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Kosta Stojilkovic

Partner

Kosta is a seasoned trial lawyer and strategist who has tried, on average, one case per year to verdict for more than a decade. As a partner with Wilkinson Stekloff, he has handled many of the firm’s most complex matters, including leading a trial team that obtained a defense jury verdict for the NCAA in a high profile defamation case; representing Facebook in a $6 billion intellectual property trial; representing a former pharmaceutical executive in a marathon four-month healthcare fraud trial; and defending a federal judge in mandamus proceedings concerning the prosecution of former White House Advisor Michael Flynn. Before joining the firm, Kosta served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, where he successfully prosecuted fraud, public corruption, and intellectual property crimes on a national and international level. Kosta began his legal career by clerking for the Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr. on the Supreme Court and the D.C. Circuit.

Kosta specializes in strategic leadership of complex matters from inception through trial and beyond.  He has tried or successfully resolved cases in a variety of areas, including antitrust, contract, environmental, products liability, trade secrets, sports law, and white-collar crime. While the goal in every case is to win before or at trial, Kosta also has a record of success in post-trial proceedings, including overcoming adverse jury verdicts and defeating fee and penalty claims in the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars.

Kosta has received numerous awards in private practice, including being recognized for the past three years as one of the leading lawyers in America (Lawdragon, 2019-21), as a “Rising Star” for Trials (Law360, 2018), as a “Future Star” (Benchmark, 2021) and member of the “40 and Under Hot List” (Benchmark, 2018-19), and as a “DC Rising Star” (National Law Journal, 2017). He previously received awards for his work as a prosecutor, including a Department of Justice Director’s Award and an Assistant Attorney General’s Award.


Education

  • Undergraduate: St. Mary’s College of Maryland, B.A.; Valedictorian; Phi Beta Kappa; Honors Program.
  • Law: University of Virginia School of Law, J.D.; Articles Editor, Law Review; Dillard Scholar; Order of the Coif.

Clerkship

  • The Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice, Supreme Court of the United States (2005-06)
  • The Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr., United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (2004-05)

Notable Matters

  • Lead trial counsel in Todd McNair v. NCAA. Obtained a defense jury verdict in state court in Los Angeles. McNair, a former USC assistant football coach, was implicated by the NCAA in the Reggie Bush benefits scandal. He sued the NCAA for defamation and accused it of ending his coaching career. Wilkinson Stekloff took over the representation after the NCAA had lost three pre-trial appeals, including on the issue of McNair’s ability to show falsity and malice. At trial, Kosta and his team persuaded the jury to reject McNair’s claims and find that none of the NCAA’s statements was false. After the jury verdict, trial judge Frederick Shaller called the advocacy in the case “the best I’ve seen since I’ve been a judge.”
  • Trial counsel in ZeniMax Media et al. v Oculus VR et al., on behalf of Facebook, Oculus VR, and individual defendants in a federal jury trial in Dallas, Texas. Plaintiffs sought $6 billion in damages based on alleged use of their intellectual property. Kosta developed case strategy and conducted witness examinations at trial. He helped obtain a defense verdict for Facebook and a partial defense verdict for the remaining defendants. He also led post-trial briefing, where he persuaded the court to sanction plaintiffs for withholding evidence and prevented them from recovering $40 million in attorneys’ fees.
  • Trial counsel in a nationally-reported criminal case about an opioid pain medicine. Kosta represented the lead defendant, a former pharmaceutical executive, in a four-month jury trial, including cross-examining dozens of government witnesses at trial and handling most legal arguments. Kosta also led post-trial briefing and argument, where he persuaded the court to throw out the lead charges in the case and to reject over $300 million in financial penalties sought by the government. Kosta is currently leading the representation on appeal.
  • Counsel for District Judge Emmet Sullivan in mandamus proceedings before the D.C. Circuit arising out of the criminal case against former White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. After the Department of Justice changed positions in the Flynn case and sought to dismiss his guilty plea and conviction, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts authorized Judge Sullivan to retain Wilkinson Stekloff to defend him from an effort to prematurely terminate the case.  A panel of the D.C. Circuit initially entered a split decision in Flynn’s favor, but the full court reversed and ruled in a bipartisan, 9-2 decision that the case should be reinstated and returned to Judge Sullivan.
  • Lead prosecutor in United States v. Kolon Industries, a novel prosecution of a foreign conglomerate for conspiring to steal trade secrets from DuPont. Opposite a team of law firms, including a former U.S. Solicitor General, Kosta succeeded in forcing the foreign conglomerate to appear in court in the United States, and obtained a conviction and payment of $360 million in restitution and fines. As reported in The American Lawyer, the case was “a historic first.”
  • As a prosecutor, obtained convictions at trial in large scale identify theft, bank fraud, diplomatic immunity fraud, mortgage fraud, and entitlement fraud cases. Also obtained bribery convictions of a Pentagon official and an Army serviceman based in Afghanistan, and a series of convictions that helped shut down a market manipulation brokerage in Costa Rica and a tax haven in the Cayman Islands.
  • Successful defense of Cinergy (now a part of Duke Energy) in three Clean Air Act trials opposite the Department of Justice. Conducted direct and cross examinations at trial as a law firm associate. The client prevailed on 44 out of 50 claims at the trial level, with additional claims won on appeal.

Clients & Industries

Kosta has represented clients in the technology, sports, pharmaceutical, gaming, and energy sectors.  His current clients include a pharmaceutical company in defense of federal antitrust charges, a former pharmaceutical executive in white-collar proceedings, and the officers and economic development arms of the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake in a putative federal consumer class action and related matters.

Other Activities

By appointment of Chief Justice Roberts, Kosta is one of a select group of practitioners nationwide who serve on the U.S. Judicial Conference Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, which considers and recommends changes to the rules that govern federal litigation.

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