Greenberg Traurig

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Greenberg Traurig, LLP and Greenberg Traurig, PA
(trading as Greenberg Traurig)
Greenberg Traurig, LLP
No. of offices 38
No. of attorneys Approximately 2,000
Major practice areas Business Reorganization and Bankruptcy
Litigation
Corporate and Securities
Intellectual Property and Information Technology
Entertainment
Real Estate
Tax, Trusts and Estates
Global
Trade
Governmental Affairs
Public Finance
Environmental and Land Development
Gaming
Key people --Brian Duffy, CEO
--Richard A. Rosenbaum, Executive Chairman
Revenue 1.4 Billion USD
Date founded 1967
Website gtlaw.com

Greenberg Traurig is an international law firm founded in Miami, Florida, United States in 1967 by Larry J. Hoffman, Mel Greenberg and Robert Traurig. It has 38 offices in the United States, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.[1] and 2000 attorneys worldwide.[2] Their largest office is in New York City.[3]

History[edit]

Greenberg, Traurig and Hoffman was founded in Miami, Florida, in 1967 by attorneys Larry J. Hoffman, Mel Greenberg, and Robert H. Traurig. In the 1970s, Greenberg, Traurig and Hoffman became Greenberg, Traurig, Hoffman, Lipoff, and Quentel with the addition of attorneys Norman H. Lipoff and Albert D. Quentel as named shareholders.[4] The late Florida governor Reubin Askew was a named shareholder in the early 1980s while he also sought the Democratic nomination for president.[5]

Larry Hoffman became managing partner of the firm in 1991, at which point the firm began to expand nationwide, beginning with the opening of an office in New York City.[6] In July 2009, Greenberg Traurig entered into a joint venture with Paul Maher creating a firm called Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP. Paul Maher is now the Founding Chairman of Greenberg Traurig London as well as the Global Vice - Chairman of Greenberg Traurig.[7] Greenberg Traurig expanded to Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Wilmington (Delaware) in 1999; in 2000, the firm doubled the size of its New York City office by acquiring the local office of the defunct Graham & James.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Greenberg Traurig was one of the top law firms contributing to federal candidates during the 2012 election cycle, donating $1.49 million, 50.2% to Democrats.[8] By comparison, during that same period Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld donated $2.56, 66% to Democrats,[8] while oil conglomerate ExxonMobil donated $2.66 million, 88% to Republicans.[9] Since 1990, Greenberg Traurig contributed $11.2 million to federal campaigns.[10]

In 2013 the firm launched a residency program to hire associates who are not recruited in traditional on-campus interviews by allowing them to spend up to a third of their billable hours in training for a one-year trial period.[11][12][13]

Greenberg Traurig entered merger talks with UK-based Berwin Leighton Paisner in early 2016, but the firms ultimately decided not to merge.[14]

Corporate social responsibility[edit]

Since its launch in 2009, Greenberg Traurig has participated in the American Bar Association’s National Pro Bono Week.[15]

The Greenberg Traurig Holly Skolnick Fellowship Foundation was established in 1999. The Foundation supports Equal Justice Works public interest lawyers.[16] Previously named the Greenberg Traurig Fellowship Foundation, the program was renamed in 2013 in honor of the late Holly Skolnick, a Greenberg Traurig shareholder who helped establish the foundation and served as its president.[17]

Controversies[edit]

Lobbying and Jack Abramoff scandal[edit]

In January 2001, lobbyist Jack Abramoff left Preston Gates & Ellis to join Greenberg Traurig. Abramoff brought a book of business then worth more than $6 million annually to Greenberg Traurig, according to his own estimates. At the firm he assembled "Team Abramoff", a lobbying team that was involved in the Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal and the monetary influence of Jack Abramoff.

In early 2004 Greenberg Traurig fired Abramoff and subsequently received praise from federal investigators and members of Congress for its cooperation in the Abramoff investigation, according to the ABA Journal.[18]

On July 12, 2006, the Alabama-Coushatta tribe filed a federal racketeering lawsuit against now-convicted Abramoff and his cohorts. Greenberg Traurig was not a named defendant. Its lawsuit states that "There was a nexus between Greenberg, the enterprise and the pattern of racketeering". According to the suit, internal Greenberg e-mails showed that Abramoff associate Michael Scanlon, although not a member of the firm, "billed hours to tribal clients through Greenberg and that members of the law firm, including attorneys Kevin Ring, Shawn Vasell, Stephanie Leger, Todd Boulanger and others, fabricated hours and time entries for Scanlon". The suit also said the firm allowed checks sent by the tribe to a bogus Abramoff-linked think tank to be funneled and cashed through Greenberg Traurig.[19]

In March 2008, prosecutors in Guam indicted Greenberg Traurig on felony counts of allegedly making improper billings to Guam's superior court under the guise of charging for lobbying services by Jack Abramoff.[20] In April 2008, the charges of deception, theft and conspiracy were dismissed by Guam prosecutors after Greenberg Traurig agreed to refund $324,000 in lobbying fees to the Guam judiciary.[21]

Other alleged corruption[edit]

In 2001, Victor Reyes, who headed the Hispanic Democratic Organization and had close ties to Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, joined Greenberg Traurig and led the firm's Chicago lobbying practice. After Reyes's arrival, from 2001 to 2005, Greenberg earned $3.5 million in city-related legal fees, including for representing the city in the United Airlines and RCN Cable TV bankruptcies. US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald subsequently alleged that Reyes's law office was central to a patronage scheme to funnel city jobs to pro-Daley campaign workers. Reyes resigned from Greenberg in August 2005, and in September federal prosecutors indicted five city employees, including a former Reyes aide, in the scandal. Reyes wasn't charged, but prosecutors called him as a "co-schemer" in the indictment.[22] Greenberg CEO César Álvarez stated, "I don't know about anything [Reyes] did in the firm that was wrong. I can only know what I have seen, and I only know that he hasn't been charged".[23]

In December 2005, Leonard Ross, an attorney formerly with Greenberg Traurig's Philadelphia office, was charged with fraud and corruption as part of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation into city government. Ross was a friend and former law partner of Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street: Federal prosecutors alleged that Ross's employment at Greenberg was "entirely dependent on his relationship with Mayor Street" and "a motive for selling his office as a PLC [Penns Landing Corporation] board member".[23]

In May 2005, Philadelphia partner Robert S. Grossman plead guilty to charges that he had lied in a 1996 bankruptcy case to cover up his improper diversion of over $100,000 to his personal account when he worked as a real estate developer in Virginia. Greenberg Traurig professed surprise at Grossman's arrest the following November for failing to report to prison, and stated that Grossman hadn't disclosed the criminal proceeding to the firm. Greenberg has stated that it now does background checks on all new employees.[23]

In June 2006, Greenberg Traurig agreed to pay the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation $7.6 million for its role as a legal adviser to the now-defunct Hamilton Bank of Miami, to settle allegations that it had helped to cover up bank officers' financial misconduct. The firm paid an additional $750,000 fine to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for allegedly protecting the bank's officers "by making materially false and misleading assertions and by suppressing material evidence".[23]

In November 2006, Jay I. Gordon, the former chairman of Greenberg Traurig's tax practice, resigned from the New York bar and was disbarred for taking over $1.2 million in kickbacks on tax shelters that he had recommended to wealthy clients of the firm.[24]

In November 2008, a New York State court refused to dismiss a suit alleging that Robert J. Ivanhoe, head of its real estate group, disregarded his "legal and fiduciary duties" by taking a personal financial stake in a competitor to a client that had invested in a multibillion-dollar real estate venture.[25] The former client had sued Ivanhoe and Greenberg Traurig in April 2008 for breach of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with prospective economic damages, and malpractice. Greenberg Traurig responded that the allegations were "without merit" and that it would appeal the ruling.[26]

In December 2008, the firm and several current and former firm attorneys (Harley Lewin and Steven Wadyka) were sued in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia by Catherine and Richard Snyder of Herndon, Virginia. Also named in the suit, Greenberg Traurig's client, Diane Von Furstenberg Studios, Conde Nast Publications, The New Yorker and New Yorker staff reporter, Larissa MacFarquhar. The Snyders' suit stems from a suit filed in the same court by Diane Von Furstenberg Studios against Catherine Snyder in December 2006 for trademark infringement, which resulted in an award of damages to DVF Studios. The Snyders' complaint alleges, among other things, that the Greenberg attorneys made false statements to the court when applying for a search warrant and that one (Wadyka) impersonated a federal officer by flashing a badge and stating that he was with the office of the U.S. Attorney. The suit also alleges that the attorneys failed to post a required bond and that the search of the Snyders' home exceeded the scope of the warrant and resulted in the seizure of many personal items. The suit also alleges that the firm's attorneys improperly brought New Yorker staff reporter MacFarquhar, who was profiling Lewin for a forthcoming article, into the Snyders' home while conducting their raid in December 2006 pursuant to the search warrant.[27]

In 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission looked into insider trader allegations between United States House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health staff director Brian Sutter and Mark Hayes, a lobbyist at Greenberg Traurig.[28] In November, 2015, New York U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe ordered the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee and a former staffer to respond to an SEC subpoena request within 10 days in a health care insider-trading probe, but he did term the request “overbroad.” The SEC sought to determine if Sutter or anyone else from the Committee tipped off lobbyist Mark Hayes of Greenberg Traurig, which information was then forwarded to Height Securities LLC. Gardephe reasoned that the congressional Speech and Debate Clause does not provide protection for information communicated by a legislative member or aide to a member of the public and Sutter's statements to employees of Greenberg are consequently not protected and must be produced.[29][30] After two years of litigation and its 2nd Circuit appeal of the subpoena in December 2015, the Committee finally dropped its opposition to the order requested by the SEC.[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Locations". Greenberg Traurig. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Greenberg Traurig: "Greenberg Traurig, one of the largest law firms in the U.S., to Enter German Market with more than 50 Lawyers" July 14, 2015
  3. ^ "Leaders" (PDF). 
  4. ^ "Home - Greenberg Traurig LLP". gtlaw.com. 
  5. ^ "3/19/14 Memorial Service for Former Florida Governor Reubin Askew - The Florida Channel". 
  6. ^ "Greenberg Traurig Endows the Larry J. Hoffman Greenberg Traurig Distinguished Professorship". 
  7. ^ Thelawyer.com
  8. ^ a b "Lawyers & Lobbyists: Top Contributors to Federal Candidates, Parties, and Outside Groups". OpenSecrets.org. Center for Responsive Politics. 
  9. ^ "Energy/Natural Resources: Top Contributors to Federal Candidates, Parties, and Outside Groups". OpenSecrets.org. Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved 9 June 2016. 
  10. ^ "Organizations: Greenberg Traurig". OpenSecrets.org. Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved 9 June 2016. 
  11. ^ "‘Residency program’ associates at this BigLaw firm will get more training and less pay". ABA Journal. October 22, 2013. Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  12. ^ "Law school grads trade top pay for job experience". Sun Sentinel. November 19, 2013. Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  13. ^ "A Firm Leader's Guide to Survival of the Biggest". The National Law Journal. February 24, 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  14. ^ Meyer, Dani (March 16, 2016). "Greenberg Traurig Halts Plans For BLP Merger". Law360. 
  15. ^ "Celebration Supporters". National Pro Bono Week. 
  16. ^ ""Equal Justice Works"". 
  17. ^ "Greenberg Traurig Announces New 2014 Public Interest Fellows". Greenberg Traurig. February 19, 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  18. ^ "Latest News". abajournal.com. 
  19. ^ "Routine Maintenance". law.com. 
  20. ^ "Greenberg Traurig Indicted in Guam", ABA Journal
  21. ^ "Routine Maintenance". law.com. 
  22. ^ "Feds link close pal of Daley to hiring", Chicago Tribune
  23. ^ a b c d "Routine Maintenance". law.com. 
  24. ^ "Matter of Gordon (2006 NY Slip Op 08075)". state.ny.us. 
  25. ^ Nama Holdings, LLC v. Greenberg Traurig LLP, Index No. 601054/08 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Cty. Nov. 18, 2008)
  26. ^ "Routine Maintenance". law.com. 
  27. ^ "Couple Sues New Yorker & Greenberg Traurig", from Court House News Service
  28. ^ Lopez, Luciana; Raymond, Nate (4 July 2014). "House panel opposes giving SEC documents for insider trading probe". Reuters. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  29. ^ House panel can't mix SEC subpoena in insider-trading probe, Law 360, Cara Silvatore, November 16, 2016. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  30. ^ House Panel intervenes in SEC's Insider Trading Investigation, Shepherd, Finkleman, Miller & Shah, Casey Yamasaki, November 17, 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  31. ^ House, SEC Drop Health Care Subpoena Fight At 2nd Circuit, Law 360, Martin O'Sullivan, November 14, 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2016.

External links[edit]