Allen Lanstra leads clients through litigation matters by leveraging his experience in crisis navigation and developing and implementing informed strategies. He has earned a reputation as a trusted counselor, collaborative leader and skilled trial attorney whose judgment is respected throughout the legal industry.


Representative Matters

Mr. Lanstra’s diverse practice and experience has helped obtain successful results for clients 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 and 17500 claims), corporate governance and investigations, business torts, constitutional law, and numerous novel and unique situations. In recognition of his work, the Los Angeles Business Journal has named him a Top Litigator and Trial Lawyer in Los Angeles.

Some of his many notable representations and achievements include:

  • defending the board of directors of Sempra Energy in federal securities litigation and federal and state court derivative actions following the SoCalGas leak at its Aliso Canyon facility
  • representing Société Générale Private Banking (Suisse) SA in litigation in federal district court in Texas arising out of the Stanford Ponzi scheme, which included the navigation of cross-border and Hague Convention processes
  • defending First Energy in class action litigation filed in Ohio state courts concerning tax forms provided to shareholders
  • representing ExxonMobil in arbitration concerning a right of first refusal
  • defending Bank of America in class action litigation in federal court in California concerning tax forms provided to mortgage customers
  • representing CytRx Corporation and/or its directors and officers in multiple state and federal securities class actions and derivative actions and an SEC investigation
  • defending CashCall, Inc. in a trial in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California commenced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was recognized by the Daily Journal as a Top Defense Verdict of 2018
  • representing the Miami Marlins baseball club in a player salary arbitration
  • 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 the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California 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 the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • defending E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) in two tracks of shareholder derivative litigation following Monsanto’s prior $1 billion patent infringement verdict against DuPont, including successfully defending cases in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, the Delaware Court of Chancery, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the Delaware Supreme Court
  • second-chairing oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in conjunction with appointed counsel in Bond v. United States
  • 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 chief administrative officer 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
  • representing a prominent Inland Empire developer in multiple high-profile matters
  • 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
  • representing and advising hundreds of other clients in litigation, as well as litigation-related and regulatory challenges

Prior Experience

Mr. Lanstra clerked for Justice Robert P. Young, Jr. of the Michigan Supreme Court and 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. He later 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. Before law school, Mr. Lanstra worked in the Michigan Legislature and ran political campaigns.

Commitment to Pro Bono

Mr. Lanstra’s dedication to pro bono work has produced significant victories for clients, including a published California Court of Appeal decision that secured protections for disability rights, which earned him the State Bar of California’s Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services.

Mr. Lanstra regularly supervises and counsels fellow Skadden attorneys on their pro bono representations. These collaborations have resulted in successful immigration and civil appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and influential amici curiae briefs submitted in federal and state courts. Mr. Lanstra worked with the Skadden team that was honored with the Inner City Law Center’s Katharine Krause Award in recognition of its representation of over 50 tenants in a habitability case.

Team and Thought Leadership

Mr. Lanstra leads attorney development for litigators in Skadden’s Los Angeles and Houston offices. In this role, he is responsible for leading the training and mentoring of the offices’ litigation associates, with a focus on the development of litigation and trial skills, efficient and effective team and talent management and continuous improvement of client service.

In addition to writing and speaking on legal topics, Mr. Lanstra has taught state constitutional law and California initiatives and referenda at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, as well as state constitutional law, litigation with the federal government, and state civil procedure at the Michigan State University College of Law.

Faculty Appointments

Loyola Law School (2010-13)

Michigan State University College of Law (2003-07)



  • 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


  • California
  • Texas
  • Michigan


  • Director, Western Center on Law & Poverty (2015-21)
  • Director, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (2014-17)
  • Director, Association of Business Trial Lawyers (2015-19)
  • Member, California Arbitration
  • Member, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Member, Pasadena Chamber of Commerce


  • Trial Attorney, United States Department of Justice, Civil Division (Honors Program), 2003-04
  • Judicial Law Clerk, Hon. Robert P. Young, Jr., Michigan Supreme Court, 2001-03
  • Judicial Extern, Hon. Richard F. Suhrheinrich, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, 2000
  • Legislative Aide, Michigan House of Representatives, 1994-98