Mark Oakes is the Partner-in-Charge of Norton Rose Fulbright's Austin office. His practice focuses on commercial and securities litigation.
Mark defends companies and their officers and directors in shareholder litigation arising out of mergers and acquisitions, alleged accounting irregularities and financial restatements, missed earnings guidance, internal control weaknesses, and alleged breaches of fiduciary duty in various contexts. Mark also represents companies and individuals in government investigations and performs internal investigations on behalf of audit committees and other board committees that involve a wide range of issues, including accounting irregularities, suspected violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and U.S. trade sanction and embargo laws, and alleged false statements to government agencies such as the SEC and the Department of Justice.
In addition to securities and corporate litigation, Mark represents clients in general commercial disputes. Mark's experience includes contractual lawsuits and arbitrations arising out of completed and failed business acquisitions, defending large fraudulent transfer claims made inside and outside the bankruptcy context, and various joint venture disputes.
JD, magna cum laude, Cornell Law School
BA, high honors, Eckerd College
While in law school, Mark served as an editor of the Cornell Law Review and was honored as a member of the Order of the Coif.
Mark's recent significant cases include:
- The successful defense of numerous shareholder class actions in Delaware Chancery Court and various federal and state courts throughout the country challenging public company mergers and acquisitions, including cases challenging controlling stockholder transactions.
- Obtained the dismissal of a 10b-5 class action filed against life insurance company Citizens, Inc. and certain of its current and former officers and directors.
- Obtained the dismissal of class and derivative claims in Delaware Chancery Court arising out of Erin Energy's purchase of certain oilfield assets from an affiliate of its controlling stockholder.
- Represented the CFO of a public company in connection with internal and SEC investigations involving percentage of completion accounting issues where the SEC declined to take action against our client.
- Represented a former executive of a public company in an SEC investigation involving FCPA issues in Nigeria where the SEC declined to take action against our client but charged others.
- Obtained the dismissal of a 10b-5 class action against the former CFO of Key Energy arising out of various FCPA issues.
- Represented the Audit Committee of a public company in an internal investigation into certain accounting issues in a foreign jurisdiction that culminated in a financial restatement.
- Represented the Audit Committee of a public company in an internal investigation following a whistleblower's allegation of improper accounting for oil and gas exploration costs.
- Obtained the dismissal of a 10b-5 class action filed against K-Sea Transportation and certain of its current and former officers and directors.
- Obtained favorable arbitration award for petroleum storage terminal company in a joint venture dispute.
- Obtained summary judgment for public insurance company defending earn out dispute brought by sellers of a medical insurance company.
- Obtained the dismissal of a derivative suit challenging executive and board compensation decisions.
- Represented a technology company in obtaining a restraining order and favorable settlement from a competitor that hacked into its systems to gain sensitive competitive information and sabotage certain software.
- California State Bar
- Texas State Bar
Rankings and recognitions
- Legal 500 US, recommended lawyer, Dispute resolution - Securities litigation: defense, The Legal 500, 2018
- Under 40 Hot List, Benchmark Litigation, Euromoney PLC, 2018
- Texas Rising Star, business litigation, Thomson Reuters, 2014
- Co-author, "Business Not as Usual: US Supreme Court Holds That Administrative Law Judges Must Be Appointed - Threatening Years of Prior Decisions," Norton Rose Fulbright - Legal Update, June 21, 2018
- Co-author, "US Supreme Court Holds Individuals Must Report to the SEC to Qualify as Whistleblowers Under Dodd-Frank," Norton Rose Fulbright - Legal Update, Feb. 21, 2018
- Co-author, "US, Canada Issue Major Insider Trading Decisions," Norton Rose Fulbright - Legal Update, Dec. 2016
- Co-author, "New Considerations From COSO For Internal Controls," Law360, Oct. 18, 2016
- Co-author, "SEC Spotlights Undrilled Reserves And Resource Estimates," Law360, Oct. 12, 2016
- Co-author, "5th Circuit Rejects Securities Fraud Class Action - Public disclosures, pleading standards prove fatal," Norton Rose Fulbright - Legal Update, January 2016
- Co-author, "Effective Corporate Investigations," The Brief, American Bar Association (Winter 2016 Vol. 45, No. 2)
- Co-author, "Shareholder Activism, in 3 Successful Partnering Between Inside and Outside Counsel 46B (Robert L. Haig ed., 2015)
- Co-author, "Anatomy of an Effective Corporate Investigation," Norton Rose Fulbright - Asia Pacific Insights, 2015
- Co-author, "No SEC report, no 'whistleblower' problem: Second Circuit allows Dodd-Frank retaliation claim," Norton Rose Fulbright - Legal update, September 15, 2015
- Co-author, "Effective Corporate Investigations," paper presented at The Inaugural Tort Trial & Insurance Section Conference - American Bar Association, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 1, 2015
- Co-author, "SEC Continues to Scrutinize Confidentiality Agreements," Norton Rose Fulbright - Legal Update, April 2015
- Co-author, "Supreme Court Gives Guidance on Opinion Statements," Norton Rose Fulbright - Legal Update, March 2015
- Co-author, "Congress on Cybersecurity: Recent Bill Limits Liability," Norton Rose Fulbright - Legal update, August 2014
- Co-author, "Corporate Directors' Role in Combating Cyber-Threats," Norton Rose Fulbright - Legal update, July 16, 2014
- Co-author, "First SEC Case Under New Authority to Bring Whistleblower Anti-Retaliation Enforcement Actions," Norton Rose Fulbright - Legal Update, June 19, 2014
- Co-author, "Not so Basic anymore - Supreme Court to assess Basic's fraud-on-the-market presumption of reliance," Norton Rose Fulbright - Legal update, November 19, 2013
- Co-author, "Managing the Relationship with the Board of Directors," paper presented at the 12th Annual Advanced In-House Counsel Course, San Antonio, Texas, August 1-2, 2013
- Co-author, "Supreme Court Issues Two Key Securities Law Decisions," Fulbright Alert, February 28, 2013
- Co-author, "Johnson and Johnson Settles Derivative Litigation Through Corporate Governance and Compliance Reforms," Fulbright Briefing, July 23, 2012
- Co-author, "Delaware Chancery Court Grants $305 Million Fee Award in Stockholder Dispute," Fulbright Briefing, December 30, 2011
- Co-author, "Supreme Court Further Curtails Private Securities Fraud Suits Against Outside Advisers," Fulbright Alert, June 13, 2011
- Co-author, "Supreme Court Finds Adverse Event Reports 'Material' Despite Lack of Statistical Significance," Fulbright Alert, March 23, 2011
- Co-author, Fulbright & Jaworski Corporate Governance at a Glance, October 9, 2008, March 9, 2009, February 19, 2010
- Co-Author, "Credit Default Swaps Under Scrutiny," Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. Briefing, September 25, 2008
- Co-Author, "Three Important Developments on Privilege Waiver and Advancement of Attorneys' Fees Change the Landscape for Government and Corporate Investigations," Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. Alert, August 2008
- Co-Author, "M&A Reverse Breakup Litigation," Securities Law 360 and Competition Law 360, February 25, 2008
- Panelist, "Navigating the New Regulatory Landscape: Key Challenges and Potential Changes in SEC Regulation and Enforcement, Directors Roundtable Seminar, Dallas, Texas May 24, 2018
- Presenter/speaker, "Managing Reputational Risk," Association of Corporation Counsel CLE, October 3, 2017
- Presenter/speaker, "US SEC Whistleblower Initiatives Currently Affecting Public Companies and Their Officers, Directors, and Legal Advisors," Association of Corporation Counsel CLE, September 30, 2015
- Panelist, "SEC Speaks About Whistleblowers," Directors Roundtable Seminar, Dallas, Texas, May 20, 2015
- Panelist, "SEC Speaks About Whistleblowers," Directors Roundtable Seminar, Houston, Texas, May 19,2015
- Moderator/speaker, "Effective Corporate Investigations and Other Compliance Matters from the Legal Department," The Inaugural Tort Trial & Insurance Section Conference - American Bar Association, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 1, 2015
- Panelist, "Key Issues Facing Boards of Directors: New SEC Enforcement Initiatives and Corporation Governance Risks," Directors Roundtable Seminar, Austin, Texas, October 16, 2014
- Presenter/speaker, "M&A in 2014: Recent M&A Cases," Norton Rose Fulbright Webinar, August 21, 2014
- Presenter/speaker, "Corporate Whistleblower Developments," Association of Corporate Counsel, June 10, 2014
- Presenter/speaker, "Austin Litigation School for Corporate Counsel-Witness Preparation," Norton Rose Fulbright Seminar, Austin, Texas, April 24, 2014
- Presenter/speaker, "M&A in 2013: Litigation Issues Affecting Mergers & Acquisitions," Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. Webinar, May 16, 2013
- Presenter/speaker, "Lawyer Ethics, the FCPA, and the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Rules," Austin Association of Corporate Counsel CLE, November 14, 2012
- Presenter/speaker, "Avoiding In-House Liability - Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and SEC Issues," Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. Seminar, Austin, Texas, April 26, 2012
- Presenter/speaker, "Eighth Annual Litigation Trends Report - Internal Investigations and Regulatory Proceedings," Austin Association of Corporate Counsel CLE, November 8, 2011
Memberships and activities
- Texas Bar Association
- California Bar Association
- American Bar Association
March 8, 2016
August 21, 2014
On June 21, 2018, the Supreme Court handed down a decision with significant ramifications for United States agencies that failed to follow the appropriate constitutional processes for appointing administrative hearing officers..
June 23, 2018
On Wednesday, February 21, 2018, the US Supreme Court resolved a circuit split by unanimously holding that an employee must report suspected securities law violations to the SEC in order to qualify as a whistleblower entitled to protection from retaliation under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 .
February 23, 2018
Benchmark Litigation has named five Norton Rose Fulbright lawyers to its third annual Under 40 Hot List..
July 02, 2018
Norton Rose Fulbright has appointed Mark Oakes as the Partner-in-Charge of its Austin office..
June 21, 2018