws, duties of corporate officers and directors, and M&A-related litigation. Mr. Steinfeld has extensive experience defending criminal and civil insider trading and securities fraud actions, as well as defending securities class actions. Mr. Steinfeld has first-chaired a federal trial to jury verdict and has participated in multiple other jury trials. Mr. Steinfeld is an active member of the Central District of California’s Pro Bono Panel, and has also acted as a moot court brief judge for Berkeley Law’s McBaine Honors Moot Court Competition. The Best Lawyers in America recognized Mr. Steinfeld in its inaugural 2021 Best Lawyers—Ones to Watch publication (August 20, 2020). Mr. Steinfeld received a B.B.A. from the University of Wisconsin in 2008 and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law in 2013, Order of the Coif.
“The addition of these outstanding lawyers to our Los Angeles office adds tremendous value for our clients, and is in keeping with Winston’s mission to continue to meet our clients’ growing and evolving needs on the West Coast,” said Winston Chairman Tom Fitzgerald. “We know this group of highly regarded lawyers well, having worked closely with a number of them for many years. Their reputation for client service is second to none, and the group shares Winston’s long-standing commitment to strategic growth through execution and client service.”
Winston & Strawn LLP is an international law firm with 15 offices located throughout North America, Asia, and Europe. More information about the firm is available at www.winston.com.