Kathryn M. Zunno-Freaney

Partner

New York
T +1.212.589.4653
F +1.212.589.4201

Overview

A skilled and effective litigator, Katie focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation and white collar defense. She has myriad experience in high-profile matters involving financial fraud, including representation of the Securities Investor Protection Act (SIPA) Trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS), as well as clients in significant securities-related government investigations and securities fraud class actions. She understands the "big picture" issues facing her clients and proactively crafts practical and creative strategies to support their large-scale litigations. She continuously earns her clients' trust with her confidence, sound judgment, and ability to synthesize and master complicated facts quickly and efficiently.

Involved in diversity, development and recruiting initiatives across the firm, Katie is the Co-Chair of the New York office’s Mentorship Committee and an active member of the office’s Diversity, Women’s Steering and Recruiting committees. Katie is passionate about her service as a Board Member of the Ali Forney Center, a New York City nonprofit and the nation’s largest and most comprehensive program dedicated to meeting the needs of homeless LGBTQ youth. She also devotes her time to activities within the St. John’s University Law School Alumni network, including as a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors.

In recognition of her distinguished legal skills and profound commitment to LGBT+ equality, Katie was recently named by the National LGBT Bar Association as one of its Best 40 LGBTQ+ Lawyers Under 40.

Select Experience

  • Integrally involved as a lead attorney for BakerHostetler’s court-appointed representation of SIPA Trustee Irving H. Picard in the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, one of the largest financial frauds in recorded history. Responsible for both the overall strategic planning and day-to-day execution of the Trustee’s multibillion-dollar global recovery effort through leadership of teams investigating and actively litigating cases against insiders, sophisticated investors, money managers and others. Has also worked on litigations involving good-faith investors that have been successfully resolved through mediations and settlements to the benefit of defrauded customers.
  • Represented a former London-based J.P. Morgan managing director whose cooperation was sought in an investigation related to a multibillion-dollar trading loss for the bank. To represent the client effectively, developed an understanding of complicated credit derivative instruments and utilized knowledge in investigating complex financial fraud. When the client faced cross-border investigations by three U.S. agencies and U.K. authorities, helped the client navigate through all investigations and develop a sound strategy to resolve all aspects of the matter. Through aggressive defense of the client, the team secured a rare nonprosecution agreement with the Justice Department and agreements with other regulatory authorities, which enabled the client to cooperate with federal prosecutors in the continuing investigations.
  • Counseled and defended client through simultaneous state and federal investigations related to campaign finance and public corruption matters, which ultimately resulted in no charges being filed.
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Experience

  • Integrally involved as a lead attorney for BakerHostetler’s court-appointed representation of SIPA Trustee Irving H. Picard in the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, one of the largest financial frauds in recorded history. Responsible for both the overall strategic planning and day-to-day execution of the Trustee’s multibillion-dollar global recovery effort through leadership of teams investigating and actively litigating cases against insiders, sophisticated investors, money managers and others. Has also worked on litigations involving good-faith investors that have been successfully resolved through mediations and settlements to the benefit of defrauded customers.
  • Represented a former London-based J.P. Morgan managing director whose cooperation was sought in an investigation related to a multibillion-dollar trading loss for the bank. To represent the client effectively, developed an understanding of complicated credit derivative instruments and utilized experience in investigating complex financial fraud. When the client faced cross-border investigations by three U.S. agencies and U.K. authorities, helped the client navigate through all investigations and develop a sound strategy to resolve all aspects of the matter. Through aggressive defense of the client, the team secured a rare nonprosecution agreement with the Justice Department and agreements with other regulatory authorities, which enabled the client to cooperate with federal prosecutors in the continuing investigations.
  • Counseled and defended client through simultaneous state and federal investigations related to campaign finance and public corruption matters, which ultimately resulted in no charges being filed.
  • On the eve of trial in federal district court, secured the dismissal of a multibillion-dollar securities fraud class action against a former Pfizer medical director named as an individual defendant.
  • Represented one of the world's largest financial institutions in litigation and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration against former employees involving breaches of contract and misappropriation of proprietary information.
  • Was a member of the trial team representing a global mass media corporation and an individual defendant in a large securities class action in federal district court.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • New York Metro Super Lawyers "Rising Star" (2012 to 2020)
  • The National LGBT Bar Association: "Best LGBTQ+ Lawyers Under 40" (2020)

Memberships

  • St. John's University School of Law Alumni Association: Board of Directors
  • National LGBT Bar Association
  • New York City Bar Association: Women in the Legal Profession Committee (2014 to 2016)
  • Federal Bar Council: First Decade Committee (2013 to 2015)

News

News

Community

  • Ali Forney Center (AFC), Board of Directors: Secretary and Executive Committee Member (2014 to Present)

Pro Bono

  • Launched office-wide participation in the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund’s Name Change Project, which provides pro bono legal name change services to low-income transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary (“TGNCNB”) people, and through such representation, helped TGNCNB clients achieve their goal of ensuring their legal identities matched their lived experience.
  • Represented the Humane Society of the United States in the first nationwide class action complaint of its kind filed against a Florida seller of sick dogs obtained from "puppy mills." Following a Florida court's denial of the defendant seller's motion to dismiss the case, the seller immediately filed for bankruptcy, resulting in the shuttering of the store and the sale of its assets.
  • During an externship with Legal Services New York, advocated on behalf of low-income clients in a number of matters related to securing their essential needs and challenging any systemic injustices they faced.
  • Obtained a rarely granted writ of habeas corpus for a capital defendant in Florida following effective appellate advocacy.

Prior Positions

  • Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
  • Intern for the Honorable Joanna Seybert of the Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York, Criminal Division: Intern

Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • New York

Education

  • J.D., St. John’s University School of Law, 2006; cum laude; St. Thomas More Scholar; Executive Notes and Comments Editor, St. John's Law Review
  • B.A., Columbia University, 2002