Isaac M. Gradman
Isaac Gradman is a partner in the firm’s litigation department, concentrating his practice on complex financial litigation and commercial disputes across several practice areas, including civil litigation, structured finance and distressed investments, trusts and estates litigation, securities, and business law.
Areas of Practice
Isaac Gradman is one of the nation’s leading legal experts in structured finance and distressed investment disputes, with particular expertise in residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”) litigation and other legal issues stemming from the mortgage crisis. Mr. Gradman has represented some of the country’s largest hedge funds, investment managers, monoline insurance companies and mortgage insurers in high-stakes litigation and transactions involving RMBS, CDOs and whole loan purchases, and has negotiated settlements of disputes leading to recoveries of over $1 billion dollars in the aggregate. He has represented clients in RMBS Trust Instruction Proceedings nationwide, including in California, Minnesota and New York. He leverages that experience into a sophisticated trust and probate litigation practice in Sonoma County and the greater Bay Area, in which Mr. Gradman represents both estates and beneficiaries in all types of trust disputes. Mr. Gradman also frequently assists local clients in business disputes involving real estate, land use, management agreements, wine and grape sales, regulatory issues and permitting, and business sales.
After completing a two-year federal clerkship, Mr. Gradman practiced as a commercial litigator at Arnold & Porter (formerly Howard Rice) in San Francisco. He was involved in some of the earliest litigation arising from the subprime mortgage crisis, including the representation of PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. in a 2007 suit against WMC Mortgage Corp. and its parent, GE Money Bank, over misrepresentations relating to a $1 billion pool of subprime mortgages. In 2008, Mr. Gradman launched, “The Subprime Shakeout,” the first law blog devoted to mortgage crisis legal issues from an investor and insurer perspective. He has since become a thought leader and expert practitioner in this space, having been quoted and cited in leading publications around the country, and having represented many of the most active investors and insurers in their efforts to hold accountable the banks and other deal parties who originated, underwrote, sold, serviced and/or administered the massive numbers of defective mortgage loans financed between 2005 and 2007. Mr. Gradman speaks frequently on these issues and has published numerous articles and a book on the causes of and proposed solutions to the mortgage crisis entitled, “Way Too Big to Fail: How Government and Private Industry Can Build a Fail-Safe Mortgage System,” for which Mr. Gradman served as Editor.
At Perry Johnson, Mr. Gradman has assisted dozens of investors in negotiating direction and indemnity agreements with RMBS trustees, including initiating numerous mortgage repurchase or “putback” cases, forcing large banks to buy back defective mortgage loans that were originated or sold in breach of their underwriting guidelines and/or their representations and warranties. Mr. Gradman has also assisted investors and insurers in compelling RMBS Trustees to pursue claims against the servicers who were obligated to mitigate bondholder losses. He has served as counsel for investors in Article 77 proceedings in New York concerning the proper distribution of multi-billion dollar settlements of RMBS-related claims against Countrywide, Bank of America, and JPMorgan. Where RMBS Trustees have refused to honor their duties to investors, Mr. Gradman has brought direct actions against Trustees on behalf of investors in venues across the country, including several actions currently pending against some of the largest custodial banks in the country, seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.
Education and Memberships
Mr. Gradman received his B.A. in Political and Social Thought with Highest Distinction in 2002 from the University of Virginia, where he was a Jefferson Scholar, an Echols Scholar and a member of the Raven Honor Society. In 2005, he received his J.D. cum laude from New York University School of Law, where he was a Dean’s Scholar and a Robert McKay Scholar. Mr. Gradman clerked for two years for the Hon. Joan Lenard in the United States District Court in the Southern District of Florida. Mr. Gradman is admitted to practice law in California.
Selected Publications and Presentations
- Featured Speaker “Investor Hot Legal Topics Briefing,” AMI RMBS / Mortgage Investor Breakfast Briefing Series (June 2016).
- Author, “Who’s Watching the Watchmen? RMBS Trustees Come Under Fire as Investors Launch Next Wave of Lawsuits,” Bank and Corporate Governance Law Reporter (October 2014).
- Author, “Cracks in the Foundation,” The American Lawyer (Spring 2013 Litigation Supplement).
- Founder and Author, “The Subprime Shakeout” (July 2008 – Present).
- Featured Speaker, “GSE and Private Label Putbacks – Is the Fat Lady Ready to Sing?” Compass Point Research and Trading, LLC (September 2012).
- Featured Speaker, “Trends and Forecasts in Mortgage Backed Securities Litigation,” State Bar of California, Business Law Section, Consumer Financial Services Committee (February 2012).
- Featured Speaker, “The Subprime Shakeout: Trends and Forecasts in Mortgage Backed Securities Litigation,” San Francisco Bank Attorneys Association (December 2011).
- Editor, “Way Too Big to Fail: How Government and Private Industry Can Build a Fail-Safe Mortgage System,” by William A. Frey (Greenwich Financial Press, October 2011).
- Featured Speaker, “Mortgage Repurchase Risks” and “Mortgage Repurchase Risk Update,” Compass Point Research & Trading, LLC (August 2010 & May 2011, respectively).
- “FDIC Sues LPS and CoreLogic Over Appraisal Fraud; Shows Investors Leaving Money on the Table,” The Big Picture (May 31, 2011).
- Featured speaker, “Mortgage Finance – Origination, Servicing and Foreclosure,” Gerson Lehrman Group Roundtable, San Francisco, CA (March 2011).
- Featured Speaker, “Investor Putbacks, MERS & the Capital Markets,” Midwinter Housing Finance Conference, Park City, UT (February 2011).
- “Who Really Owns the Mortgage on Your Home?” KCSG Television Online Edition (July 2010).
- “Treasury Official Speaks Out About Excessive Risk Taking,” The Wall Street Cheat Sheet (October 2009).
- “Constitutional Rights: Using Loss-Shifting to Reduce Foreclosures,” The Daily Journal, at 7 (October 2009).
- “Why Should Servicers Get A Safe Harbor? How One Investor’s Lawsuit Forced Bank of America to Seek Shelter in Washington,” Lombard Street (August 2009).