Michael F. Connolly, Partner and Co-Chair of Rubin and Rudman’s Litigation Department, is a seasoned litigator with extensive civil and criminal trial experience. Across federal, state, and administrative courts and agencies, Mike has tried numerous cases involving complex securities, commercial and real estate litigation. He has represented clients in shareholder litigation, securities fraud, management disputes, business breakups, defamation actions, trade secret litigation, class actions, professional malpractice claims, fiduciary duty disputes, and zoning, land use, and other real estate related matters.
For many longstanding clients, Mike serves as a trusted advisor. He routinely advises corporate executives, investors, entrepreneurs, government officials and agencies with respect to a wide range of business and legal issues including executive risk management, board disputes, internal investigations, and disputes with shareholders, government entities, and third parties. He has represented clients in the high tech, energy, real estate, telecommunications, software, manufacturing, financial services (including hedge fund), insurance, investment banking and banking industries as well as not-for-profit entities, government agencies and municipalities.
Mike has practiced before state and federal courts in Massachusetts, New York, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, Texas, and California. Mike has also practiced before the American Arbitration Association; the International Centre for Dispute Resolution; the Securities and Exchange Commission; the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Secretary of States’ offices; and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
Additionally, Mike is a frequent lecturer and panelist with Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education and has conducted seminars on business and securities litigation, trial practice, deposition practice, expert witnesses and the settlement process. He has also been involved with the Boston Bar Association Court Reform Task Force which, in 1991, studied the state court system, formulated a plan to reform the court system, and prepared the legislation which was then enacted as the Massachusetts court reform law.
After law school, Mike served as a law clerk from 1987 to 1988 and as chief law clerk to the justices of the Massachusetts Superior Court from 1988 to 1989.
- Successfully represented former CFO and lead director of 38 Studios in lawsuit brought by quasi-government agency seeking recovery of $75 million loan, among other damages, asserting claims of fraud, misrepresentation and violations of RICO and other Rhode Island false claims statutes. Also represented same clients in government investigations and/or proceedings brought by SEC, Delaware bankruptcy court trustee, Rhode Island Secretary of State’s office, and the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office. After more than three years of extensive and high profile litigation, all claims that were brought against Mike’s clients, the company founder, the former company president, and the company’s insurer were fully resolved with no admission of any wrongdoing.
- Successfully represented former president, director and founder of cell tower company in a minority shareholder freeze-out action against majority shareholders in litigation spanning over ten years before the Massachusetts superior, bankruptcy and federal courts. Also appointed by bankruptcy court to represent the company and trustee in pursuing claims against majority shareholders. After a twenty-day jury waived trial, the federal court judge issued a 205-page decision finding for plaintiffs in all material respects.
- Successfully represented CEO of hedge fund defendants in breach of fiduciary duty litigation brought by minority hedge fund investors. Lawsuit was resolved after jury selection in superior court.
- Successfully represented a multinational company in zoning litigation arising out of the development of its U.S. headquarters. Lawsuit resolved while summary judgment motion was under advisement.
- Successfully represented a CFO of a high-tech company in a series of derivative and securities actions filed in the state and federal courts in Delaware, Massachusetts, and New York arising out of alleged unlawful backdating of stock options. Each derivative action was successfully resolved through dispositive motions or otherwise voluntarily dismissed with no payment of money or consideration by our client. Claims asserted by the SEC were also subsequently resolved with no admission of wrongdoing.
- Successfully represented directors of public charity in lawsuits asserting claims of breaches of fiduciary duties. All claims were dismissed either by the court or by agreement with no payment of money, fines, or other consideration by our clients. Ultimate resolution, including payment of attorneys’ fees to our clients, was approved by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office with no finding of any wrongdoing.
- Successfully represented a French software company in a series of disputes with an Irish software company regarding intellectual property and licensing rights of several well-known educational and recreational software consumer products. After a series of actions were filed in Massachusetts and New York and before the International Centre for Dispute Resolution of the American Arbitration Association, the disputes were resolved in our client’s favor.
- Successfully represented a mutual savings bank in a class action brought on behalf of policyholder investors seeking to block conversion from a mutual savings bank to a stock savings bank.
- Successfully represented a former president, director, and founder of a high-tech company in proxy contest and litigation in Massachusetts and Delaware state courts. After a trial, the Delaware Chancery Court issued a decision resulting in a change of control of the company, reinstating our client as president and director, and finding conclusively for our client on all issues that were decided.
- Successfully represented former executive officers and directors of a large public software company in a series of post-merger securities class actions and derivative lawsuits. All claims were either dismissed by federal and state courts in Massachusetts, Delaware, and California or otherwise resolved through settlement, with no personal exposure, admission, or finding of any wrongdoing by our clients.
- Successfully represented commercial real estate owners in a lawsuit alleging breaches of fiduciary duty and other claims. Virtually all claims decided in our clients’ favor at summary judgment stage and after a superior court jury waived trial.
- Represented Martha’s Vineyard land owners in several lawsuits challenging overlapping land use and zoning regulations and actions of permit granting authorities relating to clients’ 210-acre coastal farmland. After nine years of litigation including four lawsuits, three trials, and several appeals, the matter was resolved on terms highly favorable to our clients.
- Represented a defendant in criminal proceedings involving allegations of perjury and obstruction of justice brought by an organized crime strike force. Representation included protracted evidentiary hearing, a six-week jury trial, appeal to the First Circuit and subsequent grand jury proceedings — all of which resulted in no jail time, fine, or monetary penalty to our client.
- Successfully represented a real estate developer in a series of civil lawsuits arising out of financing improprieties and asserting repeated RICO claims. All RICO and other claims were dismissed with prejudice upon motions to dismiss and/or otherwise satisfactorily resolved.
Recognition and Awards
- Listed, The Best Lawyers in America©, Commercial Litigation/Criminal Defense: White-Collar/Litigation – Securities (2018–2021)
- Recognized, Best Lawyers 2020 Litigation-Securities “Lawyer of the Year”
- Listed, Super Lawyers – Business Litigation (2006–2020)
- Recipient of the Alumni Eagle Award, presented by the St. John the Evangelist School (2016)
- Recipient of the “Embracing the Legacy Award,” presented by the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps (2006)
- Martindale-Hubbell® – Rated AV Preeminent (5.0 out of 5)
Professional and Community Involvement
- Co-Chair, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc. MCLE|NE 18th Annual Business Litigation Conference, February 2019
- Board of Trustees, Perkins School, 2020
- Member, Corporate Giving Counsel, Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston
- Event Vice-Chair, Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston 2019 Annual Dinner
- Member, Board of Directors, Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps (2006 to present) and Chairman (2010–2012)
- Member, President’s Council and Business Advisory Council, Providence College
- Member, Alumni Board of Directors, Xaverian Brothers High School
- Member, Board of Directors, Nativity Preparatory School (1999–2005)
- Member, American Bar Association
- Member, Massachusetts Bar Association
- Member, Boston Bar Association
- Member, Federal Bar Association
Publications and Speaking Engagements
- Co-Chair , “MCLE’s 20th Annual Business Litigation Conference,” (February 2019)
- Co-author, “Derivative Litigation: Fundamental Concepts and Recent Developments from 2014,” Annual Review of Developments in Business and Corporate Litigation, American Bar Association (2015)
- Co-author, “Derivative Litigation: Fundamental Concepts and Recent Developments from 2013,” Annual Review of Developments in Business and Corporate Litigation, American Bar Association (2013)
- Co-author, “Massachusetts Business Litigation Review of Significant Decisions from 2012,” M.C.L.E. (2012)
- Co-author, “Massachusetts Business Litigation Review of Significant Decisions from 2011,” M.C.L.E. (2011)
- Co-author, “Requests for Documents and Things and for Entry upon Land,” Massachusetts Discovery Practice, M.C.L.E. 2nd ed. (2012)
- Co-author, “Massachusetts Business Litigation Review of Significant Decisions from 2010,” M.C.L.E. (2011)
- Speaker and Chair/Co-chair, “Year-in-Review: Top 10 Cases,” Annual Business Litigation Conference, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (M.C.L.E), Boston, MA (2010-2017)
- Quoted, “Private equity funds not accountable for pension withdrawal liabilities,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (Dec. 5, 2019)
- Quoted, “Investor’s suit against foreign bank revived,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (June 27, 2019)
- Quoted, “Co. president owes fiduciary duty to fired doctor/shareholder,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (May 12, 2019)
- Quoted, “With EMC Ruling, SJC Adds Certainty to Mergers,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (March 16, 2017)
- Featured, “Time for Some R&R,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (Jan. 23, 2017)