Saturday, January 24, 2009

White Collar Attorney - Nominee to Head Criminal Division

The nominee to lead DOJ's Criminal Division is Lanny A. Breuer.   

A man who clearly knows the white collar area of law, Breuer presently serves as co-chair of Covington and Burling's White Collar Defense and Investigations practice group.   As described on his webpage - "Mr. Breuer represents corporations and individuals across a broad array of subject matters including corporate accountability, fraud and abuse, securities investigations and litigation, food and drug regulation, medical device health and safety, antitrust, conflicts of interest, environmental crimes, foreign corrupt practices, national security, and export controls."  A Columbia grad (undergrad and law school), his resume includes serving as special counsel to President Clinton, not to mention his representation of Roger Clemens (see here).

It is good to see someone with enormous experience willing to serve the country in this important position. His expertise in the corporate and political world make him a good match in the fight against white collar crime.

See Covington & Burling here; see also Stephen Losey, Federal Times, Obama names four assistant attorneys general.


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I would appreciate the views of someone who pracitces law in this area on how someone could, from one day to the next, go from defending individuals to prosecuting them. While one might say that each case depends on the particular facts and circumtances, if criminal enforcement were merely a question of agreeing on the facts, there would be much less litigation. Clearly there is an overall ideology that should come into play, no? By appointing a defense lawyer to this position, does President Obama intend to signal a shift in ideology, or does this merely mean that Mr. Breuer answers to a different master and will now do his biding, as he did for the wealthy individuals who paid him before? Was he previously willing to put aside an enforcement mentality during his tenure in private practice for his own personal gain, or by accepting this position does he seek to create a more just approach to enforcement? Does ideology even come into play? Or are lawyers merely "hired guns" who will dilgently pursue the interests of those who pay them. Please enlighten this mere layperson.

Posted by: Confused | Jan 25, 2009 7:59:26 AM

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