From the Bench to Plaintiffs Bar: Why Judge Sam Sheldon Switched Gears to Rep Investors in Fraud Cases at Robbins Geller

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February 14, 2024

Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP’s newest partner, Sam S. Sheldon, recently shared that his dream of becoming a lawyer started when he saw the film “The Verdict,” starring Paul Newman, who plays a plaintiffs’ lawyer.

“He saves the day at the end. I saw that movie as a kid and I’m like, ‘That’s what I want to be: a trial lawyer,’” Sam told The National Law Journal.

Sam recently left the bench in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, where he had served as a magistrate judge for the last five years. He joined our Firm’s San Diego office as a trial lawyer representing investors in complex securities fraud suits.

“My heart from the beginning of my career has always been on the plaintiff side,” he shared.

Advocate and Judge, Both Sides of the Bench

As he shared with The National Law Journal, before he joined the bench, Sam was a trial lawyer in private practice and as a federal prosecutor.

He chaired the Health Care group at a large U.S. law firm and led the U.S. Department of Justice’s Health Care Fraud Unit. Before being selected as a federal magistrate judge in Houston, Texas, where he served for 5 years, he tried over 25 cases as a prosecutor and civil litigator.

Sam joined our Firm as partner in January, and as The National Law Journal noted, he is already back preparing for trial in our ongoing case representing investors against Under Armour, which is scheduled for jury trial later this year.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Sam to the Firm. Some of the most impactful results we’ve earned for our clients have been a direct result of our trial-readiness,” said Darren Robbins, referring to the Firm’s recent string of on-the-eve-of-trial recoveries in securities cases against First Solar ($350 million in 2020), Twitter ($809 million in 2022), and American Realty ($1.025 billion in 2020).

“Bringing another exceptionally experienced trial practitioner like Sam on board is a huge benefit to our clients,” he added.

Giving Back

When The National Law Journal asked what excited him about returning to practice from the bench, Sam noted his passion for pro bono advocacy. 

For over two decades, he has worked to persuade presidents of both parties to grant clemency and pardons to those where it was warranted. He successfully advocated to Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama to grant eight federal clemency petitions. 

To see his clients given an opportunity to rebuild their lives after incarceration has been an immense source of personal and professional fulfillment.

“If all you ever wanted to be is a lawyer and you can have that impact in someone’s life, there’s no better feeling,” he told The National Law Journal.

We welcome you to read The National Law Journal’s profile of Sam here.

Go Deeper

For more about his pro bono advocacy, read the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s article from 2000: “Rookie lawyer saw inequity in prisoner’s sentence, convinced Clinton of same.”

About Robbins Geller

Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP is one of the world’s leading complex litigation firms, representing plaintiffs in securities fraud, shareholder derivative, antitrust, corporate takeover, and consumer fraud and privacy cases. With 200 lawyers in 10 offices, Robbins Geller is one of the world’s largest plaintiffs’ firms, and the Firm’s attorneys have obtained many of the largest securities, antitrust, and consumer class action recoveries in history.

The Firm is ranked #1 on the most recent ISS Securities Class Action Services Top 50 Report for recovering more than $1.75 billion for investors in 2022 – the third year in a row Robbins Geller tops the list. And in those three years alone, Robbins Geller recovered nearly $5.3 billion for investors, more than double the amount recovered by any other plaintiffs’ firm. The Firm secured the largest-ever securities fraud class action settlement – $7.2 billion – in In re Enron Corp. Securities Litigation.

For more information, please email us at media@rgrdlaw.com or call us at (619) 338-3821.

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