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Vanessa A. Lavely

Partner, Litigation

Vanessa A. Lavely is a partner in Cravath’s Litigation Department. She has handled a wide variety of litigation cases, including antitrust, intellectual property, environmental, general commercial and securities matters. Her clients have included Atlas Air, Colgate‑Palmolive, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, NCR and Qualcomm. Ms. Lavely has significant trial experience; she has tried nine cases in federal and state courts to date.

Ms. Lavely’s notable matters include:

  • Representing Qualcomm in several matters relating to the company’s patent licensing and chipset businesses, including (i) an action filed by Apple in California federal court, which included claims for breach of contract and violations of the Sherman Act; and (ii) an action against four iPhone manufacturers for breach of contract, among other claims. Following opening statements at trial, the parties reached a global settlement that includes a payment from Apple to Qualcomm; the companies also reached a six‑year license agreement and a multiyear chipset supply agreement.
  • Represented Colgate‑Palmolive in product liability lawsuits filed around the country concerning the company’s talcum powder products. Ms. Lavely has tried three cases for Colgate; one resulted in a unanimous verdict in Colgate’s favor after a three‑month jury trial, and the other two reached favorable settlements during trial.
  • Represented NCR in several Superfund environmental actions relating to the remediation of Wisconsin’s Fox River and Michigan’s Kalamazoo River. Ms. Lavely has tried three cases for NCR in federal court in Wisconsin and Michigan. She also represented NCR in an appeal to the Seventh Circuit that resulted in a reversal of the district court’s summary judgment decision.
  • Represented Morgan Stanley in a consolidated antitrust class action lawsuit alleging a conspiracy to restrain competition in connection with the trading of credit default swaps.
  • Represented JPMorgan Chase and related entities (including Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual) in numerous residential mortgage‑backed securities actions filed across the country asserting claims for, among other things, alleged violations of federal and state securities laws, common law fraud and negligent misrepresentations.
  • Represented Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings in connection with a dispute arising out of a purchase agreement for certain Boeing aircraft, securing a settlement on terms favorable to Atlas Air.

Ms. Lavely also devotes substantial time to pro bono service. She works extensively with Her Justice (f/k/a inMotion), a group that helps disadvantaged women find pro bono legal representation for a variety of family law matters, including child support and domestic violence cases. She also represented a woman from Kosovo in a successful asylum application.

Ms. Lavely is a member of the Board of Advisors for UCLA School of Law and the Board of Trustees for Deerfield Academy.

In 2019 and 2020, Ms. Lavely was named a “Future Star” by Benchmark Litigation and was included in the publication’s 2019 “40 & Under Hot List.” She was also recognized by The Legal 500 United States for her work in antitrust, general commercial and patent litigation.

Ms. Lavely received her A.B. degree magna cum laude from Harvard College in 2004, where she was captain of the Women’s Lacrosse Team and was awarded Academic All‑Ivy League. She received a J.D. from UCLA School of Law in 2008, where she served as the Editor‑in‑Chief of the Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. After graduation, she clerked for the Hon. Kim McLane Wardlaw of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Ms. Lavely joined Cravath in 2010 and became a partner in 2018.

Ms. Lavely may be reached by phone at +1‑212‑474‑1718 or by email at

Ms. Lavely is admitted only in New York.

+1 (212) 474-1718
+1 (212) 474-3700