Yotam Barkai is a senior associate at Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, resident in the New York office.
Yotam’s practice focuses on complex commercial disputes, appeals, and public-interest and civil-rights litigation across a broad spectrum of industries and legal issues. Yotam recently served as trial counsel for nine plaintiffs who were injured in the August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in securing a landmark $26 million verdict against the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who organized and conspired to commit the racially motivated violence at the rally. Yotam also has substantial appellate experience; he has briefed, argued, and won appeals as Court-appointed counsel in the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First, Fourth, and Fifth Circuits in cases involving employment discrimination, police misconduct, and sentencing under the Armed Career Criminal Act. Yotam’s clients include corporations and individuals in the higher education, financial services, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, and technology sectors. Yotam also has extensive experience in government prosecutions, government and internal investigations, and crisis management.
Yotam’s current and recent representations include:
- Victims of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in winning a $26 million verdict against the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who organized and conspired to commit the racially motivated violence at the rally;
- Victims of consumer fraud in a federal class-action lawsuit against Donald J. Trump, his adult children, and the Trump Organization;
- Students, parents, teachers, and LGBTQ rights groups in challenging Florida H.B. 1557 (the “Don’t Say Gay” law);
- AECOM, a prominent government contractor, in defending against a series of claims brought against the company under the False Claims Act;
- Mary Trump in a lawsuit against Donald J. Trump and his siblings detailing how the group conspired to defraud Ms. Trump out of her rightful share of her father’s inheritance;
- Brown University in successfully securing dismissal of a lawsuit seeking to reinstate Brown’s club squash teams to varsity status;
- A civil-rights plaintiff allegedly subjected to unlawful racial discrimination in hiring, on a successful appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals before the First Circuit (Yotam was appointed to brief and argue the appeal);
- An individual imprisoned under the Armed Career Criminal Act, on a successful appeal (under the Criminal Justice Act) from a dismissed habeas corpus petition before the U.S. Court of Appeals before the Fourth Circuit (Yotam was appointed to brief and argue the appeal);
- The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence as amicus supporting the State of New York’s concealed-carry licensing scheme against a Second Amendment challenge at the U.S. Supreme Court in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen (No. 20-843); and
- Corporations and individuals navigating government prosecutions and sensitive government and internal investigations.
Yotam joined the firm from Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, where he practiced complex commercial litigation on behalf of a wide variety of clients in industries including energy, healthcare, financial services, and life insurance. While at Boies Schiller, Yotam briefed, argued, and won an appeal on behalf of a civil-rights plaintiff in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Yotam was recently named to Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch for his Commercial Litigation practice by Best Lawyers.
Yotam received his law degree magna cum laude from the New York University School of Law, where he was inducted into the Order of the Coif and was a Furman Academic Scholar and Pomeroy Scholar. He received the Goodman Prize, the McKay Prize, the Lieberman Award, and the Kaufman Award at graduation. Yotam was a finalist in the Marden Moot Court Competition, in which he also won awards for the best brief in both rounds of competition. In law school, he also served as an Articles Editor for the New York University Law Review, a research assistant for Dean Richard Revesz and Professors Samuel Issacharoff and Rachel Barkow, and a teaching assistant for Professor Richard Epstein.
Yotam began his career as a math teacher for Teach for America in the Bronx in New York City. He received his B.A. in Ethics, Politics and Economics from Yale University.