Bill Russell is a Partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in the Firm’s Litigation Department. He represents clients in a wide variety of commercial disputes including banking litigation, bankruptcy and reorganization matters, securities litigation, and contractual and transactional disputes, and has tried cases in state and federal courts, as well as in arbitral proceedings. His clients include leading financial institutions, private equity sponsors, corporations and other businesses.
He has handled cases involving derivative transactions, residential mortgage-backed securities, secured lending syndicates, M&A transactions, false advertising claims, maritime disputes, Ponzi schemes, apparel licensing agreements and auction rate securities, among other issues. He recently represented the Unsecured Creditors Committee in In re Gawker Media LLC, et al. and represented one of the lead creditors in the In re Jefferson County Chapter 9 proceedings that, at the time, were the largest municipal bankruptcy proceedings in U.S. history. He was one of the leaders of the defense group in Adelphia Recovery Trust v. Bank of America, et al. and led the negotiations that resulted in a settlement of that litigation for a small fraction of the claimed damages. He also obtained a $168 million judgment for a large financial institution in a case involving an interest rate derivative transaction with a Brazilian manufacturing concern and is currently representing a number of financial institutions in connection with claims arising out of their issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities.
He maintains an active pro bono practice and served as Co-Chair of the Firm’s Pro Bono Committee for almost 10 years. He has represented pro bono clients in a number of areas including housing, education and discrimination matters. He represented the Campaign for Fiscal Equity in its successful constitutional challenge to the public education funding system in New York State. He has been awarded the Legal Aid Society’s Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service and Manhattan Legal Service’s Visionary Leadership Award in connection with his pro bono and public service efforts. Bill currently co-chairs the Firm’s Diversity Committee.
Bill is a member of the New York State Bar Executive Committee; a member of the American Law Institute; former Co-Chair of the New York State Bar Association’s President’s Committee on Access to Justice; member of the New York State Bar Association and New York Bar Foundation Joint Pro Bono Task Force; former Chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Pro Bono and Legal Services and current member of its delegation to the New York State Bar Association’s House of Delegates and Chair of its Special Committee on Legal Services Awards; former Chairman of the Board of Manhattan Legal Services; a member of the Advisory Board of Legal Outreach, Inc.; a member of the Board of the National Center for Access to Justice and Vice Chair of the Legal Services NYC Board of Directors; and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Lawyers Alliance for New York. He was selected as a David Rockefeller Fellow for 2000–2001. He served as a Panel Chair on the Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department and was appointed by former New York State Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman to the Chief Judge’s Attorney Emeritus Council.
Bill was a featured speaker at the 2012 and 2014 Southeastern Bankruptcy Law Institutes. He is co-author of the monthly column “New York Court of Appeals Roundup” appearing in the New York Law Journal, which discusses significant decisions by New York’s highest court. He has been recognized as a “litigation star” in Euromoney’s Benchmark Litigation, recognized by The Legal 500, and named in New York Super Lawyers.
Bill joined Simpson Thacher in 1990 and became a Partner in 1999. He received his A.B., magna cum laude, from Princeton University in 1987 and his J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1990. He is admitted to practice before the Southern, Eastern and Northern Districts of New York, the United States District of Arizona, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second and Fourth Circuits, the United States Supreme Court and all Courts of the State of New York.