Alston & Bird has expanded its trial and complex litigation capabilities with the addition of Eric Kuwana as a partner in the firm’s New York and Washington, D.C. offices. He arrives from Cooley LLP.
A versatile first-chair trial lawyer with a broad range of industry and case experience over more than 25 years, Kuwana represents clients in high-stakes commercial products liability, tort, real estate, securities, corporate governance, trade secret, political, and corporate litigation. He has defended corporations and individuals in jury, bench, and other proceedings in state, federal, and arbitral tribunals in more than 35 states. His clients include publicly traded and privately held companies in the insurance, technology, education, banking, real estate finance, life sciences, manufacturing, food and beverage, and financial services industries.
“Eric is a nationally recognized first-chair trial lawyer, with an enviable record of success,” said Brett Jaffe, Alston & Bird partner and co-chair of the firm’s Litigation & Trial Practice Group. “He is a consummate legal strategist and courtroom advocate who brings superb judgment and a remarkable breadth of experience and skill representing market-leading clients in high-stakes trials.”
Among his trial successes, Kuwana served as lead defense and trial counsel for defendant iStar in securing a $237 million judgment and win on all claims after a lengthy trial in federal court against a publicly traded homebuilder. He was also lead trial and national coordinating counsel in winning a unanimous jury verdict for Costco Wholesale Co. Inc., the manufacturer, and the domestic food suppliers in a bellwether products liability case in Los Angeles Superior Court arising from a foodborne outbreak of Hepatitis A across 10 Western states.
For his work successfully defending iStar, Kuwana was honored by The National Law Journal as one of the nation’s top trial lawyers, receiving its 2015 “Masters of the Courtroom: Winning Litigators” award. Other career recognitions include the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s 2009 “Rainmaker” award and the Washington Business Journal’s 2018 “Minority Business Leader Award” honoring the Capital Region’s top minority professionals.
During his career, Kuwana has also been global deputy chair of litigation and chair of securities litigation at two national law firms. Before entering private practice, he served in the White House, Office of Counsel to the President, under President George H.W. Bush, and in the U.S. Department of Transportation. He has represented the Republican National Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee, and Bush-Cheney presidential campaign.
A strong proponent of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, Kuwana is active in the Leadership Council for Legal Diversity, Minority Corporate Counsel Association, and National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.
“Eric is an exceptional trial lawyer and a strategically significant addition who strengthens the distinguished support our clients already receive on big-ticket litigation matters,” said James Sullivan, partner in charge of the firm’s New York office. “His arrival further differentiates Alston & Bird from the competition and provides our clients with a compelling proposition as the threat of catastrophic, event-driven litigation remains high.”