George Skelly is a litigator with almost 30 years of experience successfully representing officers, directors and companies in high stakes litigation, government investigations and arbitrations. George heads the firm’s securities litigation practice.
I focus on defending officers, directors and companies in SEC inquiries and enforcement actions and in securities fraud class actions. But I also represent companies in a variety of large commercial disputes. I recently represented a major public REIT in a contest for control initiated by activist shareholders. I successfully litigated and tried claims for $1 billion in principal and interest in the largest operating Chapter 11 bankruptcy case filed in Delaware. I successfully defended the CEO of a major public software company in a 15-day federal jury trial in which the SEC claimed accounting fraud. My team obtained a complete victory in a two-year federal court enforcement action by the SEC against the collateral manager of a complex derivative financial product (CDO). Acting as ‘plaintiff’s counsel,’ I achieved a significant victory for a consumer product company in an arbitration against a component supplier to recover costs associated with a major product recall. I have defended individual officers and directors in SEC actions and investigations in each of the major waves of securities litigation over the last two decades, including market timing, stock option backdating and financial-crisis-era mortgage-backed securities offerings.
My sense is that the SEC will be returning its focus to more traditional accounting fraud and insider trading claims, now that many of the financial-crisis-era cases have run their course; and the plaintiffs’ class action bar will not be far behind. Trials of SEC enforcement claims will become more common as the SEC increasingly refuses to accept ‘neither admit nor deny’ settlements from companies who feel they have not acted improperly but would settle for business reasons. More broadly, arbitration will likely continue to grow as an alternative forum for dispute resolution.
Boston Globe | March 23, 2017
Boston government investigations and white collar defense associate Eric Walz, commercial litigation partner George Skelly and M&A and corporate transactions senior counsel Bill Kelly provided insight about how legal decisions can have broader business implications for clients in this article about a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision involving former EMC corporation chief executive Joe Tucci and EMC’s shareholders.
Law360 | March 17, 2017
Boston commercial litigation partner George Skelly, M&A and corporate transactions senior counsel William Kelly and government investigations and white collar defense associate Eric Walz contributed this article about the Massachusetts SJC’s guidance regarding fiduciary duties of directors of publicly traded Massachusetts corporations.
Reuters | August 17, 2016
This article focuses on Energy Future Holdings Corp, Texas’s biggest power company, request of a US bankruptcy court to allow the bulk of its operations to exit Chapter 11. The coverage notes that Energy Future faces stiff opposition from a group of creditors—including NP client American Stock Transfer & Trust Co. LLC—about how tax assets would be used in the power giant’s proposed spinoff of its major operating unit as the company kicked off the first half of its second attempt to exit bankruptcy. Boston financial restructuring and bankruptcy partner Rick Pedone is quoted and Boston global finance partner Amanda Darwin, Boston commercial litigation partner George Skelly, and New York City financial restructuring and bankruptcy associate Christopher Fong are listed among American Stock’s counsel.
Class Action Alert | 11.15.18
Securities Litigation Alert | 02.22.18
Commercial Litigation Alert | 08.28.17
Securities Litigation Alert | 08.04.17
Securities Litigation Alert | 06.28.17
Securities Litigation Alert | 04.03.17
Securities Litigation/Mergers & Acquisitions Alert | 03.13.17
Securities Litigation Alert | 03.13.17
Columbia Law School, J.D., 1984, James Kent Scholar and Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar
Princeton University, B.A., 1976, magna cum laude
U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court
George was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2019 in the field of Litigation - Securities. George has been listed in Best Lawyers since 2017.
Former co-chair of Boston Bar Association’s Securities Enforcement and Litigation Committee.