Julie Goldsmith Reiser is a partner at Cohen Milstein and co-chair of the Securities Litigation & Investor Protection practice. Ms. Reiser focuses on public pension plans, institutional investors, retirees and plan participants, representing them in high-stakes, complex litigation, including securities, ERISA, and antitrust litigation.
Law360 recognized Ms. Reiser as a “Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar,” not long after citing her as one of the “25 Most Influential Women in Securities Law.” The National Law Journal placed her among the “Elite Women of the Plaintiffs Bar” and, Lawdragon has repeatedly named her one of the leading 500 lawyers in America.
Ms. Reiser was recognized by The American Lawyer as “Litigator of the Week,” for the historic $310 million settlement In re Alphabet Shareholder Derivative Litigation (Sup. Crt. Cal., Santa Clara Cnty.), a shareholder derivative action, which established a framework for board accountability following allegations of systemic corporate mismanagement of sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation claims.
Ms. Reiser is highly regarded by clients, co-counsel, and opposing counsel for her tenacious advocacy, shrewd understanding of complex financial and economic issues, meticulous preparation, and dynamic leadership. Indeed, co-counsel and opposing counsel were quoted in Law360’s “Titans of the Plaintiffs Bar: Cohen Milstein’s Julie Goldsmith Reiser” profile:
- “I think [Ms. Reiser] is an excellent attorney. Very good in advocating in the courtroom and in settlement negotiations, a very good strategic thinker and a nice person.” Louise Renne, former City Attorney of San Francisco, founding partner of Renne Public Law Group, and co-counsel in Alphabet.
- Ms. Reiser is “a very candid, trustworthy person” and working with her and her co-counsel was a “highlight of the case.” Boris Feldman, partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and opposing counsel in Alphabet.
Including Alphabet, Ms. Reiser has helped shareholders achieve a total $550 million in corporate diversity, equity and inclusion commitments and sweeping corporate governance and workplace policy changes at Wynn Resorts, Pinterest, and L Brands through novel shareholder derivative litigation she helped pioneer. In addition, she led litigation teams in several of the country’s most complex class actions and landmark settlements, including a $500 million settlement related to Countrywide’s issuance of mortgage-backed securities (“MBS”) and the Fifth Circuit affirmation of an investor class in the BP securities fraud litigation, stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which settled for $175 million.
Currently, Ms. Reiser is litigating the following notable matters:
- El Paso Firemen & Policemen's Pension Fund, San Antonio Fire & Police Pension Fund, and Indiana Public Retirement System v. InnovAge Holding Corp, et. al. (D. CO.): Ms. Reiser is Lead Counsel in this lawsuit that alleges InnovAge "substantially failed" to “provide to its participants medically necessary items and services" as required by government regulation. As a result, CMS and the State of Colorado suspended enrollment at InnovAge’s Colorado facilities. InnovAge's stock price declined 78% just nine months after its IPO, giving InnovAge the distinction of being one of 2021's five worst performing stocks.
- In re Wells Fargo & Company Securities Litigation (S.D.N.Y.): Ms. Reiser represents the State of Rhode Island, Office of the General Treasurer in this putative securities class action, alleging that Wells Fargo and certain executives misrepresented that the bank had improved its governance and oversight structures following a widespread consumer fraud banking scandal in direct violation of its 2018 consent orders with the CFPB, OCC, and the Federal Reserve. On May 16, 2023, the Court granted preliminary approval of a historic $1 billion settlement.
- Bank of America Corp. Stock Lending Markets Antitrust Lawsuit (S.D.N.Y.): Ms. Reiser represents Iowa PERS, Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association, Orange County Employees Retirement System and Sonoma County Employees’ Retirement Association in this ground-breaking lawsuit, in which plaintiffs allege collusion among six of the world’s largest investment banks to prevent modernization of the securities lending market, a critical component of a strong economy.
Ms. Reiser also maintains an active pro bono practice. Her notable matters include:
- Amici Curiae Counsel for Law Enforcement Officers (U.S. Crt. of Appeals, First Circ.): On March 21, 2023, Cohen Milstein filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of senior law enforcement officers in support of the United States of Mexico, plaintiff-appellant, before the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Amici argue for the reversal of the district court’s grant of defendants’ motion to dismiss in Estados Unidos Mexicanos v. Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc., et al. (D. Mass.), a landmark case brought by Mexico against U.S.-based gun manufacturers and a gun wholesaler for allegedly maintaining business practices that enable and allow for military-grade and other deadly guns to flow from the U.S. across the border “into criminal hands in Mexico." Mexico contends that this conduct violates state tort law and consumer protection statutes.
- Vivian Englund v. World Pawn Exchange, LLC (Cir. Crt., Coos Cnty., Or.): Cohen Milstein successfully represented the estate of a Kirsten Englund in a wrongful death case of first impression in Oregon state court and nationally, addressing the legal liability for federally licensed firearms dealers involved in online straw sales. The landmark settlement (October 2018) establishes important legal precedent at the state and federal levels regarding gun dealer responsibility for online sales of firearms. Given the precedential significance of this lawsuit, Cohen Milstein was named to The National Law Journal’s “2019 Pro Bono Hot List” and won Public Justice Foundation’s “2019 Trial Lawyer of the Year – Finalist” award.
Ms. Reiser has twice been named a winner of the Burton Awards, placing her among the “finest law firm writers” in the nation. She was a winner of the Burton Awards in 2019, as a co-author of “INSIGHT: Holding Firearms Dealers Accountable for Online Straw Sales,” Bloomberg Law (December 19, 2018), and in 2016 for “Pre-Dispute Arbitration Clauses: Taking the Alternative Out of Dispute Resolution,” Bloomberg BNA, Class Action Litigation Report (December 11, 2015). After the publication of “Pre-Dispute Arbitration Clauses,” Paul Bland, Executive Director of Public Justice wrote: “This is invaluable advocacy that takes industry-side advocacy and exposes its flaws and failings. I’m very glad to see this kind of very high-quality advocacy and critical thinking.”
Most recently, Ms. Reiser is the author or co-author of “Boards Must Be Held Accountable for Sexual Harassment Scandals,” Financial Times (January 1, 2020); “Event-Driven Litigation Defense,” Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation (May 23, 2019); “INSIGHT: Sandy Hook Decision Reins in Gun Industry Shield Law,” Bloomberg Law (March 28, 2019); “The Critical ABCs of Financial Antitrust Litigation & Recovery Opportunities,” an ISS Securities Class Actions Services White Paper (February 18, 2019); and, “Trends in ERISA Litigation in 2017,” Law360 (December 17, 2017).
Ms. Reiser attended Vassar College, graduating with honors, and earned her J.D. at the University of Virginia School of Law. She serves as Chair of U.S. Youth Soccer's Legal Advisory Committee and previously served as a board member at Seattle Works and the Eastside Domestic Violence Program (now known as LifeWire).