- Recent Victories
Named by Crain’s New York Business, and Bloomberg Law as one the 40 best lawyers under 40 years old, Yelena (“Lena”) Konanova is a trial and appellate litigator who has recovered billions of dollars for clients in commercial litigation matters and has secured constitutional rights for her public service clients.
Lena represents clients in a variety of complex commercial litigations and arbitrations in the areas of securities, contract, antitrust, insurance, trademark, and constitutional law. She has counseled numerous Fortune 500 companies on the prosecution and defense of high-stakes disputes, represented important players in the clean energy industry in proceedings against governmental and competitor entities, litigated complex financial products (including asset-backed securities and insurance), and advised plaintiffs on the recovery of billions of dollars in commercial matters. She played a key role in the Firm’s representation of the Joint Liquidators of Fairfield Sentry Limited in federal Bankruptcy Court and on appeal to recover $6 billion in redemption payments arising out of the Madoff Ponzi scheme, pursuing over 1,000 defendants in 300+ cases.
Lena was also noted for her expertise in complex commercial litigation by The Legal 500, recognized as a “Plaintiffs’ Lawyer Trailblazer” by the National Law Journal, and named a “Rising Star” by New York Law Journal and Law360.
Lena heads Selendy Gay Elsberg’s recruiting and training programs shaping the firm’s distinctive and rigorous development of associates.
In her broad public interest and pro bono practice, Lena has authored numerous amicus briefs. In 2022, she co-authored an amicus brief on behalf of the National Academy of Education urging the U.S. Supreme Court to preserve race-conscious admissions policies at colleges and universities. She has also argued for a federal constitutional right to a minimally adequate education and, in the Supreme Court of the United States, on behalf of corrections professionals opposed to solitary confinement practices. She has also represented plaintiffs in appeals of Section 1983 and sentencing matters. Lena has also spent a year as a litigation fellow in the Racial Justice Program at the national office of the American Civil Liberties Union, where she litigated civil rights cases in the areas of indigent defense, school desegregation, school-to-prison pipeline, and debtors’ prisons.
Lena earned her J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School, where she served as articles co-chair of the Harvard Law Review and won first place and Best Brief in the Ames Moot Court Competition. She clerked for the Honorable Kim McLane Wardlaw at the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Lena is a Senior Advisory Board member of the Health Finance Institute, a nonprofit working to catalyze financing for the prevention of non-communicable diseases. On the local level, she has worked to raise funds for Her Justice, an organization that provides free legal help to women and children living in poverty in New York City.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan
Cravath, Swaine & Moore
Law Clerk to the Hon. Kim McLane Wardlaw
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 2008-2009