James W. Johnson reflects on the Firm’s past year of successes that earned the title “Elite Trial Lawyers" in Securities
In a special report by The National Law Journal featuring the 2015 Elite Trial Lawyers competition winners, Labaton Sucharow partner James W. Johnson remarked on a variety of topics in a Q&A about the Firm’s culture, wins, and important developments in the legal industry.
Q: What is one word that best describes the firm?
Q: What is one interesting fact about your firm that few people know?
A: Ed Labaton had a tremendous role in building this firm, and the positive culture he instilled remains a vibrant part of our firm today.
Q: Identify one stereotype about plaintiffs lawyers and dispel it.
A: The quality of cases we pursue as class action securities lawyers is far superior than the stereotypical view. That's because plaintiffs lawyers, especially at firms like ours, have little financial incentive to litigate cases without merit. This stands the myth of "ambulance-chasing" plaintiffs lawyers on its head.
Q: Name two recent law firms you enjoyed sparring with—and why?
A: Sullivan & Cromwell's zealous representation of its clients' interests in an ongoing case has resulted in aggressive and well-presented arguments that have brought out the best in our responses and strategy. In a recently settled case involving a quasi-governmental agency, the well-developed defenses litigated by O'Melveny & Myers forced our litigation team to think outside the box in crafting a resolution that provided an excellent settlement to the class of shareholders.
Q: What is your biggest pet peeve about practicing law?
A: I find it particularly challenging to deal with opposing counsel when they have little experience with securities class action litigation.
Q: What is the most significant change in trial practice you've seen in the last five years?
A: The standards placed on securities class action plaintiffs have continued to change, which has resulted in holding us to a much higher standard than other types of class action litigation plaintiffs.
Q: What do you think will be the most important development in the law-legal business that will impact your firm in the next 10 years?
A: The continued integration of new technology into document reviews and trials.