Sarah Coyne
Sarah Coyne (Courtesy photo)

Adding to its white-collar and regulatory defense group in New York, Weil, Gotshal & Manges said Monday it has hired former federal prosecutor Sarah Coyne from Debevoise & Plimpton.

Coyne joins Weil as a partner less than two years after she started at Debevoise, her first stop in private practice after nearly a decade and a half as a federal prosecutor. She previously spent about 11 years as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of New York, including a stint of more than two years as chief of that office’s business and securities fraud section. In that role, Coyne supervised federal prosecutors pursuing securities and investment fraud cases and foreign bribery complaints.

Before New York, Coyne spent about three years as an assistant U.S. attorney in New Jersey. In a statement Monday, Weil touted Coyne’s experience trying cases and appellate arguments, which the firm said includes 14 jury trials and seven appeals at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

“Sarah is a tremendous addition to Weil,” Barry Wolf, the firm’s executive partner, said in a statement. “She has significant experience handling a wide range of white collar matters and has tried numerous cases to verdict.”

Jonathan Polkes, co-chairman of Weil’s litigation department, described Coyne’s move to Weil as an “organic process” that grew out of existing friendships and professional relationships that she had with members of Weil’s white-collar and regulatory defense practice. Polkes and Coyne, for instance, have co-taught classes at New York University’s law school as guest lecturers, Polkes said in an interview on Monday.

But beyond those relationships, Polkes said that Coyne’s experience aligned perfectly with Weil’s focus on continued growth and expansion of its white-collar and regulatory practice. Polkes said Coyne is at the “perfect stage of her career,” has “enormous energy,” and is highly regarded in the white-collar defense bar.

“She’s going to be one of the cornerstones of [the white-collar and regulatory defense practice],” he said.

Polkes also said he expects Coyne to focus her efforts at Weil on defending clients in business fraud, insider trading, white-collar crime and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act cases. Coyne said in a statement that she’s excited to join Weil.

“I look forward to advising the firm’s global clients on a wide range of white collar matters and helping to expand Weil’s stellar white collar defense and investigations practice,” she said.

Coyne had joined Debevoise in 2015 as a counsel and became partner in July 2016, according to her LinkedIn profile. Her former firm recently made a high-profile hire in its own litigation group, announcing that former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement chief Andrew Ceresney would re-enter its partnership ranks.

Ceresney, who had left Debevoise in 2013 to join the SEC, is expected to rejoin Debevoise in March as co-chairman of its litigation department.

Contact Scott Flaherty at sflaherty@alm.com. On Twitter: @sflaherty18.

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