By Casey Sullivan
Sept 9 Neil Barofsky, the former prosecutor who
served as chief watchdog of fraud and corruption during the
federal government's 2008 bank bailout program, has joined
Chicago law firm Jenner & Block as a partner, the firm announced
Barofsky, 43, is expected to work on white collar defense
and investigations, securities litigation and enforcement,
government controversies and public policy litigation.
He will be based in New York and joins a growing list of
government lawyers who have moved to private practice at a big
law firm as their clients face heightened regulatory scrutiny.
Also on Monday, two other law firms announced appointments
of lawyers leaving government positions.
Skadden Arps Meagher Slate & Flom said that Boris Bershteyn,
who held a number of senior legal and regulatory positions at
the White House and its Office of Management and Budget from
2009 to 2013, had rejoined the firm.
And Davis Polk and Wardwell announced it had hired Avi
Gesser, who worked between 2011 and 2013 as deputy director of
the Justice Department Criminal Division's Deepwater Horizon
Task Force. Gesser investigated and prosecuted BP, Transocean
and Halliburton for their conduct in the Macondo oil spill in
the Gulf of Mexico.
Skadden said in a statement that Bershteyn, a native of
Kiev, Ukraine, who reviewed regulations promulgated by executive
branch agencies in 2012 and 2013, will be based in New York.
Skadden, known for its lucrative mergers and acquisitions,
bankruptcy and litigation practices, made a splash last year
when it recruited Patrick Fitzgerald, the former U.S. Attorney
for the Northern District of Illinois, whose cases included
corruption convictions against two governors.
Barofsky, the lawyer joining Jenner & Block, was confirmed
by the U.S. Senate in late 2008 to be the special United States
Treasury Department inspector general on civil and criminal
fraud and abuse linked to the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief
Program. He resigned in March 2011 and became a professor at New
York University School of law.
Barofsky said in an interview that Jenner, instead of
rushing to represent many financial institutions during the
financial crisis, "exposed bad practices on Wall Street" in its
Valukas Report on the Lehman Brothers collapse of 2008.
"It just reflects not just the type of legal work that the
firm does, but also where its stance is," Barofsky said. "Jenner
took the side of really getting to the truth of the matter."
Jenner & Block, which has more than 450 lawyers, is known as
a national litigation powerhouse and ranked among the top 50
firms in the country in profits per partner in 2012, according
to the American Lawyer magazine.
Barofsky served as an assistant U.S. Attorney in Manhattan
between 2000 and 2008 where his prosecutions included the
conviction of former officers of the defunct brokerage Refco Inc
in a $2.4 billion securities and accounting fraud.