A lawyer who spent 29 years in-house at Bear Stearns & Co. Inc. has been given the green light by a Manhattan judge to testify as an expert witness in an arbitration against his former employer.

Lawyers for Bear Stearns had sought to block Raymond Aronson, a former senior counsel in the legal and compliance department, from testifying in an arbitration brought against the bank by Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc., over allegedly overpriced bonds sold by Bear Stearns’ hedge funds nearly three years ago. Bear Stearns claimed that by testifying, Aronson, an in-house lawyer until 2004, would violate rules restricting lawyers from disclosing client confidences. (Read Keefe Bruyette’s opposition brief.)

But after a hearing earlier this month before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Alice Schlesinger (See Profile), the judge found it would be “inappropriate and unfair” to block Aronson’s testimony. She also denied Bear Stearns motion to disqualify Keefe Bruyette’s law firm, Eiseman Levine Lehrhaupt & Kakoyiannis, finding there was “no basis” to assume the law firm had received confidential information from Aronson.

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