Law360 Names David Stickney a “Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar”

November 4, 2014

Selected as a “Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar” by Law360, BLB&G partner David Stickney was profiled as part of the publication’s inaugural series, which recognizes him as one among an elite group of plaintiff attorneys who have greatly impacted the field of securities litigation.

In the feature, Mr. Stickney credits his exposure to the “the world of high-stakes securities litigation” during his clerkship for the Honorable Judge Bailey Brown of the Sixth Circuit as the catalyst behind his decision to become a plaintiffs’ attorney.  At the time, Congress had just passed the PSLRA act, and Mr. Stickney was able to get a first-hand glimpse of the “high quality of the lawyering” these cases demanded.  According to Mr. Stickney, becoming a plaintiffs’ attorney was an ideal career choice that allowed him to do right and do well: “By nature, I think I’m prosecutorial.  I like the creativity of it and I feel like it’s an opportunity to do right – representing the victims.” 

Following his clerkship, Mr. Stickney spent a few years prosecuting capital market suits during the dot-com era.  He then officially joined BLB&G to help open its west coast office in San Diego.  A few short years later, Mr. Stickney would gain invaluable experience as a member of the team prosecuting Baptist Foundation of Arizona Liquidation Trust v. Arthur Andersen.  This was a challenging case involving a massive Ponzi scheme that resulted in the largest ever bankruptcy of a nonprofit organization, causing great harm to its elderly victims.  The case, which went to trial, settled for $217 million after opening statements.

Mr. Stickney recalls at one time feeling overwhelmed while standing in the firm’s “war room,” taking stock of all the things that needed to get done in preparation for trial, and the insanely tight deadline schedule his team had to work with.  According to Mr. Stickney, “I learned that, you look at a challenge like that, and it doesn’t seem mathematically possible that you can do it.  But it turns out you can do a lot more than you think you can do.”

As a partner of the firm, this lesson would serve him well as he assumed the responsibility for prosecuting a “slew of post-financial crisis cases over the fraudulent sale of mortgage-backed securities.”  Of particular note is his success in obtaining $615 million for clients in the case against Lehman Brothers following its collapse.  Despite the fact that Lehman was bankrupt, Mr. Stickney and his team focused on “recoveries from individuals, who were never gonna have the resources to make the victims whole, and also the outside accounting firms and junior underwriters.”  Dan Girard of Girard Gibbs LLP, who represented the structured note investors in the Lehman case, praised Mr. Stickney’s handling of the case, describing him as “very professional and even-handed,” and “as a good source of advice.”

The feature also turns to Mr. Stickney’s life outside of work, highlighting his dedication to his two daughters.  “Of my activities outside of law, most them involve my children.  It’s not uncommon for one or both of them to come to the office and watch me work.” Mr. Stickney also has a special fondness for the outdoors and leads an active lifestyle, finding that “running or biking after a difficult day of suing somebody is very important.”

The profile concludes by summarizing Mr. Stickney’s ambition to “keep nurturing his family and soaking up the San Diego sun while growing his practice even more.”  According to Mr. Stickney, “this field is very important, and I can see myself continuing to do what I do for the forseeable future, because there will always be a need for it.  There will always be people that overreach, there is always going to be corruption in business.”

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