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Monthly Archives: October 2015

Sharon Nelles and Julie Jordan attorneys for St. Joe Co in SEC settlement

Two women partners of Sullivan and Cromwell, Sharon Nelles and Julie Jordan, represented St. Joe Company in a recent accounting settlement with the SEC. St. Joe Co is a Watersound, Florida developer and landowner which the SEC claimed improperly overstated their residential real estate holdings after the financial crisis, and therefore materially overstated their earnings and assets during that period.  The SEC announced that St. Joe consented to pay 2.75 million fine.  The settlement has been widely reported in the news and two examples of the coverage are here and here. Five individuals, including the former CEO and CFO, also settled with the SEC – which involved financial settlements in addition to a bar against appearing or practicing before the SEC as an accountant for the either two or three-year periods depending on the individual. The SEC probe began after an activist investor, David Einhorn, took an aggressive position that the company had overstated values.  Neither the company nor the individuals entered an admission.   Sharon Nelles was honored this June by NOW in New York as a 2015 Women of Power & Influence Award for excelling in her field and blazing a path for the next generation of female leaders. In 2014 she was honored with the Women in Business Law Award in the financial regulation industry.  Julia Jordan is a member of the firm’s Women’s Initiative Committee, and active in the Women White Collar Defense Association. It is nice to see two successful women partners at the helm of case of this nature – a job well done. The post Sharon Nelles and Julie Jordan attorneys for St. Joe Co in SEC settlement appeared first on Women Criminal Defense Attorneys.
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Women Criminal Defense Attorneys: Interview with Amy Walsh

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Amy Walsh, a partner in the New York office of Morvillo LLP. Amy represents individuals and institutions in government investigations, enforcement actions, and prosecutions conducted by various government agencies. She was recently appointed as a monitor in the JPMorgan Chase’s settlement with the DOJ. Prior to entering private practice, Amy was an Assistant United States Attorney for 12 years in the United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York and was former Chief of the Business and Securities Fraud Section. Amy frequently publishes and speaks on various topics related to her practice, and has been named regularly in Super Lawyers in the area of white collar defense. I am thrilled to introduce you to Amy Walsh. She reminds us all that you don’t need to be a partner in BigLaw to be breaking the glass ceiling in white collar corporate work. Susan Bozorgi: What inspired you to become a criminal defense attorney? Amy Walsh: I was inspired to practice criminal law – first as a prosecutor, then as a defense attorney – when I was clerking for a federal judge. Although the civil cases were intellectually interesting, the stakes are so much higher for someone who could lose his or her liberty that the work seemed much more meaningful to me. SB: You are the only woman partner at your firm, which is typical for many women working in small to mid-size firms. How, if at all, does this shape your work or role in the firm? AW: Women often bring a different perspective to various aspects of a law practice: how to interact with a particular client, how to articulate an argument in front of a particular judge, and how to generate business. I’ve found that if the men in the room value that different perspective – and all of my law partners do – it can greatly enhance relationships with clients, other lawyers and professionals within the firm. SB: What do you think it takes to make it in private practice? Is the advice different for a woman? AW: I’m not sure the advice would be different for a woman or a man, but my advice is threefold: (1) Work on as many matters as possible, because, in my experience, work begets work; (2) No matter how busy you are, stay 100% on top of your matters and your interactions with other lawyers. (There’s nothing that turns a potential referral source off more than getting the impression that you don’t have your act together because it takes days to get a return email or you haven’t mastered the facts of the case); (3) Develop and nurture as many relationships with other lawyers as possible, which means connecting with lawyers that you’re working with at other firms, then following up with them and anyone else you know to go out to lunch, dinner, drinks, or whatever activity you think would be relaxing and fun to do together. SB: What has been your most successful business development strategy? AW: I love to socialize, so for me it has been developing relationships with other lawyers where we can have fun in an informal way but also can brainstorm about issues that are coming up in our cases. I actually think that this aspect of business development is something that women naturally thrive at, but the key is to realize that there’s no reason to be shy about asking someone to have lunch or expressing an interest in working together. Women usually want to work together! SB: Did you have women mentors? How did they — or the absence of women mentors — impact your career? AW: I had lots of women role models, but not necessarily a woman mentor. When I was in the US Attorney’s Office, I spent a lot of time watching other lawyers try cases and watching judges on the bench. For me, there was nothing better than identifying a style that I liked and thought could work for me, and then modeling my behavior after that style. There were many women AUSAs and judges in the EDNY that I admired and modeled my behavior after (and still do). SB: Of the women that you admire in the field, what do you find inspiring about them? AW: What inspires me most about the women I admire is their fearlessness. Which doesn’t mean that they’re jerky or arrogant. What it means is that they’re not afraid to take on a new case in an area that they’re not already an expert it; they’re not afraid to socialize in a room full of strangers and connect with at least a couple of people; and they’re not afraid to fail and try again. SB: What is the road you would advise best prepares a young woman to have her own white collar criminal defense practice one day? AW: I might be showing my bias for the path that I took, but I think it’s being a prosecutor. Working as a prosecutor gives you the greatest opportunity to try cases and enables you to understand in the pre-indictment phase how a prosecutor will react to certain arguments. Both of these skills are critical to representing clients in the white collar defense world. SB: I see that you were recently appointed to act as a monitor for JPMorgan Chase in one of its settlements with DOJ. How have you found that work? AW: The monitorship has been an incredibly interesting and rewarding experience so far. Acting as a monitor is very different from the usual role of acting as an advocate. ...
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Happenings for Women Criminal Lawyers

The NACDL White Collar Conference is scheduled Oct. 21-23 in New York at Fordham Law School. If you haven’t had the privilege of attending this white collar conference, I highly recommend it. It is one of the best white collar conferences around and there is a great list of women and men that will be speaking and discussing new trends in the field. I will be there the entire time, so please look for me and say “hi.” In addition to the wonderful content, there are great networking opportunities and the NACDL’s Women’s Initiative has organized a Women’s Networking Event for Oct. 23, hosted and sponsored by Davis Polk. This will be a great opportunity for women in the field to connect. I would also recommend, if you are handling white collar matters, that you look into the Women White Collar Defense Association and find a local chapter to start meeting women in your area that do what you do. If there isn’t anything in your area, maybe it is time to consider reaching out to the organization and creating a city chapter where you live. Nominations are being accepted for the 2016 Margaret Brent Awards. These awards are through the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession and recognize women lawyers who have excelled in their field and have paved the way to success for other women lawyers. I have some women in mind for our field; please go in and nominate women who you think have paved the road for women in criminal defense. There are some new opportunities for women who want to take a break from practicing to raise a family. The OnRamp Fellowship offers assistance for women who took a hiatus from the field to get back to work. And the list of firms that are signing up to accept fellows is growing, including larger BigLaw firms, such as Skadden, Morrison & Foerster, and Wiley Rein, to name a couple. It is important to stay connected and tuned in to what is happening for women in law and in our specific field. Please let me know if there is something noteworthy in your neck of the woods that you would like to promote. The post Happenings for Women Criminal Lawyers appeared first on Women Criminal Defense Attorneys.
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