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After 20 years representing D.C.’s street-level criminal defendants, Bernard Grimm will start as a partner in the white-collar group at Cozen O’Connor on Jan. 1. Grimm describes himself as a “renegade,” not “an establishment-type lawyer.” Grimm’s reputation makes his move to the firm particularly stunning. When power duo Michele Roberts and Mark Rochon dissolved their criminal defense firm in 2001 for the white-collar world, Grimm told Legal Times, “When you have the impossible case or the impossible client, you talk out loud about how you’ve had enough of this business, and on the worst days you say you just want to get out. But 99 percent of us don’t act on it.” Now just call him Mr. One Percent. So is Grimm selling out? He says he ignored a headhunter’s beckoning years ago because he didn’t see himself fitting into a blue-chip firm. He says Cozen’s offer was different, largely because the firm’s D.C. office is just five years old. “The personality traits that I bring to it, which is a lot of energy and creativity, I can plug into that, whereas at an established firm, there might be a little recoil,” Grimm says. The D.C. office is also run by former assistant federal public defender Barry Boss. “Barry, for me, is what closed the deal,” says Grimm, who is Boss’ longtime friend.
Marisa McQuilken can be contacted at [email protected].

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