Mr. Lawton is a certified mediator for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York and has mediated disputes in adversary proceedings in complex bankruptcy cases, including M. Fabrikant & Sons; Barneys, Inc.; and Macy’s. He also successfully represented two of the principal owners of Barneys, in connection with the negotiation and settlement of their claims against the Barneys bankruptcy estate; the sale of real estate and restaurant ownership interests; certain trust and estate matters; and the resolution of employment, partnership and other family issues.
Mr. Lawton also represents international companies in the global diamond industry and has successfully represented these clients in state and federal courts and in arbitration proceedings before the Diamond Dealer’s Club.
In addition, he has successfully represented parties in connection with actions commenced by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and investigations by the Investor Protection and Securities Bureau of the Attorney General of the State of New York.
In the arts and entertainment area, Mr. Lawton has represented authors, museums and not-for-profit institutions in connection with contracts, real estate matters, public events, fund raising activities and other not-for-profit issues. He also has successfully represented authors and other individuals in connection with the negotiation of agreements and litigation related to published works.
Mr. Lawton acts as pro bono counsel to the Henry Morgenthau Preserve Committee in Pound Ridge, N.Y., and to Naumburg Orchestral Concerts, which has provided free concerts in New York City’s Central Park for more than 100 years. Mr. Lawton also obtained the release from prison of a 72-year-old British citizen serving a sentence of 20 years to life. Before Mr. Lawton became her counsel, the inmate had continuously been denied parole release. Mr. Lawton also leads the firm’s participation in a Bet Tsedek program to assist Holocaust survivors obtain benefits under a German government program.
In the takeover area, Mr. Lawton has provided analysis and advice in connection with proposed mergers and acquisitions and related litigation issues.
In January 2019, Mr. Lawton was one of two attorneys honored at the New York State Bar Association’s annual meeting “for the extraordinary nature of their pro bono contributions” for his representation of Holocaust victims in obtaining relief under two programs offered by the German government for qualified ghetto victims and their surviving spouses. Over the last decade, Mr. Lawton has secured millions of dollars in compensation under programs for pro bono clients, often through difficult (and frequently denied) qualification requirements because of the absence of supporting documents, many of which were lost or destroyed during the war. In 2018, Mr. Lawton represented 21 people seeking such relief, securing relief for six of them and additional relief for another six, while seeking relief for the first time for the other nine.