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JOHN F. LANG

John Lang is an experienced trial attorney whose practice now focuses on New York trust and estate litigation, probate litigation, will contests, and estate administration. Equally at home in a United States District Court as in a New York State Surrogate’s Court, Mr. Lang’s extensive capabilities also include commercial litigation, tax controversies, investigations, regulatory advocacy, and white collar defense matters. The hallmark of Mr. Lang’s legal style is an aggressive, result-oriented approach, executed with a strategic vision and tactical savvy developed through decades as lead counsel in trials and arbitrations. He represents executives, professionals, companies, charitable entities, and high net worth individuals in sensitive matters where discretion and avoidance of publicity is paramount.

John Lang’s achievements in his trusts and estates practice have been recognized with the highest ratings from Martindale-Hubbell, Avvo, and Lawyers.com; a Super Lawyers designation from Thomson-Reuters; and selection by The American Society of Litigation Advocates as one of the “Top 100 Trusts and Estates Lawyers in New York State.”

What truly distinguishes John Lang from most trust and estate practitioners are the numerous distinctions he has earned as a trial attorney and trusts and estates litigator. These include being selected as a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America trial lawyer honorary society, selection by the American Academy of Trial Attorneys as a Premiere 100 Trial Attorney for New York, recognition as a National Trial Lawyers Top 100 trial attorney for New York, recognition by Corporate America magazine as Legal Elite –Best for Probate Litigation, selection by Acquisition International magazine as Best for Trusts and Estates Litigation, and winner of the Corporate LiveWire 2015 Award for Excellence in Estate Litigation – New York (sponsored by the International Association of Lawyers and Swissport).

John Lang is a combat veteran of the United States Marine Corps.  He served overseas with the 26th Marines Regiment.   

After his military service, Mr. Lang began his legal career by serving as a New York County Assistant District Attorney. Mr. Lang rose to the position of Senior Trial Counsel in the Major Felony Program, prosecuting major crimes committed by career criminals. He distinguished himself in the case of State v. Carbone, where he proved the innocence of a mistakenly arrested honor student, obtaining a jury trial conviction of the real perpetrator of the crime – a look-alike for the student. Mr. Lang was promoted to Deputy Chief of the Frauds Bureau, where his focus was white collar crime investigations, and where he pioneered Medicaid fraud prosecutions. Following his distinguished career as an assistant district attorney, John Lang was appointed a Special Assistant Attorney General in the Special Prosecutions Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office, where as Chief Assistant to the Special Prosecutor he investigated and successfully tried official corruption cases.

Mr. Lang transitioned into private practice at Phillips Lytle, one of the oldest and largest law firms based in Upstate New York.  There, he handled a broad spectrum of commercial litigations, including banking, tax, real estate, technology, and products liability cases.  Among Mr. Lang’s favorable trial verdicts while with Phillips Lytle was a U.S. District Court jury trial verdict of ‘no tax liability’ in a case brought by the Internal Revenue Service seeking to hold a bank vicariously liable for the tax liability of a commercial loan customer.   

In 1991, Mr. Lang joined the international law firm Loeb & Loeb LLP, where he was a senior litigation partner for 18 years.  At Loeb, he handled major cases commercial and probate cases on behalf of financial institutions, senior executives, and high net worth individuals.  He also developed an in-house litigation training program and spearheaded the firm’s pro bono efforts on behalf of at-risk children.   His pro bono work has attracted national attention, including a full profile in Inside Children’s Rights, and mentions in articles in the New York Law Journal, Corporate Board Member Magazine, and The Clarion Ledger.  In recognition of his many contributions, Mr. Lang was awarded the 2006 Loeb & Loeb Professional and Community Service Award.

Although then focusing mostly on commercial, probate, and tax litigation, Mr. Lang he may best be remembered at Loeb for obtaining the dismissal of the government’s bribery case against a West Coast businessman, in the midst of a jury trial.  The defendant had been recorded making a bribe, had made a videotaped confession to the FBI at the time of his arrest, and had previously pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to the same charges Mr. Lang was called upon to defend at trial.  John Lang defended the case based on a theory of entrapment, proved perjury on the part of the lead federal agent, and secured the dismissal at trial of the case by the same judge before whom the defendant had previously pleaded guilty. 

In 2010, Mr. Lang left Loeb and founded Law Offices of John F. Lang (now Law Offices of John F. Lang, PLLC).  At this point in his career, John Lang’s experience included representing the widow of Ice cream business magnate Tom Carvel in a highly contentious major estate litigation and obtaining a favorable Queens County Surrogate’s Court jury trial verdict in a case of a forged codicil to a will.  Mr. Lang soon found that, as a result of his probate court experience and client demand, his law practice increasingly focused on trusts and estates controversies.

Since then, Mr. Lang’s legal practice increasingly focused on trust and estate litigation, estate administration, and related controversies.      

Mr. Lang’s legal career reflects his commitment to public service, honest government, civil rights, and his passion to protect at-risk children from neglect and abuse.  He continues to be an ardent champion of individual liberties who embraces the opportunity to represent parties and witnesses seeking justice in the areas of probate litigation, trust litigation, investigations, and related controversies.  In handling these matters, Mr. Lang puts makes full use of his court room and investigative experience.

No case is too challenging, and no client is undeserving of Mr. Lang’s experience, judgment, and dedication.

John Lang – Representative Matters

Estate Litigation

Representative Matters

  • See Court Decisions page for recent victories by teams led by John Lang
  • When the relatives of a deceased businessman were confronted with an unexpected codicil to the businessman’s will giving much of his wealth to a person who had just been disinherited, John Lang took the case to trial in Surrogate’s Court, where a jury found the codicil to be a forgery.
  • When the widow of the owner of a nationwide chain of stores was faced with hostile guardianship proceedings, John Lang helped her avoid the guardianship and also obtained the suspension of a hostile trustee of a trust to which she was a beneficiary.
  • When the estate planning and offshore asset protection trusts of a family of very high net worth individuals came under attack by various federal agencies, John Lang was called upon to provide advocacy and consulting services to family lawyers.
  • When a trustee and holder of a power of attorney refused to provide an accounting to a co-trustee and beneficiary, our Firm obtained a court order directing that a prompt and full accounting be filed with the court.
  • Provided litigation consulting services to Trust and Estate practitioner representing beneficiary of spendthift trust who was being mistreated by trustee.
  • Sustained the sale of trust property and successfully defended the actions of a trustee when challenged in N.Y.S. Supreme Court by disgruntled beneficiaries.
  • Represented the attorney drafts person of a will in a Section 1404 proceeding.
  • Served as lead counsel in team of attorneys representing beneficiary of estate in mediation with co-trustee of estate. Issues mediated involved wasting and looting of estate assets. Settlement obtained.
  • John Lang has advised Trust and Estates counsel regarding ethics and professional representation disputes.

Tax Litigation

Representative Matters

  • When the CEO of an independent oil distributorship was faced with an IRS audit that could have forced him to file for bankruptcy, John Lang negotiated a settlement that permitted his company to stay in business.
  • When a financial institution was unable to settle an IRS claim demanding it pay the tax liability of a commercial loan customer, it turned to John Lang who tried the case before a jury in U.S. District Court and attained a verdict of no liability.
  • Obtained reversal on appeal of an IRS audit finding that a professional photographer's business deductions were all improper based on the erroneous opinion that his photography was merely a hobby.
  • Obtained reversal on appeal of gasoline excise tax assessment.
  • Represented taxpayer in the United States Tax Court in a IRS challenge to a conservation easement.
  • Helped international businessman obtain civil settlement of multimillion dollar failure to file case.
  • Provided consulting services to legal team defending sophisticated offshore trust estate plan under investigation by the IRS.
Commercial Litigation

Representative Domestic Commercial Litigations

  • Obtaining a favorable settlement for the president of an insurance company in class action litigation arising from the company going into rehabilitatorship.
  • Securing a favorable trial verdict, on behalf of a bank, which enforced a guarantee given to bank by a Nevada real estate developer for a loan on which his company had defaulted.
  • Attaining the dismissal of a RICO class action suit against the landlord of a major Midtown NYC office building by a commercial tenant.
  • Obtaining a favorable settlement for a hedge fund in securities fraud litigation against an investment bank, following aggressive discovery focused on the defendant investment bank's violations of its own internal procedures.
  • Securing a public retraction of false claims, for an insurance company in trade libel action against a competitor which had published misleading representations of the financial soundness of the client’s insurance product.
  • Defending and capping the liability of an attorney/accountant who was sued by aggrieved investors who were economically harmed by the alleged fraud of the general partner of a series of bankrupt oil and gas limited partnerships.
  • Defending a publisher against both a consumer class action and multistate attorneys general proceedings arising from sweepstakes advertising, with a favorable settlement that included avoidance of personal liability to the company.
  • Resolving a dispute on behalf of a music festival accused of breach of contract by an artist (who claimed she had an oral contract to perform) with no payment by the festival.

Representative International Matters

  • Defending a British multinational commodities trading company against a US $60 million commodities fraud claim by conducting an investigation of an NYSE-listed plaintiff and uncovering basis for a RICO counterclaim that led to favorable settlement of the case.
  • Prosecuting technology litigation by a U.S. company against a Swedish software company, and obtaining a favorable settlement.
  • Successfully defending a trademark case brought by a Japanese tool company against a U.S. corporation in the U.S. Court of International Trade, by demonstrating weakness of the claim.
  • Prosecuting a case in the U.S. against an Israeli bio-technology company for securities fraud, on behalf of U.S. and international investors. Prosecution resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement for the plaintiff investors.
  • Negotiating the resolution of a dispute among principals of a Bermuda-based hedge fund, in which the client retained undisputed control of company.
  • We obtained default fraud judgment, including award of attorneys fees, in Connecticut U.S. District Court on behalf of Bermuda plaintiff in construction industry.
  • Our firm was retained after commodities trader defendant had defaulted on complaint alleging fraud scheme involving investments in Africa. We noticed our appearance for defendant, advised palintiff of contents of motion to dismiss that we were prepared to file, and we then secured a dismissal of case on plaintiff's own motion.
Investigative and Financial Crime Matters

Representative Domestic Investigative and Financial Crime Matters

  • Representing a national bank that was the subject of a joint investigation by the Department of Justice and Department of the Treasury. Charges involved allegations of money laundering, as well as currency transaction reporting violations (both national and international).
    Result: Avoidance of any action against the bank, as well as assisting its staff in developing a comprehensive compliance program as part of a non-prosecution settlement.
  • Defending the CEO of one of the largest container facilities on the West coast from prosecution arising out of a joint federal task force investigation focused on alleged customs violations and employment of illegal aliens. Charges included bribery of a federal officer. The challenges included:
    - The defendant’s prior guilty plea in US District Court
    - A videotaped confession to the FBI
    - An audiotape of the alleged bribery
    - Expected adverse testimony of the defendant’s wife, who helped manage the business
    Results: Withdrawal of the guilty plea, suppression of the confession, development of entrapment defense, and a successful motion for mistrial after two weeks of trial based upon a proof of government’s failure to disclose key documents, proof of perjury by the federal agent who allegedly received the bribe, and a showing that that defendant’s right to present defense had been impaired. Ultimately all charges were dismissed with prejudice.
  • Representing the CFO of an insurance company accused of fraudulent SEC filings. The client was under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department, the SEC, and a Special Committee formed by one of the company’s Board of Directors.
    Results: Justice Department took no action and referred matter to SEC. SEC took no action against client. Special Committee of Board of Directors recommended that suit not be brought against client.
  • Representing a senior partner of an accounting firm in a lengthy trial of felony tax evasion conspiracy and perjury charges in U.S. District Court. Challenges included testimony of numerous government cooperators who had previously pleaded guilty in same matter. These included an attorney and an accountant partner in defendant’s firm.
    Results: Four-week jury trial ended in mistrial following cross-examination of government’s star witness. Case later settled based on misdemeanor plea to failing to file an informational return with sentence of probation.  Client retained his CPA license.
  • Conducting an internal investigation, on behalf of a national insurance brokerage firm into allegations of fraud and kickbacks in the construction of a ‘build-out’ of new office space.
    Result: Identification of the individuals responsible of wrong-doings, and discovery of evidence that allowed for prosecution of the perpetrators.
  • Securing a no-action disposition for a stock broker under investigation by the New York Stock Exchange for an alleged front-running violation.
  • Reaching a satisfactory settlement with the government for a nursing home operator in a dispute regarding Medicare reimbursement accounting.
  • Negotiating a mutually acceptable settlement for a technology company under investigation by the New York State Attorney General’s office for alleged Blue Sky Law violations.
  • Being part of a legal team that represented a bankrupt defense contractor against a backdrop of a highly publicized Justice Department investigation for fraud and corruption allegations against public officials, corporate executives, and auditing firms.
    Result: A commendation from then-U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani expressing appreciation for the client’s cooperation with the investigation.

Representative International Investigative and Financial Crime Matters

  • Representing an international technology security firm under investigation by the Department of Justice with respect to alleged export of missile technology to China.
    Results: No charges were filed against the client.
  • Defending an offshore bank in a Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement action targeting certain assets.
    Results: Attained a favorable settlement agreement.
  • Representing international entrepreneur under federal investigation for securities fraud, money laundering. Stock fraud charges were also pending in France.
    Results: Worked out favorable plea agreement with government, arranged for restitution, and obtained sentence of probation. Retained and worked with French counsel to obtain disposition of French charges with no additional penalty.
  • Conducting an internal investigation of a foreign bank’s entertainment subsidiary that was suspected of skimming profits and submitting fraudulent financial reports.
    Results: Uncovered and documented significant fraud, and provided the evidentiary basis for our client’s subsequent civil litigation against the perpetrators.
  • Representing a New Zealand national who was imprisoned in Thailand on U.S. insurance fraud charges, including extradition proceedings.
    Result: Obtained a sentence of probations and secured permission for the client to return to New Zealand.
  • Representing a television production company under investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Revenue Canada.
    Result: No charges were filed against the company.
  • Providing assistance and guidance to law firm regarding defense of U.S.-based, high-net-worth individuals who were subject of criminal investigations relating to transactions involving use of Isle of Man grantor and non-grantor trusts.
    Result: No criminal charges filed.
  • Negotiating a settlement for an offshore reinsurer under investigation by the New York State Department of Insurance for under capitalization.
    Results: A mutually acceptable reallocation of capital.

Additional Credentials of John Lang

Education

Fordham Law School, J.D., (Intern, U.S. Attorney, Southern District of New York; Summer Internship, North Carolina, Law Students Civil Rights Research Council; American Jurisprudence Prize for Excellence in Real Estate Law)

City College of New York, B.A., (Captain of Debate Team; Kelly Prize for Excellence in Debate, Student Government)

Military Service

John Lang is a combat veteran of the United States Marine Corps.  He served overseas with the 26th Marines Regiment.   

Bar Admissions

New York State

United States Supreme Court; United States Tax Court; United States International Court of Trade

United States Courts of Appeals for the Second and Fifth Circuits

United States District Courts for the Eastern, Southern, Western, and Northern Districts of New York, the Connecticut District, the Northern District of California, the Northern District of Texas, and the Eastern District of Kentucky.

Professional Affiliations

American Bar Association (International Law Section, International Litigation Committee; Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section)

New York State Bar Association (Trusts and Estates Law Section, Estate Litigation Committee; Dispute Resolution Section)

Association of the Bar of the City of New York (Small Law Firm Committee);

Litigation Counsel of America, a trial lawyer honorary society, Fellow (Trial Institute, Diversity Institute) 

American Society of Legal Advocates

National Trial Lawyers Association

Worldwide Who's Who Registry for Executives, Professionals and Entrepreneurs (member)

Honors and Awards

John Lang has been honored with the highest peer rating of "AV Preeminent" (5.0 of possible 5.0) by Martindale-Hubbell, which also designated him a "Top Rated Lawyer in Trusts and Estates."

Mr. Lang has been recognized as a "New York Metro Super Lawyer" by Thompson Reuters.

He has been honored with a "Superb" rating (10.0 of possible 10.0) by Avvo, the consumer website that rates legal and medical professionals.

The American Society of Legal Advocates selected John Lang as one of the "Top 100 Trusts and Estates Lawyers in New York State" for 2013.

Acquisition International magazine honored John Lang as "Best for Trust and Estates Litigation."

Corporate America magazine honored John Lang as one of the "Corporate America Legal Elite -- Best for Probate Litigation." 

National Trial Lawyers awarded John Lang "Top 100 -- Criminal Defense" (New York) recognition.

The American Academy of Trial Attorneys selected John Lang as a "Premiere 100 Trial Attorney" (New York)

Kentucky Governor Martha Layne Collins honored John Lang in 1986 by commissioning him as a Kentucky Colonel.

Publications

New York Probate and Trust Litigation Blog (begun in 2013)

The Executive's Guide to Depositions: A Practical Reference Explaining the Deposition
Stage Of Pre-Trial Discovery in Commercial Litigation. Aspatore Books, a division of
Thomson-West, 2008. ISBN 978-0-314-98716-7

“White Collar Crime Attorneys Add Value,” lead chapter in The Executive's Guide to
Understanding the Laws Behind White Collar Crime. Aspatore Books, a division of
Thomson-West, 2006. ISBN 1-59622-374-X

Co-Author: “Patenting Business Methods and Systems; the Aftermath of State Street Bank 
and Trust Co. v. Signature Financial,” The Banking Law Journal, March/April 2000 [117.2 
(2000):142-149.

Co-Author: “Safeguarding Business from the Threat of White Collar Crime.” Directors
Monthly
, October 1997 [21.10 1997)]

Pro Bono Recognition

Loeb & Loeb Professional and Community Service Award (2006)

"Donor Profile: John Lang." Inside Children's Rights Fall 2008:7.(A description of Mr. Lang's contributions to child welfare reform)

 "Settlement Reached in Mississippi Child Welfare Suit." The Clarion Ledger 8 Nov. 2007. (Reporting on child welfare class action in Mississippi)

 "Public Interest Projects," by Thomas Adcock. New York Law Journal 4 Aug. 2006 (Referencing Mr. Lang's pro bono work as lead counsel).

 "Lives That Legal Angels Saved," by Susan Littwin. Corporate Board Member Magazine
8.4: Jul/Aug 2005 (Discussing Mr. Lang's child welfare advocacy)

Continuing Legal Education Lectures and Webinars to the Profession

In 2012, at the Harvard Club in New York City, Mr. Lang made a presentation on trial technique to a gathering of trial attorneys at the Litigation Counsel of America’s Renaissance Symposium VI.

In 2013, as a faculty member of LawReviewCLE.com John Lang was a speaker in a program at the N.Y.C. Bar Association entitled “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Litigating in Probate Court.”John's topics included Discovery and Motion Practice, Mediation in Estate Litigation, and Tax Implications of Settlements of Probate Litigation.

Also in 2013, as a faculty member of Lawline.com, John Lang presented a course entitled: “Winning the Tough Case by Embracing the Negative.”