Allen L. Lanstra




Los Angeles

T: +1.213.687.5513

F: 1.213.621.5513


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Allen Lanstra’s diverse practice focuses on complex, high-stakes litigation. From his extensive experience handling high-profile and discreet matters for large institutions, corporate leaders and public figures, Mr. Lanstra has developed a reputation as a tested and trusted counselor during crisis.

Representative Matters

Mr. Lanstra has obtained successful results in a wide range of matters, including commercial and business disputes, class actions, shareholder derivative actions, securities fraud, unfair competition and false advertising (including Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200, 17500 matters), computer fraud and abuse, corporate governance and investigations, business torts, constitutional law and political law.

His notable representations and achievements include:

  • defending Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. as part of the lead counsel team in its “unintended acceleration” cases concerning alleged defects in Toyota’s electronic throttle control system and comprising the defense of hundreds of consumer class actions alleging economic loss in U.S. District Court (C.D. Cal.) and Los Angeles County Superior Court (Complex Civil Litigation Program);
  • representing MGA Entertainment, Inc. in its highly publicized and high-stakes “Barbie v. Bratz” copyright and trade secrets litigation against Mattel, Inc. over the intellectual property rights to the Bratz doll franchise in U.S. District Court (C.D. Cal.);
  • defending E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) in two tracks of shareholder derivative litigation following Monsanto Inc.’s prior $1 billion patent infringement verdict against DuPont, and successfully defending cases in U.S. District Court (D. Del.) and the Delaware Court of Chancery that now are on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and Delaware Supreme Court, respectively;
  • second-chairing oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in conjunction with appointed counsel in Bond v. United States (2011);
  • reaching a favorable settlement on behalf of HCP, Inc. in the punitive damages phase of Ventas v. HCP in U.S. District Court (W.D. Ky.);
  • obtaining an arbitration award that found an LLC manager and member of a $300 million real estate project in Los Angeles’ Koreatown engaged in acts of deceit and willful misconduct;
  • defending the founder, chairman and CEO of VeriSign, Inc., in an employment-related lawsuit filed by a former CAO that led to voluntary dismissal of the claims and ultimately a settlement whereby the plaintiff provided a written apology to VeriSign for the litigation;
  • defending the former CEO of Qualstar Corporation in litigation alleging breaches of fiduciary duty and reaching a favorable settlement for the client based on counterclaims;
  • representing the founders of Skype in trade secrets litigation that forced a favorable settlement for the firm’s clients; and
  • representing a prominent developer in an arbitration dispute between LLC members involving water rights that resulted in a favorable settlement, permitting a substantial land development project in Southern California to move forward.

Prior Experience

Before joining Skadden, Mr. Lanstra clerked for Justice Robert P. Young, Jr. of the Michigan Supreme Court; served as an Honors Program attorney in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., where he helped defend the United States in Federal Tort Claims Act litigation in Boston concerning FBI informants James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen Flemmi; and entered private practice as a commercial and appellate attorney for a prestigious Midwest-based firm where he participated in a wide range of litigation matters, including representation of a presidential campaign committee during the 2004 election.

Commitment to Pro Bono

In addition to serving on the board of directors of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA), Mr. Lanstra’s pro bono representations have produced significant victories for his clients, including a published decision protecting disability rights in the California Court of Appeal. His contributions earned him the State Bar of California’s Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services.

Mr. Lanstra also regularly supervises and counsels the pro bono representations of Skadden associates. These collaborations have resulted in significant victories, including successful appeals regarding immigration and civil claims against the government before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, obtaining important protections for the hearing impaired through impact litigation commenced in the U.S. District Court (C.D. Cal.), and influential amici curiae briefs submitted in federal and state courts.

Team and Thought Leadership

Mr. Lanstra serves as the attorney development partner for litigators in the Los Angeles office. In that role, he is responsible for leading the training and mentoring of the litigation department’s associates, with a focus on the development of litigation and trial skills, efficient management, and the continuous improvement of the delivery of client services. He also is active in hiring.

In addition to writing and speaking, Mr. Lanstra has taught law since his second year out of law school. At Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, he has taught courses on state constitutional law and California initiatives and referenda. He taught state constitutional law, litigation with the federal government, and state civil procedure at the Michigan State University College of Law.

Bar Admissions



J.D., Michigan State University, 2001 (summa cum laude); Editor-in-Chief, Michigan State University Law Review

M.S., Walsh College, 1998 (magna cum laude)

B.A., Michigan State University, 1993


Trial Attorney, United States Department of Justice, Civil Division (Honors Program), 2003-2004

Judicial Law Clerk, Hon. Robert P. Young, Jr., Michigan Supreme Court, 2001-2003

Judicial Extern, Hon. Richard F. Suhrheinrich, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, 2000

Legislative Aide, Michigan House of Representatives, 1994-1998


Board of Directors, Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL)

Board of Directors, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA)

Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA)

American Bar Association (ABA) — Section of Litigation: Commercial & Business Litigation Committee; Co-Chair, Class Actions Subcommittee; and Appellate Practice Committee