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The Paul, Weiss Litigation Department is led by a team of the country’s most accomplished trial lawyers. Our litigators in New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. handle the most complex and demanding lawsuits, class actions, government investigations, criminal prosecutions and restructurings. Our clients include Fortune 50 corporations and other prominent companies in the financial services, investment, medical device, pharmaceutical, sports, technology, energy, media and insurance industries. Every day, we are called on by chief executives, board chairs, general counsel, investors and entrepreneurs for our unmatched trial skills, sophisticated business judgment and renowned strategic advice.
Litigation partners Robert Atkins and Liza Velazquez were named “Litigators of the Week” by The American Lawyer for their September 3 victory on behalf of our client International Business Machines Corporation in a high-stakes trade secrets and noncompetition trial in the Southern District of New York.
The Paul, Weiss team obtained an injunction based on a noncompete agreement when U.S. District Judge Philip Halpern blocked a former IBM executive from taking the position as Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Latin America for the next nine months.
In a Q&A with The American Lawyer, Bob and Liza noted that some of IBM’s most valuable trade secrets and confidential business strategies were at risk if senior IBM executive Rodrigo Lima were permitted to move to the role offered by Microsoft. They noted that litigation associates Pietro Signoracci and Crystal Parker played a major part in preparing the evidence to make IBM’s case on an expedited timeframe—roughly 30 days from the TRO to trial, with depositions sandwiched in between.
This marked the first in-person trial in the Southern District of New York since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the courts. Because everyone in the courtroom, including the lawyers and witnesses, had to wear face masks, Liza commented: “Until this extraordinary moment, we did not appreciate how often we use—and need—our facial expressions to connect with witnesses and the judge, and to confront witnesses on cross.”
“After sheltering for four months, it was exhilarating to be back in the courtroom and back on our feet. But it was in many respects surreal,” Bob said.