Most Highly Regarded Firms: Business Crime Defence 2011

In this section we analyse the findings of our research in greater depth to identify the firms and practitioners who stand out worldwide.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Reid Weingarten Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Washington DC
William Taylor Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, Washington DC
John Keker Keker & Van Nest LLP, San Francisco
Gary P Naftalis Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, New York
Earl Silbert DLA Piper LLP (US), Washington DC
Mark Pomerantz Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP, New York
Mary Jo White Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, New York
David Corker Corker Binning, London
Theodore Wells Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP, New York
Cristina Arguedas

Arguedas Cassman & Headley LLP, Berkeley

United States

The overwhelming majority of firms and individuals included in this publication are based in the United States, where the white-collar criminal bar is well established. Jones Day leads in terms of the number of lawyers included, with a total of nine. Brian Sun in Los Angeles is a “highly respected trial lawyer” lauded for his work involving securities fraud, corporate fraud and internal investigations and criminal antitrust. Brian O’Neill is listed from the same office and is a “go-to guy” for matters involving bankruptcy, antitrust, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)-related matters and securities. In San Francisco, Martha Boersch is a former federal prosecutor who is “phenomenally strong across the spectrum of white-collar work.” Charles Carberry heads Jones Day’s corporate criminal investigations practice and is “a name you can trust when it comes to SEC investigations.”

Seven leading individuals are included from litigation boutique Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason Anello & Bohrer PC and all are based in New York. In the words of one source, “no list would be complete without Robert G Morvillo” and he brings his many years’ experience to the table on all manner of white-collar matters. The “erudite” Elkan Abramowitz, another of the firm’s founding partners, is listed and Lawrence Iason is “one of the premier lawyers in New York” who is known for his work representing individual and corporations in investigations by the SEC, Department of Justice and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Zuckerman Spaeder LLP earns six inclusions, including William Taylor in Washington DC who “has done a lot of excellent trial work” and is “on everybody’s list”. He has represented boards of directors, executive officers and congressmen. The “superlative” Roger Zuckerman is currently defending a former executive being charged by the US Department of Justice. Paula Junghans brings over 30 years experience of white-collar and tax controversy matters and our sources call her “a doyenne and a trusted advisor.”

Hogan Lovells’s six listings included Robert Bennett, who “is one of the real leaders” in business crime defence work and whose past achievements include representing Enron and two former US Secretaries of Defence. Ty Cobb, also in Washington DC, is “a well thought-of trial lawyer” who chairs Hogan Lovells’ SEC group and co-chairs the white-collar defence and investigations group. Michael Shepard in San Francisco is “outstanding for trial and investigations work” while Carl Rauh wins plaudits for his “great ability to handle complex proceedings.”

Four attorneys from Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP gain inclusion. Richard Marmaro is based in Los Angeles and heads the firm’s west coast SEC enforcement and white-collar practices. He “has an excellent reputation” for his defence work in cases of complex civil, criminal and regulatory matters. David Zornow is the global leader of the litigation practice and the New York white-collar practice and is “second to none” in the words of one commenter.

Brendan Sullivan has “unparalleled litigation experience” with 40 years at federal and state courts under his belt. Four other lawyers are listed from Williams & Connolly LLP and the entirety of the contingent is in Washington DC. John Villa is “a national leader for legal malpractice defence” as well as high-profile corporate and financial services-related litigation.

Reid Weingarten at Steptoe & Johnson LLP in Washington DC is the most highly nominated person overall. He is “a leading light” when it comes to high-profile defence of executive officers and government officials as well as representations of clients in investigations. In New York, Gary P Naftalis is co-chair of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP and the head of that firm’s litigation department. He is considered “an éminence grise for financial fraud”.

In San Francisco, the “outstanding” John Keker at Keker & Van Nest LLP who has over 40 years of experience is “someone that every lawyer in America would hire if they had a problem” according to one source. At the same firm, Jan Nielsen Little is “exceptionally good” and Elliot Peters has a “long and varied experience” which makes him “an excellent trial lawyer”.

Mark Pomerantz and Theodore Wells are both included from Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP’s New York office. Wells, who is co-chair of the litigation department, is “tenacious and very skilled” and has defended the likes of Citigroup as well as high-ranking individuals. Pomerantz is “a prominent name” who has represented CEOs and large companies in many high-profile investigations by the Department of Justice (DoJ).

The “absolutely phenomenal” Mary Jo White is listed from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in New York. She leads the litigation practice group of the firm and her achievements include serving as a director of NASDAQ and recently acting for companies in FCPA, DoJ and SEC enforcement investigations. Neil Eggleston is also listed and is “tenacious and committed” in his defence corporations and individuals.

Commenters were brimming with praise for Cristina Arguedas – she was called “outstanding”, “a top trial lawyer” and “very strong.” She is listed from Arguedas Cassman & Headley LLP in Berkeley.


Kingsley Napley has the largest contingent of lawyers in London, with six practitioners represented and it is the “favourite firm” of one prominent barrister. Stephen Gentle is “renowned for complex fraud work” and also advises in corruption, bribery and cartel matters. The “outstanding” Louise Hodges is currently the vice chair of the European Criminal Bar Association. She specialises in fraud and business crime litigation and acts in investigations by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and HMRC. Senior partner Christopher Murray has over 35 years of experience and is called “distinguished and extremely experienced” while Stephen Pollard is “versatile and dependable” and particularly recommended for his work defending against prosecutions by the UK SFO and FSA.

Specialist firm BCL Burton Copeland is “top of the tree” according to one of our sources and the firm earns five inclusions in this edition. Brian Spiro received glowing praise from all commenters – “he is bright, collected, intelligent and really works hard for his clients” according to one source. Ian Burton is “one of the most respected business crime lawyers by far” while Harry Travers is “tenacious and razor-sharp.”

Peters & Peters earns four listings. Anand Doobay is “very liked” and “a leading extradition practitioner” who is also known for his work with regulatory and tax investigations. Special counsel Monty Raphael is “a supreme presence” and “the doyen of business crime law in London” with over 30 years experience.

Three specialists are included from business crime boutique firm Corker Binning. The “marvellous” David Corker is lauded for his work on domestic international cases and investigations in relation to cartels, corruption and insider trading. Peter Binning is “astute, responsive and thoughtful” lawyer who specialises in mutual legal assistance, fraud and tax evasion. Nicola Finnerty has “a very good reputation for fraud work” as well as business crime, corruption and insider trading.

A number of highly nominated barristers are included in this edition. Clare Montgomery QC is listed from Matrix Chambers in London and she is considered “supremely bright”, a “go-to silk for business crime” and “a great choice of counsel”. Nicholas Purnell QC, head of Cloth Fair Chambers, has over 40 years experience and is considered to be “the cream of the London business crime bar”. David Perry QC of 6 King’s Bench Walk is called “utterly charming” and specialises in extradition and judicial review as well as business crime. Three QCs are included from Three Raymond Buildings. Patrick Gibbs QC is highly regarded for his ”impressive gravitas in the courtroom” while Alexander Cameron QC is “respected and admired at the bar”.


Earl Silbert is one of six lawyers listed from DLA Piper LLP, making it not only one of the strongest firms in terms of the number of inclusions, but also geographical spread. He is based in Washington DC and “has an incredible depth of knowledge”, having been one of the first Watergate prosecutors and a former US attorney. Jürgen Taschke is based in Frankfurt where he heads the German white-collar, corporate crime and investigations practice group. He specialises in the defence of multinational companies in corruption, fraud and tax matters. In London, Neil Gerrard is the “very active” joint global head of the litigation and regulatory group.

Simmons & Simmons earns four listings, showing a breadth across Europe. Louise Delahunty in London “has a very solid reputation for anti-money laundering work” and also focusses on fraud and advising corporations and individuals in SFO investigations. Nick Benwell is the global head of the crime, fraud and investigations group and Luca Basilio in Milan and advises on manner of business crime defence-related issues. Ed Van Liere in Rotterdam is the head of the firm’s dispute resolution group; its local crime, fraud and investigations group; and is the head of its Netherlands office.

Who? To? Where? From?
Richard Cheltenham QC Charlton Chambers St Michael Dr Richard Cheltenham QC phD
David Schreuders DLA Piper Netherlands N V Amsterdam Van Bavel Advocaten
John Cline Law Office of John D Cline

San Francisco

Jones Day
Michael Lightfoot Lightfoot Steingard & Sadowsky LLP Los Angeles Crowell & Moring LLP
Alfred Pavlis Finn Dixon & Herling LLP Southport/ Stamford Daly & Pavlis LLC
Carol Elder Bruce K&L Gates LLP Washington DC Bracewell & Giuliani LLP
Mark Tuohey Brown Rudnick LLP Washington DC Vinson & Elkins LLP

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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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