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Jenner & Block LLP is pleased to announce that Neil Barofsky, a former federal prosecutor who served as the chief watchdog of the historic $700 billion federal bailout adopted in response to the 2008 financial crisis, has joined its New York office as a partner in the firm’s Litigation Department. He will be a member of the firm's practice groups in White Collar Defense and Investigations; Securities Litigation and Enforcement; and Government Controversies and Public Policy Litigation.
Mr. Barofsky is an acclaimed trial lawyer who burnished a national reputation as a staunch advocate for accountability in our financial system. Confirmed by the Senate as the first Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in late 2008, he oversaw the creation and expansion of a law enforcement agency within the U.S. Treasury Department, which was charged by Congress to conduct criminal and civil investigations of fraud and abuse linked to the bailouts. Since leaving that post in 2011, Mr. Barofsky has been a noted commentator on a variety of issues at the intersection of economics, law, business and politics for Bloomberg TV and other media outlets. He documented his experiences in overseeing the TARP Program in his best-selling book, Bailout.
Mr. Barofsky spent more than eight years as an assistant United States attorney in the Southern District of New York (SDNY), where he investigated and tried some of the most significant cases in the United States, including the successful investigation, trial and conviction of former Refco, Inc. officers of a $2.4 billion securities and accounting fraud, for which he received the Department of Justice’s highest award for excellence in legal performance. He rose to be a Senior Trial Counsel and headed the Mortgage Fraud Group, a prosecutorial team that investigated and prosecuted all aspects of mortgage fraud, including those concerning the most complex financial instruments at the heart of the financial crisis.
“Neil is a great fit for Jenner & Block. His background as a senior federal prosecutor in Manhattan and the TARP’s inspector general has given him an unparalleled grasp of the most complex financial transactions of the last decade. He will undoubtedly enhance the firm’s capabilities in securities and other litigation matters on behalf of hedge funds, private equity firms and other entities litigating over complex financial instruments,” said Susan C. Levy, Managing Partner of Jenner & Block.
Jenner & Block’s chairman and the examiner in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, Anton R. Valukas, said, “Neil’s experience is simply unmatched. He offers our clients the judgment and credibility they require when dealing with the Justice Department, the Treasury Department, Congress, the SEC and other financial regulators. I’m delighted to welcome Neil to the firm.”
As the first special inspector general for TARP, Mr. Barofsky established an investigative office of more than 130 employees. Under his leadership, the office’s investigations led to the recovery or avoided losses of more than $700 million, and to date have led to more than 100 fraud convictions. He implemented the office’s audit division, whose acclaimed reports helped protect vital taxpayer interests. He has testified before Congress more than two dozen times.
“Jenner & Block is an ideal platform where my practice can flourish because of its renowned litigation reputation, the iconic role it has played in issues surrounding the financial crisis and the firm’s regular role in matters involving complex financial instruments. Most importantly, I wanted to work at a firm that shares my commitment to zealous advocacy of its clients and, as demonstrated in the Lehman examinership, a willingness to embrace the most challenging matters against the most difficult adversaries in the most demanding circumstances. I look forward to using my experiences as a prosecutor, as a financial regulator and as a trial lawyer to assist and defend clients who find themselves the subject of criminal and regulatory enforcement matters and also to representing clients in civil litigation, including those seeking redress for harm suffered in complex financial transactions,” said Mr. Barofsky, currently a Senior Fellow for the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law at the New York University Law School. “I am also looking forward to following in the firm’s tradition of service through examinerships and monitorships, as well as its demonstrated commitment to pro bono and community service. Jenner & Block is a perfect fit for me.”
Peter B. Pope, co-chair of the firm’s White Collar Defense and Investigations Practice, said, “With a focus on white collar defense and civil litigation – particularly involving complex financial instruments – Neil is a strong addition to our unique offering of a top-flight white collar practice with a compelling track record in complex civil litigation involving financial matters.”
Mr. Barofsky is a 1995 magna cum laude graduate of the New York University School of Law and a 1992 magna cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where he received undergraduate degrees from the Wharton School of Business and the College of Arts and Sciences.
In the firm’s New York Office, Mr. Barofsky will be joining leading white collar defense practitioners Peter Pope, former head of the New York State Attorney General’s Criminal Division; Katya Jestin, former Assistant United States Attorney in Brooklyn; and Tony Barkow, former Assistant United States Attorney in Manhattan and Washington, D.C. In the arena of civil litigation involving complex financial instruments, he joins Richard Ziegler, the office’s managing partner, and Stephen Ascher, a co-chair of the firm’s Securities Litigation Practice. In May 2013, Messrs. Ziegler and Ascher won a civil trial against Bank of New York Mellon Trust, permitting firm client Chesapeake Energy Corp. to redeem $1.3 billion in high-yield bonds six years early, over the indenture trustee’s objection, and last month resolved four years of litigation for firm client Brookfield Asset Management against AIG Financial Products over whether AIG’s 2008 financial crisis terminated a $1.5 billion interest rate swap.