Philip T. Besirof

Partner and General Counsel | San Francisco | (415) 268-6090
(415) 268-6090

As the Managing Partner of the San Francisco office, I have the privilege and opportunity to see our teams in daily action – and I am unfailingly impressed.

Philip Besirof is General Counsel to Morrison & Foerster, Managing Partner of the San Francisco office, and a partner in our Securities Litigation and Securities Enforcement groups. He is a go-to advisor for companies and their directors and officers in the areas of securities class actions, shareholder derivative suits, and regulator inquiries and investigations. Philip has a long track record of securing successful outcomes, including winning at trial, winning at the pleading stage and on summary judgment, and prevailing on appeal.

Philip’s clients represent a broad range of industries, including:

  • computer hardware
  • consumer products
  • energy
  • financial services
  • gaming
  • technology
  • telecommunications
  • pharmaceutical distribution

He has successfully defended dozens of firms and individuals, including McKesson, Oracle, UPS, Zynga, Infineon, Capital One, and JDSU and its former executives, where he contributed to the complete defense verdict in a securities class action jury trial seeking $20 billion in damages for alleged securities fraud and insider trading.

Philip maintains his active practice while serving as the firm’s General Counsel. As the firm’s principal lawyer, he advises firm leadership and attorneys at all levels on governance, policy development, client intake, ethics, data management and security, and insurance issues. He also serves on the firm’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors, ex officio, and chairs the firm’s Risk Management Committee.

Philip is admitted to practice in the U.S. District Courts for the Central, Eastern, Northern, and Southern Districts of California and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Ninth and Federal Circuits.

Philip is the past Chair of the Board of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 1982 to promote health, wellness, and social justice for communities most impacted by HIV.

Representative Experience

  • Horman v. Abney (Delaware Chancery).
    Represented United Parcel Service, Inc. and its directors in a shareholder derivative action, securing dismissal at the pleading stage.
  • In re Zynga Securities Litigation (Northern District of California; Delaware Chancery).
    Represented Zynga Inc. and its directors and officers in a federal securities class action, a state class action, and various derivative actions in California and Delaware.
  • In re Capital One Derivative Litigation (Eastern District of Virginia; Delaware Chancery).
    Represented Capital One and its officers and directors in derivative litigation in the Eastern District of Virginia, prevailing at the pleading stage.
  • In re Countrywide Financial Corporation Securities Litigation (Central District of California).
    Represented former outside directors of Countrywide Financial Corp. in various securities class actions and shareholder derivative actions, obtaining favorable settlements with full releases for our clients.
  • Tindall v. First Solar Inc. (District of Arizona; Ninth Circuit).
    Represented First Solar and its directors and officers in a shareholder derivative suit in the District of Arizona, prevailing on demand futility grounds; affirmed by the Ninth Circuit.
  • In re Oracle Securities Derivative Litigation (Northern District of California).
    Represented Oracle Corporation in derivative actions in state and federal courts in California, securing a favorable settlement after prevailing on motion to dismiss.
  • In re Infineon Securities Litigation (Northern District of California).
    Obtained dismissal for 90% of class (all foreign shareholders), settling with remaining 10% of the class (U.S. shareholders).
  • In re JDS Uniphase Securities Litigation (Northern District of California).
    Obtained a complete jury defense verdict on behalf of JDSU and three former executives in a class action seeking $20 billion for alleged securities fraud and insider trading.
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