May 19, 2007
Working for the government certainly has its rewards, but the pecuniary benefit is not one of them. White collar criminal defense work is definitely a growth area for firms, who can be called in at any time to deal with issues great and small. A couple recent articles highlight how valuable the experience of representing the government can be for those who decide to cross over (or back, in some cases) to private firms or to in-house legal positions. An article in the New York Times "What Happened to the Lawyers Who Worked For Spitzer" discusses the dispersal of Governor Eliot Spitzer's legal team from his days at Attorney General who pursued the high-profile Wall Street cases that made him a national figure. Former deputies who headed up investigations of insurance companies, mutual fund late-trading, and stock analyst conflicts have now landed at leading firms like Paul Weiss, Proskauer Rose, and Weil Gotshal to work on white collar and corporate advisory matters. Up I-95 from Manhattan, an article in the Connecticut Law Tribune (here) discusses the move by a former supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Connecticut to the Fairfield County firm Pullman & Comley to start up a white collar crime group there.
Both articles note that lawyers coming from the government cannot bring clients with them, and of course they would have to recuse themselves from any matters on which they worked while a prosecutor. But the absence of a book of business does not seem to be too much of a handicap when the former prosecutor brings in a wealth of experience and, perhaps more importantly, the ability to get telephone calls returned and meetings scheduled quickly. And for the lawyers, the money ain't bad either when you consider first-year associates in Wall Street firms make more coming out the chute than any government attorney will make after a decade. (ph)
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