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CHICAGO�Latham & Watkins lured two top federal prosecutors to the firm recently by offering them an opportunity to build up its white-collar crime practice, and helped boost the firm’s profile in the area by hiring them. Sean Berkowitz, the lead prosecutor in the trial against former Enron Corp. executives, and Zachary Fardon, the former first assistant U.S. attorney in Nashville, Tenn., said in a recent interview that they chose the firm over other offers after being won over by colleagues they had met in visiting several of the firm’s offices. Berkowitz, 39, joined the firm in November and Fardon, 40, came on board this month. “It was clear that the firm was making a strong commitment to that practice area,” said Berkowitz, who was also attracted to the firm’s international breadth. Berkowitz and Fardon, who are friends and former colleagues, noted the firm’s recent hiring of another prosecutor, Richard Owens in New York, and pointed to its existing strength in partners such as Robert Tarun, a former federal prosecutor who joined Latham from Chicago’s Winston & Strawn. “There is a personality to the place that is attractive,” Fardon said of the firm. Berkowitz was wooed by numerous firms in Chicago, including Kirkland & Ellis and Katten Muchin Rosenman, following an eight-year career with the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago that climaxed last year with the convictions of Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. Fardon, who worked in the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago from 1997 to 2003, was a lead attorney in the prosecution of former Illinois Governor George Ryan. Internal policies key Both lawyers said they appreciated a sense of fairness and equality in Latham’s internal policies. For instance, any partner can be elected to the firm’s executive committee regardless of individual earnings and all compensation information is shared, they said. “Every partner knows what every other partner makes,” said Berkowitz, who declined to comment on his new salary. “There’s no guessing, and, if you’re not comfortable with where you stand, there will be an explanation as to why you’re there.” Former colleagues said that Berkowitz and Fardon will add to Latham’s strength in the area. Berkowitz in particular will bring the firm “cachet,” said Anton Valukas, a former federal prosecutor now at Jenner & Block in Chicago. “There will be clients that are attracted to that and rightfully so,” Valukas said in an interview. Indeed, Berkowitz and Fardon have already landed some criminal investigation work and Berkowitz has been traveling to Tokyo for work on a criminal matter that was getting under way when he joined the firm at the beginning of the year. “For the first time, it really puts [Latham] on the white-collar map,” said Kaye Hoppe, a legal recruiter who worked with the two men and leads Credentia Inc. in Chicago.

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