Marc Mukasey and two other former shareholders from Greenberg Traurig announced Wednesday the official launch of their new boutique law firm in New York, Mukasey Frenchman & Sklaroff.
The announcement was not a surprise, as Mukasey left Greenberg at the end of January to launch the boutique. But the firm revealed new details in the launch announcement this week, including who else would be joining Mukasey, who had been co-chair of Greenberg Traurig’s white-collar defense and investigations practice.
The boutique’s partners include Mukasey, Robert Frenchman and Jeffrey Sklaroff. They will focus on white-collar matters, complex litigation and regulatory enforcement proceedings.
The four-attorney firm also includes managing associate Kate Olivieri, who was a Greenberg Traurig associate.
Mukasey and Frenchman joined Greenberg about three years ago with Rudy Giuliani, who left the Miami-based firm last year amid his ongoing representation of President Donald Trump in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Mukasey left Greenberg on amicable terms, he told ALM last month, and he was motivated to make the move upon deciding “I wanted to start my own law firm.”
Mukasey, in interviews Wednesday, said he sees the boutique remaining under 10 attorneys. “We’re going to stay lean, but we’re going to recruit more people” in the next year, he said. “We’re looking to draft the best talent available at every level.”
Frenchman has worked with Mukasey for the past 10 years, including at a prior firm, Bracewell, handling significant white-collar defense cases and investigations.
Sklaroff, who will serve as the boutique’s managing partner, had been at Greenberg for about 25 years and was previously a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
The firm, which officially opened March 4, already has matters across the country, Mukasey said, including in New York, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Arkansas, Texas, California and Seattle.
In one of his most high-profile matters, Mukasey, also a former Southern District prosecutor, represents President Donald Trump and Trump family members in the case brought by the New York Attorney General’s Office over Trump’s charitable foundation.
Mukasey is mulling representing those involved in the recent multimillion-dollar college admissions scandal that has ensnared celebrities, financial executives and the former co-chair of Willkie Farr & Gallagher.
While “not involved yet,” Mukasey said, “we’re in some discussions with some folks.”
Mukasey said he’s seen first-hand how the U.S. Justice Department can sometimes overreach, pointing to his client, former Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino, “who was swept up unfairly and unjustly, in my opinion, in all the hoopla surrounding the bribery of athletes to go to different colleges.”
While Pitino was not charged in the probe by the Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney’s Office, “he lost his job and his reputation took a hit. I think that if you’re a prosecutor you have to be careful how far you extend these cases.”
Mukasey Frenchman & Sklaroff will represent executives, financial services clients, notable personalities in sports, business, media and politics, as well as public and private corporations.
Mukasey said the new boutique is “steeped” in financial services representations, “especially those that have potentially criminal consequences.”
Mukasey represents former Nomura Securities International Inc. bond trader Michael Gramins, who faced multiple fraud charges for allegedly conspiring to lie to clients about mortgage-bond prices. Gramins was convicted on one count in a verdict, but a judge threw out the conviction after trial.
Mukasey is waiting on a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on whether it will affirm the decision to throw out the verdict and whether there will be a new trial.
He also represents Jeremy Hutchinson, a nephew of Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and a former state senator who was charged with spending thousands of dollars in campaign funds on personal expenses. That trial is scheduled this summer.
Last year, Mukasey secured the acquittal of former UBS AG trader Andre Flotron, whom the U.S. attorney in Connecticut had charged with conspiring to commit commodities fraud by manipulating prices of futures contracts for gold, silver and metals.
Both Mukasey and Frenchman were successful in getting a Wells notice withdrawn that was submitted by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission involving a trader at a brokerage firm last year. “That case is over and never became public,” Mukasey said.
As to whether this is a peak time for white-collar defense investigations, Mukasey replied: “I think it is. What you’re seeing is the criminalization of conduct that used to be considered either legitimate or something that was dealt with in the industry itself, whatever industry it is, or, at the most, something that was dealt with in a regulatory manner.”
“With the decrease in violent crime nationwide, we’re seeing a lot more criminalization of business conduct,” he added.
In a statement Wednesday about the shareholder departures, Greenberg Traurig executive chairman Richard Rosenbaum said, ”While Bob and Marc were not here long, having arrived with Rudy Giuliani and left soon after his departure, we have respect for them as lawyers and appreciated their contributions.”
Rosenbaum said he has worked with Sklaroff “for many years and at this stage of his career, respect his desire to try a different approach to the practice.” He said Sklaroff is a “class act” and the firm wishes him well.