Nicole Lavallee is the Managing Partner of the San Francisco office and a member of the firm’s executive committee. Nicole focuses on financial justice through asset recovery for investors and consumers alike and is a lead partner of the Securities Practice Group. Nicole is the primary contact for many of the firm’s institutional clients and is also an integral member of the firm’s New Case Investigations Team, which scrutinizes potential securities law violations to determine whether a case meets the firm’s exacting standards.
Since the enactment of the PSLRA, Nicole has prosecuted dozens of high-profile cases for the firm, earning judicial praise for her work and recovering over a billion of dollars for investors. She is AV Preeminent® rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, was ranked as a Recommended Attorney in Securities Litigation by The Legal 500 (U.S. edition 2017-2019), was named a Super Lawyer in 2017, 2018 and 2019 by Northern California Super Lawyers magazine, which features the top 5% of attorneys in the region, and was featured in San Francisco Magazine’s Top Women Attorneys in Northern California (2017 and 2018). Most recently, she was named a Local Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation (2019).
Nicole has authored numerous articles and lectured on securities litigation. She was also co-chair for the 2016 Cross-Border Litigation Forum, a gathering of the most senior legal practitioners in U.S./Canada cross-border litigation and was also on the Steering Committee for the 2012 and 2014 forums.
- Currently serves as lead partner in two securities class actions (In re Aqua Metals, Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 4:17-cv-07142-HSG (N.D. Cal.) and In re Aegean Marine Petroleum Network, Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 18-cv-04993-NRB (S.D.N.Y.)) and oversees a derivative action against PG&E (Oklahoma Firefighters Pension & Retirement System v. Chew, et al., No. 4:18-cv-04698-KAW (N.D. Cal.)) and a recent books and records action (San Antonio Fire & Police Pension Fund v. AmerisourceBergen Corp., C.A. No. 2018-0551 (Del. Ch.)).
- Served as lead partner overseeing the prosecution of In re Zynga Securities Litigation, No. 12-cv-04007 (N.D. Cal.), which settled for $23 million in 2016.
- Served as a lead partner representing the Wyoming State Treasurer and the Wyoming Retirement System as lead plaintiffs in In re IndyMac Mortgage-Backed Securities Litigation, No. 09-cv-4583 (S.D.N.Y.), which settled for $346 million in 2015, a major securities class action stemming from the issuance of mortgage-backed securities (“MBS”) securitized and sold by now-defunct IndyMac Bank, which received final approval in February 2015. This settlement is extraordinary, not only because of its size but also because $340 million of the settlement amount was paid entirely by the underwriters who had due diligence defenses.
- Served as the lead day-to-day partner representing the Massachusetts Laborers’ Pension Fund as co-lead plaintiff in a class action against International Rectifier Corp, In re International Rectifier Securities Litigation, No. 07-cv-2544 (C.D. Cal.), which settled for $90 million. At the settlement approval hearing, Judge John F. Walter praised counsel, stating: “I think the work by the lawyers – all the lawyers in this case – was excellent. … In this case, the papers were excellent. So it makes our job easier and, quite frankly, more interesting when I have lawyers with the skill of the lawyers that are present in the courtroom today who have worked on this case … the motion practice in this case was, quite frankly, very intellectually challenging and well done. … I’ve presided over this consolidated action since its commencement and have nothing but the highest respect for the professionalism of the attorneys involved in this case. … The fact that plaintiffs’ counsel were able to successfully prosecute this action against such formidable opponents is an impressive feat.”
- Served as lead day-to-day partner representing the Louisiana Municipal Police Employees’ Retirement System as co-lead plaintiff in the KLA-Tencor Corp. options-backdating class action, In re KLA-Tencor Corp. Securities Litigation, No. 06-cv-04065 (N.D. Cal.), which settled for $65 million. At the conclusion of the case, Judge Charles R. Breyer praised plaintiffs’ counsel for “working very hard” in exchange for an “extraordinarily reasonable” fee, and “I appreciate the fact that you’ve done an outstanding job, and you’ve been entirely reasonable in what you’ve done.”
- Handled the day-to-day prosecution of a derivative insider trading action against Lawrence J. Ellison, the Chief Executive Officer of Oracle Corporation, Oracle Cases, Coordination Proceeding, Special Title (Rule 1550(b)), No. JCCP 4180 (Cal. Super. Ct. San Mateo Cty.), which led to a novel settlement whereby Mr. Ellison agreed to personally make charitable donations of $100 million in Oracle’s name. The presiding judge singled out Nicole’s summary judgment brief as “excellent.” This case remains one of the largest known settlements in a derivative action.
- Represented public pension fund clients in several securities-fraud opt-out cases where clients’ recovery was significantly higher than their pro-rata share of the corresponding class action.
- Involved in several trials since joining the firm, including one in an individual action alleging state law misrepresentation claims, where the jury found in favor of plaintiffs, and a bench trial in a derivative suit.
Publications, Presentations & Appearances
- Steering Committee Member and Discussion Leader on Settlements at Cambridge Forum on Plaintiffs’ Class Action Litigation, May 6-8, 2019
- Webinar panel presentation, The Knowledge Group, Dec. 7, 2018: Securities and Shareholder Litigation – A 2019 Outlook
- Panel presenter on The Significance of Upcoming Rule 23 Amendments and Proposed rule 30(b)(6) Changes, National Consumer Law Center’s (NCLC) 19th annual Class Action Symposium, October 28, 2018
- Panel presenter on Cyan and Beyond: The History and Future of 1933 Act Litigation in State Courts, WISe, April 19, 2018
- Presented on 2018 Securities Litigation and Regulation Update: What’s New and What’s Next, Bar Association of San Francisco CLE, March 19, 2018
- Panel presenter on Securities Litigation Trends at Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance panel discussion, March 1, 2017
- Presenter on What’s New in 2017 and What’s Next in Securities Litigation at the Bar Association of San Francisco CLE, February 28, 2017
- Cambridge Cross-Border Litigation Forum, Co-Chair and moderator in November 2016 and Steering Committee Member and Moderator at 2012, 2014 Forums
- The SEC – and Warren Buffett – Scrutinize Non-GAAP Accounting by Nicole Lavallee and Justin Saif, SACRS Fall Magazine, October 2016
- Panel presenter on Settlement Talks at Practicing Law Institute’s Pretrial Practice 2016 Program, June 22, 2016
- Securities Litigation Deters Peers from Similar Misconduct by Nicole Lavallee, The TEXPERS Pension Observer, Winter 2016
- California Lawyer Roundtable Series panel participant, Securities, January 2015
- US Supreme Court to Decide Whether Investors Must Take Individual Actions to Preserve Securities Act Claims by Nicole Lavallee and Jay Eng, Corporate Disputes magazine, July-September 2014
- Supreme Court Hands Investors Victory in Amgen Class Action by Nicole Lavallee, The TEXPERS Pension Observer, Spring 2013
- Restoring Shareholder Value and Policing Executive Greed – Derivative Lawsuits, Presenter at American Association of Justice 2009 Annual Convention, Business Torts Section, July 25-29, 2009
- Securities Class Action, Presenter at CLE International, 5th Annual Conference, March 2009