NEW YORK, April 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- BlackRobe Capital Partners, LLC today announced that renowned corporate litigator and former Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP senior partner Michael J. Chepiga has joined BlackRobe as a Managing Director.
Mr. Chepiga joins fellow Managing Directors Timothy D. Scrantom and John P. ("Sean") Coffey as the senior leadership of BlackRobe Capital. Founded last year by Messrs. Scrantom and Coffey, BlackRobe is a "next generation" commercial litigation finance company that is pioneering the application of private equity principles to investments in large commercial litigation claims.
Widely regarded as one of the most sought-after lawyers in the United States for high-stakes commercial matters, Mr. Chepiga joins BlackRobe after a distinguished thirty-year career at the prestigious Simpson Thacher firm. In addition to representing a significant number of the world's leading companies in some of the most complex cases in history, Mr. Chepiga served as a member of Simpson Thacher's executive committee and led its securities litigation practice.
The addition of Mr. Chepiga means that potential case investments underwritten through BlackRobe will be viewed through the eyes of a highly experienced former corporate defense lawyer (Mr. Chepiga), a highly experienced former plaintiffs' lawyer (Mr. Coffey) and a pioneer in commercial claim investing (Mr. Scrantom).
"I am delighted to join two acknowledged leaders, Tim and Sean, in this creative new enterprise," Mr. Chepiga said. "The legal profession is in a state of major change today. Clients want to secure first-class legal representation while controlling costs and sharing risk. Law firms want to provide top flight services, but keep up their profitability. BlackRobe can help them both."
"We are thrilled to welcome Mike to the BlackRobe team," said Mr. Coffey. "Mike and I were on the opposite sides of several cases and I got to see firsthand why he earned such a sterling reputation as a litigation strategist. Mike brings unsurpassed credibility in management suites and corporate boardrooms, and will greatly enhance BlackRobe's ability to assist companies as they seek creative ways to address the escalating costs of civil litigation."
Mr. Scrantom added, "Mike will add immeasurably to BlackRobe's mission to provide claimholders and their lawyers with better ways to manage risk and optimize litigation outcomes. For years, Mike has been on the front lines witnessing increasing competitive and financial pressure on general counsels and their outside lawyers. He will play a critical role in developing BlackRobe's strategy to craft financial solutions and options for commercial claimholders."
Mr. Chepiga has joined BlackRobe on a full-time basis and will share responsibilities for business development, case underwriting, and management of the firm with Messrs. Scrantom and Coffey.
BlackRobe also announced that it has relocated its offices to 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10019. Its phone number remains (212) 575-2047.
More about Michael J. Chepiga
Michael Chepiga was a partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP for twenty-five years, where he represented clients in securities litigation, class actions, derivative actions, government and internal investigations and corporate control litigation.
Mr. Chepiga served as President of the Legal Aid Society of New York from 1996 to 1998, as a Director from 1988 to 1998, and a member of the Executive Committee from 1992 to 1998. He was a Director of VOLS (Volunteers of Legal Services, Inc.), and is currently on The Board of Advisors of the Yale Law School Center for the Study of Corporate Law, a Director of the New York City Bar Association Justice Center and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He is a frequent lecturer on continuing legal education panels and is the author of several plays, including "Getting and Spending," a play produced at the Helen Hayes Theatre on Broadway in 1998.
Mr. Chepiga has been ranked in the first tier by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business and Securities Litigation for over a decade. He is described as "a dedicated litigator with wonderful judgment," "one of the smartest most capable lawyers in the country for corporate and securities litigation" and "the toast of many Wall Street boardrooms" (Chambers USA 2011, Legal 500 2008, Chambers USA 2005, respectively). He has also been recognized as a Litigation Star in National and Local categories for Securities by the 2012 edition of Euromoney's Benchmark Litigation.
Mr. Chepiga received a B.A. cum laude from Fordham University, a Ph.D. in English Literature from New York University and a J.D. from Yale University. He was a Law Clerk to the Honorable Milton Pollack (S.D.N.Y.) from 1979 to 1980 and to the Honorable Amalya Kearse (Second Circuit) from 1980 to 1981.
The Rest of the BlackRobe Team
Tim Scrantom, Managing Director, is a pioneer in the emerging field of litigation finance. In 2007, he developed and was a co-founder of Juridica Investments Ltd, a London Stock Exchange/AIM-listed claims investment fund. In 2009, he conceived and launched the Law, Finance and Capital Markets Program with the RAND Corporation. An American lawyer and an English barrister-at-law (Gray's Inn, currently non-practicing), Mr. Scrantom's career has been a blend of active private law practice, academics, and innovation in the field of international law and business. His expertise as a strategist and forensic investigator has led to notable resolutions, including the exposure of the largest Islamic terrorist-sponsoring charity network in the U.S. and the settlement of business claims in connection with the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. Over the years, he has been involved with many of the leading cases in the world concerning rogue nations and state sponsors of terrorism. Widely published in the areas of international law, finance, and fiscal matters, Mr. Scrantom has also appeared on international broadcasts and spoken at conferences of professionals and government leaders in over a dozen countries.
Sean Coffey, Managing Director, has previously served as co-managing partner of the preeminent plaintiffs' litigation firm Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP, a litigation partner at the international law firm Latham & Watkins LLP, and an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. An experienced courtroom advocate, Mr. Coffey tried cases as a federal prosecutor, plaintiff's attorney, and defense attorney. While at Bernstein Litowitz, he led teams that recovered over $10 billion for securities investors, and served as lead lawyer in two of the largest civil cases ever to go to trial, the WorldCom, Inc. Securities Litigation and the Baptist Foundation of Arizona audit malpractice case. Mr. Coffey was named one of the country's "top ten" winning trial attorneys by the National Law Journal in 2005, and was repeatedly selected as one of Lawdragon's top American lawyers and Chambers USA's leading lawyers. He retired from Bernstein Litowitz to run unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for New York Attorney General in 2010. Mr. Coffey is a retired Navy Captain, whose military career included assignments as personal assistant to Vice President George H.W. Bush and commanding officer of both a reserve P-3C Orion squadron and the reserve component of the Enterprise carrier battle group staff.
Messrs. Scrantom, Coffey and Chepiga are supported by a distinguished team of experts and staff. BlackRobe's investment underwriting processes are led by Director and Chief Underwriting Manager Boaz Weinstein. The underwriting team is supported by Strategic Advisor Ron Liebman, former head of the litigation department at Patton Boggs LLP; Strategic Advisor Martha Solinger, co-General Counsel of the Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. bankruptcy estate; Vice President Lee Drucker; and Analysts Sarah Adams and Robert Steimel. Advising BlackRobe on ethics and compliance issues is Professor Michele DeStefano of the University of Miami Law School. Operational support and investment relations are provided by Chief Administrative Officer Stephanie Reckler.
BlackRobe Capital is not a law firm and does not engage in the practice of law. Neither it nor its managers or employees render legal advice of any sort in any jurisdiction.