Season 3 of Hogan Lovells ‘Proof in Trial’ podcast series follows high-profile cases and what it takes to win in the courtroom
Washington, D.C., 6 February 2024 – What does it take to win in the courtroom, and what’s at stake if you don’t? In Proof in Trial Season 3, hosted by partner Cate Stetson, each episode follows a single case led by global law firm Hogan Lovells, from initial dispute, through the trial and outcome.
The episodes delve into four high-profile cases – a high-stakes U.S. Supreme Court case that could have serious consequences on national elections and constitutional law, an NCAA basketball team fighting for its future, a false allegation that ended the career of a prominent police chief in France, and a battle for fairness in high frequency trading. Proof in Trial Season 3 is available on popular podcast platforms now.
“As a global law firm, we advise clients on their most difficult disputes around the world,” said Stetson, who co-heads the firm’s top-ranked Appellate practice. “In our third season of Proof in Trial, we share how we have helped clients navigate some of their most challenging cases.”
Episode 8: Public Prosecutor v. Bernard Petit et. al
Episode 8 follows Bernard Petit, who spent his career working his way up through the ranks to become head of the Judicial police in Paris, facing crises that shocked the country while the whole world watched. When Paris was rocked by two terrorist attacks in 2015, Bernard led the investigations that resulted in successfully apprehending the terrorists in just three days.
He was at the pinnacle of his career when it suddenly crumbled beneath him. Bernard was stripped of his badge and forced to resign over allegations he leaked secrets about another investigation. Seven years later, he finally got his chance to walk into court, face his accuser and try to clear his name. This is the story of Public Prosecutor v. Bernard Petit et. al.
“Bernard began by telling his story calmly with I think, the words that he had prepared," associate Francois Peres recounts in the podcast. “And he held on like that for maybe two or three minutes before just exploding and just letting his pain out. I mean, we're talking about a guy who dedicated his life to the police and his entire life was broken suddenly based on the lie of Mr. Lemaitre. And so the pain of Bernard just became obvious to everyone.”
Featuring Arthur Dethomas, Francois Peres, and client Bernard Petit.
Episode 9: Citadel v. SEC
Episode 9 opens up with one electronic trader’s fight for fairness, after uncovering a dark side to electronic trading that gave an unfair advantage to those who knew how to manipulate the system. Brad Katsuyama responded by starting his own firm to level the playing field, and to stop high-speed traders from profiting at the expense of others in the market.
His journey was immortalised in Michael Lewis’ best-selling book ‘Flash Boys.’ But his quest for fairness ruffled a few feathers in the industry. Citadel Securities, one of the world’s largest high-frequency trading firms, tried to stop Brad in his tracks. That’s when Hogan Lovells stepped in to help.
At the heart of the issue is the question: should the fastest always win the race?
The exchange, known as IEX, was founded in 2012 by Brad Katsuyama after he noticed how high frequency traders were gaining the upper hand while he was head of electronic trading at Royal Bank of Canada. Believing the system was unfair, he left his job at RBC to build an exchange from scratch. Brad’s solution was to slow down high frequency traders by installing what he called a speed bump.
Large investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and pension funds jumped on board and began using IEX. Following the success of the speed bump, the exchange introduced a new order called the D-limit, which adjusts stock prices during periods of instability, closing the gap between buy and sell prices.
This new D-limit order, which was approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission, was not popular among some high frequency traders. Citadel Securities, a market maker that profits off of high-frequency trading, sued the SEC, claiming they didn’t properly vet the D-Limit order. That’s when IEX turned to Hogan Lovells and partner Cate Stetson.
“The market was being exploited by this very small, very well-resourced group of entities that had the ability to go in and take advantage of those momentary price slippages before a price is reset," Stetson recounts in the podcast. “So the idea that we were coming in and advocating alongside the SEC, because we were on the same side as the agency of course, for maintaining fairness, transparency, openness and openness of opportunity to retail and pension investors was very attractive to us in this case.”
Stetson and senior associate Katie Wellington secured victory on behalf of IEX when the D.C. Circuit unanimously upheld IEX’s “D-Limit” order type in an important win for market fairness.
Featuring Cate Stetson and Katie Wellington, plus Sean Marotta as interim narrator.
Episode 10: University of Louisville
What happens when a college basketball program is enmeshed in an NCAA investigation accusing them of using boosters to pay for the best recruits? You search for the best litigator you can.
The University of Louisville faced this situation: the institution was the subject of intense scrutiny, and eventually NCAA enforcement action, in the aftermath of the widely covered indictments and convictions of Adidas employees for a scheme to pay players and their families to attend universities affiliated with the sports apparel company. And with the stakes for the University at their highest, Louisville looked to Hogan Lovells partner Neal Katyal, who had defended them in a prior disciplinary appeal.
There was just one problem: this new disciplinary process would play out at a trial, not an appeal, and Katyal, who co-heads Hogan Lovells’ Appellate practice and is a former Acting Solicitor General of the United States, had never tried a case before. So Katyal buried himself in preparation to try his first case, and called in a trial expert, his partner Peter Spivack, to try the case with him.
The upshot? A major, widely reported victory for Louisville against the NCAA’s enforcement arm.
“It was really important for the university to be exonerated of these allegations,” Katyal explains. “It had been going on for five years, which is a very long time for a successful basketball program. It had affected their finances, and almost certainly their ability to recruit top level players. If you think about it, it’s an extremely competitive sport. It’s very possible that other schools used these NCAA charges hanging over the Louisville program to convince prospects to go to their school instead.”
Hogan Lovells’ successful defense was also credited by the University’s President for “saving” the Louisville men’s basketball program.
Featuring Ben Fleming, Peter Spivack, and Neal Katyal.
Episode 11: Moore v. Harper
Episode 11 follows what is described as “the most important case for American democracy in almost two and a half centuries.” It was a case that would have major implications for not only the 2024 elections, but all future federal elections in the United States.
Moore v. Harper began in North Carolina, where the state Supreme Court was asked to rule whether the U.S. Constitution gave state legislatures exclusive power over redistricting and election rules. The redrawing of North Carolina’s map was challenged all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The stakes were extremely high: at issue was whether the U.S. Constitution gives state legislatures almost unchecked power over running federal elections. If the Supreme Court sided with the state legislators, it could ultimately erase 200 years of legal precedent.
Hogan Lovells partner Neal Katyal argued the case before the Supreme Court on behalf of voting rights group Common Cause. Even for a seasoned appellate litigator, the pressure was palpable.
“I knew we didn’t have any margin for error,” Katyal recalls. “I have to give basically a perfect oral argument and we had to write a perfect brief.”
“When I looked at the case, I felt there was a path to victory, that many people were thinking about this case in political terms, like Republicans versus Democrats,” Katyal recounts in the podcast. “And instead, my view was, we needed to take and reframe the case, not as the Republican National Committee versus the voters of North Carolina, but the Republican National Committee versus the checks and balances and system of government that James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and others celebrated. So the key move we made in the briefing was to devote an enormous amount of attention to the original history of the United States Constitution.”
In the end, the Supreme Court sided with Katyal’s argument and handed voters a major victory with their ruling that state courts can review — and rectify — election-related rules and voting maps passed by state legislatures.
Featuring Neal Katyal and Katie Wellington.