William Savitt draws international plaudits for his practice which focuses on advising corporations and directors on governance-related litigation.
William Savitt is the co-chair of the litigation department of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. His practice focuses on representing corporations and directors in litigation involving mergers and acquisitions, proxy contests, corporate governance disputes, class actions involving allegations of breach of fiduciary duty and regulatory enforcement actions relating to corporate transactions. Mr Savitt writes and speaks extensively on corporate and securities law topics, and is an adjunct law professor at Columbia Law School in the field of transactional litigation.
Mr Savitt has played a leading role in high-stakes corporate governance and merger and acquisitions litigation in the Delaware Court of Chancery and in courts around the country. Among recent examples, Mr Savitt successfully litigated the landmark case of Corwin v KKR Financial in the Court of Chancery and the Delaware Supreme Court; defended Allergan in response to a hostile bid from Pershing Square and Valeant; defended Sothebys’ shareholder rights plan against an activist investor attack; was lead trial counsel in the successful and unprecedented litigation effort of Vulcan Materials Company to obtain a court order enjoining an attempted hostile takeover by an industry rival; has defended corporate bylaw and charter provisions in courts around the country; has tried numerous M&A cases to successful verdict; and was lead attorney in the United States and Canada in Lions Gate Entertainment’s successful multinational defence of Carl Icahn’s takeover attempt. Mr Savitt is a recognised authority on multi-jurisdictional corporate litigation and has defended numerous corporate merger and class action fiduciary challenges in Delaware, New York, California and elsewhere, including recent successful defences of the New York Stock Exchange’s merger with the InterContinental Exchange, the going-private sale of Dell, Inc, and the merger between Saks Fifth Avenue and Hudson’s Bay Company.
Mr Savitt graduated magna cum laude from Brown University and received an MPhil from Columbia University in European legal history. He graduated from Columbia Law School in 1997, where he was editor-in-chief of the Columbia Law Review. Upon graduation from law school, Mr Savitt served as a law clerk to the Honourable Pierre N Leval of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit for the 1997 term and to the Honourable Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court of the United States for the October 1998 term. Among other professional recognitions, Mr Savitt has been named by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as a leading securities litigator; by Lawdragon as one of the 500 leading lawyers in the United States; by Benchmark Litigation as a litigation star; and as a leading authority in the Who’s Who Legal: M&A and Governance. He is a member of the American Law Institute, the board of directors of the New York Legal Aid Society and the board of trustees of the Columbia Law Review; and is a past executive director of Interfaith Hunger Appeal, a New York-based international hunger relief organisation.