Two Am Law 100 lawyers who fell on hard times—Matthew Kluger and Lee Smolen—have recently discussed their trials and tribulations in vastly different venues.
Smolen, a former Sidley Austin tax partner who left the firm’s Chicago office in late 2012 after being accused of faking nearly $120,000 in expenses, testified in late June before a panel of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, which filed a complaint against him in June 2013. Smolen subsequently admitted faking some expenses, but claimed not to have done so for personal gain.
Crain’s Chicago Business reported on the hearing, where Smolen said that he faked 800 cab receipts totaling $69,000, which he attributed to a tough work schedule that left little time for family matters. Vivia Chen, who pens The Careerist for The Am Law Daily, notes via the ABA Journal and Legal Profession Blog that Smolen recycled some receipts to offset legitimate business expenses. Some charges have been dropped against Smolen, who is now a partner at DLA Piper, which in written testimony stated that it is closely monitoring his billable hours and expenses, according to Crain’s. (The Am Law Daily reported earlier this year on a receipt scam by Ralph Lerner, another former Sidley partner.)
While Smolen faces only potential professional sanctions and not jail time for his alleged conduct, at the opposite end of the spectrum is Kluger, a former associate at a trio of Am Law 100 firms that in June 2012 was given the longest-ever sentence on insider-trading charges after pleading guilty to his role in a $37 million scheme. The son of a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Kluger is now being held at a minimum-security federal correctional facility in Morgantown, W. Va. He spoke with Fortune’s Daniel Roberts about life behind bars for a white-collar criminal and the harshness of his 12-year sentence.
“I don’t want to minimize my guilt, as a lot of people here do,” Kluger told Fortune in a lengthy interview that’s worth a read in its entirety. “But [I] didn’t need a sentence that matches what people get for killing people or for raping people.”
Federal Bureau of Prison records show that Kluger, 53, is slated for release in February 2023. Arthur Cutillo, a former Ropes & Gray associate sentenced to 30 months in prison on unrelated insider-trading charges three years ago this month, was released from prison last November, the same month Kluger was disbarred in Washington, D.C. Brien Santarlas, another ex-Ropes associate caught up in the same scheme as Cutillo, cooperated with prosecutors and received a six-month prison sentence. He was released from federal custody two years ago this month.
The Am Law Daily reported earlier this year on federal prosecutors in New York charging Steven Metro, a law school graduate and former managing clerk for M&A at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, with insider trading.