From a fees standpoint, white-collar defense lawyers couldn’t be blamed for casting hungry eyes at the subprime mortgage mess.

Take New Century Financial Corp. In February, just as the mortgage meltdown began, the Orange County, Ca.-based subprime lender announced it would restate earnings by an as yet undetermined amount. That caught the Securities and Exchange Commission’s attention. A federal grand jury in the Central District of California fired off a subpoena.

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