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Nationally Recognized Litigation Team Joins Arent Fox

New York, NY — Arent Fox LLP is pleased to announce the addition of leading litigators and arbitration partners Howard Graff and Nikol Gruning Thompson to its New York office and nationally recognized Complex Litigation practice. Mr. Graff joins Arent Fox with a reputation for successfully crafting legal strategies to advance his clients’ business goals in industries that include commercial real estate, communications, finance, and alcoholic beverages.

“Howard is one of the nation’s top litigators,” said Michael S. Blass, New York Managing Partner. “His first-rate legal skills will be a great addition to the New York office and to the firm’s litigation, arbitration, and real estate capabilities. We are excited to have Howard and Nikol join Arent Fox.”

Mr. Graff and Ms. Thompson arrive from Dickstein Shapiro, where Mr. Graff was co-leader of the firm’s Business Litigation practice and was previously the New York managing partner. They are joined by litigation associate Courtney E. Topic.

Mr. Graff has represented clients in a number of high profile cases, most recently securing a large ($140 million) International Chamber of Commerce arbitration award for a private equity client as damages for failure to honor obligations created by a Letter of Intent relative to the sale of a beauty care business. During the recent financial crisis, Mr. Graff successfully represented many borrowers, most notably Kohlberg Capital, in a dispute over a conduit lending facility, and DestinyUSA, where he obtained the first injunction enforcing a construction loan in New York that ultimately led to the resolution of the matter.

Other high profile cases populating Mr. Graff’s successful track record include representing wholesalers of alcoholic beverages in cross-border shipping disputes, notably the Swedenberg case that was decided by the Supreme Court of the United States and the follow-up Second Circuit win in the Arnold’s Wines case that barred cross border sales of “spirits”; a successful arbitration battle with Leona Helmsley that secured ownership of Helmsley Spear, LLC for Irving Schneider and Alvin Schwartz; the epoch litigation that followed defeating billion dollar claims asserted by syndicators of 11 office buildings managed by Helmsley Spear, including the Empire State Building, the Toy Building, the Lincoln Building and the Fisk Building; establishing Spider Man creator Stan Lee’s right to recover his profit participation from Marvel Comics; vindicating the rights of the employees and former employees of Northwest Airlines to 10 years of deferred compensation (transformed into stock and option rights) and obtaining a judgment of $280 million in their favor; securing and collecting an arbitration award and judgment against Yasser Arafat and the PLO after it reneged upon its contractual commitments relative to telecommunications in the West Bank and Gaza; and defending the Korean delegate Kim Un Yong before the International Olympics Committee.

Ms. Thompson focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation and has substantive experience handling matters in the alcohol beverage industry. She often appears before federal and state courts and in domestic and international arbitration. Ms. Thompson received her BA from Bucknell University and her JD, cum laude, from Villanova University School of Law. She is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey, and before the US District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.

Strategic, aggressive, and innovative, Arent Fox’s Complex Litigation group has been recognized by Chambers USA for its “streamlined” approach that delivers “quality” results. With more than 125 litigators, the practice boasts a deep bench and international reach while having extensive experience in bet-the-company cases before federal and state courts and regulatory agencies. The group is especially proficient at managing parallel litigation in multiple jurisdictions and represents clients in matters that include intellectual property, health care, life sciences, trade, automotive, insurance and human rights abuses.

About Arent Fox
Founded in 1942, Arent Fox is internationally recognized in core practice areas where business and the law intersect. With more than 400 lawyers, the firm provides strategic legal counsel and multidisciplinary solutions to a global roster of corporations, governments, and trade associations. The firm has offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.


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