January 14, 2012
New Article - Big Law's Sixth Amendment: The Rise of Corporate White-Collar Practices in Large U.S. Law Firms
Check out Charles D. Weisselberg and Su Li's article available on SSRN here.
Over the last three decades, corporate white-collar criminal defense and investigations practices have become established within the nation’s largest law firms. It did not used to be this way. White-collar work was not considered a legal specialty. And, historically, lawyers in the leading civil firms avoided criminal matters. But several developments occurred at once: firms grew dramatically, the norms within the firms changed, and new federal crimes and prosecution policies created enormous business opportunities for the large firms. Using a unique data set, this Article profiles the Big Law partners now in the white-collar practice area, most of whom are male former federal prosecutors. With additional data and a case study, the Article explores the movement of partners from government and from other firms, the profitability of corporate white-collar work, and the prosecution policies that facilitate and are in turn affected by the growth of this lucrative practice within Big Law. These developments have important implications for the prosecution function, the wider criminal defense bar, the law firms, and women in public and private white-collar practices.
January 13, 2012
Inside Trader Brownstein Receives 366-Day Sentence
Former Denver hedge-fund operator Drew "Bo" Brownstein, about whose case we wrote (see here), was sentenced Wednesday to a prison term of one year and one day following his plea of guilty to insider trading charges. Brownstein had received confidential information from his friend Drew Peterson concerning a pending purchase of Mariner Energy by Apache Corp. and used that information to reap about $2.5 million in profits for himself and his asset management firm. Drew Peterson, who has pleaded guilty but has not yet been sentenced, received the information from his father, H. Clayton Peterson, a Mariner director, and personally netted about $150,000 from it. The older Peterson also pleaded guilty, and received a probationary sentence.
The sentence of 366 days was between the 46-month high under the applicable Sentencing Guidelines range and the probationary sentence requested by defense counsel and above the six-month sentence suggested by the probation officer. The one-year and one-day sentence will allow Brownstein to earn "good time" of 47 days. Under federal law, good time is permitted only for a sentence of more than one year. 18 U.S.C. 3624(b).
January 12, 2012
In the News & Around the Blogosphere
AP, NYTimes, Michigan: Ex-Congressman Gets One-Year Sentence (w/ a hat tip to Ivan Dominguez)
Susan Pulliam, WSJ, Galleon Prosecutor to Leave for Dechert
Peter Lattman, NYTimes, Ex-Fund Manager Gets Prison Term in Insider Trading Case
FCPA Professor, The Year That Was
Danielle Ulman, The Daily Record, Curlett, Levin join forces to form firm specializing in criminal defense (login required)
Gina Passarella, The Legal Intelligencer, Computergate Defendant's Legal Mal Suit Targets K&L Gates, Buchanan Firm (login required) (hat tip to Peter Goldberger)
January 11, 2012
In the News & Around the Blogosphere
Lynnley Browning, Reuters, US moves toward legal action against Swiss bank-sources
Sue Reisinger, Corporate Counsel, law.com, DOJ and SEC Use of Deferred and Non-prosecution Agreements in 2011
Robbie Brown, NYTimes, North Carolina: Edwards Legal Team Asks for Delay (hat tip to Ivan Dominguez)
DOJ Press Release, GE Funding Capital Market Services Inc. Admits to Anticompetitive Conduct by Former Traders in the Municipal Bond Investments Market and Agrees to Pay $70 Million to Federal and State Agencies;
Matthew Huisman, BLT Blog, SEC, Other Agencies Settle with GE Funding in Securities Fraud Case
Karen Sloan, NLJ, law.com, Study: Jurors can't distinguish between knowing and reckless conduct
Bob Van Voris, Bloomberg News, Ex-trader David Slaine Helped Lead to Rajaratnam, U.S. Says
DOJ Press Release, Los Angeles Church Pastor Sentenced to 180 Months in Prison for $14.2 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme - One of the Longest Health Care Fraud Sentences Imposed in the Central District of California
Mike Scarcella, BLT Blog, D.C. Judge Weighs Mistrial Request In FCPA Case
Sue Reisinger, Corporate Counsel, Ex-GC of WellCare Health Plans Charged with Fraud
Walter Pavlo, Forbes, Will Rajaratnam Testify in Rajat Gupta Case?
Ed Beeson, Star-Ledger, Ex-Chicago Bears wide receiver Willie Gault latest pro athlete accused of white-collar crime
Editorial, Detroit Free Press, Editorial: Lopsided justice in grand jury system (w/ a hat tip to Ivan Dominguez)
January 10, 2012
False Claims Act - Qui Tam Law
Check out A. Brian Albritton's, False Claims Act & Qui Tam Law Blog - Recent news and cases concerning the False Claims Act, Qui Tams, whistleblowers, and other related collateral proceedings.
January 9, 2012
"Highly Complex Fraud Case" Has Judgment Vacated and Remanded
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the judgment and remanded a white collar case (United States v. Collins) saying that "the trial court committed prejudicial error when it failed to disclose the contents of a jury note and engaged in an ex parte colloquy with a juror accused of attempting to barter his vote." The three "c"s - judges with last names starting with the letter "C"- Calabresi, Chin and Carney - issued this opinion in a 14-count case involving conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud, and bank fraud. The foreman had sent a note to the court "asserting that one juror had attempted to barter his vote and was refusing to deliberate." "The court did not share the contents of the note with the parties or seek counsel's input before it conducted an ex parte interview with the accused juror." The Second Circuit held that the defendant was deprived "of his right to be present at every stage of the trial" and that this "deprivation was not harmless."
See also Chicago Tribune (AP), Winnetka lawyer wins new trial on NYC appeal
Mark Hamblett, NYLJ, Circuit Upsets Fraud Conviction of Ex-Mayer Brown Partner
(esp)(w/ a hat tip to Linda Friedman Ramirez)
SEC Ends Orwellian Policy
Stop the presses. Hold the back page. Saturday's New York Times reports here on the SEC's decision to end its "does not admit or deny" policy, but only for SEC civil defendants who are also pleading guilty to criminal charges or admitting wrongdoing as part of a deferred criminal adjudication. In other words, the policy is similar in its immediate effect to Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which (for the most part) merely freed slaves in rebel held territory. Why be so boastful about ending a policy that never made much sense in the first place, because it allowed individuals and entities to neither admit or deny civil allegations when they had already pled guilty to similar, and more serious, criminal charges? To hear the SEC tell it, the decision to abandon the old policy is NOT in response to Judge Rakoff's order rejecting the proposed Citigroup consent decree, as the new policy would not apply in the Citigroup case and the decision has been under consideration since Spring 2011. The decision itself may not be in response to Judge Rakoff, but it is hard to believe that its timing is not. Although Judge Rakoff should be commended for his thoughtful opinion, I am not without sympathy for Khuzami. He and the SEC are the only actors at the governmental level who appear to be systematically investigating and bringing actions against the elite financial entities largely responsible for our economic meltdown. (DOJ is on holiday.) Still, the SEC spends too much time on its public relations.