The National Law Journal (“NLJ”) has named two BLB&G partners, Mark Lebovitch and Jeroen van Kwawegen, as “Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Trailblazers,” recognizing them among the top 26 practitioners in the nation “who continue to make their mark in various aspects of legal work on the Plaintiffs’ side.” According to NLJ, “each has shown a deep passion and perseverance in pursuit of their mission, having achieved remarkable success along the way.”
In its profile of Mr. Lebovitch, NLJ highlights his groundbreaking achievements in helping create the first corporate watchdog council with 21st Century Fox while “challenging systemic sexual and workplace harassment at Fox News.” The suit also obtained $90 million for investors. Mr. Lebovitch was also credited for defending shareholder voting rights in a case against IAC/InterActive Corp.
When asked about why he switched over to the plaintiffs’ side after working at a prominent defense firm earlier in this career, Mr. Lebovitch explains, “I saw a need and an opportunity to become a plaintiffs’ lawyer to pull the other way in the tug of war over corporate governance regulations and laws.” Mr. Lebovitch contends that shareholders have an important role to play to combat corporations’ efforts to limit corporate accountability to investors. “Delaware is doing many things to threaten to obliterate shareholder litigation. Shareholders must push back. When you create rules that are too permissive of bad conduct, you get more bad conduct.”
Mr. van Kwawegen was also featured by NLJ for his work on behalf of institutional investors in securities class actions and fiduciary cases. He currently represents ADR investors in the Volkswagen diesel emissions case, and has used his background as a Dutch national to successfully create “a foundation in the Netherlands to help VW get a global resolution.” Mr. van Kwawegen also discusses his success in protecting shareholder and franchise rights in the case against Darden Restaurants, which he considers “an important case because it protected the fundamental rights of our constituency.”
According to Mr. van Kwawegen, he became a shareholder lawyer since he couldn’t be a U.S. prosecutor as a foreign national. Setting an example for his peers, his success in the U.S. has inspired other attorneys “from continental Europe to come to the U.S. to also work as plaintiffs’ lawyers.” In terms of his outlook for the future as a plaintiffs’ attorney, Mr. van Kwawegen is not particularly worried: “In an age when facts and opinions are considered the same, it’s hard to have a debate. This is worrisome for our future but good for our business.”