Lankler Siffert & Wohl LLP
John is a founding partner of LSW, where he has built a widely respected practice that encompasses every aspect of litigation. Chambers USA describes him as “a classic counselor who is also a superb trial lawyer.” A fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, he has also served on the organization’s Board of Regents and as a trustee of its foundation.
Over the course of four decades, John successfully has tried many civil and criminal trials to verdict and prevailed as claimant and respondent in commercial arbitrations. He also has argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the New York Court of Appeals, and the First and Second Departments of the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division.
John’s abiding concern for his clients and his creative approach to problem solving frequently result in creative solutions that avoid the cost and risks of the courtroom. He also has proven effective in persuading governmental authorities to drop charges altogether.
John’s areas of practice range from commercial, contract, and other civil disputes to regulatory and criminal matters. He is adept at handling a wide range of allegations, including securities fraud, antitrust violations, professional misconduct, art law, intellectual property, cybercrimes, and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations. He has represented corporations, corporate boards, individual directors, and senior officers, as well as major law firms and individual lawyers both in court and before the Attorney Grievance Committee of the First Department. John also has been called upon to advise audit committees and special committees conducting internal investigations.
John was twice appointed by the Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, to the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules, where he served from 2012 to 2018. He currently serves on the Attorney Panel of the Committee on Grievances for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. He previously served on the Disciplinary Committee of the First Department of the New York State Supreme Court.
John has been on the faculty at New York University School of Law for over 40 years and holds the title of adjunct professor. He also has taught at Harvard Law School, Hofstra Law School, Cardozo Law School, Columbia Business School, and the National Institute for Trial Advocacy Training (NITA). John is a co-author—along with the late Hon. Leonard Sand and the Hon. Jed Rakoff—of Modern Federal Jury Instructions (civil and criminal), published by Matthew Bender, as well as numerous articles and book chapters on a variety of topics.
John has handled numerous pro bono matters, including authoring an amicus brief to gain the resentencing of a juvenile who had been sentenced to mandatory life without parole. John’s commitment to “giving back” includes active participation in bar and community organizations, where he has served as chair, officer, and board member.
Earlier in his career, John served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Civil and Criminal Divisions of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted U.S. v. Chiarella, the first-ever criminal insider trading case.
Mediation and Arbitration Practice
John is an active mediator and arbitrator. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb). He also serves as distinguished neutral for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR) and is a member of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA). In addition, John has been retained privately to serve as a neutral arbitrator in a variety of commercial disputes, including as panel chair.
John was appointed by the Honorable Kimba Wood to be special master in Gulino, et al. v. The Board of Education, currently pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. In this capacity, he is responsible for conducting hearings and recommending damage awards for approximately 4,500 minority New York City public school teachers who faced adverse employment consequences because they failed to pass a discriminatory test required for state certification. Previously, John was appointed to serve as the discovery master and then as the mediator in Invista v. DuPont and as the escrow agent for the Solomon Insider Trading and Investment Advisory Disgorgement Funds. He also served as the SEC-approved independent counsel for MBIA Inc.
John’s ADR practice includes extensive mediation experience. He has been privately retained to mediate a wide variety of commercial disputes, and he has been on the mediation panel of the Southern District of New York since its inception. He previously served as a special master for the First Department, mediating cases on appeal. The subjects of the mediations include international contracts, gas and oil pipelines, employment, copyright, law firms, royalty payments, and property claims. He also serves as court-appointed mediator in Gulino and previously in Invista, both referenced above.
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
American Friends of the Hebrew University
Marquis Who’s Who
Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth
American Inns of Court, Second Circuit
“Senior Statesperson,” Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations – New York
Legal Media Group
Guide to the World’s Leading Litigation Lawyers
American Society of Legal Advocates
National Practice Area Star and Local Litigation Star in General Commercial, Securities, and White Collar Crime
Best of the Best USA White Collar Crime
Top Lawyers in New York
Top 10 Lawyers in New York (2008)