William J. SnipesPartner
William Snipes is a member of the Firm’s Litigation Group. His practice is focused on representing clients in complex commercial litigation in a variety of areas, including securities, banking, intellectual property and products liability, and in major internal investigations and regulatory enforcement proceedings before federal and state authorities.
Mr. Snipes has represented a broad range of U.S. and foreign industrial and financial services clients. He has represented the world’s largest oil and gas company in antitrust litigation and the world’s largest spirits manufacturer in youth marketing litigation. He has handled antitrust litigation for a major U.S. sports league and litigation against a large law firm in the national tobacco litigation. He represented the New York State Department of Financial Services in litigation challenging the state’s regulatory authority over insolvent foreign banks and the Superintendent of Banks in subsequent liquidation proceedings.
Professional Activities and Community Involvement
Mr. Snipes is one of the principal co-founders of the Pipeline Crisis/Winning Strategies Initiative—his innovative brainchild—that was launched in 2006 to marshal private sector leadership, investment, and advocacy to address the social and economic gap between young black men and their peers. The American Lawyer called Mr. Snipes a lawyer-statesman and his initiative “unprecedented”, observing that “[h]istorically Wall Street law firms and investment banks have spent little time trying to address the root causes of African American poverty.”
Mr. Snipes serves on the governing boards of the John Jay College Foundation, Zahn Innovation Center at City College and Center For Employment Opportunities and is a former member of the Executive Committee of the New York City Bar Association, Board of Trustees of New School University, and Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary. Mr. Snipes, for many years, taught trial advocacy at Columbia Law School.
Rankings and Recognitions
Mr. Snipes has been named to The Lawdragon 500: The Leading Lawyers in America (2006, 2007) and Lawdragon 3000: Leading Lawyers in America (2009-2010), and has been recognized as a leader in Business Litigation in New York Super Lawyers (2006-2018).
Mr. Snipes has received numerous awards and accolades for his commitment to public service, advancing diversity in the legal profession, and his groundbreaking initiative on young black men, including from the Metropolitan Bar Association (Lawyer of Year Award); The New School (Distinguished Service Award); The New York Urban League (Frederick Douglass Award); Sponsors of Educational Opportunities (Law Journal Award); Strive (Corporate Angel Award); Medgar Evers College (Legacy Award); United Way of New York (Community Quarterback Award); Neighborhood Defender Services of Harlem (Special Recognition Award); and Howard University School of Law (Distinguished Corporate Citizen Award).
- Mr. Snipes was one of the lead lawyers in Fait v. Regions Financial Corp., 655 F.3d 105 (2d Cir. 2011), in which the Second Circuit established that statements of goodwill and loan loss reserves are matters of opinion and estimation, not statements of material fact, and therefore not actionable under the 1933 Securities Act.
- Represented The Clearing House Association in litigation to compel public disclosure of confidential bank data concerning Federal Reserve Discount Window lending during the financial crisis.
- Obtained dismissal of multiple class actions alleging that alcohol beverage marketing targeted underage consumers and seeking over $2 billion damages from alcohol beverage manufacturers.
- Obtained dismissal of action by states seeking to force law firms to contribute financially to reimbursing states for billions of dollars of tobacco-related health costs for allegedly aiding tobacco manufacturers to suppress information about the health hazards of cigarette smoking.
- Mr. Snipes has handled internal and government investigations and related securities and shareholder derivative suits and arbitrations in matters involving derivative instruments, market timing of mutual fund trading, “back dated” stock options, auction rate securities, and allegations of money laundering.