In over twenty-five years of practice at Sullivan & Cromwell, Michael J. Bowe has successfully litigated virtually every type of high-stakes business and personal case, on both the plaintiff and defense side, and at both the trial and appellate level. He has navigated to safety many companies and high net worth individuals facing serious criminal and regulatory jeopardy. And he provides sage crisis management advice during periods of substantial duress. He is the consummate “on your feet” courtroom lawyer, who typically tries or arbitrates multiple cases each year, where he turns complex disputes into simple, compelling stories. He is also a game-changing strategic thinker who has employed novel solutions to problems other lawyers had advised clients could not be effectively addressed.
According to one of the most experienced trial lawyers in America, “Michael is simply elite.” The press has described Michael as an atypical Wall Street lawyer who is “blue-collar,” “not white-shoe,” and “positively exudes an air of self-assurance.” Michael is a ferocious fighter for his clients. As one former adversary who became a client explained, “he cares as much about winning your case as you do, and sometimes it seems more.”
The National Law Journal recognized Michael as a Litigation Trailblazer in 2016, and Law360’s selection of Kasowitz as a 2018 Trial Group of the Year commended two of Michael’s case wins.
Michael frequent speaks on CNBC, Fox Business News, Bloomberg, and other networks, and his work has been the subject of books, magazine stories, and a Frontline documentary. Michael has been a member of Fordham University’s President’s Council, a trustee in his parish of St. Joseph’s in Bronxville, N.Y., the Chairman of the Board of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School in the Bronx, and is active in various non-profit organizations including Sisters of Life, InnerCity Scholarship Fund, and the FDNY Marine Corps Association.
Prior to joining Kasowitz, Michael practiced at Sullivan & Cromwell for seven years, and clerked for the Honorable Lenore C. Nesbitt, United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida.
Securities and Civil RICO
Michael has been handling securities fraud and civil RICO cases for over twenty-five years. He has led dozens of class action, regulatory, and law enforcement defenses; securities claims against financial institutions on behalf of defrauded individuals and institutions; and unprecedented civil RICO and other actions to stop short-selling and other disinformation attacks on public companies.
Michael’s ground-breaking defense of short-selling attacks has restored billions of dollars in market capitalization to his clients, frustrated class action lawsuits that accompany those attacks, and instigated the investigation, indictment, and closure of companies that engaged in such illegal conduct. His work stopping “bear raids” on insurer Fairfax Financial has been credited with saving the company from failure and restoring billions of dollars in investor value and has been covered extensively in the financial press, on cable business networks, and in business schools and books about Wall Street. He has secured similar results for other public companies subjected to disinformation attacks, including AmTrust Financial, Eros International, and Resolute Forest Products.
Other companies Michael has recently advised in the securities and civil RICO field include MBIA, Jefferies Group, Brookfield Asset Management, Lehman Brothers, CGI Group, Banco Popular, Biovail Pharmaceuticals, Harvey Norman, Glencore, Energy Transfer Partners, and Amira Foods.
Complex Business Disputes
Michael has litigated, tried and arbitrated complex commercial matters involving billions of dollars, including disputes between members of business organizations; disputes about mergers and acquisitions; disputes about the sale of products, assets and businesses; and disputes about contract breaches and tortious and anti-competitive conduct.
- Harbinger Capital in claims arising from its multi-billion dollar effort to construct a wireless communications network.
- Bank of New York in a credit card antitrust investigation involving Visa and Mastercard.
- Investment firm Klesch in a billion-dollar partnership dispute over a failed acquisition of Deutsche Telecom.
- Entrepreneur Robert Abrams and the Robert Abrams Family Trust in a shareholder dispute over a $360 million company sale.
- Chip maker Altera in two trial verdicts relating to a billion-dollar patent license dispute.
- Official Creditors Committee of Verestar in obtaining a $32 million recovery.
- Chemical company Celanese in obtaining complete defense judgments in a multi-million dollar environmental indemnity and contribution case arising from a chemical train derailment and a multi-million dollar wrongful industrial death claim.
- Biovail Pharmaceuticals and Ottawa Senator’s owner Eugene Melynk in successfully defending a defamation claim filed by a former Bank of America analyst.
- A senior Deloitte executive in obtaining a multi-million dollar recovery for wrongful termination.
- The Ottawa Senators in disputes with the NHL, players, and business partners.
- Insurers including AIG, AmTrust, Financial, Fairfax Financial, Crum & Forster, Nationwide, and Freedom Specialty in successfully handling over $100 million in coverage defense and other business disputes.
- High net worth individuals, families, and trusts in disputes over $100s of millions in investment and business assets, including PGA golfer Nick Price, prominent New York trial lawyer Stanley Arkin, New York investment banker Denis Bovin, New York business and real estate investors Eric Hadar, Raymond Gindi, Phil Pilevsky, and Joseph Chehebar, investors in restaurant NoBu, and numerous others.
Michael regularly represents high-profile individuals defamed or accused of defamation, frequently securing cease and desist agreements, corrections or retractions, and other relief without litigation or public disclosures.
Criminal and Regulatory Enforcement
Michael has successfully represented individuals and organizations in white collar criminal, regulatory, and Congressional inquiries by the Department of Justice, securities regulators, and state prosecutors and regulators.
- The President of the United States in the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and related Congressional inquiries.
- Certain administration officials in Congressional inquiries related to the subject of the Mueller investigation.
- New York State Assembly in the Moreland Commission investigation.
- Convincing federal prosecutors to not indict charter school network Celerity and certain of its officers and directors.
- Successfully averting enforcement action by the SEC and DOJ against a major public company after a three-year investigation.
- Convincing New York prosecutors to not indict the CEO of a publicly traded company for securities fraud.
- New York City Police Benevolent Association in challenging New York City’s release of personnel records in various contexts, including disciplinary records and body cam video footage.
- Former CEO of an investment firm in a prosecution by the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
Real Estate Disputes
Michael has handled real estate litigations involving the investment, development, construction, sale, and management of billions of dollars in real estate assets.
- A trial verdict in favor of real estate investor Erwin Gonzalez in a partnership dispute involving over $250 million in real estate assets.
- Successful defense of a foreclosure action on behalf of distressed investors in the Miami Savoy hotel, and representation of subsequent development and operations claims by and against the hotel and its developers.
- Over $100 million recovered in damages, repairs, and other relief for luxury, residential, and commercial buildings in Manhattan and elsewhere, including the luxury Manhattan residences 515 Park Avenue and 325 Fifth Avenue.
- Over $80 million recovered for private investors in a dispute over the sale of an iconic Manhattan building.
- Real estate investor Eric Hadar and the Eric Hadar Family Trust in obtaining Manhattan real estate development sites that his adversaries called the “crown jewels” of a disputed partnership’s assets.
- Donald J. Trump in obtaining the largest ever attachment in New York City history against the owners of one of the last large scale real estate development sites in Manhattan.
- JDS Development Group in the acquisition of a landmark New York City building.
- WSG Development in disputes over control of distressed properties in Florida.
- Syracuse University in defeating claims for specific performance brought by an unsuccessful developer of the university’s student center.
- Defeating over $10 million in alleged construction liens and claims for a major Manhattan office and retail building.
Michael has secured numerous multi-million dollar malpractice recoveries against lawyers, accountants, and other professionals, and has also successfully defended malpractice claims, including a high-profile suit by singer Rihanna against her former representatives.
Trust & Estate and Fiduciary Duty Litigation
Michael regularly handles hotly disputed trust and estate matters for high net worth individuals and families.
- Securing the reinstatement of trustees removed for purported misconduct.
- Recoveries from trustees engaged in self-dealing and conflicts of interest.
- Reinstatement of directors improperly ousted from the board of 1035 Fifth Avenue.
- Successful Third Circuit appeal dismissing breach of fiduciary duty verdicts against certain officers and directors of the historic Lemington Home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.Pro Bono
Michael engages in substantial pro bono work, including representing victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the family of murdered United States Marine Lance Corporal Gregory Buckley Jr, and Marine Corps Major Jason Brezler. These matters have received substantial Congressional, press, and public attention. Michael’s successful federal court challenge on behalf of Major Brezler has been recognized as groundbreaking precedent with far-reaching impact on military justice.