Austin

Neil Austin

Partner
Co-Chair, Advertising & Marketing Practice
Boston

I work with clients to develop and execute strategies that maximize the likelihood of success in high-stakes litigation and investigations.

Neil Austin is a partner in the firm’s Litigation Department who specializes in handling high-stakes and complex cases involving alleged fraud, misrepresentation, misconduct, or negligence. Whether in the context of advertising and marketing, product design and manufacture, or the purchase and sale of securities, Neil has significant experience representing clients in litigation and investigations alleging a failure to adhere to acceptable standards of business conduct.
 

Neil has significant trial experience, including in state, federal and bankruptcy court. This experience has made Neil a practical and effective litigator, with an ability to develop a winning case strategy and execute on that strategy using a team-based, client-centered approach. Neil specializes in litigating and resolving false advertising disputes, False Claims Act matters, and products liability and business disputes, as well as representing clients in government and internal investigation.

Neil brings a commercial approach to dispute resolution and counseling, representing clients in a broad range of industries on key areas of litigation risk, including advertising and marketing, breaches of contract, business torts, intellectual property disputes, products liability litigaiton and class action defense. 

Education

  • Boston University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 2003
  • University of Georgia, B.A., summa cum laude, 1998

Bar and Court Admissions

BAR ADMISSIONS
  • Massachusetts
COURT ADMISSIONS
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Experience

LITIGATION AND TRIAL
  • Represents Massachusetts-based software company in Lanham Act false advertising litigation challenging competitor’s false and misleading claims in sponsored white paper
  • Represents international consumer product brand in Lanham Act litigation alleging false and misleading claims in video animation purporting to show design defects in client’s product
  • Member of team serving as national counsel to major valve manufacturer in defense of asbestos claims filed or pending in approximately 20 states
  • Represented healthcare system and member physicians in a series of coordinated lawsuits filed by municipalities in Maine alleging harm based on physicians’ prescriptions of opioid-based medications
  • Obtained complete victory on behalf of Boston-based greeting card manufacturing following week-long jury trial against competitor for copyright and trademark infringement of card designs
  • Obtained complete victory on behalf of financial services company following United States Bankruptcy Court trial against principals of residential solar company that misappropriated customers funds and made fraudulent transfers prior to filing for Chapter 7 relief
  • Obtained complete victory on behalf of German medical device company following week-long jury trial against counterparty to repudiated international asset purchase agreement
  • Obtained series of favorable bench trial verdicts in federal court in Miami on behalf of foreign-sovereign owned company against international food trader that was shown—through meticulous sampling, testing, and expert testimony—to have delivered melamine-contaminated powdered milk
  • Represented a national bank holding company and its subsidiaries in a federal lawsuit concerning the sale of residential mortgage-backed securities
  • Represented manufacturer of surgical products in trade libel suit brought by former distributor
GOVERNMENT AND INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS
  • Defends privately held educational institutions in investigations by the Massachusetts Attorney General and other government regulators
  • Conducted internal investigation for local teaching hospital reviewing allegations of professional misconduct by attending physician
  • Conducted internal investigation for private boarding school regarding allegations of past sexual abuse and the school’s response to those allegations
  • Represented manufacturer and marketer of genetically tailored health products in complex Federal Trade Commission investigation involving both advertising and data security/privacy issues
  • Conducted internal investigation for publicly held software company regarding allegations of stock options backdating
  • Represented software company in internal and SEC investigations regarding timing of stock option grants
  • Represented bank officer in U.S. Attorney’s Office investigation of insider trading
  • Regularly counsels clients on responses to subpoenas, civil investigative demands and other government requests for information
PRO BONO AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
  • Obtained new trial for wrongfully convicted individual after thirty-two years of incarceration
  • Represent individuals recently exonerated of serious felonies in dealing with legal challenges after release from prison
  • Represent individual recently exonerated of murder in federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Brockton and former Brockton police officers
  • Represent immigrants at risk of removal or deportation in Boston Immigration Court
  • Frequently draft amicus briefs on issues of social importance

Publications

Honors & Involvement

HONORS
  • Recipient of the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Friend of Justice Award for amicus brief advocacy, 2017
  • Recipient of PAIR Project, Inc.’s Detention Attorney Award for pro bono work on behalf of immigrant detainees, 2008
  • Edward F. Hennessey Distinguished Scholar, Boston University School of Law, 2003
  • Recipient of Dean’s Award for Securities Regulations, Boston University School of Law, 2003
  • Recipient of Dean’s Award for Criminal Procedure, Boston University School of Law, 2003
INVOLVEMENT
  • Board Member and Executive Committee Member, Lawyers for Civil Rights
  • Member and former co-chair of the Boston Bar Association’s Amicus Committee
  • Steering Committee Member of the Boston Bar Association’s Public Interest Leadership Program (2012-2013)
  • Alumnus of the Boston Bar Association’s Public Interest Leadership Program (2009-2010)
  • Recognized by the Supreme Judicial Court for pro bono representation of immigrant detainees (2007)
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • Massachusetts Bar Association, Member
  • Boston Bar Association, Member

Speaking Engagements

  • Presenter, “IP and Advertising Basics for Cannabis Companies,” Foley Hoag webinar, (July 2019 and April 2022)
  • Speaker, “The Ten Commandments of Practical Lawyering,” TechGC New York/Boston, (June 2017 and March 2017)
  • Panelist, “Putting Clients Under the Microscope: The Mechanics of Business Investigations and the Challenge of Serving as an Independent Investigator,” Rhode Island Bar Association Annual Meeting (June 2017)
  • Speaker, “Ten Insanely Important FTC Advertising Enforcement Trends for 2016,” Webinar (February 2016)
  • Panelist, “Communicating in the Web 2.0 World: Social Advertising, Trademark and Copyright Strategies You Will Like,” Association of Corporate Counsel Technology Summit (March 2015)
  • Co-chair and Panelist, “An Insider’s View of False Advertising Disputes - From the FTC, NAD, and In-House Counsel,” Boston Bar Association Continuing Legal Education (December 2013)