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.
George served as a federal judicial law clerk to the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 1984–1985.
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.
Law360 | January 17, 2020
Boston Complex Commercial Disputes partner George Skelly and partner-elect Morgan Nighan analyze a recent decision in Delaware Chancery Court that could broaden stockholders’ ability to inspect a corporation’s books and records without evidence of a specific violation by directors.
Law360 | December 11, 2018
Financial Restructuring & Bankruptcy partners Lee Harrington of Boston and Dan Sklar of Manchester and Complex Commercial Disputes partner George Skelly of Boston are mentioned in this story for their representation of Tempnology in an ongoing licensing suit, which is now before the Supreme Court.
Securities Litigation Alert | 01.15.20
Securities Litigation Alert | 03.28.19
Class Action Alert | 11.15.18
Securities Litigation Alert | 02.21.18
Commercial Litigation Alert | 08.27.17
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, through a peer-review survey, for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2020 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.