Cooter, Mangold, Deckelbaum & Karas, LLP

Cooter, Mangold, Deckelbaum & Karas, LLP is a litigation boutique in Washington, D.C.

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Firm Overview

When you come into our office, we may be in blue jeans and t-shirts; we do not take ourselves too seriously, but we take our craft very seriously. Our team of senior attorneys focuses on representing clients in both commercial litigation and bankruptcy matters.

We represent clients in complex business disputes in state, federal and bankruptcy courts throughout the country, and in international arbitration and insolvency proceedings. We represent a wide variety of clients - from Fortune 100 companies to smaller companies and individuals.

We have taken hundreds of cases to successful conclusions, whether by trial or settlement, including a significant number of cases with values in the eight-figure range. A high percentage of our cases go to trial, because we will not recommend settlement unless we are confident that the settlement is in the best interest of the client.

CMDK's partners are experienced litigation and bankruptcy attorneys, allowing us to effectively and efficiently provide legal services to our clients. Without the staffing overhead of a larger firm, we are able to offer our clients a variety of fee structures. The firm handles matters on a straight hourly fee basis, on a contingency basis, on a flat-fee basis, and on a modified contingency basis (a combination of reduced or capped hourly fee and a percentage of the recovery).
Main Office

Main Office
5301 Wisconsin Avenue N.W. Suite 500
Washington  DC  20015

Phone
  • 202-537-0700
Fax
  • 202-364-3664
Business
Business Litigation
In litigation, the result is what is important. Whether a case is resolved with a settlement, by trial, or after an appeal, our extensive experience allows us to anticipate likely and unlikely scenarios, helping us to achieve the best results for our clients. With extensive courtroom experience, our attorneys have tried cases in federal and state courts throughout the nation, and in domestic and international arbitrations. Our team-based approach to litigation draws on the particular talents of each of our attorneys. In addition to our courtroom advocacy skills, we take pride in the quality of our written work product, including trial court pleadings, motions and memoranda, and appellate level briefs.

We represent both plaintiffs and defendants in a broad range of business disputes. A typical case may involve a partnership or corporate dispute, breaches of fiduciary duty, securities violations, fraud, or other commercial torts. In addition, we have substantial experience in banking litigation, insurance coverage disputes, and litigation involving professionals, including legal, accounting, insurance brokerage, and engineering malpractice. On more than one occasion, we have been called by a former opposing party interested in engaging our services in new litigation. Having focused our practice solely on litigation (rather than, for example, on a combination of transactional and litigation services), we have gained a depth of experience equal to the litigation departments at the major national law firms, whom we quite frequently face as opponents.

While we are licensed and regularly practice in the state and federal courts in our three local jurisdictions (Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia), our practice really knows no geographic boundaries, as we regularly litigate cases in state and federal courts around the country.

Fernando Amarillas

Fernando Amarillas joined the firm in 2007. He graduated from American University Washington College of Law in 2006. While in law school, Fernando was a Mussey-Gillett Fellow, a Marshall-Brennan Fellow, a member of the Executive Board of the American University International Law Review as the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Book Editor, and represented clients in the International Human Rights Law Clinic. Fernando also worked as a law clerk in the Civil Division at the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.

Fernando was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California at Los Angeles in 2002.

Dale A. Cooter

Dale is an experienced trial lawyer, specializing in complex litigation, representing both plaintiffs and defendants. On behalf of plaintiff clients, he has achieved numerous multi-million dollar recoveries against major national and international corporations. He regularly appears in both state and federal courts across the nation. Licensed in Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and New York, Dale is also admitted to the bars of United States Supreme Court, the United States Courts of Appeal for the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, Eleventh, District of Columbia, and Federal Circuits, as well as the United States Court of Claims, and the federal district courts in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

In addition to his law practice, Dale has also served as an adjunct Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center (from 1985 through 1993), where he taught courses in Commercial Law and Evidence. He served as a master of the Charles Fahey American Inns of Court in Washington, D.C. for several years in the early 1990s.

Dale was born and raised in Syracuse, New York. He attended the State University of New York at Fredonia on a New York State Regents Scholarship. In 1970 he graduated cum laude with a bachelor

Nelson Deckelbaum

Nelson specializes in insolvency and bankruptcy matters. Nelson regularly represents both corporate and individual debtors and creditors in bankruptcy matters, work-outs and restructuring. He is often appointed as a Chapter 11 trustee, and has been retained as counsel for the bankruptcy trustee or creditors' committee in a wide variety of cases. In addition to his bankruptcy practice, Nelson also represents clients in a wide range of matters, including business advice and litigation. He has tried hundreds of cases in courts in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, as well as in the bankruptcy courts and federal district courts in those jurisdictions.

Nelson was elected as a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, and from 1995 until 2005 was the Legal Member of the Legal Chair of the District of Columbia Real Estate Commission. Nelson is also an active member of various bar and bankruptcy organizations. He has lectured on both the Bankruptcy Code and the Uniform Commercial Code.

Nelson was born and raised in Washington, D.C . He was a cum laude graduate of Georgetown University in 1950, and received his Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1952. After graduation from law school, he served as a Judge Advocate Staff Officer in the United States Air Force. Nelson entered private practice after his Air Force tour of duty, and was a founding partner of a law firm that was prominent in the area of bankruptcy and commercial litigation. He is a member of the District of Columbia and Maryland bars.

Karen S. Karas

Karen's practice focuses on legal research and writing rather than courtroom appearances. Karen has written briefs for both trial and appellate courts on a variety of topics and covering the laws of many different state and federal jurisdictions, as well as international laws. Karen is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Illinois.

Karen was born in Chicago, and grew up in St. Charles, Illinois. Karen attended Barat College in Lake Forest, Illinois, from which she graduated cum laude in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in political science. During the second semester of her junior year, Karen studied in Oxford, England.

Karen moved to Washington D.C. in 1982 to attend Georgetown University Law Center where she served on the editorial staff of The Tax Lawyer, an official publication of the American Bar Association edited by Georgetown law students. Karen graduated from Georgetown in 1985.

Amy Lubrano

Amy Lubrano joined the firm in 2009. She graduated from American University Washington College of Law in 2005. While in law school, Amy was a member of the Moot Court Honors Society and represented clients in the Civil Practice Law Clinic. After law school, she worked as a legal aid attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia. She also received an LL.M. in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. Amy is member of the Virginia and District of Columbia Bars.

Amy was born and raised in Williamsburg, Virginia. She earned a B.A. in Government and History from the College of William and Mary in 1999.

Donna S. Mangold

Donna specializes in complex commercial litigation, representing both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of business disputes. Her practice takes her to various state and federal courts throughout the country. She is licensed in the District of Columbia and Maryland, and is also admitted to the bars of United States Supreme Court, the United States Courts of Appeal for the Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and District of Columbia Circuits, as well as the United States Court of Claims, and federal district courts in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

Donna was born in Chicago, and grew up in St. Charles, Illinois. She attended Barat College in Lake Forest, Illinois, graduating magna cum laude in 1978, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.

Donna moved to Washington D.C. in 1978 to attend Georgetown University Law Center, where was an editor of Law and Policy in International Business. Donna graduated from Georgetown in 1981.

Stephen Nichols

Steve specializes in bankruptcy and debtor/creditor law, as well as commercial litigation. In bankruptcy cases he appears primarily in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia bankruptcy courts. He has represented virtually all constituencies in commercial bankruptcy cases, including debtors in possession, trustees, secured and unsecured creditors, directors, defendants in adversary proceedings and purchasers. He has also practiced extensively as a commercial litigator in courts throughout the country, both at the trial and appellate level. He is admitted to the bars of the United States Bankruptcy Courts for the District of Columbia, Maryland and the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia, the United States District Courts for the District of Columbia, Maryland and the Eastern District of Virginia, and the United States Courts of Appeal for the Fourth and District of Columbia Circuits.

Steve was born and reared in Texas. He attended the University of Dallas, graduating magna cum laude in 1986 and the University of Texas School of Law, graduating in 1990 and receiving an award for outstanding achievement in bankruptcy.

Roger Whelan

Roger specializes in insolvency and bankruptcy matters. In addition to representing clients as bankruptcy litigation counsel, he is also often retained as counsel for the bankruptcy trustee or creditors' committee. Roger has represented clients in most of the nation's major Chapter 11 cases, and has participated in various international insolvency matters. In addition, he has represented financial institutions in connection with loan work outs and Chapter 11 litigation. He is regularly retained as an expert witness in bankruptcy and other cases, and is an experienced arbitrator and mediator.

Roger served as a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Columbia from 1972 through 1983. He was also designated by Chief Justice Warren Burger to serve on the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland in 1981 and 1982.

He is an active member of various bar and bankruptcy organizations, including the American Bankruptcy Institute. He has served on the ABI
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