Former federal prosecutor Jason Linder is returning to Irell & Manella’s Los Angeles office to lead the firm’s global investigations and anticorruption team.
Linder was an associate at Irell & Manella from 2002 to 2007 before he joined the U.S. Department of Justice, where he most recently served as a senior trial attorney in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act unit in Washington, D.C. Last year Linder prosecuted U.S. v. Embraer, a case in which Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer S.A. agreed to pay $205 million to settle a bribery probe.
The case represented the Justice Department’s first coordinated resolution with authorities in Brazil, a country coping with several large corruption cases. Linder called it “an extraordinarily good example of the fruits of international cooperation.”
“I don’t think there is a better job for a lawyer in the world than being a federal prosecutor, but I think most people leave around the eight- to 10- to 12-year mark, and I think I now understand why,” Linder said. “I was ready for new opportunities and challenges. As for why Irell, I wanted to go to a firm with outstanding lawyers and an outstanding reputation for client service.”
Though Irell & Manella already has lawyers doing white-collar work, Linder said he’ll be in charge of formalizing the firm’s anticorruption and investigations group, and he’ll be looking to hire externally to beef up the practice. Linder will work closely with partners in Irell & Manella’s securities litigation practice, including group leader David Siegel and partners Glenn Vanzura and Craig Varnen. Linder said he’s kept in touch with many of his colleagues, despite his decade away from the firm.
“This is a firm where a lot of my close friends still practice,” Linder said. “I go to their weddings and see their kids and whatnot.”
Prior to his arrival at Main Justice in 2012, Linder was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of Florida, where his work included prosecuting cases related to arms trafficking, child exploitation and gang activity. The opportunity to move back to Los Angeles weighed in Irell & Manella’s favor when he was talking with firms about his next venture, he said.
“We are thrilled to welcome Jason back to the firm,” said a statement by Irell & Manella managing partner Andrei Iancu. “Jason is a talented lawyer who is widely respected in the public and private sectors here in the U.S. and by foreign authorities throughout the world. His investigations and white-collar experience, together with his unique insights into the [Justice Department]’s approach to FCPA matters, will perfectly complement and enhance our securities litigation team’s widely recognized expertise in class action defense, [U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission] enforcement actions and internal investigations.”
Irell & Manella has weathered some blows in recent years, with a sixth of its lawyers following litigation rainmaker John Hueston out the door when he co-founded Hueston Hennigan in 2015. But the firm’s equity partner head count stayed steady at 39 in 2016, according to Irell & Manella’s numbers in the annual Am Law 200 rankings, which will be released next month.