The college admissions corruption takedown that resulted in criminal charges against dozens of coaches, consultants and high-powered parents has also resulted in lots of business for Big Law.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; White & Case; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Covington & Burling; Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo; and Goodwin Procter have all made appearances in the last week.
With about two weeks having passed since the Justice Department announced racketeering and fraud conspiracy charges against 50 people who are alleged to have corrupted the college admissions process, nearly all the defendants have lawyered up, including with large law firms, midsize firms and solo attorneys. Lawyers from across the U.S. are poised to descend on Boston to negotiate with prosecutors and fight the charges.
In all, more than 15 Am Law 100 firms appear in court records as counsel for defendants in the college admissions cases.
Skadden is listed as counsel for Marci Palatella, a liquor businesswoman, while Covington represents Marcia Abbott. Abbott’s husband Greg, who runs a food and beverage packaging company, is represented by Mayer Brown.
Lawyers from White & Case have appeared on the docket on behalf of John Wilson, the CEO of a private equity and real estate development firm, according to court documents. Meanwhile, a trio from Orrick is representing Manuel Henriquez, the CEO of a finance firm.
Mintz has appeared on behalf of Elisabeth Kimmel, described in court documents as the owner of a media company, while two lawyers from Goodwin have entered appearances in the past week for Jane Buckingham, who runs a boutique marketing firm.
For its part, Ropes & Gray appears three times, including as co-counsel for suspended Willkie Farr & Gallagher co-chairman Gordon Caplan, who is accused of paying $75,000 to improve his daughter’s score on the ACT exam. (Ropes also represents Elizabeth Henriquez, spouse of the finance firm CEO.)
Latham & Watkins represents both Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli, the TV actress and her fashion designer husband accused of paying $500,000 to secure their daughters’ admissions to the University of Southern California by dressing them up as champion rowers. Loughlin is scheduled to make her initial appearance at the same time as Caplan next week.
Loughlin and Giannulli appear to be one of three married couples who are being represented by the same lawyers, while other couples have hired separate lawyers.
It can be risky for a firm to represent multiple criminal defendants in the same matter, according to John Lauro, a former federal prosecutor who now runs his own defense firm, the Lauro Law Firm, in New York and Tampa. While the clients would have to waive any potential conflicts, there is a chance that the government could raise objections, he noted.
“Even in situations where it would appear that there’s an alignment, like between a husband and a wife, even in those situations it can get very dicey,” he said. A lawyer may be pulled in two different strategic directions if the evidence against one client is stronger than the evidence against another, Lauro added.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan appears twice on the docket, with its partner William Weinreb, formerly the acting U.S. attorney in Boston, representing Robert Flaxman, a developer, and two other Quinn attorneys representing Bruce Isackson, another real estate businessman. Boies Schiller Flexner also appears twice, representing Davina Isackson and investment firm CEO Robert Zangrillo.
Other firms representing two defendants include Duane Morris, Nixon Peabody, Miner Orkand Siddall, Donnelly Conroy & Gelhaar and attorney Martin G. Weinberg.