J.D., Yale Law School, 2006
Book Reviews Editor, Yale Law Journal
Potter Stewart Prize (moot court winner)
Edgar M. Cullen Prize
Judge John R. Brown Award
U.S. Foreign Language & Area Studies Scholarship (Arabic)
A.M., Stanford University, 2000
A.B., with honors and distinction, Stanford University, 2000
Phi Beta Kappa
District of Columbia
Ariel N. Lavinbuk, Partner
Ariel N. Lavinbuk is a trial and appellate litigator. He has a broad commercial practice, including substantial experience in matters involving creditors’ rights and fraudulent transfer law, and intellectual property licensing and litigation. Ariel has particular expertise litigating international disputes in U.S. courts and frequently works with and coordinates foreign counsel prosecuting actions abroad.
Creditors’ rights and fraudulent transfer law. In recent years, Ariel has represented individual creditors, their trustees, ad hoc groups, and creditors’ committees in disputes arising out of a number of major restructurings and bankruptcies, including those of Caesars Entertainment Operating Company; the Tribune Company; OAS S.A. (Brazil); Petrobras (Brazil); Patriot Coal Co.; Energy Future Holdings Co.; DTek Finance (Ukraine); Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; Tousa, Inc.; Education Management Corp; and Residential Capital, LLC.
Ariel has argued or briefed cases in federal and state trial courts nationwide, in bankruptcy courts, and in nearly every federal court of appeals. His Supreme Court experience includes petition and merits-stage briefing in ten cases—among them, Costco v. Omega (2010) and Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons (2013), in which his work helped persuade the Court to permit, over the United States’ objection, the importation of copyrighted gray-market goods. Ariel also counsels clients on matters related to government ethics, holds a Top Secret/SCI security clearance, and has represented foreign and U.S. elected officials, their staff, and lobbyists in civil and criminal actions and congressional investigations.
Ariel began his career at McKinsey & Co., where he advised technology and media companies on a wide variety of strategic and organizational issues. He also spent time on the management staff of Teach For America, where he placed nearly 2,000 teachers in over twenty school districts nationwide and disbursed millions of dollars in financial aid.
Ariel clerked for Judge Stephen F. Williams on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He is widely published, with works appearing in the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, and Slate, among other publications. He is also a fellow and founding board member of the Truman National Security Project, and is a frequent panelist at Georgetown Law School’s Supreme Court Institute.
Representative matters include:
Credit Suisse, Cayman Islands Branch v. Appaloosa, et al. (No. 651134/2015, N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2015): Representing Credit Suisse, as first lien agent, in a case alleging that second lien noteholders breached an intercreditor agreement in connection with the Caesars bankruptcy.
MicroStrategy Services Corp. v. OpenRisk, LLC (No. 1:14-cv-01244, E.D.Va. 2015): Representing MicroStrategy in prosecuting a breach of contract claim and defending against counterclaims for trade secret misappropriation, conspiracy, and breach of fiduciary duty. In March 2015, most of the defendant’s counterclaims were dismissed after successful motion practice; all other claims are currently set for trial in June 2015.
Huxley Capital Corp. v. OAS S.A., et al. (In re: Caesars Entertainment Operating Co., Inc., et al. (No. 1:15-cv-01637, S.D.N.Y. 2015): Representing creditors pressing fraudulent conveyance and unjust enrichment claims against one of Brazil’s largest engineering and infrastructure companies.
In re: Tribune Company Fraudulent Conveyance Litigation (No. 13-3992, 2d. Cir): Representing creditors in an appeal of a district court decision dismissing their fraudulent conveyance claims arising out of the leveraged buyout of the Tribune Company. The appeal, which raises issues of federal preemption and standing under the Bankruptcy Code, was argued in November 2014 and is awaiting decision.
Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 133 S. Ct. 1351 (2013), and Costco Wholesale Corp. v. Omega, 131 S. Ct. 565 (2010): Represented Costco Wholesale Corp. as a party and as amicus curiae in a pair of Supreme Court cases addressing whether the Copyright Act’s first-sale doctrine applies to copies made abroad by a U.S. copyright holder. In June 2013, by a 6-3 majority and over the objection of the Solicitor General, the Court accepted Costco’s argument that the doctrine does apply, and that copyrighted goods originally made abroad can therefore be imported and sold in the United States.
NML Capital, Ltd., et al. v. Republic of Argentina, 727 F.3d 230 (2d Cir. 2013), cert. denied, 134 S. Ct. 2819 (2014): Representing hedge funds attempting to secure relief for Argentina’s default on debt issued in the 1990s. The case raises, among other things, issues about jurisdiction and relief under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. After successful appellate briefing, the Second Circuit affirmed—and then the Supreme Court was persuaded not to disturb—a district court order directing Argentina to abide by its pari passu and equal treatment obligations to bondholders.
Moradi, et al. v. Adelson, et al. (No. 2:11-CV-490, D. Nev.) and Kohanim v. Adelson, et al. (No. A-11-636656-B, Nev.): Representing the Board of Directors of Las Vegas Sands Corp. in state and federal shareholder-derivative suits alleging violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in Macau, China. Both cases have been stayed indefinitely following successful motions practice.
Pegasus Imaging Corp. v. Northrop Grumman Corp., et al. (No. 8:07-CV-01937, M.D. Fla.) and Pegasus Imaging Corp. v. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., (No. 8:2010-CV-01617, D. Mass.): Represented defendant Northrop Grumman in suits alleging copyright infringement and breach of software license. The matters settled after defendants secured a mistrial in one action.
Atlantic Recording Corp., et al. v. Project Playlist, Inc. (No. 08 Civ. 3922, S.D.N.Y.): Represented major record label plaintiffs in a copyright infringement suit against a streaming-music website. The matter settled after defendant’s motion to dismiss was denied.
Represented Freedom House, an international democracy-promotion organization, in connection with the criminal prosecution of seven employees, in Egypt, for distributing foreign aid and assistance to Egyptian political and civil society groups.
Represented two senior White House officials in leak investigations. Both officials were cleared of any wrongdoing without their involvement becoming public.
Represented a sitting Member of Congress, during a high-profile Senate campaign, in connection with an investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). The investigation was ultimately dropped without becoming public.
Represented two lobbyists for a major financial-services firm in connection with a criminal investigation of lobbying disclosure irregularities. The investigation was ultimately dropped without charges and without becoming public.
Professional Activities, Publications and Honors:
Principal and Founding Board Member, Truman National Security Project
Moot Court Panelist, Georgetown Supreme Court Institute
Moot Court Panelist, National Chamber Litigation Center
The Outsourcing of American Law, Slate (Aug. 15, 2006)
Rationalism and Revisionism in International Law, 119 Harv. L. Rev. 1404 (2006)
Hamdan: A Conspiracy Theory, Slate (Mar. 27, 2006)
Rethinking Early Judicial Involvement in Foreign Affairs, 114 Yale L.J. 855 (2005)