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John F. Sylvia

Member / Co-chair, Securities Litigation Practice

[email protected]

+1.617.348.1820

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Jack is Co-chair of the Securities Litigation Practice and a seasoned trial lawyer whose clients include public and private corporations, officers, directors, special committees, accountants, mutual funds, portfolio managers, and investment advisors. His practice encompasses all facets of securities and financial fraud litigation, and he has handled complex civil and criminal matters involving insider trading, revenue recognition, high-yield investment schemes, market timing, late trading, options backdating, and securities. In addition, he frequently represents clients in connection with internal investigations and investigative and enforcement proceedings conducted by the SEC, FINRA, and state regulatory agencies. His clients range from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups in the life sciences, retail & consumer goods and technology space. Jack also leverages his extensive background in securities litigation and M&A litigation to counsel companies on risks related to SPAC transactions and litigation avoidance.

In addition to his trial experience, Jack also has represented clients in arbitration and alternative dispute resolution, including proceedings before the American Arbitration Association and FINRA.

Education

  • Boston College (JD)
  • Dartmouth College (BA)

Experience

  • Jury acquittal for a CEO client charged with criminal tax evasion arising from an options backdating investigation.
  • Represented Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in a decision crystalizing the standard required to plead scienter in securities fraud cases in the First Circuit.
  • Retained as trial counsel to defend former CFO of a two-and-a-half billion-dollar NYSE-listed company based in China, in a securities class action trial relating to the company's 2011 financial collapse. Secured a favorable trial verdict and resulting settlement that required no monetary payment from the CFO.
  • Represented the Orchid Cellmark board in connection with shareholder derivative litigation alleging breach of fiduciary duty in connection with a merger transaction, defeating plaintiffs’ attempt to enjoin the transaction, resulting in the merger closing on schedule.
  • Represented former officers and directors of The Learning Co. (TLC) in a shareholder class action alleging violation of Section 11 of the '33 Act brought by former shareholders of Broderbund, Inc., a company previously acquired by TLC, securing a dismissal in the trail court and an affirmance in the Ninth Circuit.
  • Represented former officers and directors of The Learning Co. (TLC) in a shareholder class action alleging violation of Section 11 of the '33 Act brought by former shareholders of Broderbund, Inc., a company previously acquired by TLC, securing a dismissal in the trail court and an affirmance in the Ninth Circuit.
  • Defended a public pharmaceutical company and its officers against Section 10(b) and Section 11 claims arising out of a secondary public offering, successfully obtaining a dismissal of all counts.
  • Successfully represented a technology company and the company’s officers and directors against allegations of securities fraud.
  • Successfully represented a technology company and the company’s officers and directors against allegations of securities fraud.
  • Favorable post-trial decision in Delaware Court of Chancery for corporate and individual clients charged with breaches of fiduciary duties.
  • Defense jury verdict for corporate officers charged with violation of Section 10(b) in connection with the purchase of convertible-preferred securities.
  • Represented iBasis, Inc. and its officers and directors in a shareholder derivative action alleging breach of fiduciary duty and violations of Section 14(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, arising out of alleged stock options “backdating” and improper accounting attendant thereto, prevailing on a motion to dismiss.
  • Represented multinational professional services firm in a month-long jury trial where client denied claims of supervisory liability. The jury found in favor of client on supervisory liability claim, and rejected claims for punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.

Recognition & Awards

  • Massachusetts Super Lawyers: Securities Litigation (2006, 2010 – 2021)
  • Best Lawyers in America: Litigation - Securities (2018 – 2022)
  • Chambers USA: Massachusetts - Litigation: Securities (2011 – 2021)
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America

Case Studies

Breaking Down the SPAC Surge Report Cover Mintz Case Study
Mintz analyzed PitchBook data to produce an in-depth report on the record rise in special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) fundraising in the US since 2020 and the recent increase in SPAC merger activity. We also explore how SPACs could evolve and litigation challenges to SPAC IPOs and transactions.

Recent Insights

News & Press

Events

Viewpoints

Webinar Reference Image
Mintz Members Adam Sisitsky, Nancy Adams, Jack Sylvia and Of Counsel, Kristen White discuss the rising risk of litigation and regulatory enforcement facing SPACs and the individuals that lead them. Topics will included the current SPAC litigation landscape, SPAC M&A–related litigation, including disclosure issues and breach of fiduciary duty in the de-SPAC process, D&O coverage challenges and risk mitigation and heightened SEC scrutiny.
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SEC Discloses Its Recommendations on Key Issues for Private Companies Weighing SPAC Transactions

April 2, 2021 | Blog | By Thomas R. Burton, III, John Sylvia, Sahir Surmeli, Patrick E. McDonough

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2021’s Continued SPAC Boom Invites Heightened SEC Scrutiny of SPAC Transactions

March 26, 2021 | Blog | By Thomas Burton, John Sylvia, Sahir Surmeli, Patrick E. McDonough

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On March 18, 2020, the Delaware Supreme Court (the “Court”) issued a groundbreaking decision reversing the Delaware Court of Chancery’s December 2019 ruling in Sciabacucchi v. Salzberg, 2018 Del. Ch. LEXIS 578 (Del. Ch. Dec. 19, 2018), and holding that charter provisions adopted by public companies that designate a federal forum for securities claims brought pursuant to the Securities Act of 1933 (“Federal Forum Provisions”) are valid and enforceable.
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Issuers Face Changing Litigation Landscape, Challenges Due to Supreme Court Ruling

March 22, 2018 | Alert | By Adam Sisitsky, John Sylvia

In a boon for public company shareholder plaintiffs this week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld state courts’ concurrent jurisdiction over securities class actions alleging violations of certain federal securities laws.
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Insider Trading: Lessons from the Mark Cuban Jury Verdict

October 18, 2013 | Blog | By John Sylvia, Chip Phinney

The SEC’s closely watched insider trading suit against entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban, the outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, ended on October 16th when a Dallas jury cleared Cuban of any wrongdoing. 
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On June 25, 2013, Delaware Chancellor Strine issued a fulsome opinion upholding the power of Delaware boards to amend corporate bylaws to include binding forum selection provisions.
Read more

News & Press

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Mintz Member and Co-chair of the firm’s Securities Litigation Practice Jack Sylvia participated in a roundtable discussion published in the July 2021 issue of Financier Worldwide Magazine exploring trends in shareholder disputes over the past 12-18 months and looking ahead at issues and challenges to come as parties adjust to the post-COVID-19 landscape.
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An article published by CFO Dive featured quotes from Mintz Member and Co-chair of the firm’s Securities Litigation Practice Jack Sylvia, Member and Co-chair of the firm’s Insurance Practice Nancy Adams and Of Counsel, Kristen White exploring the rising risk of litigation and regulatory enforcement facing special purpose acquisition company (SPAC)s and the individuals that lead them.
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In an article published by Law360, Mintz Member and Co-chair of the firm’s Securities Litigation Practice Jack Sylvia was quoted on the contentious legal battle between Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin and stock trading and investing app Robinhood, which is poised to test the state’s new fiduciary rule, and, by extension, the authority of one of the most aggressive securities regulators in the country.
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Mintz Member and Co-chair of the firm’s Securities Litigation Practice Jack Sylvia was quoted in an article published by Forbes discussing the purpose of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s Regulation Fair Disclosure (Reg FD) as it pertains to an SEC investigation into possible insider trading after shares of Kodak surged prior to an official announcement that the company would receive a loan from the Trump administration to shift its manufacturing efforts into the pharmaceutical industry, as the press release was distributed to media early and without an embargo date.
This column discusses a recent securities class action decision – the first-ever concerning climate change-related allegations. The column is authored by Members and Co-Chairs of the Securities Litigation Practice Adam Sisitsky and Jack Sylvia and Attorney Rebecca Zeidel.
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Member and Co-chair of the Securities Litigation Practice Jack Sylvia is one of the securities industry sources quoted in this feature article discussing a recently dismissed putative class action which many believe to be the wrong test case to challenge the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's ability to seek disgorgement penalties.
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Mintz partner and Massachusetts lawyer Julie Korostoff is one of 49 attorneys recognized as “Leaders in Their Fields” by the 2018 Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business guide. Chambers named Korostoff a “Recognized Practitioner” in Technology.
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Best Lawyers named 85 Mintz attorneys to its 2018 list of The Best Lawyers in America. In addition, Mintz attorneys Matthew J. Gardella and Samuel M. Tony Starr were named “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective practice areas.
Jack Sylvia, Co-chair of the Mintz Securities Litigation Practice, was quoted in this Bloomberg BNA Daily Report for Executives article on Republican lawmakers’ desire to curb the SEC’s authority to use in-house tribunals to bring enforcement actions.
Jack Sylvia, Co-chair of the Mintz Securities Litigation Practice, was quoted in this ABA Journal article discussing President-Elect Trump’s promise to repeal the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Jack Sylvia, Co-chair of the Mintz Securities Litigation Practice, was quoted in this Law360 article on the stepping down of the SEC Chair Mary Jo White. The article discusses the potential impact such a change in leadership will be in the areas of enforcement and rulemaking.
Fifty-three Mintz attorneys have been named Massachusetts Super Lawyers for 2016 and thirty-one have been named Massachusetts Rising Stars. The findings will be published in the November 2016 issue of Boston Magazine and in a stand-alone magazine, New England Super Lawyers. 
Jack Sylvia, Co-chair of the Mintz Securities Litigation Practice, was quoted in this Bloomberg BNA Securities Law Daily article on the U.S. Supreme Court’s upcoming decision in Salman v. United States, its first major insider trading case in nearly twenty years.
Firm’s National Healthcare Practice, NY Corporate/M&A and Litigation: General Commercial Among Newest Rankings
The 2015 Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business guide names 52 Mintz, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.  attorneys as “Leaders in Their Fields.”

Events

Panelist
Sep
15
2020
Webinar Reference Image
Speaker
Sep
22
2017

Hot Topics and Trends in D&O Coverage and Liability

PLUS

John J. Moakley Courthouse, 1 Courthouse Way, Boston, MA

Speaker
Feb
1
2017

Mintz and Grant Thornton Present a Multitopic CLE Workshop

Grant Thornton 757 3rd Avenue and 47th Street New York, NY

Panelist
May
12
2016

Preparing for the SEC

Marsh, Mintz Levin, and Grant Thornton

New York, NY

Speaker
Jun
10
2015