Yelena (“Lena”) Konanova is a trial and appellate litigator who has worked on many trial and arbitration teams and has briefed and argued numerous appeals in federal and state courts.
Lena has represented clients in a variety of complex commercial litigations and arbitrations in the areas of securities, contract, antitrust, insurance, trademark, and Constitutional law. She has counseled numerous Fortune 500 companies on the prosecution and defense of high-stakes disputes, represented important players in the clean energy industry in proceedings against governmental and competitor entities, litigated complex financial products (including asset-backed securities and insurance), and advised plaintiffs on the recovery of billions of dollars in commercial matters. She was a key member of the appellate team that represented the Federal Housing Finance Agency in successfully defending a $806 million judgment against Nomura and RBS in landmark residential mortgage-backed securities litigation.
Examples of Lena’s experience include:
- Hyland, et al. v. Navient Corporation: Representing public service workers in a class action lawsuit in the Southern District of New York against a student loan servicer that misled borrowers about their loan forgiveness options and discouraged them from pursuing income-based repayment plans.
- Bear Gulch Solar v. Montana Public Service Commission: Representing Cypress Creek Renewables, a leading national solar company, in an appeal against the Montana Public Service Commission for violating federal energy laws and preventing small renewable energy providers from contracting to sell power.
- U.S. Bank, N.A., et al. v. GreenPoint Mortgage Funding: In the Commercial Division of New York Supreme Court, representing plaintiff in obtaining $540 million settlement in breach-of-warranty suit over $930 million in losses on residential mortgage-backed securities trust.
- Federal Housing Finance Agency v. Nomura, et al.: Representing the Federal Housing Finance Agency in successfully defending before the Second Circuit a $806 million judgment against Nomura and RBS in a landmark residential mortgage-backed securities litigation raising claims of violations of the 1933 Securities Act and the Blue Sky statutes of D.C. and Virginia.
- U.S. Bank as Trustee v. DLJ Mortgage: Representing U.S. Bank as Trustee of an asset-backed securities trust before the New York Court of Appeals in successfully upholding the viability of CPLR 205(a), a nearly 400-year-old pleading rule, and confirming New York’s long-standing policy of allowing plaintiffs to correct technical defects so that courts may decide cases on the merits.
- In re ResCap Liquidating Trust: In numerous lawsuits in federal district court in Minnesota and bankruptcy court in the Southern District of New York, representing plaintiff seeking to recover billions of dollars in indemnity and damages from correspondent lenders arising from the defendant lenders’ sale of defective mortgage loans that resulted in substantial losses and liabilities for the Trust’s predecessor, the Residential Funding Company.
- CIFG (now Assured Guaranty) v. Goldman: In litigation in the Commercial Division of New York Supreme Court and in FINRA arbitration, representing an insurer against Goldman Sachs in a successful action relating to fraudulent inducement of insurance policy and investment relating to a collateralized debt obligation.
In her broad public interest and pro bono practice, Lena has authored numerous amicus briefs, including arguing for a federal constitutional right to a minimally adequate education and, in the Supreme Court of the United States, on behalf of corrections professionals opposed to solitary confinement practices. She has also represented plaintiffs in appeals of Section 1983 and sentencing matters. Lena has also spent a year as a Litigation Fellow in the Racial Justice Program at the national office of the American Civil Liberties Union, where she litigated civil rights cases in the areas of indigent defense, school desegregation, school-to-prison pipeline, and debtors’ prisons. Lena’s community service on the local level includes raising funds for Her Justice, a nonprofit organization that provides free legal help to women and children living in poverty in New York City.
Lena earned her J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School, where she served as Articles Co-Chair of the Harvard Law Review and won First Place and Best Brief in the Ames Moot Court Competition. Lena clerked for the Honorable Kim McLane Wardlaw at the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
(J.D., cum laude, 2008)
Harvard Law Review: Articles Co-Chair
Ames Moot Court Competition: First Place and Best Brief
(B.A., magna cum laude, Legal Studies and Comparative Literary Studies, with Departmental Honors, 2005)
Phi Beta Kappa
Cravath, Swaine & Moore
Law Clerk to the Hon. Kim McLane Wardlaw
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 2008-2009
State Bar of New York
United States Supreme Court
United States Courts of Appeals: Second Circuit, Sixth Circuit, Ninth Circuit, Tenth Circuit
United States District Courts: Southern District of New York, Eastern District of New York, Northern District of New York