In a massive gender discrimination class action against Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, David Sanford and a team from Sanford Wittels & Heisler called 13 plaintiffs to testify about being passed over for raises and promotions because of gender or pregnancy. Then they used Novartis’s promotion statistics to argue that the discrimination was systematic. In May a federal district court jury in Manhattan awarded $3.4 million in compensatory damages to 12 plaintiffs and $250 million in punitive damages to more than 5,000 current and former women employees, whose compensatory damages will be determined by a special master. Novartis will appeal.


Since Scott Barshay of Cravath, Swaine & Moore started representing UAL Corporation in 1999, he has advised the airline on merger talks with either Continental Airlines, Inc., or U.S. Airways Group, Inc., on three different occasions—only to see the deal fall through each time. But the flirting got serious in May, when United agreed to a tie-up with Continental for $3 billion. Barshay says airline mergers are a rare breed since they’re often derailed by capital structure, labor, or antitrust issues, but he is confident that this one will receive regulatory approval by year-end. Despite the lengthy lead-up, the merger took just three weeks to complete. “After spending ten years pursuing a transformative airline merger, I’m just happy to get to the finish line,” he says.