Michael D. Hausfeld
Michael D. Hausfeld, one of the country's top civil litigators, is the Chairman of Hausfeld.
His career has included some of the largest and most successful class actions in the fields of human rights, discrimination and antitrust law. He has an abiding interest in social reform cases and was among the first lawyers in the U.S. to assert that sexual harassment was a form of discrimination prohibited by Title VII; he successfully tried the first case establishing that principle. He represented Native Alaskans whose lives were affected by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Later, he negotiated a then-historic $176 million settlement from Texaco, Inc. in a racial-bias discrimination case. Most recently, in the landmark O’Bannon v. NCAA litigation, Michael represented a class of current and former Division I men's basketball and FBS football players against the NCAA and its member institutions, based on rules foreclosing athletes from receiving compensation for the use of their names, images, and likenesses. At the conclusion of a three-week bench trial, the Court determined that the NCAA had violated the antitrust laws and issued a permanent injunction as requested by the plaintiffs. Immediately following the decision, Michael was named AmLaw Litigation Daily’s “Litigator of the Week,” citing the “consensus among courtroom observers [was] that Michael Hausfeld…got the best of a parade of NCAA witnesses at trial.” Law360 dubbed the trial team led by Michael as “Legal Lions,” citing Hausfeld’s historic victory over the NCAA.
In Friedman v. Union Bank of Switzerland, Michael represented a class of Holocaust victims whose assets were wrongfully retained by private Swiss banks during and after World War II. The case raised novel issues of international banking law and international human rights law. In a separate case, he also successfully represented the Republic of Poland, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Ukraine and the Russian Federation on issues of slave and forced labor for both Jewish and non-Jewish victims of Nazi persecution. He currently represents Khulumani and other NGOs in a litigation involving the abuses under apartheid law in South Africa.
Michael has a long record of successful litigation in the antitrust field, on behalf of individuals and classes, in cases involving monopolization, tie-ins, exclusive dealings and price fixing. He was a member of the ABA Antitrust Section’s Transition Taskforce, which advised the incoming Obama Administration. Michael is or has been co-lead counsel in antitrust cases against manufacturers of genetically engineered foods, managed healthcare companies, bulk vitamin manufacturers, technology companies and international industrial cartels. He is involved in ongoing investigations of antitrust cases abroad and pioneering efforts to enforce competition laws globally. He was the only private lawyer permitted to attend and represent the interests of consumers worldwide in the 2003 closed hearings by the EU Commission in the Microsoft case.
Michael has been featured in many articles and surveys. The National Law Journal has recognized him as one of the “Top 100 Influential Lawyers in America” and the Legal Times named Michael among the top 30 “Visionaries” in the Washington legal community in 2008. The New York Times referred to Michael as one of the nation's “most prominent antitrust lawyers,” and in 2009 the Washingtonian named him one of thirty “Stars of the Bar.” Most recently, the Global Competition Review stated that Hausfeld “is clearly recognized as one of the best plaintiffs firms in the country.” In the past, the magazine has reported that Michael “consistently brings in the biggest judgments in the history of law” and that he is “a Washington lawyer determined to change the world -- and succeeding.” Michael is one of thirty negotiators profiled in Done Deal: Insights from Interviews with the World's Best Negotiators, by Michael Benoliel, Ed.D. He has also been described by one of the country's leading civil rights columnists as an “extremely penetrating lawyer” and by a colleague (in a Washington Post article) as a lawyer who “has a very inventive mind when it comes to litigation. He thinks of things most lawyers don't because they have originality pounded out of them in law school.” For the past five years, The Legal 500, which provides comprehensive worldwide coverage on legal services and rankings, selected “mastermind of strategy” and “smart strategic thinker” Michael, as one of the top 10 Leading Lawyers in the U.S. representing plaintiffs in antitrust and cartel matters, stating that the “‘incredibly impressive... Michael Hausfeld and Brian Ratner are highly skilled negotiators and litigators, and real fighters with an outstanding strategic sense,’” and “the outstanding Mike Hausfeld is a titan of the antitrust bar.”