YVETTE OSTOLAZA is Chair of Sidley’s Management Committee. She is also a member of the firm’s Executive Committee, former global Litigation co-leader, and former managing partner of the Dallas office. Yvette is one of the world’s foremost business litigators, delivering winning results for clients at each stage of complex multijurisdictional commercial disputes and corporate investigations. Her litigation work and ability to solve her clients’ most difficult litigation problems have garnered her numerous accolades and recognitions, including Band 1 Chambers USA “Litigation: General Commercial – Texas: Dallas, Fort Worth & Surrounds” recognition in 2021 and 2022 and Benchmark Litigation “National Commercial Litigation Star” in 2021 and 2022.
Yvette is admitted in New York and Texas and litigates trial and appellate matters in U.S. state and federal courts on behalf of global clients. She has significant experience in MDL, activist defense, bankruptcy, arbitration, and securities litigation cases. 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 sits 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.
Yvette is highly experienced in providing on-point guidance to boards and senior-level executives during periods of corporate turbulence. Chambers Crisis & Risk Management recognized Yvette as a leader of the firm’s Band 1 Nationwide USA Crisis Management practice for 2021 and 2022 and as one of a very small number of notable practitioners nationwide in the area of crisis management. She routinely leads complex internal investigations on behalf of companies, board committees, and individual directors, and she defends companies/directors in shareholder and securities class actions. Yvette currently serves on the board of directors of Lionsgate and has previously served on several nonprofit boards as well as the Board of the State Bar of Texas.
Yvette’s practice range, experience, and results have earned her extensive recognition. Most recently, she was honored by the Hispanic National Bar Association with the Mari Carmen Aponte Award. Yvette is only the second recipient of this award, which recognizes a “Latina lawyer who is the first to break a glass ceiling.” The Hispanic National Bar Foundation also recently honored Yvette with the 2022 “Firm Leadership Award.” This annual award recognized her for her “outstanding achievement and her commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.” Additionally in 2022, as well as from 2012–2020, Yvette was named as one of the “Top 250 Women in Litigation” in the United States by Benchmark Litigation. In 2021, Chambers USA ranked her Band 1 in Litigation, with one client describing her as “a tremendous asset to have on your side and a natural leader who has the ability to manage all the moving parts of a team.” From 2009–2020, Yvette was annually among the highest ranked lawyers in General Commercial Litigation by Chambers USA. For example, in 2020 the journal 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.” In 2019, an enthusiastic client told Chambers USA: “She could seriously convince you that the sky is purple; she’s that good an advocate.”
Yvette has also been recognized by multiple national and regional publications. Recently, Latino Corporate Directors Association recognized Yvette as a “Most influential Latina 2021.” The American Lawyer recognized Yvette as a “South Trailblazer” in 2021. Also in 2021 BTI Consulting recognized her as a Client Service All-Star based on feedback from top legal in-house counsel. Yvette was selected as one of D Magazine’s “Best Lawyers in Dallas” 2016–2022 in the Business/Commercial Litigation category, 2018 in the Security Litigation/Enforcement category; she was featured on DCEO’s “Dallas 500” list from 2015–2022. She was named to the 2020 and 2021 “Texas Trailblazers” list by Texas Lawyer, as well as the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Yvette received the 2015 Texas Lawyer “Lifetime Achievement Award” and the “Thought Leadership” award from 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. Yvette has been recognized as one of “America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators”; she was listed in the inaugural Benchmark Labor & Employment guide in 2018 and was named a “National Practice Area Star” in both Commercial and Labor and Employment in Practices in Benchmark Litigation 2021. She has also been selected as one of 20 “Women of Excellence” honored nationwide by Hispanic Business magazine. Yvette was selected to appear in Latino Leaders Magazine 2018, 2020, and 2021 as a “Top Latino Lawyer” and is listed as one of the Most Powerful Latinas in Law.
Specific Recent Experience
Yvette’s 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, as well as 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 United States, 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 significant companies in the aviation, retail, hospitality, financial/insurance, energy, and manufacturing industries. These include Airbus, Aspen Insurance, Arca Continental, 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, Forterra, SAExploration, JPMorgan, McAfee, Inc., Darling Ingredients, Vistra, Hunt Oil, and Wise.
Yvette is often called on to represent these clients in their most important litigation matters. She is highly experienced in all aspects of litigation and trial work and often leads teams of lawyers handling large-scale and high-profile litigation. Recent representative matters include the following:
- Represented an energy company in a high-stakes and confidential natural gas arbitration related to a complex oil and gas pipeline.
- Leading a multistate team of litigators representing Aspen Insurance in COVID-19 business interruption coverage litigation involving multiple state and federal lawsuits in Florida, Illinois, Texas, Washington, Kansas, New York, and Missouri and putative class actions. In several of these cases, the courts have granted Aspen’s dispositive motions. Yvette’s work on these cases has produced several nationwide dismissals and recognition by The American Lawyer four times.
- Successfully represented Neiman Marcus Group in a high-profile data privacy and wiretapping class action. After successful defense motions, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the case with minimal disruption to Neiman Marcus. Yvette’s work on this case resulted in recognition by The American Lawyer.
- Representing Airbus in connection with a high-profile helicopter accident in the Grand Canyon.
- Led a multipractice team of lawyers defending SAExploration in a series of civil, criminal, and regulatory complaints and investigations. Coordinated very favorable settlements with regulators and civil plaintiffs.
- Led a team representing Texas Pacific Land Trust in a high-profile litigation against a group of dissident shareholders in the largest board proxy contest of the 2019 proxy season. The litigation was settled favorably and featured in the International Herald Tribune.
- Represented Forescout Technologies in a successful arbitration resulting in the court granting a TRO request related to a breach-of-separation agreement with a former senior executive.
- Obtained a complete dismissal of a lawsuit on behalf of Apache IS brought by a former employee.
- Represented Forterera, Inc. in the successful resolution of a securities class action in which the plaintiffs sought US$250 million in damages but settled for US$5.5 million (including attorneys’ fees). The securities class action was significant because it is one of a handful of Section 11 cases filed in Texas.
- Obtained a complete victory in a securities case that stemmed from an oil spill in California involving a pipeline owned and operated by Plains All American Pipeline. The team represented 37 investment banks who acted as underwriters for various securities offerings.
- Represented the Navigators Group., Inc. in relation to alleged violations of Section 14(a) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 in connection with a proxy statement detailing The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.’s US$2.1 billion acquisition of the company. Sidley was able to get a favorable resolution with no payment by the client.
- Represented a client in a shareholder derivative action claims of breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, waste of corporate assets, and violations of Section 15(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
- Led a team advising a company providing sterilization services to the healthcare and food industries. The representation included providing strategic crisis management support, preparing toxic tort and environmental litigation defense strategy, and regulatory counseling.
- Provided counseling and advice regarding business operations in response to the various government stay-at-home and business closure orders issued in response to the COVID-19 crisis to various companies. Advice included regulatory compliance, FDA, and labor and employment matters.
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. Her experience advising boards and conducting investigations includes:
- Led the investigation of Best Buy’s CEO. At the conclusion of the investigation, Best Buy was sufficiently confident in Yvette’s work that it publicly announced its support for the CEO, who is still very successfully leading the company.
- Advising and assisting in a confidential investigation, by the audit committee of a holdings corporation, of allegations made by a senior manager of financial accounting who, when being terminated, reported a series of alleged accounting-related errors. Sidley provided strategic support and counsel as the company approached imminent periodic report-filing deadlines, and it investigated the company’s accounting practices at the direction of its audit committee to test the veracity of the terminated employee’s allegations.
- Leading an internal investigation into certain harassment and related allegations made by certain client distributors against another client distributor, and providing legal advice in connection with the internal investigation.
- Representing an energy company in connection with an investigation by the Office of the Illinois Attorney General concerning alleged deceptive marketing practices in the sale of retail electricity supply in the State of Illinois.
- Representing a multibillion dollar cybersecurity company in an internal investigation related to alleged vendor fraud and employee misconduct.
- National manufacturer in an investigation involving reporting practices.
- Fortune 200 company in an internal investigation involving certain claims processing.
- Numerous internal investigations involving whistleblower, accounting, and executive issues.
- Special committees of two nonprofit organizations involving board or senior management alleged misconduct.
- Special committees of four different companies in connection with restatements, including companies in the financial services and energy industries.
- Special and audit committees on investigations involving #me-too allegations against c-suite and board members.
- Audit committees on an investigation involving FCPA claims.
- 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.
- Special committee of the board of Southwest Airlines Co. with respect to an independent investigation into various FAA issues.
- 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.
- Special committee and conducting an investigation on behalf of an international energy company on FCPA issues.
- Special committee of the board of a recruiting firm with respect to an investigation of employment discrimination allegations.
- Special committee of the board of Fossil, Inc. with respect to historic equity-granting practices.
- Special committees of professional services firms in two investigations involving senior management and discrimination.
- Fortune 50 retailer in confidential internal investigation involving an executive.
- Conducting an internal investigation for a life insurance company regarding allegations related to management misconduct.
- Assisting client in drafting legislative amendments related to congressional efforts to address COVID-19.
Yvette is also recognized for her community involvement in charitable activities. In 2016, she was named a recipient of the Girls Inc. Women of Achievement Award. She has received the prestigious Dallas ADL Larry Schoenbrun Jurisprudence Award for her outstanding leadership and exemplary contributions to the community. She serves on the board of the AT&T Performing Arts and Dallas Theater Center.
Recently, The Center for American and International Law recognized Yvette as a Patrick E. Higginbotham Inns of Court “Master,” its highest designation. The Inns of Court Foundation is made up of both judges and lawyers and promotes competence, collegiality, integrity, and education in litigation practice.
*Not yet admitted to practice in Florida.