The headline is catchy: "A Legal Bane of Wall Street Switches Sides". Makes it seem almost as if - after a lifetime of "public service" - the noble champion is ready to partake in the benefits of the "frontier" that he (single-handedly, don'tcha know) "tamed".
It's also bullshit.
If you read the article http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/07/22/a-legal-bane-of-wall-street-switches-sides/ (I suggest that, like swimming, you should wait awhile after eating), you'll grasp that the headline isn't exactly false. It's just that "the hero" in this particular story, like pretty much everything about the cartel that is "Wall Street", isn't quite what you might think.
About a third of the way through, you'll read that "[his] name has circulated around Wall Street for decades. After putting himself through [school], this truck driver / overnight dockworker went to law school and ultimately became a junior lawyer at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft in New York, where he handled securities cases and commercial disputes."
"Ultimately". Gotta love the irony. Not that being "a junior lawyer" at a law firm that began during George Washington's first term isn't a big deal ("Paging Mr. Alger, Horation Alger..."). It is.
And the facts that 1) the Cadwalader in Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft had to "wait" to join the partnership " due to his appointment as assistant secretary of state; and, 2) the Wickersham (of...) was appointed United States Attorney General by President William Howard Taft, brother of 3) the Taft (see a pattern, here?) explains how a "junior lawyer" job "paved the way" to the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan; which led to becoming general counsel for Deutsche Bank (which, as you might remember, GOT SUED by the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan for fraud), where he "steer[ed] the bank through the financial crisis and an investigation into its tax shelters"; which, remarkably, resulted in the S.E.C., "reeling from the crisis..." turning to him (Deutsche Bank's general counsel) "to revamp its enforcement unit".
I'm reminded of how, a little over a century ago, another "BIG MONEY" lawyer, Philander C. Knox, "gave up" private practice to become Teddy Roosevelt's A.G., and later, Secretary of State (which is another story altogether).
His boss at both Deutsche Bank and Cadwalader, and a former S.E.C. enforcement official himself (did I mention patterns?) praised him for joining S.E.C. "at a time when some lawmakers wanted to abolish" it. (Hmm. I wonder if any of those lawmakers were Wall Street investors...?)
While he was at its head, "the enforcement division logged a record number of actions, including a case against Goldman Sachs.
At his new job, he'll head up S.E.C. enforcement cases (gasp!), white-collar criminal matters (daily operations) and crisis management (getting caught) with a former federal judge and United States deputy attorney general; a former senior lawyer in the Clinton White House and a former United States attorney.
But he expects no "favors". “You don’t undertake a historic restructuring of the enforcement division and bring a record number of cases if you’re trying to curry favor with the industry,” this bastion of rectitude said. Apparently, a job that pays more than $5 million a year is standard practice for "creating units to track complex corners of Wall Street and applying prosecutorial tactics to civil cases".
Like "our hero" Robert S. Khuzami, TR's A.G. Philander Knox took most of his former clients (Morgan; Harriman, et al) to court during The Great Reformer's) administration.
That worked out well, didn't it?
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