Updated 3:21 p.m.
Two Hollywood stars caught up in a national admissions scandal have turned to Big Law defenders at Latham & Watkins and Foley Hoag, according to new court documents filed Monday in Massachusetts.
Felicity Huffman has hired Martin Murphy of Foley Hoag, while Lori Loughlin has picked up a team from Latham & Watkins that includes William Trach, Sean Berkowitz and Perry Viscounty. The two actresses were among the celebrities and business leaders charged with taking part in an elaborate scheme that included paying bribes to coaches and test proctors, along with faking exam scores and falsifying student biographies, all in the name of getting their children into top colleges and universities.
Trach and Martin, who are both based in Boston, did not return messages seeking comment.
Loughlin and Huffman have initial court appearances set for noon on March 29 in Boston federal district court before Magistrate Judge M. Page Kelley.
Additionally, another prominent defendant, Gordon Caplan, a top dealmaker at Willkie Farr & Gallagher, is also set to appear March 29, the court said Monday. Patrick Smith, a founding partner of New York’s Smith Villazor LLP is an attorney for Caplan, who has been placed on leave from Willkie, where he was co-chair of the firm.
On Monday afternoon, Ropes & Gray partner Joshua Levy in Boston, co-chair of the firm’s global litigation and enforcement practice, entered an appearance representing Caplan. Additionally, Ropes & Gray partner Michael McGovern, co-chair of the firm’s government enforcement practice, is on the team representing Caplan.
Berkowitz, the Chicago-based global co-chair of Latham’s complex commercial litigation practice, previously headed the Justice Department’s Enron task force and oversaw the joint trial of its former CEOs, Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, who were convicted in 2006 on fraud and conspiracy charges stemming from the company’s downfall.
“The jury has spoken, and they have sent an unmistakable message to boardrooms across the country that you can’t lie to shareholders, you can’t put yourself in front of your employees’ interests, and no matter how rich and powerful you are you have to play by the rules,” Berkowitz said after the two former Enron CEOs were convicted. (Skilling was released from prison last month; Lay died in July 2006, just months before his sentencing.)
Viscounty, based in California, has specialized in technology and intellectual property litigation, counting Apple, Tesla and Craigslist among his clients. Viscounty was on the team that won a $60.5 million judgment against the real-estate listing site RadPad in April 2017.
Latham & Watkins picked up Trach in 2013 from Goodwin Procter shortly after expanding into Boston. Trach’s practice includes criminal and white collar investigations, mass torts and liability claims. The National Law Journal in 2014 recognized Trach as one of its rising stars under the age of 40. (He was 37 at the time.)
Trach has represented Zipcar in a shareholder derivative lawsuit that threatened its sale to Avis, for-profit hospital chain HCA Inc. and Philip Morris in products liability class action litigation, according to his law firm profile.
Berkowitz last year led the Latham succession committee that participated in reviewing eight partners who were finalists for the chair position. Richard Trobman ultimately won a partnership election to become the chair and managing partner of Latham.
Murphy, a Foley Hoag partner in Boston, brings experience as a federal and local prosecutor to Huffman’s defense team. From 1987 to 1991, he served as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts. He went on to become a top prosecutor under the Middlesex County district attorney.
Murphy joined Foley Hoag from Bingham McCutchen, a now-defunct firm that merged with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. He subsequently represented Bingham McCutchen in a malpractice lawsuit that settled in 2014 with Frank McCourt, the former owner of Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers. Murphy also spearheaded the investigation into allegations of sexual abuse at an elite New England boarding school in 2016.
This report was updated with additional names of lawyers representing defendants. Mike Scarcella contributed reporting from Washington.