Robert P. Varian

Securities Litigation, Investigations & Enforcement

Robert P. Varian has been a partner in Orrick's San Francisco office for twelve years, and was previously a partner in Clifford Chance US LLP and Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison.

He has been named to Lawdragon's Top 500 Leading Lawyers in America list, one of the most elite accolades in the legal profession, and as one of the top 20 lawyers of the year by The California Lawyer. He is one of the few attorneys in the United States who has successfully tried securities class actions to verdict (twice), and won one of the National Law Journal's top 10 defense verdicts in the United States in the major securities class action jury trial.

Mr. Varian has extensive experience in defending securities class actions, SEC investigations and enforcement proceedings, and derivative lawsuits throughout the United States.  He has led a wide variety of internal investigations centered in the United States and China, and has represented executives, directors and auditors in internal investigations, SEC investigations and enforcement actions, and in securities class actions and other shareholder litigation.  He also has extensive experience in defending consumer class actions and complex business cases, and special expertise in representing Chinese companies and individuals in litigation and investigations.

Mr. Varian has successfully litigated numerous high profile cases that have received coverage in the national media.

Press Clippings Re Major Cases

  • “23andMe Can’t Kibosh Classwide Arbitration In False Ad Row,” Law360, October 19, 2015

  • “23andMe Stuck with Conflicting Arbitration Outcomes,” The Recorder, October 16, 2015

  • “Justices Snub Chesapeake Investor's Bid To Renew Fraud Suit,” Law360, October 5, 2015

  • “Nordstrom Wins in Suit Over Aircraft Disclosures,” Bloomberg BNA, September 30, 2015

  • “Nordstrom Escapes Suit Over Family's Private Plane Use,” Law360, September 24, 2015

  • “Nordstrom Says Family Paid Fairly For Private Plane Use,” Law360, July 14, 2015

  • “Cheaspeake Investors Knew Risks, High Court Told,” Law360, June 22, 2015

  • “Nordstrom Family Wants Plane Ride Suit Grounded,” Law360, May 22, 2015

  • “Citing "puffery," judge tosses Battlefield 4 game glitches case,” Reuters Legal, May 4, 2015

  • “EA Guns Down Shareholder Suit Over 'Battlefield 4' Bugs,” Law360, April 30, 2015

  • “Judge Shoots Down Shareholder Suit Over Electronic Arts' Battlefield 4 Game,” The Recorder, April 30, 2015

  • “Nordstrom Accused of Hiding Costs of Flying Family’s Planes,” Bloomberg, April 20, 2015

  • “Investor Asks High Court To Revive Chesapeake Fraud Claims,” Law360, April 17, 2015

  • “Lawyers Wary as California Supreme Court Eyes Arbitration,”, April 10, 2015

  • “Nordstrom Can't Keep Family Plane Ride Claims Sealed,” Law360, April 7, 2015

  • “Calif. Court Urged To Fix 23andMe Arbitration Split,” Law360, February 19, 2015

  • “With Arbitrators at Odds, 23andMe Suits Back in Court,” The Recorder, February 18, 2015

  • “23andMe Clients Can’t Arbitrate False Ad Claims As Class,” Law360, January 14, 2015

  • “Chesapeake Wants $1.1B 'Tagalong' Derivative Suit Nixed,” Law360, December 8, 2014

  • “Shareholders Failed To Plead Any Actionable Misstatements, Judge Rules,” Mealey's Litigation Report: Class Actions, December 5, 2014

  • “Shareholders Failed To Plead Any Actionable Misstatements, Judge Rules,” Mealey's Emerging Securities Litigation, November 1, 2014

  • “EA Beats Investor Suit Over ‘Battlefield 4’ Bugs,” Law360, October 21, 2014

  • “EA Investor Suit Over ‘Battlefield 4’ Bugs Nears Defeat,” Law360, October 10, 2014

  • “Rocket Fuel Turns to Orrick to Fend Off 'Bot' Claims,” The Recorder, October 1, 2014

  • “10th Circ. Ends Chesapeake Energy Class Action,” Law360, August 8, 2014

  • “Shareholder Failed To Plead Material Misrepresentation, 10th Circuit Panel Rules,” Mealey's Emerging Securities Litigation, August 1, 2014

  • “10th Circ. Affirms Chesapeake Win In $1B Investor Suit,” Law360, July 8, 2014

  • “23andMe Customers Ordered To Arbitrate False Ad Claims,” Law360, June 27, 2014

  • “Koh Tells 23andMe Lawyers to Shape Up,” The Recorder, April 30, 2014

  • “ACLU Sues ICE Over Unfair Telephone Policy,” ACLU-NC website, December 19, 2013 

  • "Litigation Dept. of the Year: Winner Orrick," The Recorder, December 6, 2013 

  • “Chesapeake Escapes ERISA Suit Over Falling Share Prices,” Law360, October 11, 2013

  • “The Snow Deal Won't Happen,” Daily Journal, May 17, 2002

  • “Ex-CEO not liable in federal trial,” The National Law Journal, February 18, 2002

  • “Despite Enron, Shareholder Lose Stock Drop Suit,” Daily Journal, February 12, 2002

  • “Judge Hands Defense Win in Securities Suit,” Daily Journal, August 25, 1998

  • “The Seven-Year Itch,” The American Lawyer, October, 1988

Mr. Varian's corporate clients include: Nordstrom, Nike, Emerson Electric, Baxter Healthcare, Electronic Arts, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, NVIDIA Corporation, TXU Corporation, Microsoft, PricewaterhouseCoopers, eBay, Morgan Stanley, KPMG, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Piper Jaffrey, Oppenheimer, Needham & Co., Charles Schwab, Asus Computer International, China Sunergy, Grant Thornton China, FormFactor, Inc., SiRF Technology Holdings, Inc., Silicon Storage Technology, Sina Corporation, UTStarcom, Pre-Paid Legal Services, WellPoint Health Networks and Filenet Corporation. He has also represented numerous individuals in high stakes litigation, SEC and regulatory proceedings.

Mr. Varian has spoken extensively on litigation, trial practice and related topics in the United States and Europe, including on programs sponsored by:

  • The Practicing Law Institute
  • The American Bar Association
  • The Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals
  • Glasser LegalWorks
  • The California Bar Association
  • The Directors Roundtable
  • The Directors Network
  • The American Conference Institute
  • The Defense Research Institute
  • The California Lawyer
  • The University of Maryland School of Law
  • The Securities Reform Act Litigation Reporter
  • Cannon Financial Institute 
  • Sandpiper Partners
  • Woodruff-Sawyer & Co.
  • VantagePoint Venture Partners

He has also served as an instructor on litigation topics at the University of Maryland School of Law, and on corporate trust litigation at Cannon Financial Institute.

Robert Varian
Select Publications
Admitted In
  • California

  • J.D., Order of the Coif; Editor-in-Chief, Maryland Law Review, University of Maryland School of Law, 1979
  • B.A., cum laude, Lafayette College, 1974
  • Selected as one of the “Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America”
  • Named one of the Top 20 Lawyers of the Year, The California Lawyer
  • Winner of one of the United States Top 10 Defense Verdicts, The National Law Journal
  • Recommended by The Legal 500 United States (Securities: Shareholder Litigation) 2015
  • Named one of 100 Lawyers You Need to Know in Securities Litigation, Lawdragon
  • Named one of California's Super Lawyers
  • Hon. Harrison L. Winter, Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (1979 to 1980)
  • Hon. C. Stanley Blair, United States District Court for the District of Maryland (1978 to 1979)

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