This past year Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher won a $3 billion verdict for HP against Oracle at trial in Santa Clara Superior Court, a sanctions order terminating a case against client AEW Capital Management, and a more than $37 million verdict for Aetna Inc. in an overbilling case against a group of Bay Area surgical centers. That record landed the firm, a perennial litigation power, a runner-up spot in The Recorder’s 2017 Litigation Department of the Year competition.
Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., the global co-chair of the firm’s litigation group, recently told The Recorder about the firm’s creative approach to litigating clients’ toughest cases.
What do each of the cases the firm is being recognized for demonstrate about Gibson Dunn’s litigation capacities? When we get involved in a case—for the plaintiff or defendant and at whatever stage, at the very beginning, on the brink of trial or on appeal after a large verdict—we have one thing in mind: How can we score the quickest, most decisive victory possible for our clients? In other words, we try to successfully end cases for our clients. It may sound simplistic, but it works.
Gibson Dunn is consistently among the top firms regionally and nationally in these sorts of contests. How is the firm able to keep getting assignments that are among clients’ toughest cases and producing these sorts of results? We are lucky enough to have great clients who come to us for their most important cases, and when we work with them to succeed, that strengthens the relationship and leads to more cases for those clients and new clients.
I know Gibson Dunn is a big, diverse firm, but is there any one trait that you think is consistent across all the firm’s litigators? If so, what is it? Creativity.
It’s a challenging litigation market, with flat or declining demand, rate pressures. From a business perspective, what does it take for a litigation department to succeed in this environment—especially one that focuses on taking on clients’ biggest and most challenging matters? Combining excellence and efficiency to deliver true value based on the size and complexity of the matter at hand.
Fewer cases are going to trial, and those that are tend to be high stakes. In light of these facts, what is the firm doing to give new lawyers stand-up opportunities in front of judges and juries? Very often, the best lawyer to stand up in court for a client can be a junior member of the team. We engage with our clients early on to let them know that that’s our view. More and more judges encourage getting new lawyers up to the podium and that helps, too. There is no better feeling than to see one of your young colleagues knock it out of the park.
How are your litigators harnessing technology to work more efficiently? We try to use cutting-edge technology to amplify our capabilities and our efficiency across the board and to make our clients’ lives easier, which includes everything from how we communicate, do legal and factual research, conduct and respond to discovery, make trial graphics and write our appellate briefs.