What are some of your proudest recent achievements?
Two stem from an effort to rein in public corruption. The first was the New York corruption case against Joseph Percoco, a top aide to the New York Governor and two Syracuse businessmen. It was a very complex case with more than 11 million documents, multiple defendants and legal teams, and the shadow of a separate corruption case sitting in the wings. Additionally, the trial drew intense media interest because it involved several very high-level political figures. It took months to try, and in the end, my client was the only individual acquitted of all charges. I am immensely proud of my team’s work on that matter.
The second is being a central part of a team working on behalf of Governor Phil Murphy’s task force that successfully uncovered improprieties with respect to the administration of the New Jersey Economic Development (EDA) tax incentive programs. The task force was formed following the release of the State Comptroller’s audit of the program, which revealed startling deficiencies in monitoring and oversight. The Task Force’s mission was to further explore the findings of the Comptroller’s audit and provide the public with a full accounting of how and why basic controls were lacking in a program that left New Jersey taxpayers on the hook for up to $11 billion.
We also successfully quashed a trial subpoena for a client (a Nike executive) who was accused by Michael Avenatti of being the corrupt central figure in paying high school players to attend specific colleges. Quashing the subpoena avoided the client having to testify in the midst of an overall investigation into select Nike high school programs.
Name a lawyer or mentor whose leadership inspired you.
John Siffert is an excellent lawyer who started his own successful law firm. He also devotes significant amounts of time to developing and mentoring young lawyer as well as to pro bono organizations, including the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.
How are the business and profession of law changing, and how should lawyers adapt for the future?
The practice of law is value driven, now more than ever. The necessity for alternative fee arrangements, which place a greater risk on the lawyer to secure a specific result, dominate a client’s considerations for whom to select. Thus, law firms must adapt accordingly, devise fee arrangements that accommodate a client’s financial needs.
What is the best advice for someone considering a career in law, or someone already in the profession who is seeking to make a greater impact?
Choose an area of the law you are passionate about, and really master it. Try to avoid making choices based on financial remuneration.