James E. Brandt is a partner in Latham & Watkins' New York office, where he formerly served as the Managing Partner and also formerly served as Co-Chair of the firm's New York Litigation & Trial Department. Mr. Brandt is a member of the Restructuring & Special Situations, Securities Litigation & Professional Liability, and Takeover Defense Practices. He focuses extensively on complex litigation involving financial matters, including securities and corporate transactions and insolvency matters, which include litigation in bankruptcy court and commercial matters.

Mr. Brandt is an experienced trial attorney who has run matters that are local, national, and international in scope. He practices regularly in the state and federal courts of New York and has also handled cases in numerous jurisdictions, including, among others, California, Delaware, Illinois, and Florida.

Mr. Brandt has handled numerous cross-border controversies and matters in alternative dispute resolution forums, and also has a specialty in the defense of companies against bondholder claims. He has handled the full gamut of commercial litigation matters and has served as outside litigation counsel to Jefferies, the Weider Companies, HedgServ, and Rothschild, Inc, among others. He received particular notoriety for his 2013 victory for the Beverage Industry against the City of New York in the infamous Soda Ban case.

He speaks and writes regularly on topics within his areas of specialty. Mr. Brandt is routinely cited as a leading attorney in the area of commercial litigation by The Legal 500 US and Chambers USA, and as a Client Service All-Star by BTI Consulting.

Mr. Brandt's experience involving securities and transaction related matters includes representing:

  • Issuers, like American Superconductor, A123 Systems, COMSAT, RHI, and Fannie Mae, and individual underwriters, such as Deutsche Bank, Lehman Brothers, and Jefferies, and underwriter groups in cases under both the 1933 and 1934 Acts involving IPOs, securitizations, private placements, exchange offers, and other forms of transactions

Representative M&A litigation matters include representation of:

  • The Special Committee of Southern Peru Copper Corporation, numerous private equity sponsors and a variety of parties in the post-closing adjustment arena, including KKR, Odyssey Partners, Energy Capital Partners, and Carlyle portfolio companies

  • Sabre Inc. in its acquisition of the minority public interest in Travelocity.com

  • CPI Development Corporation in the disposition of Carter Wallace Inc.

  • International Paper Company in its acquisition of Champion Paper Corporation

  • UBS in the Arvin Meritor/Dana matter

Mr. Brandt's experience involving insolvency related matters includes representation of:

  • A variety of lenders in workout matters and insolvency related litigation, including Société Générale, Deutsche Bank AG, and Global West restructuring, and ING (US) Capital LLC

  • Debtors such as Boston Generating in the full gamut of Chapter 11 litigation, and a variety of parties in fraudulent transfer and preference litigation, such as MRI in the Asarco bankruptcy

  • Continental Airlines Creditors' Committee in Eastern Airlines’ more than US$1 billion stripping claim action against Continental

  • Continental Airlines, itself, in its multimillion dollar fraudulent transfer claim against Frank Lorenzo

  • The Yucaipa Companies in its buyout claim brought by the estate of Almac’s Supermarkets

Representative complex commercial litigation includes representation of:

  • The American Beverage Association in its opposition to the New York City Soda Ban. This victory earned Mr. Brandt recognition as Litigator of the Week in The American Lawyer Litigation Daily (March 2013)
  • Financial institutions such as Credit Suisse, Barclays, UBS, Jefferies, Rothschild, Inc., and Société Générale in complex litigation related to mergers and acquisitions and contracts disputes

Recognition Highlights

“He is the best to deal with in terms of his ability to see the likely outcome and navigate complex situations.”
Chambers USA 2022

“Great business judgment, extremely efficient and an excellent communicator”
“Very good at providing advice on high-risk issues”
“A really great litigator”
Chambers USA 2021

“Totally client-focused”
“Understands all the things that go into a case”
Chambers USA 2020

“Very efficient and commands the boardroom”
Chambers USA 2019

“Very smart and very good on his feet”
Chambers USA 2017

“Very talented”
“A great negotiator and communicator”
Chambers USA 2016

“He is all about putting clients first and trying to solve the problem.”
“He is very good at managing expectations, and delivers what he says he will.”
Chambers USA 2015

“Truly excellent representation at the trial stage”
Chambers USA 2014

“Has seen it all and provides valuable assessments of litigation matters”
The Legal 500 2014

Recommended for General Commercial Disputes
The Legal 500 US 2020-2021

Recognized as a Leader in the Field of Litigation
Chambers USA 2013-2020

Recommended for M&A Litigation, Defense Securities Litigation, and Litigation Financial Services
The Legal 500 US 2014-2017 

Superior Client Service Provider
BTI Client Service All-Stars Survey 2018, 2014, 2011

Named a Texas Rising Star by Texas Monthly 2016-2017 (Texas Rising Stars is a Thomson Reuters service)

Named to BTI Consulting Group's Client Service All-Star List, which recognizes leaders in superior client service identified exclusively by corporate counsel.
BTI Consulting Group 2018

Named one of Houston's Top Lawyers by H-Texas Magazine 2015

Bar Qualification

  • New York


  • JD, University of Michigan Law School, 1982
  • AB, Columbia University, 1979