On December 10, 2015, partner Kannon Shanmugam was named “Litigator of the Week” by The American Lawyer Litigation Daily in recognition of his successful representation of former bond trader Jesse Litvak who was previously convicted of criminal securities fraud and sentenced to two years in prison after admitting he had lied to investors. According to the publication, the approach taken by Mr. Shanmugam led the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to vacate Litvak’s conviction for duping bond buyers, and reverse his conviction for defrauding the United States.
Head of the firm’s Supreme Court and appellate litigation practice, Shanmugam was approached to take the case after Litvak’s trial last year. He argued that the lower court improperly excluded expert testimony about industry practices in the bond market, where sellers have a reputation for not always telling the truth and that sophisticated buyers use their own rigorous process to value bonds and it doesn’t matter what the seller tells them. Litvak’s false statements were not material under securities law, Shanmugam maintained.
Mr. Shanmugam joined Williams & Connolly in 2008 after serving as an Assistant to the Solicitor General in the Department of Justice. He was the first lawyer in 22 years to join the firm directly as a partner. He has argued 17 cases before the Supreme Court, including three cases in the 2014-2015 term. Last year, he broke the legendary Edward Bennett Williams' record for the most Supreme Court arguments by a lawyer in the firm's history. Mr. Shanmugam is the co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Appellate Practice Committee and a member of the Advisory Committee on Procedures for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.