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Charles D. Schmerler


Charles D. Schmerler

New York

T:+1 212 318 3021

Partner Charles Schmerler practices in the New York office's litigation and international groups and is a member of the Global Litigation Steering Committee. He has extensive experience representing foreign and domestic clients, including financial institutions and financial services providers, private equity funds, corporations and governments, in both finance matters and dispute resolution. He has acted as lead counsel in arbitrations before the AAA and International Chamber of Commerce, and has appeared regularly before Federal and State trial and appellate courts located in New York and other jurisdictions throughout the United States.  Mr. Schmerler also is a recognized authority on litigation funding.  He served as a member of the American Bar Association's 20/20 Ethics Commission working group on alternative litigation finance and was a co-author of the ABA white paper on litigation funding adopted by the ABA's House of Delegates.  He has spoken and published frequently on the topic and frequently advises clients on all aspects of funding. 

Mr. Schmerler serves as lead counsel to major domestic and foreign financial institutions and funds for US litigation and arbitration, and has represented financial institutions, corporations and governments in litigation and arbitration in the US and abroad. He represents private equity funds in a wide range of matters, including disputes resulting from investments in a broad scope of industries, and  has represented major international banks in cross-border financings and restructurings, including in their capacities as trustees and fiduciaries in bankruptcy. He has served as lead counsel on behalf of over twenty foreign and domestic financial institution creditors of a large multinational corporation in parallel bankruptcy proceedings in the United States and Brazil, and has advised trustees and creditors in restructurings in Argentina, Mexico and elsewhere. He served as litigation counsel to a major foreign bank in connection with its multi-billion dollar portfolio of subprime mortgages and related instruments. His experience extends as well to representing government and corporate clients in international debt restructurings, Chapter 11 proceedings, financings and letter of credit matters.  Mr. Schmerler is the Editor of a recognized treatise on the law of international insolvency and restructuring published by Oxford Unversity Press.

Mr. Schmerler also has served for years as lead defense counsel to one of the most prominent and olderst art galleries in the country and its parent company in connection with a dozen prominent RICO and fraud cases arising from the sale of nearly $100 million of forged abstract expressionist paintings.  The cases have been covered widely in the international and art trade press.  He has advised both financial institutions and media companies in connection with film finance matters and film-related litigation, and he has substantial experience in First Amendment litigation, including the argument of defamation cases before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He has broad experience in matters arising from the litigation of international disputes, including Act of State and Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act issues, enforcement of foreign judgments, tracing of stolen monies, service of process and taking of discovery pursuant to international treaties and conventions and attachment of assets. Mr. Schmerler is a frequent speaker on matters of international law and litigation and has published several articles and book chapters on litigating defaults on sovereign debt and international litigation.

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  • Education

    JD, Boston University School of Law, 1984
    BA, cum laude, History, Yale University, 1981

    While in law school, Mr. Schmerler was a member of the Boston University Journal of International Law. He was admitted to practice law in New York in 1985, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 2000 and before U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York in 1985.

  • Representative experience

    Mr. Schmerler has served as lead counsel in the following representative matters:

    • UK investment bank and Luxembourg asset fund in parallel litigations in the United States and London in connection with investments in US technology company
    • Defense of national oil company of African nation against enforcement of $500 million arbitration award in the United States
    • Defense of telecommunications fund and CEO in action for alleged default on $45mm loan agreement and guaranty
    • Major Canadian bank in its US litigation, including real estate transactions and a seminal reported decision involving trade finance and letters of credit under New York law
    • Foreign financial institution in connection with a multi-billion dollar portfolio of subprime mortgage instruments
    • Defense of leading New York art gallery and parent company in over a dozen federal court RICO and fraud lawsuits alleging sale of nearly $100 million of forged Abstract Expressionist artworks
    • Representaon of litigation finance companies in evaluation of portfolio investments and related legal and ethical issues
    • Private equity fund in real estate litigation involving a time share financing against the prior lender and subsequent litigation involving the developer; client obtained a preliminary injunction and damages of approximately $40mm
    • Private equity fund in litigation over control of the shares of a captive insurance company and $50mm of assets
    • Major international bank in its role as trustee and fiduciary in numerous insolvencies and related corporate transactions
    • Foreign government entity export-import credit agency in prosecution and defense of its US-based national litigation
    • Over twenty international banks as creditors of an insolvent multinational corporation and in the subsequent restructuring of a global bond issue by the debtor corporation
    • Major foreign bank against US banks in its role as fiduciary in over $100mm of Thai-based securities
    • Major real estate appraisers in connection with an investigation and litigation regarding the valuation of significant New York commercial real estate properties and allegations of collusion
    • Major German reinsurer in numerous disputes and litigations with US insurance companies in the United States
    • African government debtors in litigation against institutional holders of over $100mm of defaulted sovereign debt
  • Admissions
    • New York State Bar
  • Rankings and recognitions
    • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
    • AV Preeminent, Martindale-Hubbell
    • New York Metro Super Lawyer, Business Litigation, Thomson Reuters, 2016 - 2018
  • Publications
    • Co-author, "Litigation Funding: Moving Toward Social and Ethical Responsibility ," New York Law Journal, June 1, 2015 
    • Co-author, "Second Circuit Issues Preliminary Decision Regarding 'No-Admission' SEC Settlements," Fulbright Alert, March 15, 2012
    • "International Litigation Management," Chapter 10, International Corporate Practice, Carole Basri, Ed. (Practising Law Institute) 2007
    • Editor, The Law of International Insolvencies and Debt Restructurings, Oxford University Press, 2006
    • "Restructuring Sovereign Debt," The Law of International Insolvencies and Debt Restructurings, Oxford University Press, 2006
    • "Defaulted Sovereign Debt? Litigate It," New York Law Journal, February 22, 2005
    • "Litigating Defaults in Sovereign Debt," New York Law Journal, April 15, 2002
  • Speaking engagements
    • "Litigation Finance--Deconstructing Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues", LF Dealmakers Forum--Advancing Litigation Finance, September 18-19, 2018, New York, NY
    • "Litigation Funding: Seeing 20/20 on Ethics and the Law", Legalweek Annual Conference, New York, NY, February 1, 2018
    • "Grexit And Beyond:  Drachma Deja Vu and What Really Happens Anyway", ABA Section of International Law Annual Fall Meeting, Montreal, Canada, October 22, 2015
    • "Holdup by the Holdouts?: An Examination of International Legal Developments and Court Decisions Affirming the Equal and Ratable Treatment of Sovereign Bond Holders", ABA Section of International Law, Annual Spring Meeting, New York, April 3, 2014
    • "A New World In Sovereign Bond Investing--A Legal Perspective,"  A New Era in Sovereign Accounting Global Thought Leader Symposium, London, February 17, 2014
    • "Disclosure, Transparency and Confidences in Third-Party Funding of Litigation," The Center For International Commercial and Investment Arbitration, First Annual Program On Funding Of International Disputes, New York, February 7, 2014
    • "Third Party Funding of Litigation and Arbitration – A Solution for Rising Costs or Ethical Quagmire?", ABA Section of International Law, Annual Spring Meeting, New York, April 18, 2012
    • "The Aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis – A Focus on Insider Trading and Developments in Securities Law: Parts I and II", ABA Section of International Law, Annual Spring Meeting, New York, April 18, 2012
    • "Ethics Issues in International Litigation: Fee Sharing and Suit Financing," Florida Bar Association International Litigation and Arbitration Conference, Miami, Florida, February 24, 2012
    • "Third-Party Funding of Litigation," ABA Section of International Law, Annual Fall Meeting, Dublin, Ireland, October 2011
    • "Third-Party Funding of Litigation and Arbitration: The Future of Global Dispute Resolution or Ethical Quagmire?" ABA Section of International Law, Third Annual Conference on the Resolution of CIS-Related Business Disputes, Moscow, Russia, September 12, 2011
    • "The Aftermath of the Financial Crisis – Recent Enforcement Cases and Litigation," ABA Section of International Law, Annual Spring meeting, Washington, DC, April 6, 2011
    • "The Aftermath of the Financial Crisis – The International Credit Crisis and CDO Litigation," ABA Section of International Law, Annual Spring meeting, Washington, DC, April 6, 2011
    • "Re-Imagining The Role of General Counsel in International Business," ABA Section of International Law, Annual Spring meeting, Washington, DC, April 7, 2011
    • "Judicial Assistance and Enforcement Proceedings in Cross-Border Litigation and Arbitration," ABA Section of International Law, Cross-Border Dispute Resolution: The Perspective for Russia and the CIS, Moscow, Russia, September 14, 2010
    • "Russians Abroad – The Experience of Russian Companies in Foreign Litigation and Arbitration," ABA Section of International Law, The Resolution of Russia-Related Business Disputes, Moscow, Russia, September 21, 2009
    • "US Litigation Involving Foreign Parties," PLI Conference, "The Global Subprime Crisis," New York, New York, July 2008
    • Co-Chair, "The Subprime Mortgage Crisis: Causes, Forecasts and Legal Implications," The Harvard Club, New York, New York, April 4, 2008
    • "Civil Litigation in the Subprime Context," The Harvard Club, New York, New York, April 4, 2008
    • "Developments in Cross-Border Insolvencies: The Changing Landscape of U.S. and Foreign Law," ABA Section of International Law, Spring Meeting, New York, New York, April 2, 2008
    • "International Discovery: How to Obtain Evidence From Abroad" ABA Section of International Law, Spring Meeting, New York, New York, April 2008
    • "Discovery in International Arbitration", Fulbright & Jaworski Client Program, New York, New York, November 2007
    • "Electronic Discovery Issues In Investigations And Litigation," ABA Section of International Law, Fall Meeting, London, England, October 2007
    • "International Litigation: How to Protect yourself in the U.S. and Abroad," Association of Corporate Counsel, New York, New York, September 2006 
    •  "The Role Of Commercial Banks in International Film Finance," SFi/ATLAS International Film & TV Finance Summit, Santa Monica, California, February 2006
    • "Sales of Closely Held Corporations," International Bar Association Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, September 2005
    • "Forbes Radio Business and Technology Report – Turnaround Management," October 2004
    • "Film Finance in Latin America," Los Angeles, California, March 2004
    • "Restructuring International Projects: The Role of Lawyers and Bankers," ABA Section of International Law Spring Meeting, Washington, DC, May 2003
    • "International Restructurings," NY State Bar Association, Rome, Italy, October 2002
    • "Current Issues in International Debt Restructuring," Monterrey, Mexico, June 2002
  • Memberships and activities
    • American Bar Association
      • Section of International Law
        • Co-Chair, Annual Meeting, New York, New York, April 2012
        • International Litigation Committee, Chair (2011 - 2013); Vice Chair (2009 - 2011)
        • International Insolvency and Secured Transactions Committee, Vice Chair (2008 - 2010)
      • Member, ABA President's Ethics 20/20 Commission
      • Committee On Third-Party Litigation Funding
      • Co-Author, ABA White Paper on Alternative Litigation Finance (Feb. 2012)
    • International Bar Association
    • New York City Bar Association
    • Member, United States Dept. of Commerce Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Finance Industries