Benedict, a Trustee of the law school, traveled to Albany pretty much every year to interview students. His final recruits were hired this summer: 3Ls Corey Carmello and Tess McLaughlin.
“Of the 30 litigation partners around the world at Milbank,” said Cavoli, “three of them are Albany Law graduates. That’s a testament to Jim, and an important part of his legacy. For the Albany Law grads drawn to working at a big firm in New York, Milbank is attractive because of the Albany contingency already here.”
“This is an Albany team that has won the only two cases of this kind to go to trial in the past 20-plus years,” said Murphy. With more than a dozen similar cases pending — several which Murphy will defend — the recent victory was watched widely by the industry.
The AXA Trial
At issue in the 25-day trial — a culmination of five years of litigation — were the plaintiffs accusing AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co. of charging excessive fees for “managing the managers” of the mutual fund. The plaintiffs argued that AXA delegated the work to sub-advisors and sub-administrators but retained most of the fees.
“This case set a lot of precedents,” Murphy said. “We learned a good deal from this trial, as did the entire industry. It’s the first of many pending on the issue of excessive management fees.”
Next up for Murphy and Cavoli: they will represent Hartford Investment Financial Services in a similar case involving a billion dollars, where they will face off against the same firm from the AXA trial, as well as some of the same expert witnesses.
The AXA case earned Murphy The American Lawyers’ Litigator of the Week recognition that served as icing on the cake for Benedict’s succession plan. “This seemed quite timely,” Benedict said. “We’ve been planning this transition for nearly 10 years.”