Jessica Ortiz
Jessica Ortiz ()

Litigation boutique MoloLamken has brought on Jessica Ortiz, the former chief of the narcotics unit at the Southern District U.S. Attorney’s Office. Ortiz is the first woman partner of the 25-attorney boutique.

Ortiz said she became familiar with MoloLamken mostly by watching the firm’s defense of Sheldon Silver, the former Assembly speaker who was convicted last year of public corruptions charges in the Southern District and is now free on bail pending his appeal. “I watched them in court from time to time and thought they were good courtroom advocates,” she said.

Ortiz, 38, spent the last eight years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including a year and a half as head of the narcotics unit. She left in July.

She led 15 jury trials to conviction and worked on cases related to fraud, computer crimes, corporate embezzlement, public corruption involving city officials, health care fraud, organized crime, narcotics and murder.

When she decided to leave, Ortiz said she spoke with several large law firms because of her interest in international matters but eventually learned that MoloLamken also handles such cases. She said MoloLamken was also attractive because its smaller environment provides opportunities that may not exist at big firms, such as directly pitching clients.

Jessica Masella, who was co-chief of the narcotics unit with Ortiz, became a DLA Piper partner in August in its white-collar defense group. The narcotic unit’s new chief is Andrea Surratt.

Ortiz and Masella’s exits are part of a wave of Southern District prosecutors leaving (NYLJ, June 9, 2016). Ortiz said she has seen more transition this year than at other times, but attributed that to the election year period and law firms being more open to hiring trial attorneys without immediate books of business.

Litigation boutique MoloLamken has brought on Jessica Ortiz, the former chief of the narcotics unit at the Southern District U.S. Attorney’s Office. Ortiz is the first woman partner of the 25-attorney boutique.

Ortiz said she became familiar with MoloLamken mostly by watching the firm’s defense of Sheldon Silver, the former Assembly speaker who was convicted last year of public corruptions charges in the Southern District and is now free on bail pending his appeal. “I watched them in court from time to time and thought they were good courtroom advocates,” she said.

Ortiz, 38, spent the last eight years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including a year and a half as head of the narcotics unit. She left in July.

She led 15 jury trials to conviction and worked on cases related to fraud, computer crimes, corporate embezzlement, public corruption involving city officials, health care fraud, organized crime, narcotics and murder.

When she decided to leave, Ortiz said she spoke with several large law firms because of her interest in international matters but eventually learned that MoloLamken also handles such cases. She said MoloLamken was also attractive because its smaller environment provides opportunities that may not exist at big firms, such as directly pitching clients.

Jessica Masella, who was co-chief of the narcotics unit with Ortiz, became a DLA Piper partner in August in its white-collar defense group. The narcotic unit’s new chief is Andrea Surratt.

Ortiz and Masella’s exits are part of a wave of Southern District prosecutors leaving (NYLJ, June 9, 2016). Ortiz said she has seen more transition this year than at other times, but attributed that to the election year period and law firms being more open to hiring trial attorneys without immediate books of business.