George Skelly is a litigator with more than 30 years of experience successfully representing officers, directors, and companies in high stakes litigation, government investigations, and arbitrations as well as complex commercial disputes. George heads the firm’s Securities Litigation practice.
I focus on defending officers, directors, and companies in SEC inquiries, enforcement actions, securities fraud class actions, and shareholder derivative actions. I also represent companies in a variety of large commercial disputes including advising companies in merger and acquisition transactions. I litigated and tried claims for $1 billion in principal and interest in the largest Chapter 11 bankruptcy case filed in Delaware. I represented a major public REIT in a contest for control initiated by activist shareholders. 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). 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. 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 recent major waves of securities litigation, including market timing, stock option backdating, and financial-crisis-era mortgage-backed securities offerings.
My sense is that the SEC will sharpen its focus on the developing field of digital assets including initial offerings of digital tokens, and private litigation will follow suit. At the same time, the SEC will expand the reach of its insider trading claims, while continuing to pursue more traditional accounting fraud claims. Trials of SEC enforcement actions will become more common as the SEC increasingly refuses to accept “neither admit nor deny” settlements from companies. More broadly, arbitration will likely continue to grow as an alternative forum for dispute resolution.
U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court
Columbia Law School, J.D., 1984, James Kent Scholar and Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar
Princeton University, B.A., 1976, magna cum laude
Former co-chair of Boston Bar Association’s Securities Enforcement and Litigation Committee.
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