Carol V. Gilden is a Partner in the Securities Litigation & Investor Protection Practice Group at Cohen Milstein.  She represents public pension funds, Taft-Hartley pension and health and welfare funds, and other institutional investors in securities class actions, transaction and derivative litigation, and individual actions, as well as in foreign securities litigation. She also litigates other types of complex litigation matters and class action cases in state and federal courts nationwide.

Ms. Gilden began her career at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in the Enforcement Division, spending five years investigating and litigating cases involving securities fraud.  Prior to joining Cohen Milstein in 2007, Ms. Gilden served as the head of the securities class action practice at a prominent mid-sized Chicago law firm and the vice chair of its class action department.  Ms. Gilden’s guiding principle is that those who commit fraud on the financial markets should be held accountable. She is a strong advocate for investors and pension funds who have been defrauded by deceptive practices that permeate the financial markets. Her special focus is on complex litigation calling for strategic thinking, tenacity and the ability to persevere through the many stages of litigation. Over the course of her 30-year career in the profession, she has successfully litigated and worked on cases that have resulted in aggregate recoveries in excess of several billion dollars for investors.

Ms. Gilden is an accomplished litigator, with extensive experience handling all phases in a case, including investigative, motion practice (lead plaintiff motions, motions to dismiss, class certification and summary judgment), discovery (fact and expert), oral argument, appeal, and settlement negotiations.  She has been lead and co-lead counsel in many notable matters, including the MF Global litigation ($90 million settlement), a precedent–setting case in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit sided with the plaintiffs and held that companies cannot make false or misleading statements in their offering documents, and then hide behind risk disclosures related to those facts in their attempt to escape liability. The National Law Journal singled out Ms. Gilden’s work on the case in connection with its selection of Cohen Milstein as a Hot Plaintiffs’ Firm for that year. 

Another notable case in which Ms. Gilden served as lead counsel, the IntraLinks Litigation, was one of the first securities class actions to be certified following the Supreme Court’s decision in Halliburton II.  That case was successfully resolved for $14 million.  Other recent cases that she has led and which have been successfully resolved, include the Huron Securities Litigation ($40 million settlement, the ITT Securities Litigation ($16.96 million settlement) and In re RehabCare Group, Inc. Shareholders Litigation, where Ms. Gilden was co-lead counsel and settled the case for a cash payment to shareholders and significant deal reforms including enhanced disclosures and an amended merger agreement.

Ms. Gilden has been on the Executive Committee of other high-profile cases, including the Global Crossing Securities Litigation (settlements of $448 million) and the Merrill Lynch Analyst cases ($125 million settlement), as well as on the litigation team of the Waste Management Litigation ($220 million settlement).  Under her leadership, her former firm was an active member of the litigation teams in the AOL Time Warner Securities litigation ($2.5 billion settlement), CMS Securities Litigation  ($200 million settlement) and the Salomon Analyst Litigation/In re AT&T ($75 million settlement). Further, Ms. Gilden was lead counsel in an opt-out securities litigation action in connection with the McKesson/HBOC merger, Pacha, et al. v. McKesson Corporation, et al., which settled for a substantial, confidential sum.

Ms. Gilden has earned the trust of her clients who know she will go to the mat for them, from start to finish in their cases. She draws respect from colleagues as well as adversaries who perennially have placed her in the highest ranks of the profession, including being named an Illinois Super Lawyer repeatedly over the last 10 years, “Pension Fund Attorney of the Year, Illinois” by the Global Corporate International Magazine in 2014 and 2015 and being recognized for Excellence in Law by the Worldwide Registry.  In 2016, she was recognized by the Women in Wealth Awards as a winner in the category of "Best in Securities Litigation Law - Illinois & Excellence Award for Investor Protection Law."  Ms. Gilden also has an AV Preeminent™ rating from Martindale-Hubbell. She has been featured on the cover of the Chicago Lawyer in connection with a feature article on securities class actions. She is a much sought-after speaker at legal and pension fund conferences and has been frequently quoted in the national media on market scandals, recent developments and trends in securities law and high profile securities fraud cases.

Ms. Gilden is currently representing the Chicago Public School Teachers’ Pension Fund, along with other institutions, in a high profile lawsuit charging 12 Wall Street banks with conspiring to engineer and maintain a collusive and anti-competitive stranglehold over the market for interest rate swaps in violation of the antitrust laws—an action that harms investors in one of the world’s biggest financial markets.  She also is representing the Cleveland Bakers and Teamsters Pension and Health and Welfare Funds and other institutions in another, high profile antitrust action alleging that two dozen financial institutions with an inside role at the auction for United States Treasuries conspired to manipulate yields and prices to their own benefit.

In addition, Ms. Gilden serves as co-lead counsel in City of Chicago v. Hotels.com, et al, a high-profile and much-watched lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging that online travel companies, Expedia, Hotels.com, Orbitz, Priceline and Travelocity failed to properly remit hotel taxes to the City of Chicago for hotel bookings. Ms. Gilden has argued and won numerous motions at the trial level on behalf of the City of Chicago, including the parties’ cross motions for summary judgment, which involved six days of argument on liability and another half day of argument on damages.  Settlements have been obtained from three of the four defendant groups.  A judgment has been entered in the case on behalf of the City of Chicago for approximately $29 million against the remaining defendant group, Expedia.  The case is currently on appeal.

Ms. Gilden served as the first (and to this day, only) woman President of the National Association of Shareholder and Consumer Attorneys, the preeminent trade association for securities class action attorneys, as well as the organization’s first woman Treasurer.  As President of NASCAT, Ms. Gilden made repeated visits to Capitol Hill advocating for strong investor protection.  She also engaged in outreach to the institutional investor community on needed reforms to reverse the erosion of investor rights.  Under Ms. Gilden’s leadership, NASCAT also filed amicus briefs in connection with major securities cases before the Supreme Court and other courts.  Prior to becoming President, she served as the President-Elect.  She continues to serve on NASCAT’s Executive Committee.

Ms. Gilden was selected to serve on the Corporate Governance and Markets Advisory Councils to the Board of Directors for the Council for Institutional Investors (CII) during 2013-2015. CII is a nonprofit association of pension and other employee benefits funds, endowments and foundations and a voice for effective corporate governance and strong shareholder rights.  Ms. Gilden is also a member of the National Association of Public Pension Attorneys (NAPPA).

Ms. Gilden regularly lectures at legal conferences around the country on securities litigation and class action law, and is a frequent speaker at institutional investor conferences and symposiums regarding securities law developments, shareholder rights and regulatory reform. She has authored and co-authored numerous scholarly articles and course materials on securities fraud cases, class actions, derivative litigation and related topics.

Ms. Gilden attended the University of Illinois, earning a B.S. in Business Administration, and received her J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law, where she graduated with honors and was a member of the Chicago-Kent Law Review.

  • Enforcement Attorney, Midwest Regional Office, Securities & Exchange Commission
  • Former President, National Association of Shareholder & Consumer Attorneys
  • Vice President, Institute for Law and Economic Policy
  • Association of Securities and Exchange Commission Alumni, Inc.  
  • Member, National Association of Public Pension Attorneys