Debevoise & Plimpton
Debevoise & Plimpton (Rick Kopstein)

In its latest hire of a former federal prosecutor from the Obama administration, Debevoise & Plimpton has brought on Winston Paes as counsel for its white-collar defense and regulatory group in New York.

Paes, 42, spent nearly the past decade at the U.S. Department of Justice, which he joined in March 2008 after four years as an associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, where his wife, Namita Mani Paes, is a pro bono counsel. He most recently served as chief of the business and securities fraud section at the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York, where the Brooklyn-based Paes made headlines for taking on white-collar cases, long the bailiwick for the so-called Sovereign District in Manhattan.

Until recently, Paes was leading an EDNY team handling the securities fraud prosecution of pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli and former Katten Muchin Rosenman partner Evan Greebel. Paes, through a Debevoise spokesman, did not immediately return a request for comment about his decision to leave the EDNY on the eve of that trial.

Paes became head of the EDNY’s business and securities fraud group two years ago after predecessor Sarah Coyne joined Debevoise in New York. (Coyne left the firm in January for Weil, Gotshal & Manges.) He joins Debevoise two months after the firm announced the return of ex-litigation partners Mary Jo White and Andrew Ceresney from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which White chaired with Ceresney serving as her enforcement director.

Debevoise, which saw its gross revenue and partner profits dip in 2016, has been busy in recent months recruiting government talent. Last year the firm hired Julie Riewe, a former co-chief of the SEC’s asset management unit, as a white-collar and regulatory defense partner in Washington, D.C., where Debevoise also recruited cybersecurity and data privacy partner Luke Dembosky from the Justice Department’s national security division.

Paes, who was born in Goa, India, said in a statement released by Debevoise that he is “excited to begin the next phase of my career” at an “exceptional firm” with talented lawyers. The firm’s New York headquarters welcomed back litigator Catherine Amirfar in October as co-chair of its public international law group. Debevoise also recently hired Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson partner and technology transactions head Henry Lebowitz and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton broker-dealer and securities finance regulatory partner David Aman as counsel.

Ethan James, a financial institutions and insurance industry partner hired by Debevoise in New York from Davis Polk & Wardwell in 2011, left the firm earlier this year to relocate to Denver, according to his profile on professional networking website LinkedIn. Debevoise banking and finance counsel Anne Meyer also left the New York office late last year to become a senior managing director of corporate governance at shareholder adviser Georgeson Inc.

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