Most Highly Regarded Firms: Business Crime Defence 2008

The 2008 edition of The International Who's Who of Business Crime Lawyers identifies 376 practitioners from 34 jurisdictions who are considered by clients and peers to be the most eminent white-collar crime lawyers.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals - Global
Reid Weingarten Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Washington, DC
Earl Silbert DLA Piper US LLP, Washington, DC
Dan Webb Winston & Strawn LLP, Chicago
Robert Morvillo Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason Anello & Bohrer PC, New York
Monty Raphael Peters & Peters, London
Robert Fiske Jr Davis Polk & Wardwell, New York
William W Taylor Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, Washington, DC
Brendan Sullivan Jr Williams & Connolly LLP, Washington, DC
Gary Naftalis Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, New York
John Keker Keker & Van Nest LLP, San Francisco
Robert Bennett Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP, Washington, DC
Theodore Wells Jr Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP, New York
Lawrence Barcella Jr Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker LLP, Washington, DC
Gerald Feffer Williams & Connolly LLP, Washington, DC
Kai Hart-Hoenig Dr Kai Hart-Hoenig Rechtsanwälte, Wiesbaden, Germany
Mary Jo White Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, New York

The focus of our research was on trial practice, although many of the individuals included will also have experience in dealing with investigations, enforcement proceedings and parallel or related civil litigation, as well as advising clients on best practice and compliance with new regimes.


Yet again, the United States is the best-represented jurisdiction in our research this year, with 221 practitioners from 21 states making the grade. The most significant states in our research are Washington, DC; New York; California; Illinois; and Texas, a number of outstanding practitioners also came to our attention in Massachusetts, Florida and Pennsylvania.

Jones Day is a "giant of the field" with seven individuals listed across five states. No other US outfit has entries in this many states and it is the greatest spread of talent across the research as a whole. Brian Sun, Brian O'Neill and John Cline represent the California contingent (Sun and O'Neill practise in LA, Cline plies his trade in San Francisco). Sun has a "reputation as a superior lawyer" and represented James J Smith, a retired FBI counter-intelligence agent accused of mishandling national security documents, and was co-counsel for nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee who was falsely accused of spying for China. Sun was an assistant US attorney in Los Angeles and served as head of a federal task force targeting sophisticated money laundering operations in the US and abroad. O'Neill is "a terrific trial lawyer" with government experience including four years as an assistant US attorney and chief of special prosecutions in LA. Cline was co-counsel for Lewis "Scooter" Libby in his criminal trial in Washington, DC, taking the lead in handling the classified information and national security issues in that highly publicised case. A former member of the white-collar crime committee of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Cline has also represented Amnon Landan, former CEO of Mercury Interactive, in various matters relating to allegations of stock option backdating. Elsewhere at the firm, Peter Romatowski oversees the firm's SEC enforcement practice from Washington, DC, and is a member of the corporate criminal investigations group. He was described to researchers as "extraordinarily good", and formerly served as assistant United States attorney in the Southern District of New York. Charles Carberry is one respondent's "top choice" in New York and co-chairs the firm's corporate criminal investigations practice. The "very highly regarded" Daniel Reidy is the litigation practice coordinator for the Chicago office, from which he oversees Jones Day's corporate criminal investigations practice. Reidy won favourable comments from a number of sources, who labelled him "prominent", "pre-eminent" and "the very best". This
reputation is well founded and Reidy is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL) and a former prosecutor in the US Attorney's Office, where he specialised in political and judicial corruption cases and in matters involving allegations of complex financial crimes. Reidy was the lead prosecutor in the "Greylord" judicial corruption project and is partner-in-charge of the Chicago office.


The US capital is a rich seam of talent in this area and a number of firms have performed exceptionally well in the research.

Williams & Connolly LLP has an unsurpassed reputation for business crime law and the firm has handled many public criminal matters, including representing President Clinton in the "Whitewater" investigation and impeachment proceedings. Described as "the real deal" by a high-placed lawyer at a competitor firm, Williams & Connolly, provides seven names for our Washington, DC, list. At the top of which comes Gerald Feffer, a former assistant deputy attorney general in the tax division. Feffer is a Fellow of the ACTL and the American College of Tax Counsel. Joining Feffer among the firm's most respected practitioners is Brendan Sullivan, no stranger to high-profile white-collar cases (Sullivan represented Colonel Oliver North and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros). John Villa is a "go-to guy" and he represented Vinson & Elkins LLP in the Enron shareholder suit. Steven Steinbach is of counsel to the firm and has handled cases across many areas including health-care fraud, environmental law, banking and money laundering. William McDaniels has been involved in matters involving sports bribery, gambling offences and violations of the Economic Espionage Act. James Bruton has vast experience defending criminal cases initiated by the Internal Revenue Service.

Zuckerman Spaeder LLP finds six of its lawyers in this book, three of whom are based in DC with the remainder in Tampa and Baltimore. William Taylor received the most votes for the firm and his clients include current and former public officials, lawyers and law firms. Taylor represented the chief of staff to President Clinton and the finance chair of the Democratic National Committee, as well as other public officials in the Whitewater and DNC fund raising investigations. Roger Zuckerman is another highly regarded DC practitioner with a broad practice. He served as assistant US attorney for the District of Columbia, where he was deputy and acting chief of the appellate section. Another experienced attorney in the DC office is Paula Junghans, who, between 1998 and 2001, served as the deputy assistant attorney general and acting assistant attorney general of the tax division of the Department of Justice. Junghans is a Fellow of the ACTL and a "consummate professional". Gregg Bernstein and Martin Himeles from the Baltimore office are also included as is Morris Weinberg in Tampa.

Baker Botts has a strong practice in the US capital, with four entries in the Washington, DC, section. William Jeffress was described during the research as "truly great" and is one of the leading professionals in the area. He is well known for his defence of ABC News in a landmark case alleging fraud and trespasses during newsgathering and has testified as an expert witness on legal ethics and criminal defence practice. Jeffress is also a Fellow of the ACTL. Stan Mortenson is also no stranger to high-profile cases and was involved from 1974 to 2000 in the representation of former President Nixon, and subsequently his estate, in connection with all aspects of the government's seizure and disposition of Nixon's White House tapes and papers.

Earl Silbert from DLA Piper US LLP's Washington, DC, office co-chairs the firm's white-collar group, and is among the most highly nominated practitioners in our research. He was described to researchers as "the dean of the bar" and "the absolute top of everybody's list". After a glittering career in government as US attorney for the District of Columbia, a period in the Tax Division and in the the Deputy Attorney General's Office of the Department of Justice, Silbert entered private practice where he now concentrates on white-collar crime investigations and trials. A past president of the ACTL and a former president of the National Association of Former US Attorneys. Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP's Robert Bennett is one of the "biggest and most respected names in the area". He is co-leader of the firm's international government enforcement litigation group and the criminal and civil litigation practice. An ACTL Fellow, he has handled many high-profile investigations and cases, including representing HealthSouth in connection with a criminal investigation being conducted by the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Alabama. He also represented Judith Miller in the CIA leak investigation. Bennett is joined in this publication by colleagues Carl Rauh in DC and David Zornow in New York.

Clients and peers "know and like" Reid Weingarten from Steptoe & Johnson LLP. He is based in Washington, DC, and prior to joining the firm served as a trial attorney for the public integrity section of the US Department of Justice and as a deputy district attorney for Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. According to one source, "if you are going to trial, he is the one you want." Weingarten has represented individuals such as Secretary of Commerce Ronald Brown, Secretary of Agriculture Michael Espy, Treasury Department Chief of Staff Joshua Steiner, Charlie Trie, Pauline Kanchanalak, and clients involved in the Archer Daniels Midland, FDA/generic drug, tobacco, and Columbia HCA investigations. He has been selected as the "Who's Who Legal Business Crime Lawyer of the Year 2008" and takes the title for the second consecutive year.


Another award winner is the litigation boutique Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason Anello & Bohrer PC, which is, for the second year running, our "Business Crime Law Firm of the Year". Robert Morvillo is a Fellow of the ACTL and a former assistant US attorney. While in government, Morvillo was chief trial assistant in charge of the Frauds Unit, and chief of the Criminal Division. He is regarded as being "in the top tier of New York business crime lawyers" and is a keen speaker and writer, frequently writing for the New York Law Journal and having formerly lectured in trial practice at Columbia University Law School. Six other practitioners from the firm join him on the following pages, making it New York's most represented outfit in the publication by far. Elkan Abramowitz comes very highly recommended and is also a former assistant US attorney and chief of the Criminal Division in the US Attorney's Office. He was described to researchers as "a true professional with a golden reputation". Robert Anello is also a member of the prestigious ACTL and is an author of the "White-Collar Crime" column for the New York Law Journal. Lawrence Iason, John Tigue Jr, Paul Grand and Barry Bohrer complete the impressive listing for this firm.

Robert Fiske is a past president of ACTL and practises with Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York. Fiske represented former US defence secretary Clark Clifford and his law partner Robert Altman in investigations of their roles in the BCCI matter and is a "big name" in the market. Gary Naftalis from Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP is, according to one source, "one of the go-to people in New York" for white-collar criminal defence work. He is another Fellow of the ACTL and formerly served as assistant US attorney in the Southern District of New York.

Theodore Wells Jr co-chairs of litigation department at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP, in New York. Wells is a Fellow of the ACTL and has served as co-chair of the white-collar criminal section of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Wells has successfully defended a number of high-profile political figures, including US Secretary of Agriculture Michael Espy in US v Espy and US Senator Robert Torricelli in the Department of Justice's three-year campaign finance investigation. The "fantastic" Mark Pomerantz joins Wells on our list.


Keker & Van Nest LLP boasts three entries in this edition with John Keker widely regarded as "one of the toughest defence lawyers, respected for his skill and tenacity". The "fantastic" Jan Nielsen Little and Elliot Peters join Keker on the following pages and make up what is regarded in the profession as "a formidable team". Little's practice has seen her successfully defending at trial a police investigator charged with drug smuggling, and securing the acquittal of a businessman charged with loan fraud. According to sources, Keker and Little "combine vigorous and passionate advocacy for their clients with sound judgement". Little also conducts corporate internal investigations and has government experience, having spent four years as a prosecutor for the public integrity section of the United States Department of Justice criminal division. Peters also spent four years serving as an assistant United States attorney in the Southern District of New York. Peters has represented, among others, a lawyer accused of billing fraud, a drug company executive accused of paying kickbacks to a doctor and a lobbyist prosecuted by an independent counsel.

Lightfoot Vandevelde Sadowsky Crouchley Rutherford & Levine is another of California's most respected firms for business crime work. John Vandevelde emerges as one of the publication's leading lights and formerly served as assistant US attorney in Los Angeles. His practice is dedicated to white-collar criminal defence and he "has significant experience in every area". Michael Lightfoot is one of the founding partners of the firm and "a well-known adversary". Janet Levine completes the trio and is "a highly qualified individual" who, together with Vandevelde, represented accused double agent Katrina Leung.

The trial practice firm of Coughlan Semmer & Lipman LLP has three entries for highly rated lawyers in San Diego - Jerry Coughlan, Robert Semmer and Michael Lipman. The three founding partners lead a "brilliant" team, according to our sources. Semmer has tried more than 100 jury trials and 100 court trials and during a tenure in the San Diego US Attorney Office he specialised in white-collar and corporate prosecutions as assistant United States attorney. Coughlan was also a federal prosecutor and while serving as an assistant US attorney received the Justice Department "Director's Award" in 1982. Lipman is another recipient of this award, taking the honour in 1981.

Munger Tolles & Olson LLP has an extremely strong practice in Los Angeles. Brad Brian is "one of the firm's heavy hitters". Richard Drooyan served as chief assistant United States attorney in the United States Attorney's Office in Los Angeles. Bart Williams also has governmental experience as assistant United States attorney in the central district of California. Williams's skill in internal corporate investigations has seen him conducted for companies in the US, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, Thailand and Venezuela. He is a member of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Bar Association (ABA) / Federal Bar Association (FBA) white-collar crime subcommittee, and served as president of the Los Angeles chapter of the FBA and on the board of trustees of the Los Angles County Bar Association.


Lawyers from Jenner & Block LLP have represented several officers of one of the nation's largest telecommunications companies in a successful defence of SEC and related DoJ investigations. They have also conducted an internal investigation on accounting issues at a publicly held biotechnology company, among other matters. The firm performed well in the research and finds three practitioners from the Chicago office on the following pages. Anton Valukas is chairman of the firm and chairs the white-collar criminal defence and counselling practice. Described to researchers as "the leader" and "very prominent", he served as United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois from 1985 to 1989. Valukas is a fellow of the ACTL and has been lead counsel in a wide variety of matters relating to government contracts and issues of fraud and compliance. Charles Sklarsky is co-chair of the firm's white-collar criminal defence and counselling practice. Prior to joining the firm Sklarsky was assistant United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and was described to researchers as "one of the big names" and a "high-quality guy". Sklarsky is joined by Thomas Sullivan, who was also applauded for his skills in this area and noted as "a prominent name in the market".

Stetler and Duffy Ltd is a specialised firm with an "unrivalled reputation" in the field. Both founding principals feature in this edition and are seen as "leaders". David Stetler is a "skilled advocate" who has experience conducting internal corporate investigations, prior to and following the commencement of government investigations. Stetler has spent a large portion of 2007 representing a firm that was part of joint-venture construction project the "Big Dig" in Boston, which involved state and federal criminal investigations. Joseph Duffy is another former assistant US attorney and in private practice has represented clients in matters involving health care, antitrust, defence procurement, foreign corrupt practices, securities, environmental, public corruption, and taxation - to name but a few.

Winston & Strawn LLP is home to two high-profile business crime lawyers in Chicago. Former US Attorney Dan Webb is one of the white-collar bar's most famous names and is "very well respected and well liked" among his peers. Webb has represented the New York Stock Exchange in connection with an internal investigation over compensation to former chairman Richard Grasso and currently represents the NYSE in subsequent litigation. Webb served as lead counsel in the six-month jury trial of former Governor of Illinois George Ryan on public corruption charges, including racketeering, mail fraud, and income tax fraud. Howard Pearl is also no stranger to high-profile matters, having represented former Congressman Dan Rostenkowski in his criminal case. He has been appointed by the board of directors of the Chicago Transit Authority on various occasions to conduct internal investigations, including the public investigation of its former president.


Stéphane Bonifassi of Lebray & Associés in Paris is France's most highly nominated practitioner. He is a regular commentator on business crime in the international news and is a "great name" in the Paris bar. Linklaters LLP has two entries in the France section - more than any other firm - with Kiril Bougartchev and Arnaud de la Cotardière in Paris making the grade. Johan Verbist in Brussels bolsters this strong European showing with a reputation as an "A-list" practitioner.

Pascal Vanderveeren from his own specialised business crime firm Vanderveeren & Associés takes the top spot in Belgium. In the Netherlands the founding partner of Sjöcrona Van Stigt, Jan Sjöcrona, received the most nominations and concentrates his practice on financial fraud cases. Boutique firm Wladimiroff & Waling has three entries on our Netherlands list - the biggest for that jurisdiction. Competitors were "enormously impressed" by Mischa Wladimiroff, a "superb lawyer" who is a frequent author on International Law. Colleagues Cornelie Waling and Aldo Verbruggen join him in the publication. Verbruggen is kept especially busy working on the fraud and financial side; Waling is "an expert in environmental criminal matters". Luxembourg has one entry on the following pages: the "excellent" Stef Oostvogels from Oostvogels Pfister Feyten.

As in other European jurisdictions it is the smaller outfits and sole practitioners that lead the way in the German research. First in our findings comes Kai Hart-Hoenig, a "well known" and "immensely respected" practitioner. He has significant experience advising on inbound and outbound matters related to the management of risks caused by commercial and tax-related crime. Holger Matt, at his own firm, is an "impressive individual" who has served as an expert witness for the German Constitutional Court and as an expert at European Commission hearings.

Franz Salditt was described to researchers as "one of the greats" and puts in an exceptional performance in the Germany research. Despite being a sole practitioner sources noted the big cases Salditt has taken on with positive results. The firm of Hamm Michalke Koeberer Pauly Kirsch is home to an individual who is "no doubt one of the best", Rainer Hamm. Hamm is a prolific speaker and writer and received praise from international sources. He is also joined by Stefan Kirsch who is "younger but very experienced" with competitors quick to note his assignment as defence counsel in three cases at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague and in another case before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Tanzania.

Schellenberg Wittmer has more individuals in our Switzerland list than any other firm - three. Paul Gully-Hart is the country's most highly nominated individual and "absolutely top" in the eyes of his competitors. His white-collar crime practice places an emphasis on international mutual assistance, the tracing and seizure of assets and compliance and regulatory law. Gully-Hart is accompanied in this edition by Vincent Jeanneret and Peter Burckhardt (a new addition to this publication).


BCL Burton Copeland and Kingsley Napley have more entries in the UK research than any other firm - five each. BCL Burton Copeland is one of London's most "well regarded" firms specialising in commercial fraud, financial regulation, tax investigations and serious crime. Ian Burton is the senior partner and the firm's most highly nominated individual. Burton is "a premier advocate" that clients and peers alike were quick to compliment. Brian Spiro also performed exceptionally well in the research and has acted as an international consultant to the WHO, the UN and the British Council on criminal law matters. Harry Travers has been involved in numerous high-profile commercial fraud and corruption cases brought by the Serious Fraud Office, including Maxwell, BCCI and, more recently, BAe. He is respected for his "weighty practice" and is joined by two other BCL Burton Copeland partners, Jane Glass and Mark Haslam.

Kingsley Napley is a "great firm" - five of its number appear on the following pages, all of whom devote a proportion of their practices to advising members of government agencies in sensitive situations. Christopher Murray is senior partner and a former chairman of the criminal law committee of the Law Society for England and Wales. He was also the founder of the society's money-laundering task force and is a member of the Fraud Review Working Group. Stephen Gentle's practice has a focus on complex fraud matters, many of which have cross-border elements. He regularly advises clients in Financial Services Authority investigations. Michael Caplan QC is a "formidable name" and "respected individual" within the Bar. He is widely known for acting in the UK proceedings for General Pinochet and for one of the prominent witnesses in the Marchioness public inquiry. Louise Hodges and Stephen Pollard complete the firm's impressive listing.

Monty Raphael is co-head of the fraud and regulatory department of Peters & Peters and once again features in our elite list of the most highly regarded individuals. Raphael was noted by his peers for his work on the cash-for-honours inquiry and is "undoubtedly the UK's biggest name in the business crime arena". His experience in dealing with fraud matters means he is a sought-after speaker and writer and he is often brought in to train government and commercial organisations. His practice sees him acting for corporate and individual clients, financial institutions and professional firms. Joanne Rickards is the other co-head of the fraud and regulatory department and boasts significant knowledge of advising on corruption inquiries, insider dealing, cartel investigations, market abuse and other FSA investigations. She also worked on the cash-for-honours inquiry. Keith Oliver is head of the commercial litigation and commercial fraud team and is also head of the specialist civil fraud team at the firm. Like his colleagues before him, Oliver comes extremely highly nominated by clients and peers alike.


Robert Heathcote from Arnold Bloch Leibler in Melbourne is the only Australian practitioner selected for entry into this edition. Heathcote heads the firm's litigation and dispute resolution team and his white-collar practice focuses on the areas of tax fraud, securities fraud, and Corporations Law and Trade Practices Act prosecutions. Tan Kok Quan is the principal founding partner of Tan Kok Quan Partnership in Singapore. He has represented both private and government clients in a variety of matters and is used to handling domestic and international matters.

South America also has its fair share of prominent individuals. Roberto Durrieu from Estudio Durrieu was hailed as "an extremely well known criminal lawyer in Argentina". Prior to entering private practice Durrieu held a number of positions in public administration, including that of general attorney of the province of Buenos Aires. This edition also sees the inclusion of Roberto Durrieu Jr, who was also highlighted by his peers for his work and "exceptional qualifications". In Brazil Jorge Nemr is top of the research, gaining praise for his firm, Leite Tosto e Barros Advogados Associados SC.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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