Clueless law firm's out-of-touch boasting: "Got off with just a $5 million fine!"


Clueless law firm’s out-of-touch boasting: “Got off with just a $5 million fine!”

Clueless law firm’s out-of-touch boasting: “Got off with just a $5 million fine!”

Former bank prosecutor Lanny Breuer is back defending corporate clients. Wait ’til you see what his new job prizes


When Lanny Breuer left his position as head of the Justice Department’s criminal division to return to become vice chair at the law firm Covington & Burling, most observers saw it as evidence of the poisonous effect of the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street. After all, Covington (which also counts Attorney General Eric Holder as an alumnus) routinely defends the very white-collar clients Breuer was supposed to be pursuing with criminal charges in Washington. That potential for conflict of interest should be even clearer when you see how Covington & Burling promotes themselves to colleagues and potential clients.

Marketing materials sent out by the law firm highlight an article in the trade publication American Lawyer citing Covington & Burling as “Litigation Department of the Year.” You often cannot get a better read on a company than through how they present themselves in the industry trades, which are usually unseen by the public. And this cover story, proudly distributed by Covington & Burling as part of their own image boosting and available on their website, boasts, “Covington added muscle in all the right places to fight its way back into the top ranks of litigation firms this year.” A picture of Lanny Breuer is prominently displayed.

The article, entitled “Bigger and Better,” begins by noting that Covington increased staff at their litigation group by 40% over the past two years, particularly in the areas of “white-collar, product liability and antitrust.” The character witness given space to endorse Covington’s aggressive strategy in corporate trial defense is none other than John Lynch, the American general counsel for BP, a client of Covington’s in the Gulf oil spill case. In this hidden world, having BP talk up your prowess is seen as a positive.


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