Freshfields launches US litigation practice

23.01.2009

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

International law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is launching a US litigation practice with the election of three prominent New York litigation partners.

Aaron Marcu, Benito Romano and Adam Siegel will join Freshfields’ New York office on 26 January 2009. They form the foundation of a new complex litigation and white-collar defence and investigations practice. The new litigation practice group will be based in New York, but will service clients’ needs throughout the US, focusing particularly on Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement and federal criminal investigations. The group will also conduct internal corporate investigations, including focusing on compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and financial reporting, and will handle complex securities litigation.

All three new partners are former federal prosecutors and served in senior leadership positions in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan. In addition to investigating and trying cases of all sorts, all three partners served as Chief Appellate Attorney in that Office. Mr Romano was the United States Attorney in the late 1980s and Mr Marcu served as his Associate United States Attorney.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer chief executive Ted Burke said, ‘We are delighted to be joined by three such outstanding lawyers. We have seen a significant increase in work in our contentious regulatory practice, particularly in the financial institutions sector. Aaron, Benito and Adam will, as part of our existing international team, enable us to offer our clients a first-rate litigation service on a truly global basis.’

Chris Pugh, leader of the firm’s global dispute resolution group added, ‘Following client requests that we establish a litigation practice in the US, we have been looking for the highest calibre senior lawyers to launch it. We are fortunate to have found Aaron, Benito and Adam, who are not only fantastic litigators but also a great fit with our existing team. They are a perfect complement to the experience and talent we have throughout our litigation group.’

Aaron Marcu said, ‘I have been privileged to help build and lead a great practice at an outstanding law firm over the past 20 years. However, the chance to help establish the US litigation and white-collar defence practice at Freshfields - one of the world’s truly great law firms - was an opportunity I could not resist. I am confident that, working with my two talented partners, Benito Romano and Adam Siegel, and the Freshfields network, we will build a world-class litigation practice in the US worthy of the Freshfields name.’

Benito Romano commented, ‘I have spent the past 20 years building and leading a first-rate white-collar criminal defence practice at a great firm. Freshfields is an outstanding global law firm, at the top of every market in its worldwide network. As the regulatory and enforcement environments become increasingly global, clients expect the same expertise in the US. With my new partners, Aaron Marcu, a long-time friend, and Adam Siegel, whom I have come to know well over recent months, we have the beginnings of a premier full-service US litigation practice.’

Adam Siegel added, ‘It is a real honour to join Freshfields and to begin the US litigation practice with Aaron Marcu and Benito Romano. I am looking forward to applying the many lessons I have learned in government service and private practice to the global issues currently facing multinational institutions. We are all excited about joining Freshfields and working with our new partners throughout the firm to provide first-rate service to clients all over the world who expect and need global solutions to the problems they encounter.’

Profiles

Aaron R Marcu focuses on the defence of white-collar criminal and SEC enforcement investigations and related civil litigation, conducts internal corporate investigations and advises boards of directors, audit committees and special committees on sensitive matters involving possible misconduct by corporate personnel. He represents both institutions and executives, with a particular emphasis on financial institutions, and has represented clients in investigations and litigation involving allegations of financial accounting and other securities fraud, insider trading, stock manipulation, stock options backdating, money laundering, cartel and other anti-competitive activity and possible violations of the FCPA. Aaron also helps design corporate compliance programmes, and advises public companies and new issuers on disclosure and related issues and on issues of corporate governance.

For the past 20 years Aaron was a partner in Covington & Burling’s New York office, where he helped build and led a 22-partner white-collar defence and investigations group. Before that he was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York from 1983 to 1989, serving as Chief Appellate Attorney, Chief of Major Crimes and, finally, the Associate United States Attorney. He was also commissioner of the New York Civilian Complaint Review Board from 1995 – 1998. He has been widely recognised for excellence and is listed in The Guide to the World’s Leading Litigation Lawyers, The Guide to the World's Leading White Collar Crime Lawyers, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers, International Who’s Who of Business Crime Lawyers, Best Lawyers in America and Euromoney’s Benchmark: America’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys.

Education: Harvard Law School, JD, 1980 (cum laude); Northwestern University, BSJ, 1977 – with highest distinction. Admitted to the New York Bar 1981.

Benito Romano focuses on white-collar criminal defence, including SEC and other regulatory enforcement, and related complex civil litigation. For the past 20 years, he has been a partner and the leader of the white-collar criminal defence practice group at Willkie Farr & Gallagher. Mr Romano has represented public companies, board committees and individual officers in internal investigations and in a wide variety of criminal and regulatory investigations, prosecutions and related civil litigations, including recently concluded investigations of price fixing in the airline industry by the US Department of Justice; options backdating, fraud in the auctions rate market and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers by the SEC; and the criminal trial of Conrad Black.

Before returning to private practice in 1989, Benito served as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, representing the US in all criminal and civil court proceedings in Manhattan and surrounding northern counties. He supervised the work of the criminal and civil divisions of his office. Before assuming the position of United States Attorney, and the preceding two years in private practice, Benito was an Assistant United States Attorney and served in a variety of supervisory and executive positions in that office, including Chief of Public Corruption, Chief Appellate Attorney, Executive Assistant United States Attorney and Associate United States Attorney.

Education: Columbia University School of Laws, JD, 1976; New York University, BA, 1972. Admitted to the NY Bar 1977.

Adam Siegel is an experienced litigator whose practice is focused on representing clients facing government investigations and related civil litigation. He has defended clients in a broad range of industries in investigations conducted by the US Department of Justice, the SEC and the State Attorneys General. These investigations have involved, among other things, allegations of violations of the FCPA, insider trading, stock options backdating and the off-label promotion of pharmaceutical products. Adam also represents clients in complex civil litigation involving allegations of securities fraud, consumer fraud, product liability, breach of contract, violations of the False Claims Act and the antitrust laws. He has conducted numerous internal investigations and has represented corporations, board committees and individuals. Adam has also helped clients develop compliance programs and has trained employees worldwide regarding these programmes.

From 1999 to 2005, Adam was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where he served as Deputy Chief and Chief Appellate Attorney. Before joining the US Attorney’s Office, Adam was an associate at Covington & Burling, returning to that firm as a partner in 2005. Adam was recently named a ‘future litigation star’ in New York by Euromoney’s Benchmark: America’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys.

Education: Harvard Law School, JD, 1994 (magna cum laude); Harvard University, AB, 1990 (magna cum laude). Admitted to the New York Bar 1996.

Photos are available on request from sophie.mccourt@freshfields.com

For more information contact in London: Anna Mitchell, head of communications, E anna.mitchell@freshfields.com T +44 20 7785 2033

In the US: Christa Crane, business development manager,

E christa.crane@freshfields.com, T + 1 212 284 4949

Notes for editors

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is an integrated international law firm and operates from 28 offices in 16 countries, including all the main financial centres of the world. Our 2,500-plus lawyers provide unrivalled technical and commercial advice to the world’s leading national and multinational corporations, financial institutions and governments, helping them deal with their most challenging and complex business issues and transactions.

Freshfields’ dispute resolution practice consistently works on some of the most complex and high-value commercial cases in the market, representing major clients across a range of industries and global locations. Its reputation for in-depth quality combined with a peerless international network places the practice in a unique position to service the needs of an increasingly international corporate and financial clientele. The international arbitration practice is unrivalled and its lawyers are acknowledged leaders in regulatory work, in particular in the banking, insurance, antitrust and environmental sectors.

Media representatives can register to receive electronic copies of press releases as they are added to our website by visiting the News section of www.freshfields.com.

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