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They say that people in Washington, D.C., are too partisan. But Carl Kravitz likes to play both sides of the fence: 50 percent defense work, 50 percent plaintiffs litigation. Kravitz, the chairman of Zuckerman Spaeder’s litigation practice, defends corporations with gusto every day. But, he says, he also thinks “that it is a challenge to be the lawyer who has to develop the theory of the case and move the case along, and so I like the plaintiffs’ side of things quite a bit.” During his 25 years as a business litigator, Kravitz, 51, has successfully represented such diverse interests as the Public Broadcasting Service in a lawsuit against Hughes Aircraft, Leesburg Joint Venture in a $30 million real estate development lawsuit, and Harry Connick Jr. in a copyright dispute. His biggest victory came representing asbestos victims in a fraudulent-conveyance suit against Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Walter Industries Inc., which led to a nearly $400 million post-trial settlement for his clients. He is now handling a multibillion-dollar commercial dispute for London Market Insurers. In back-and-forth litigation all over the country, Kravitz is representing the insurers against lead-paint manufacturers over issues of insurance coverage and liability. Longtime client Peter Edwards, CEO of the Silver Spring, Md.-based video-distribution company Acorn Media Group, sings Kravitz’s praises: “Besides the fact that he’s extremely professional, extremely smart, extremely experienced, and level-headed, he makes a commitment that goes far beyond anything you could attribute to good service.” Edwards experienced this commitment firsthand when Acorn Media faced a personnel crisis in 2003. “It all kind of exploded for me one weekend, and I called Carl at home on a Sunday, and I said I needed help. I needed the cavalry.” Kravitz told him he would receive a call the next morning from two Zuckerman attorneys, and within 36 hours, Edwards says, they had the problem under control. On the plaintiffs’ side, Kravitz represented shareholders in a 2003 derivative suit against the directors and management of City National Bank of Charleston, W.Va. The shareholders alleged that bank management had breached its fiduciary duty and demolished any standard of corporate governance when the bank’s stock price plummeted into the single digits. Kravitz took them to task, and the case settled favorably. Guy Bucci, a West Virginia attorney who recruited Kravitz to try the case, says Kravitz helped his clients articulate to the court how bank management had made unwise investments. “He worked with stockholders and minority board members to get them to explain how management had taken their community bank and turned it,” says Bucci. Paul Tallman, the lead plaintiff in the case, puts it more simply: “He sure could turn on the heat when he needed to.” A 1980 graduate of Columbia Law School, Kravitz clerked for Judge Stephen Reinhardt on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit before going into private practice. After stints at Steptoe & Johnson, Nussbaum Owen & Webster, and Caplin & Drysdale, he landed at Zuckerman Spaeder in 1999. Over the years, says Kravitz, being a commercial litigator has meant a never-ending education in both law and business. “Learning the facts and intricacies of a business transaction is like a puzzle,” he says. “Solving that puzzle can be extremely satisfying.”

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