People

Timothy J. Perla

Partner

Perla, Timothy J.

Tim Perla has more than 13 years of experience defending securities class actions, corporate governance litigation, business and insurance litigation, and regulatory enforcement matters. His clients include energy companies, banks, life sciences companies, insurance companies, securities issuers, financial professionals, and officers and directors. Mr. Perla is based in Boston, but has handled complex litigation matters in state and federal courts in 25 states, as well as numerous appellate courts.

In the past year alone, Mr. Perla has orchestrated the defense of nearly 30 related securities class actions, shareholder derivative cases, and regulatory matters brought against a renewable energy company and its board of directors. He has also taken a case to trial in California Superior Court for a large insurance company, and defended class actions in California, New York, Massachusetts, Delaware, Louisiana, Missouri, Maryland, New Jersey, Wisconsin and elsewhere.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Perla clerked for the Honorable Nathaniel M. Gorton, United States District Judge for the District of Massachusetts.  He graduated summa cum laude from Boston University School of Law and received the Alumni Award for achieving the highest grade point average in his class.

Class Actions

Mr. Perla devotes much of his practice to defending securities fraud class actions and other class actions brought against companies and their officers and directors. In 2017 alone, he defended more than a dozen securities class actions in federal courts around the country. He has repeatedly obtained dismissals, as well as settlements on favorable terms. He has extensive knowledge of complex procedural and class certification issues, and is often called upon to consult on class certification proceedings. Finally, Mr. Perla has had the rare experience of taking a class action to jury trial, obtaining a full defense verdict on all 11 claims after a three-week trial.

Corporate Governance Litigation

Dozens of companies, officers, and directors have looked to Mr. Perla for counseling and defense when faced with allegations of breach of fiduciary duty and other alleged corporate governance failures. He often litigates in the Delaware Court of Chancery, including in the past year defeating a motion for preliminary injunction in a bet-the-company matter brought against a renewable energy firm. His recent matters include: litigation challenging mergers and acquisitions, executive compensation litigation, disputes arising from conflict of interest transactions, statutory records demands, shareholder derivative demands, short-swing profits cases, and other corporate governance matters.

Regulatory Enforcement

Mr. Perla has represented clients before federal and state regulatory and law enforcement agencies, including the SEC, US Attorneys' Offices, the Department of Labor, and the Massachusetts Securities Division. Investigations have concerned allegations of: securities, accounting, tax and other fraud; insider trading; financial reporting and disclosure improprieties; noncompliance with professional and regulatory standards; anti-money laundering violations; and discriminatory conduct. His recent success includes persuading the SEC not to pursue charges against a company controller who had presided over accounting errors that led to a financial restatement.

Insurance and Business Litigation

Mr. Perla maintains a robust practice representing insurance companies in the defense of class actions, claims of improper sales practices, regulatory enforcement matters involving departments of insurance, and other litigation matters. In recent years, he has obtained dismissals of class actions brought against insurers in California, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Massachusetts , eliminating hundreds of millions of dollars of exposure to damages. He also recently took a large individual life insurance action to trial in California Superior Court, obtaining a favorable settlement after trial began.

Honors & Awards

  • Recommended by The Legal 500 United States in 2016 and 2017 for his securities litigation defense practice
  • Named a "Massachusetts Super Lawyers Rising Star" for securities litigation in the 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017 issues of Boston Magazine

Publications & News

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October 26, 2017

The Art of Projecting Budgets for Litigation Alternative Fee Arrangements

Timothy Perla and Zack Beasley authored this article, published in Bloomberg Law's Corporate Law & Accountability Report, exploring projecting budgets for litigation alternative fee arrangements.

June 9, 2017

The Legal 500 United States 2017 Recognizes 125 WilmerHale Lawyers Across 28 Practice Areas

The Legal 500 United States has released its 2017 rankings, recommending 125 WilmerHale lawyers—including 12 who are named to its elite “Leading Lawyers” list and two on its “Next Generation Lawyers” list—and 28 practice areas in its 11th edition.

June 22, 2016

The Legal 500 United States 2016 Recognizes 111 WilmerHale Lawyers Across 30 Practice Areas

The guide's rankings are based on a series of criteria, including client feedback, interviews with private practice lawyers, and its own research.

January 4, 2013

WilmerHale Announces the Elevation of Partners and Special Counsel

We are pleased to announce the elevation of our new partners and special counsel in 2013.

November 8, 2011

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Announces Early Warning Notice Process for Enforcement Proceedings

July 25, 2011

Due Process, Transparency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

An article by Timothy J. Perla, published in Securities Regulation & Law Report, 43 SRLR 1532.

April 4, 2011

Delaware Corporate Law: Notable Developments in 2010

An article written by Daniel Halston, Timothy Perla and Andrew Dulberg, appearing in Securities Regulation & Law Report, 43 SRLR 734.

February 23, 2011

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Rulemaking and Enforcement Authority Powers Take Effect in Five Months; Affected Organizations Should Prepare for Heightened Enforcement of Financial Consumer Protection Laws

Recent Highlights

  • Orchestrated the defense of nearly 30 securities class actions, shareholder derivative actions, and regulatory enforcement actions, obtaining multiple dismissals
  • Defended an insurer in a jury trial over alleged improprieties in connection with the administration of life insurance policies
  • Secured a defense verdict in a class action jury trial challenging more than 40,000 sales of insurance products and asserting $180 million in damages
  • Obtained dismissal of and successfully defended on appeal in a First Circuit securities fraud class action
  • Achieved dismissal of putative class action lawsuits alleging fraud and breach of contract in connection with the sales of insurance and investment products
  • Successfully represented an accounting professional in proceedings before the SEC resulting in no adverse action
  • Represented a major insurance company in cases around the country alleging fraud and unsuitability with respect to sales of equity-indexed annuities and other insurance products
  • Successfully completed several confidential internal investigations raising accounting and revenue recognition issues in healthcare, pharmaceutical and technology companies
  • Obtained dismissal of a shareholder derivative action alleging that a corporate officer engaged in stock options backdating
  • Secured denial of a preliminary injunction seeking to prevent a pharmaceutical company from entering into a merger agreement
  • Successfully brought to conclusion investigations by regulatory authorities including the SEC and the Massachusetts Securities Division into clients accused of improper revenue recognition, stock options backdating, market timing, unsuitable insurance sales and fraud 

Professional Activities

Mr. Perla is active in the leadership of the Boston Bar Association. He is also a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association. Mr. Perla is a member of the Young Lawyer Advisory Board of The American Lawyer.

He has given numerous talks and presentations covering matters including mergers and acquisitions litigation, Delaware corporate law, federal securities laws, and the impact of technology (particularly mobile computing) on litigation. He is also a frequent media commentator on class actions and securities litigation.

Practices

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Education

JD, summa cum laude, Boston University School of Law, 2004, Boston University Law Review

BA, Computer Science, State University of New York at Geneseo, 2001

Bar Admissions

Massachusetts

New York

Clerkships

The Hon. Nathaniel M. Gorton, US District Court for the District of Massachusetts

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