Emily N. Christiansen



Emily N. Christiansen, an associate of the Firm, focuses her practice on securities litigation and non-US actions in particular.  Emily devotes her time to advising clients on the challenges and benefits of pursuing particular litigation opportunities in jurisdictions outside the U.S.  In those non-US actions where Kessler Topaz is actively involved, Emily liaises with local counsel, helps develop case strategy, reviews pleadings, and helps clients understand and successfully navigate the legal process.  Her experience includes non-US opt-in actions, international law, and portfolio monitoring and claims administration.

Emily received her Juris Doctor and Global Law certificate, cum laude, from Lewis and Clark Law School in 2012 and is a graduate of the University of Portland, where she received her Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in Political Science and German Studies.  During law school Emily worked as a law clerk at a law firm specializing in ERISA benefits litigation.  She also interned in Trial Chambers III at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (and while there was involved with the trial of the former Bosnian Serb President, Radovan Karadzic) and spent two months in India as a foreign legal trainee with the corporate law firm of Fox Mandal.  Emily is a 2007 recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and is fluent in German.

Ongoing Cases
  • Working with local counsel, we represent shareholders in a UK case alleging that, in 2008, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) misled investors about its exposure to subprime-related assets, collateralized debt obligations, and the inflated value of its assets. When the misrepresentations came to light, RBS lost £44 billion of its market value and many RBS shareholders lost substantially all their investments. RBS’s subsequent write-downs and reported full-year net loss for 2008 represented the largest loss ever for a UK-based company and the largest for any commercial bank in the world. Subsequently, the UK government bailed out RBS on three occasions, becoming an 82% shareholder of the company. The case was initially brought in March 2013, and was scheduled to begin a trial on liability in March 2017.  In December 2016, however, RBS agreed to pay up to £800 million to settle all claims related to the litigation, and announced that it had reached a “full and final settlement” with three of five shareholder groups representing 77 percent of the claims against it, based on value of the claims.  All of the claimants we represent are part of the announced settlement, which should be finalized in the 1st half of 2017. 

  • In a case arising out of the subprime mortgage crisis, our clients are suing Fortis Bank, N.V. (Fortis) and its successor companies BNP Paribas and Ageas NL for fraud in connection with the company’s failed 2007 attempt to acquire Dutch bank ABN Amro Holding NV (ABN Amro). Specifically, our clients claim that Fortis misrepresented the value of its collateralized debt obligations, its exposure to subprime-related mortgage-backed securities, and the extent to which the decision to acquire ABN Amro jeopardized its solvency. After the acquisition failed, Fortis encountered financial difficulties and broke up in the fall of 2008.  Its investors lost as much as 90% of the value of their investments. Our lawsuit survived rigorous jurisdictional challenges in the Netherlands Court of Appeals, and while the proceedings on the merits were pending, the case (coupled with a couple other group actions against Fortis that were being pursued in Belgium and the Netherlands) settled for €1.2 billion. The settlement is currently pending approval by the Amsterdam Court of Appeals and a hearing is scheduled for March 24, 2017.

Representative Outcomes
  • Obtained an 11 billion yen ($92 million) settlement in an action filed in Japan over an accounting scandal—one of the largest securities-fraud recoveries ever in that country, if not the largest.

    In 2011, former Olympus CEO and whistleblower Michael Woodford revealed that Olympus had hidden more than $1 billion in losses through a series of sham transactions, many of which involved “paying” exorbitant fees for financial advice. Olympus was forced to restate five years of earnings, and three of its executives pled guilty to the fraud. We represented defrauded shareholders in proceedings in Tokyo alleging that Olympus and its officers had violated their duties under Japanese Company Law. Following a two-day mediation, we reached a settlement agreement for 11 billion yen. 

Speaking Engagements

Moderator/Speaker and Program Chair of Securities Litigation Under the Japanese Financial Instruments and Exchange Act and in Other Asian Countries: Progress and Predictions 2016 American Bar Association Section of International Law Fall Meeting, October 21, 2016

Moderator and Program Chair ofA Carrot or a Stick: What is the Best Approach for Encouraging and Shaping Corporate Social Responsibility Policies?2014 American Bar Association Section of International Law Spring Meeting, April 2, 2014


Contributor to the NAPPA White Paper Post-Morrison: The Global Journey Towards Asset Recovery, June 2016

Co-author of “Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Finance: Year-in-Review 2015,” The American Bar Association Section of International Law Year in Review: 2015, Vol. No. 50 (2016)

Co-author of “International Anti-Money Laundering,”The American Bar Association Section of International Law Year In Review: 2013,Vol. No. 48 (2014)

Co-author of “Corporate Social Responsibility,” The American Bar Association Section of International Law Year In Review: 2013,Vol. No. 48 (2014)


Fulbright Fellowship (2007-2008)

Second Place in the Davis Wright Tremaine International Law Writing Competition (2011)

Winner of Best Memorial at the Jessup International Moot Court Mid-Atlantic Regional Competition (2012) Quarterfinalist at the Jessup International Moot Court Mid-Atlantic Regional Competition (2012)


American Bar Association Section of International Law

  • Co-Chair of the International Anti-Money Laundering Committee (2014-present)
  • Vice Chair of the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee (2012 – present)
  • Vice Chair of the Young Lawyers’ Interest Network (2014- present)
  • Vice Chair of the International Anti-Money Laundering Committee (2011-2014)
Community Involvement

Secretary of the Board of the Storybook Society of Team FirstBook Philadelphia

American Cancer Society (Participant in the Philadelphia Bike-a-Thon)