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August 11, 2009

Where the jobs (and future sentencing issues) can be found

This new piece in The National Law Journal, which is headlined "DOJ Looks for 'Rock Star' to Run Top-Priority Fraud Cases," is a fascinating read for anyone interesting the future of the federal criminal justice system.  Here are excerpts from the piece:

The Obama administration is dramatically beefing up the fraud section of the U.S. Department of Justice's Criminal Division as it tries to add muscle to back up its rhetoric about cracking down on health care and corporate fraud.  The department is looking for what Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer calls "a superstar" to lead the fraud section. It also plans to add 10 trial attorneys and fill the long vacant job of deputy chief for corporate, securities and investment fraud.

That promise of extra bodies is critical: The fraud section is already the Criminal Division's largest litigation unit.  With additional resources and the strong backing of Justice higher-ups for more fraud prosecution, the new chief should become the bane of defense lawyers' existence nationwide.

In advertising for the post, Justice says the new chief will be "at the forefront of the Department's efforts" to hold companies and individuals responsible for the economic downturn (where appropriate, of course). The chief will also play a "key role" in developing Justice policy and fraud enforcement initiatives involving millions of dollars -- albeit likely not litigating the cases personally. (Traditionally the top working litigators in the fraud section have been the deputy chiefs.)...

Fraud section attorneys are often described as a "rapid response team" that jumps into districts around the country to target the hot crime of the moment.  Five of those 10 trial lawyers would be assigned where needed, said Justice officials.   But the other five spots are new positions dedicated to the prosecution of health care fraud.  Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. has declared the fight against health care fraud to be a top priority....

The defense bar raises the concern that adding more prosecutors and launching more strike forces will inevitably mean that Justice starts trying to turn minor, inadvertent violations of complex health laws into major litigation and press-release-worthy settlements.  Prosecutors live to prosecute, especially young lawyers told they're bringing "cases of extraordinary importance" aimed at reaping millions for the American taxpayer.  So defense lawyers counsel caution.  "When the statistics drive the effort, you run the risk of sweeping in otherwise explainable, innocent or nonfraudulent conduct," warned Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner Robert Blume of the Los Angeles-based firm's Washington and Denver offices.

I have suggested in this past that the economic downturn would likely mean a good upturn in business for white-collar defense lawyers.  And, as often noted on this blog, white-collar cases frequently raise interesting and high-profile sentencing issues.  With a new policy-making team and a bunch of fresh new recuits inside Main Justice, we all should plan on this area of the federal criminal justice system to be hot for quite some time.

August 11, 2009 at 07:51 PM | Permalink


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The Supremacy attended a pre-election propaganda session for Barack Obama with Prof. Laurence Tribe, a left wing ideologue, America Hater. Much hijinks with a bunch of Harvard Law grads. Fun people.


Every other lawyer the Supremacy ran into was an Ivy grad doing white collar defense work. One had a degree in medieval history. He was not aware of what the Supremacy learned in high school. SC did not say, you did learn the same; it has just been erased by your Harvard Law indoctrination.

Here is what the Supremacy said instead. Explain something to me. We agree that many charges brought by federal officials are pretextual. For example, they just want to get in the papers, or are picking on defects in paper work in lawyer gotcha. How come you never attack them personally? For example, do total e-discovery for improper motive. Introduce all prior statements showing bias, back to kindergarten. Complain to their families and churches about their unfairness. File ethics charges or countersue them. Try to get them disqualified. Ruin their lives as they are doing to your client.

All of a sudden a wine lubricated, funny conversation turned into this. I am not giving you legal advice, and we have no client lawyer relationship. However, what you propose is totally unprofessional and unethical. Furthermore, it could be catastrophic. If you ended up disqualifying the prosecutor, you would end up with a more powerful and dangerous superior, who would be less likely to offer a favorable plea deal. I have to speak to someone else. Excuse me.

Gee, sorry ... Gone. OK. I will talk to someone else, too.

Prof. Tribe says Obama's exams were scored blindly, and he earned his grades. No, he did not think Obama was so calm and mellow because he was smoking a lot of dope.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 11, 2009 8:46:08 PM

This could make for some 'sensationalized' trials down the road, especially when, as is mentioned, young prosecutors are eager to bolster their careers. It is unfortunate that the job of a fraud deputy chief has been vacant for a considerable amount of time. Perhaps it is not so far-fetched to partially attribute the current economic crisis to such a vacancy.

Posted by: Felony Classes | Aug 12, 2009 10:22:34 AM

I am a nutbag and people flee from me at parties. I blog about them.

Posted by: Redundancy Clause | Aug 12, 2009 10:42:00 AM

Those Harvard lawyers should have gotten an "Executive" law degree from an online law school. That way they could have avoided the criminal cult indoctrination.

Posted by: Tired of MDEJD | Aug 12, 2009 1:12:56 PM

Red: Explain to me how a motion for e-discovery of the adverse lawyer is unprofessional or unethical. That lawyer ran too fast for me to ask. Cite the Rule of Conduct and give an example of such a finding in real life.

Those white collar defense lawyers owed their jobs to over-reaching DOJ lawyers, and will do nothing to discourage their attacks on their clients. Their motto seems to be, "First do no harm to the adverse lawyer." They are zealous. It seems, in protecting the source of their jobs. Each client should hire a legal malpractice personal lawyer to ensure adequate representation by their personal regulatory defense lawyer. You need two lawyers going.

A Harvard PhD in Medieval history was not enough to protect from that criminal cult indoctrination. It is that good.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 12, 2009 1:59:15 PM

If anyone has ever demanded a forensic examination of a DOJ work computer, I would appreciate a comment. There is a possibility that you have a higher chance of finding child porn on a DOJ computer than on those of any other entity in the world. The DOJ is likely the biggest subscriber and downloader of child porn. I don't know what should be done with such a finding in a business fraud case. At a minimum, should it be brought to the judge ex parte, with a request for a decision on relevance? Should the client be informed of the results of the examination he paid for? I can guess the opinion of the client.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 12, 2009 2:10:56 PM

Tired: How do you know I have been spared the effects of indoctrination? I am not the "dumbass" that most of the folks here are. That is not an epithet but a lawyer term of art.


However, I am unfit for any responsible policy position by my education. For example, did you notice my reliance on torts as a remedy for the catastrophic idiocy and utter failure of the lawyer enterprise? No sane person would choose torts. ALI torts reporters have sought to rebut my point with the ironic retort, "litigation explosion." This irony is of the highest order.

Did you notice the suggestions to hire two lawyers, one a legal malpractice lawyer to watch the other? Is that lawyer job generating?

Did you notice the enhanced churning of litigation and dispute by countersuits, aggressive motions of discovery. Although these are to enhance lawyer quality and performance, they generate billable hours. Even when calling for mass arrests of the lawyer hierarchy, fair trials, and mass executions? That generates massive employment for three lawyers, each case. If there are 15,000 people in the lawyer hierarchy, that means 45,000 nice jobs for lawyers.

The indoctrination is such, even the aware dissenter, totally conscious of its methods, evils and failings, still cannot escape it. It is that good.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 12, 2009 8:59:18 PM

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