Lori Marks-Esterman
Executive Committee Member; Chair, Litigation Practice

Lori Marks-Esterman

Lori Marks-Esterman is among the nation’s leading litigators representing investors and other stakeholders in capital markets matters and other complex commercial disputes. She is a seasoned trial attorney proficient in handling capital markets litigation and corporate governance disputes and she chairs Olshan’s Litigation Practice.

Hedge funds, private equity companies, shareholder activists, real estate developers, and other public and private entities entrust their most challenging litigation matters to Lori. She litigates and has secured critical wins in multimillion- and multibillion-dollar litigation matters in influential jurisdictions in securities-related litigation, M&A disputes, and cases involving corporate governance, shareholder activism, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and D&O liability.

Lori also excels in general commercial litigation, assessing risk, defining strategy, and devising business solutions that drive value. She has prevailed in business, contract, and investor disputes, real estate litigation, business tort cases, and commercial employment-related claims. 

Investors in private and public companies routinely rely on Lori in high-profile contentious activist matters. She has served as lead trial counsel in several highly sophisticated matters tried in the Delaware Court of Chancery and New York courts. 

Lori also has significant experience in cross-border matters, utilizing Section 1782 cases to obtain critical evidence in the U.S. for use in foreign litigation. Working closely with foreign co-counsel, Lori develops case and discovery strategies for foreign disputes. Among these, she represented IsZo Capital LP in the Southern District of New York in a $170 million private placement dispute that culminated in what various media called “an epic” victory. She also recently secured a multibillion-dollar precedent-setting win on a Section 1782 application that sought discovery from multiple corporate respondents in a $2.7 billion merger. Lori has been instrumental in obtaining precedent-setting wins, and her consistent success in these matters has helped increase the potency of Section 1782 as a tool in litigation involving international business transactions.

A fierce, persistent and zealous advocate, Lori evaluates the pros and cons of the client’s position and then leverages the pressure points through the various stages of litigation to routinely deliver successful results. With a clear understanding of the problems and her clients’ goals in mind, she plots a strategic course focused on the finish line. Chambers commented that “Lori is an excellent litigator. She assesses a situation and develops a realistic and appropriate legal strategy.

Lori is a fellow of the prestigious Litigation Counsel of America, an invitation-only trial lawyers’ honorary society recognizing excellence among American litigation and trial counsel. She is a member of Olshan’s Executive Committee, Women’s Committee, and Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

Some of Lori’s notable representations include serving as lead trial counsel for:
  • Brought an action in Delaware Court of Chancery against primary health care provider Cano Health, Inc. whose stock price plummeted by 92% in the years following its IPO. In 2023, Olshan clients Elliot Cooperstone and Lewis Gold (together with Barry Sternlicht, plaintiffs), former directors of Cano and 35% shareholders, filed a complaint and motion for expedited proceedings against the company and its board in the Delaware Court of Chancery, seeking an injunction to reopen the company’s window for director nominations and shareholder proposals due to material events that occurred and material information that came to light after the nomination window closed. A withhold campaign was launched in tandem with the litigation. Plaintiffs alleged the company and its affiliates had engaged in a series of conflicted transactions with the CEO and members of his immediate family and that after the nomination window closed, the balance of the board formed a special committee intentionally designed to usurp the power of the full board, which precipitated Plaintiffs’ campaign. After securing a motion to expedite, Olshan’s team completed discovery in less than three weeks, including seven depositions. The parties submitted approximately 250 exhibits in advance of the hearing. Although the court denied Plaintiffs’ motion, finding that under Delaware law, the alleged conduct did not constitute “fundamental changes in the operation and management” of the company, the combined efforts of the litigation and withhold campaign were successful. At the annual meeting, over 80% of shareholders voting withheld votes from the company’s nominees for re-election. Further, the conflicted CEO was forced to step down effective immediately.
  • Olshan client Strategic Investment Opportunities LLC (SIO) brought two proceedings in the Delaware Court of Chancery in its effort to nominate a slate of directors at the annual meeting of Lee Enterprises, Inc. (Lee). In the first litigation, SIO alleged breach of fiduciary duty against the Lee board and sought expedited injunctive relief. In less than a week, after Olshan completed expedited discovery, seven depositions, expert reports, and pre-trial briefs, the trial was held. The court found for the defendants, finding that SIO had not complied with Lee’s advance notice bylaws. Although SIO did not prevail on its claim, the case is important because it clarifies the standard of review applicable to a board’s conduct in a contested election. In the second litigation (Lee II), SIO challenged Lee and the board’s use of the plurality voting standard at the upcoming annual meeting election, alleging the nominations were invalid, a position the court upheld. Thereafter, following briefing and oral argument, the court denied SIO’s motion to expedite and for a temporary restraining order, holding that SIO could pursue its claims following the annual meeting. The court reasoned that SIO had stated colorable claims that the application of a plurality voting standard where only incumbents were running was inconsistent with the bylaws but did not grant the relief sought in view of the imminent meeting date. To our knowledge, Lee II is the first time the court has interpreted a bylaw requiring a majority voting standard in an uncontested election.
  • Successfully represented Kingstown Partners Master Ltd. (Kingstown) in an §1782 application to the Southern District of New York seeking discovery from multiple corporate respondents to support a Cayman Islands appraisal proceeding in connection with a $2.7 billion merger. Kingstown and other dissenting shareholders alleged multiple conflicts of interest In re Kingstown Partners Master Ltd., No. 21-MC-691-LTS (S.D.N.Y. April 8, 2022). The 1872 application was necessary because Cayman courts lack jurisdiction to order discovery from foreign-domiciled third parties in appraisal proceedings. The court (Hon. L. Swain) rejected the respondents arguments that Kingstown was seeking to circumvent foreign restrictions on evidence and that the discovery requests were unduly broad and irrelevant to the fair value determination and found in our client’s favor, granting all written discovery Kingston sought. This decision has important precedential value given the increasing frequency of litigation over international business transactions, and the increasing potency of § 1782 as a tool for litigants.
  • Successfully represented FrontFour Capital Group LLC and FrontFour Master Fund, Ltd., in a class action brought on behalf of the shareholders of Medley Capital Corporation (MCC) in a highly expedited trial in the Delaware Court of Chancery that concluded that MCC’s board had breached its fiduciary duty in approving a merger transaction with MCC’s affiliates, Medley Management, Inc. and Sierra Income Corporation, and enjoined the pending transaction.
  • Represented Israeli company Paltop Advanced Dental Solutions Ltd. and its founder Sam Topaz in a bitterly fought company-control battle with the officers and directors of Keystone Dental, Inc., the Delaware company Paltop had merged with. The new merger was to be governed equally by Paltop and Keystone representatives, and Paltop, was to be run by Topaz, however, soon thereafter Keystone’s officers and directors took aggressive and unlawful actions to freeze Topaz out. Olshan filed a motion for a status quo order seeking expedited relief in the Delaware Court of Chancery, which restored company governance to the status quo as it existed before the defendants’ unlawful activities.
  • Represented former shareholders of a Cayman public company who were exercising their statutory appraisal rights under Cayman Islands law in a going-private transaction valued in excess of $4 billion. We filed three separate federal actions – in New York, California and Florida - pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782 seeking discovery for use in the underlying foreign appraisal proceeding. We were successful in each action and obtained critical discovery from key targets for use in the appraisal proceeding.
  • Successfully represented shareholder activist client Potomac Capital Partners II LP (Potomac) in defending claims in the Delaware Court of Chancery, which alleged that Potomac had aided and abetted alleged breaches of fiduciary duty by the directors of PLX Technology Inc. The Court of Chancery awarded judgment in Potomac’s favor, and the Supreme Court of Delaware affirmed.
Other representative matters include:
  • Represented private equity company Princeton Ventures II, LLC in a successful resolution of claims filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery relating to its $24 million preferred private equity investment in European Wax Center (EWC).
  • Represented Elliott Management Corporation in a successful resolution of a putative class action brought purportedly on behalf of the shareholders of American Capital, Ltd. to challenge the merger between American Capital (ACAS) and Ares Capital Corporation. Though the acquisition closed on January 3, 2017, with the approval of 96% of approval of shareholders, the plaintiffs, in an effort to avoid the cleansing effect of the shareholder vote, alleged that Elliott, an activist shareholder who owns just 5.8% of the voting shares, is a controlling shareholder in ACAS.
  • Represented real estate development client Bonjour Capital in successful resolution involving claims of breach of the parties’ operating agreement, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty, as well as claims for aiding and abetting fraud and attorney deceit in violation of Judiciary Law § 487 against the attorneys who facilitated the fraudulent transaction involving one-third ownership interest in a hotel enterprise.
  • Represented an affiliate of Forest City Ratner in a trial in the Commercial Division of the State Supreme Court in Nassau County in recovering a six-figure advance made to an electrical contractor, who later withdrew when the parties could not come to terms on a final contract. The Court awarded a judgment for virtually all of the amount advanced, including pre-judgment interest. The award provides protection for developers when wayward subcontractors do not return funds that are advanced.
  • Represented IDX Capital LLC in a six-week jury trial in the Commercial Division State of the Supreme Court in New York County after which the jury awarded IDX, and two of its former principals, $8.25 million, including punitive damages, against two former business associates whose actions doomed a potential $25 million buyout of the Firm by Knight Capital Group Inc.
  • Obtained reversal from the First Department for a major restaurant franchisee on claims of apparent authority relating to the real estate owner’s operating agreement.
  • Negotiated a multimillion-dollar settlement for a managing director terminated from a private equity firm.
  • Represented an inter-dealer broker and its executive in massive business tort action involving computer hacking and corporate espionage.
  • Prosecuted claims of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty on behalf of a real estate developer against the developer’s partners.
  • Negotiated a favorable resolution for a ground lessor stemming from its lessee’s failure to maintain the premises as a first-class boutique hotel.
  • Achieved a favorable resolution through mediation of securities fraud claims in connection with a multimillion-dollar private placement investment.
  • Successfully prosecuted breach of employment claims for a public company against its former CEO who maliciously disseminated confidential and attorney/client privileged information.
  • Represented a minority owner of an apparel company in a multimillion-dollar buyout seeking appraisal rights in which the client ultimately received a favorable settlement.
  • Defended an executive against claims of RICO violations, fraud, unfair competition, tortious interference, and Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act violations in separate actions, and successfully obtained dismissal of all such claims.
  • Represented a ground lessor in prosecuting claims against the ground lessee for violating the lease, and successfully negotiated resolution of those claims.
  • Litigated claims on behalf of a sponsor in a dispute following a complex “cond-op” conversion, which resulted in successfully amending the condominium declaration and proprietary lease.
  • Defended a real estate developer against claims of estoppel and fraud in connection with a restaurant project on Hudson Street, achieving successful settlement of all claims in advance of trial.
  • Arbitrating an employment raiding case before the NASD between two large financial institutions.


Speaking Engagements



Honors & Recognitions

  • Named a “Leading Lawyer” in Litigation: General Commercial by Chambers USA since 2021
  • Fellow of the prestigious Litigation Counsel of America, an invitation-only trial lawyer honorary society. Membership is limited to 3,500 fellows, representing less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers  
  • Named among the “Notable Diverse Leaders in Law” by Crain’s New York Business, 2022
  • Named among the “Notable Women in Law” by Crain’s New York Business, 2018 and 2020
  • Honored as a “Leading Lady” at the Third Annual Mann Charitable Foundation Event, 2019
  • Consistently named to the New York Metro Super Lawyers list since 2013
  • Named a “Rising Star” by New York Metro Super Lawyers, 2012
  • Recognized among the “Top Women Attorneys” in the New York Metro Area by Super Lawyers since 2013
  • Awarded “Deal of the Year” and “Activist Campaign of the Year” by The Deal for representation of George Feldenkreis in his nomination of directors and successful unsolicited acquisition of Perry Ellis


  • Litigation Counsel of America
  • New York City Bar Association
  • 100 Women in Finance
  • Co-Founder, Women in Alternatives, a senior-level women’s group focused on advancing the interests of professional women in the alternative investment space


J.D., with honors, George Washington Law School, 1998

B.A., magna cum laude, Binghamton University, 1995


  • New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
Jump to Page

Necessary Cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytical Cookies

Analytical cookies help us improve our website by collecting and reporting information on its usage. We access and process information from these cookies at an aggregate level.