YVETTE OSTOLAZA is a member of Sidley’s Management and Executive Committees, the managing partner of the Dallas office, global co-leader of the Litigation practice and a member of the firm’s COVID-19 Task Force. She has developed a national reputation as a versatile lawyer who excels in all aspects of complex disputes and investigations.
Yvette litigates matters in U.S. state and federal trial and appellate courts on behalf of global clients. She coordinates and tries proceedings in a variety of arbitration venues, serves on the Roster of Neutral Arbitrators for the AAA for commercial litigation matters and on the CPR Panel of Distinguished Neutrals as an arbitrator for the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution. She served as the Vice Chair, Ethics and Investigations Subcommittee of the ABA Corporate Governance Committee. She regularly leads complex internal investigations on behalf of companies, board committees, and individual directors and defends companies/directors in shareholder and securities class actions.
Yvette’s range, experience and results have earned her extensive recognition. From 2009–2019, Yvette has been ranked as a leading General Commercial Litigator by Chambers USA, which has noted that clients call her “a force of nature” with “every arrow in her quiver that you would want,” who “doesn’t look for the usual cookie-cutter, classic legal responses,” who has particular “expertise in whistleblower and investigation matters,” and is “so dynamic, her command of a room and her ability to get what she needs for a client is unmatched.” She has been recognized as one of America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators and in the inaugural Benchmark Labor & Employment guide in 2018. Yvette has been selected as one of the “Best Lawyers in Dallas” 2016–2019 in the Business/Commercial Litigation category, 2018 in the Security Litigation/Enforcement category and featured on DCEO’s “Dallas 500” list from 2015–2019. She received the 2015 Texas Lawyer Lifetime Achievement Award and the “Thought Leadership” award by Corporate Counsel and Inside Counsel’s 2019 Women, Influence & Power in Law Awards. In 2013, she was named a “Rainmaker” by Diversity and The Bar magazine and honored in 2012 as one of the 20 “Most Powerful and Influential Women” in Texas by the Texas Diversity Council, and in 2012–2020 as one of the “Top 250 Women in Litigation” in the United States by Benchmark Litigation. One enthusiastic client added: “In litigation no matter what your circumstances, she can put you in the position—no matter what happens she’ll be there with you.” She has also been selected as one of 20 “Women of Excellence” honored nationwide by Hispanic Business Magazine. Yvette has been selected to appear in Latino Leaders Magazine 2018 and 2020 as a Top Latino Lawyer and is listed as one of the Most Powerful Latinas in Law. Finally, she served on the Board of Directors of the State Bar of Texas.
She also is recognized for her community involvement in charitable activities. In 2016, Yvette was named a recipient of The Girls Inc. Women of Achievement Award. She has received the prestigious Dallas ADL Schoenbrun Jurisprudence Award for her outstanding leadership and exemplary contributions to the community.
Her significant experience managing multijurisdictional disputes, including class actions, business tort, securities/shareholder, consumer fraud, financial services, constitutional, contract, employment, fiduciary duty, advertising/sweepstakes, insurance, fraud, good faith and accounting malpractice litigation, arbitrations, simulations and mediations, leads her to the top. Other aspects of her practice include counseling clients on reducing risks from consumer and advertising-related claims and representing clients in negotiations with state agencies on such claims and advising private equity firms on litigation risks facing their portfolio companies. She is involved in the coordination and argument of appeals in courts across the U.S., which includes the U.S. Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals, the Texas Supreme Court and the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas.
Her clients include Airbus, MGM Resorts, Celanese, Deutsche Bank, Chuck E. Cheese Entertainment, Tuesday Morning Corporation, EnLink Midstream, Neiman Marcus, SM Energy, Sally Beauty, HMS Holdings, Michaels, Best Buy, Sterigenics, Forterra, SAExploration, JPMorgan, Regus, McAfee, Inc., Darling Ingredients, and Hunt Oil. She has advised many Board Special Committees, including Southwest Airlines, Fossil, Key Energy and NPR.
Yvette’s recent representations prior to joining Sidley illustrate the breadth of her practice. They include:
- Representation of MGM Resorts, Inc. in multi-jurisdiction litigation.
- Representation of Barclays Bank, Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank in a multi-hundred million dollar fraud litigation brought by MGA Entertainment in California federal court with respect to MGA’s acquisition of a failed French toymaker, Smoby, SA; obtained motion to stay the proceedings on forum non conveniens grounds and in favor of pending proceedings in France.
- Representation of a Special Committee of the Board of Halliburton with respect to a shareholder demand and subsequent litigation in Texas state court relating to FCPA issues; obtained a favorable, no-money settlement that was featured in The Wall Street Journal.
- Representation of Zale Corp., a national retailer, in securities fraud litigation in Texas federal court relating to an accounting restatement; secured dismissal with prejudice, later affirmed by the Fifth Circuit.
- Representation of Ability Insurance Company in numerous cases in federal courts in Montana, South Dakota, Iowa and Washington State in which long-term care policyholders allege fraud, bad faith and various other torts; to date, has secured numerous favorable rulings at the summary judgment phase.
In addition, a significant portion of Yvette’s practice involves counseling boards, special committees, and directors on sensitive internal investigations, including with respect to whistleblower, accounting and executive issues. Some of this recent experience before joining Sidley includes:
- Advising a Special Committee of the Board of Restoration Hardware with respect to an internal investigation of a whistleblower’s allegations concerning the company’s former CEO.
- Advising a Special Committee of the Board of Southwest Airlines Co. with respect to an independent investigation into various FAA issues.
- Advising National Public Radio with respect to its internal review into the firing of Juan Williams following his controversial on-air remarks, the results of which were covered by the national news media.
- Advising a Special Committee and conducting an investigation on behalf of an international energy company on FCPA issues.
- Advising a Special Committee of the Board of a recruiting firm with respect to an investigation of employment discrimination allegations.
- Conducting an independent investigation on behalf of a Special Committee of the Board of Fossil, Inc. with respect to historic equity granting practices.