John Lewis, Jr., Former Senior Litigation Counsel and Global Chief Diversity Officer for The Coca-Cola Company, Joins Shook Houston

Shook, Hardy & Bacon has announced that John Lewis, Jr., joined the firm as Partner in the Houston office as of January 28, 2019. 

Lewis is a former chief litigation counsel for The Coca-Cola Company, and was most recently in private practice in Atlanta. He brings more than 25 years of litigation experience to Houston’s business litigation group. 

“Shook prides itself on the long-term relationships we build with our clients,” stated Shook Chair Madeleine McDonough. “John understands the importance of the partnership necessary between in-house and outside counsel to achieve the best possible outcome. His impeccable trial credentials will bring additional depth to Shook’s national roster of commercial litigators.”

Lewis will focus his practice on product liability, patent and intellectual property, and pharmaceutical and medical device matters. He has extensive experience in internal and government investigations, including Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) investigations, corporate compliance, business litigation, class action and complex litigation, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, receiverships and workplace fairness and inclusion consulting.

“John’s background complements our team of commercial litigators who are willing to try the most contentious cases,” said Partner Michael Cargnel, who co-chairs Shook’s Business Litigation Practice with Partner Gary Miller. “He also has some familiarity with the firm and our attorneys, having gained his trial experience as a younger lawyer in Kansas City.”

Lewis was managing counsel for The Coca-Cola Company in its global headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, for 13 years, and was head of litigation for five of those years. In this role, he defended company directors in shareholder derivative cases and advised senior management on all aspects of legal-risk management strategy. In addition, he led the single largest potential litigation exposure in the history of the company: a putative securities class action lawsuit that touched four continents.

He led internal and governmental investigations into some of the earliest Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower claims. Lewis was tapped to serve as Coca-Cola’s first global anti-bribery counsel responsible for the company’s compliance with FCPA, the UK Bribery Act and similar anti-corruption laws worldwide. He led in-person training, audits and investigations in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, including compliance-related due diligence in international M&A transactions. 

As Coca-Cola’s global chief diversity officer, Lewis had board-level accountability for all aspects of workplace fairness, including responses to EEOC charges and OFCCP inquiries, as well as related media and reputational concerns. John served as the voice and face of diversity and inclusion at Coca-Cola, interacting with external constituents, community leaders, insurance carriers, institutional investors and the landscape of workplace, marketplace, customers and partners.

Because of the breadth and depth of his experience, Lewis brings a unique perspective to confidential litigation assessments, corporate diversity compliance reviews, internal legal vulnerability assessments, and helping clients develop best-practice benchmarking.

“I think my differentiator is my depth of experience in the C-suite, where I have advised business leaders, as well as my time in the courtroom overseeing high-stakes litigation,” Lewis said. “It is rewarding to come full circle to a premiere trial firm like Shook with its high caliber of clients. I look forward to serving companies across the country from my hometown, Houston.”

Lewis will continue to serve as a Panel Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division. He plans to remain active in the Atlanta community, where he serves as an advisory board member for both the National Commerce Corporation and the Anti-Defamation League (Southeast Region), and as a Trustee for the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Texas Lawyer reported on the move in "Shook Hardy Hires Former Coca-Cola Litigation Chief in Houston," January 29, 2019. 

For more information, contact Shook Media Relations Manager Heather McMichael, 816.389.0419, hmcmichael