Chris Banks is a trial lawyer who helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 solve problems concerning unfair competition, trade secret misappropriation and data security, employee departures, wage and hour disputes, and other labor and employment matters. He also advises on intellectual property rights, technology licensing and development arrangements, and breach of fiduciary duty and other business torts. His accomplishments include serving as lead trial counsel for Japanese pharmaceutical company Asahi Kasei Pharma Corp. in a three-month trial that resulted in the largest contested jury verdict in the United States for 2011. In 2014, he helped uphold that judgment on appeal to the California Supreme Court, with Asahi Kasei recovering more than $523 million.
Chris focuses on taking complex matters and simplifying them for presentation to a judge or jury. He has spent a substantial portion of his career in court, examining witnesses, arguing motions, and leading or helping lead trial teams. He also counsels companies to help them avoid disputes or resolve disputes that do arise prior to litigation.
Chris was named an Attorney of the Year by The Recorder in 2011, to the Winning Litigators Hot List by the National Law Journal in 2012, one of the top 20 lawyers in California under 40 by the Daily Journal in 2013, and a Northern California Super Lawyer in 2015. Today, Chris continues to advise technology and life sciences companies facing potential employment, competitive, and contractual disputes.
Successfully defended a billion-dollar reasonable royalty claim for online brokerage in trade secret misappropriation bench trial;
Secured $415 million judgment for Asahi Kasei Pharma Corp. after three-month jury trial that was upheld on appeal, generating a $523 million recovery for the client in 2014;
Obtained summary judgment for a multinational company in the Northern District of California against ERISA claims for prohibited transactions after class certification;
Helped obtain complete defense verdict for online stock brokerage in month-long, $300 million unjust enrichment jury re-trial in Santa Clara County Superior Court based on pre-established liability for trade secret misappropriation;
Obtained complete defense verdict for financial services client in arbitration with broker-dealer self-regulating body that sought $10 million for alleged negligent investment administration;
Represented leading direct marketing company during month-long trial in the Central District of California in multimillion litigation alleging copyright infringement, trade dress infringement, and false advertising claims;
Helped obtain $44.6 million jury verdict for a sports agency in the Central District of California on breach of contract and trade secrets claims against former business partners and employees;
Represented a data storage company in California state court and obtained a preliminary injunction against former employee on claims of illegal competition and violation of a non-compete agreement;
Helped successfully resolve key employee contractual dispute between radio station and morning radio program personalities in the Eastern District of California;
Helped obtain mid-trial judgment as a matter of law for semiconductor company facing claims for usurpation of business opportunity premised upon conduct of founders of acquired entity in Minnesota District Court after four-month bench trial;
Led negotiations for biopharmacutical company in termination of development and licensing agreement with larger, former development partner;
Led trial preparations for semiconductor company in successfully-resolved dispute with former supplier in Northern District of California;
Co-led representation of restructuring company facing breach of fiduciary duty claims in Eastern District of Kentucky, leading to successful resolution of dispute;
Successfully resolved dispute for medical device company in litigation with electronic medical records software developer in Central District of California;
Helped defense team prepare for trial in California wage and hour class action in Fresno County Superior Court;
Helped successfully prosecute claims for pharmaceutical company in International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitration that resulted in a $91 million award.
Georgetown University Law Center, 2001, J.D.
The George Washington University, 1997, M.A., With Distinction
University of Nebraska, 1994, B.A., Cum Laude
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of California
Awards and Affiliations
Member, Practice Group of the Year, Employment, Law360 (2017, 2019)
Top 20 Under 40, Daily Journal (2013)
Recognized, Northern California Super Lawyers (2013–2015)
Rising Star, Northern California Super Lawyers (2011–2012)
Recognized, Winning Litigator Hot List, National Law Journal (2012)
2011 Attorney of the Year, The Recorder
Member, Georgetown Journal of Law & Policy in International Business