People: Karen Y. Bitar, Partner

Photo of Karen Y. Bitar, Partner

Karen Y. Bitar

Partner

New York
Direct: (212) 218-5261
0

Karen Y. Bitar is a partner in the Litigation Department of Seyfarth Shaw LLP, and is national Co-Chair of the firm’s White Collar, Internal Investigations and False Claims Team. For the fourteen years prior to joining Seyfarth, she was national co-chair of securities litigation for a large multinational law firm. Ms. Bitar’s Securities and White Collar practice focuses on representation of companies and their directors and officers in securities class action defense, and related state and federal fraud based claims.

Ms. Bitar is regularly retained for her trial experience. She has tried approximately 40 cases in both state and federal courts, mostly to a jury, and has broad experience in breach of fiduciary duty, insider trading and financial fraud matters, including application of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), accounting malpractice and accounting restatements and irregularities.

Ms. Bitar has represented the gamut of clients, from the Fortune 500 and their Boards, to small business owners, to not-for-profit charitable organizations in defending complex financial matters alleging violations of Federal, State, and not-for-profit law. She also routinely advises Boards on issues of corporate governance including financial presentment of financial statements in public filings and Form 990.

Ms. Bitar began her legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in the Office of the District Attorney in Kings County, New York, where she served in the Investigation Bureau, and handled economic crimes, sex crimes and violent felony offenses. She concluded her tenure as an Assistant District Attorney in the Homicide Bureau.

As national Co-Chair of the Internal Investigations group, Ms. Bitar utilizes her prosecutorial experience to also investigate and defend a diverse array of issues before the Offices of the United States Attorney, various State Attorneys General, including the New York State Attorney General and Connecticut Attorney General, and other regulatory bodies in areas outside the financial context, including whistleblower claims, statutory violations, harassment and sexual harassment claims, conflicts of interest, employee theft and other wrongdoing.

A founding member of Seyfarth’s Title IX Team, Ms. Bitar investigates and counsels on Title IX compliance, and similar state and local laws at both the university and secondary school levels. She has spoken nationally and is often quoted in the National Press on recent high-profile Title IX and related matters. She also routinely advises and defends universities and secondary schools with respect to employment litigation and other matters.

Ms. Bitar also served as Assistant General Counsel at Ernst & Young LLP. Ms. Bitar has been a frequent commentator on COURT TV and Fox TV.

Karen Y. Bitar is a partner in the Litigation Department of Seyfarth Shaw LLP, and is national Co-Chair of the firm’s White Collar, Internal Investigations and False Claims Team. For the fourteen years prior to joining Seyfarth, she was national co-chair of securities litigation for a large multinational law firm. Ms. Bitar’s Securities and White Collar practice focuses on representation of companies and their directors and officers in securities class action defense, and related state and federal fraud based claims.

Ms. Bitar is regularly retained for her trial experience. She has tried approximately 40 cases in both state and federal courts, mostly to a jury, and has broad experience in breach of fiduciary duty, insider trading and financial fraud matters, including application of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), accounting malpractice and accounting restatements and irregularities.

Ms. Bitar has represented the gamut of clients, from the Fortune 500 and their Boards, to small business owners, to not-for-profit charitable organizations in defending complex financial matters alleging violations of Federal, State, and not-for-profit law. She also routinely advises Boards on issues of corporate governance including financial presentment of financial statements in public filings and Form 990.

Ms. Bitar began her legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in the Office of the District Attorney in Kings County, New York, where she served in the Investigation Bureau, and handled economic crimes, sex crimes and violent felony offenses. She concluded her tenure as an Assistant District Attorney in the Homicide Bureau.

As national Co-Chair of the Internal Investigations group, Ms. Bitar utilizes her prosecutorial experience to also investigate and defend a diverse array of issues before the Offices of the United States Attorney, various State Attorneys General, including the New York State Attorney General and Connecticut Attorney General, and other regulatory bodies in areas outside the financial context, including whistleblower claims, statutory violations, harassment and sexual harassment claims, conflicts of interest, employee theft and other wrongdoing.

A founding member of Seyfarth’s Title IX Team, Ms. Bitar investigates and counsels on Title IX compliance, and similar state and local laws at both the university and secondary school levels. She has spoken nationally and is often quoted in the National Press on recent high-profile Title IX and related matters. She also routinely advises and defends universities and secondary schools with respect to employment litigation and other matters.

Ms. Bitar also served as Assistant General Counsel at Ernst & Young LLP. Ms. Bitar has been a frequent commentator on COURT TV and Fox TV.

Education

  • J.D., Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law 

  • A.B., Political Philosophy, Vassar College

Admissions

  • New York
  • Connecticut

Courts

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut

Representative Engagements

  • Continued representation of New York-based Country Day School in recent high-profile litigation involving harassment and whistleblowing.
  • Representation of Yeshiva University in recent high-profile case alleging sexual abuse, fraudulent concealment, and Title IX.  (Dismissed on motion, dismissal upheld by the Second Circuit, petition for Certiorari denied)
  • Representation of certain national and international accounting firms in defending class action suits and professional negligence claims.  
  • Banco Espirito Santo International, Ltd. v. BDO Seidman, LLP, Circuit Court Case No. 04-14009 CA 31 (five-month jury trial culminating in appellate reversal of judgment in all respects)
  • BDO Seidman LLP v. Banco Espirito Santo International et al, Nos. 3D09-324, 09-197, 07-2472 (Reversing Plaintiffs verdict in all aspects), Third District Court of Appeal Miami, Florida, June, 2010
  • In Re: Bankest Capital Corporation, Debtor, Case No. 04-10941-BKC-AJC, Chapter 7
  • In Re John Alden Financial Corporation Securities Litigation, 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2554 (alleging violation of Federal Securities Law (Section 10(b)) (Restatement case; Summary Judgment granted for Defendant on eve of trial)
  • SEC v. Moran, 922 F. Supp. 867 (S.D.N.Y. 1996) (insider trading case culminating in SEC enforcement action and defense verdict at trial)
  • Conopco v. McCreadie, 826 F. Supp. 855, 40 F.3d 1239 (3d Cir. 1994) (professional negligence case culminating in trial)

Affiliations

  • Community Service Society of New York (Board of Trustees)
  • Junior League, Greenwich, CT (Sustaining Member)

Presentations

  • Speaker, “Baylor University: A Case Study,” 2nd Annual Title IX ExecuSummit (July 2017)
  • Speaker, “Creating Solutions in Challenging Times,” National Center’s 44th Annual Conference for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions, Hunter, The City University of New York (March 2017)(Discussion of age discrimination under federal law)
  • Speaker, “College Sexual Assault: Protecting the Rights and Interests of the Victim and the Accused,” ABA Criminal Justice Sections’ Ninth Annual Fall Institute (November 2016)
  • Speaker, “Defending the Accountant Defendant -- Recent Developments in Accounting Liability Defense,” Lecture presented at the Securities Litigation Seminar, New York, NY (December 1, 2006)
  • Speaker, “Trends in Securities Litigation Post PSLRA,” Deloitte & Touche Dispute Consulting Conference (August 2000)

Publications

Books

  • Co-Author, “Defending the Perceived ‘Deep Pocket’: The Auditors,” a chapter of the Inside the MindsTM series Best Practices for Securities Litigation, published for Leading Lawyers On Maintaining Regulatory Compliance, Reporting Financial Disclosures, and Working With Government Agencies (February 2007)

Articles

Accolades

  • Super Women Lawyers magazine (2016)
  • Super Lawyers magazine (2007–2010, 2013–2017)
  • Finalist Team Member, Most Effective Lawyer Award, Appellate Category, Daily Business Review (2010)