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Corporate Compliance

Lawyers for Sen. Stevens and Ebbers on Ethisphere’s ‘Hall of Fame’ Lawyer List

Posted Jul 31, 2009 12:40 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The lawyer who helped Sen. Ted Stevens win a reversal of his conviction because of prosecutorial misconduct is one of five lawyers named to a “hall of fame” list of attorneys who matter by the magazine Ethisphere.

Brendan Sullivan, a senior partner at Williams & Connolly, had claimed the government withheld evidence in the political corruption case against Stevens, later dropped by the government.

Rather than exposing government corruption, many lawyers on the list are white-collar defense lawyers who made a name for themselves defending those accused of corporate wrongdoing. One of them, Steptoe & Johnson partner Reid Weingarten, represented former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers, convicted in an $11 billion accounting fraud that led to collapse of the compnany. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Ebbers’ appeal in 2007; he is serving a 25-year sentence.

Stephen Martin is executive editor of Ethisphere magazine, which is published by the group of the same name. He says the editors chose lawyers who have had a major impact on corporate compliance issues. “We were looking at the top white-collar attorneys who are always dealing with companies in trouble and helping them right the ship,” he said.

The other three lawyers on the “hall of fame” list are:

Earl Silbert of DLA Piper, who represented former Enron CEO Ken Lay.

Robert Bennett of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, who has represented HealthSouth and former President Clinton in a sexual harassment suit by Paula Jones.

Robert Fiske Jr. of Davis Polk & Wardwell, who represented Siemens AG in a federal bribery investigation.

Ethisphere chose top lawyers in 15 categories, such as top general counsel, up-and-coming stars and government lawyers, according to a press release. White House counsel Gregory Craig and Attorney General Eric Holder are both on the government lawyers list.

Updated at 1:25 p.m. to correctly identify Sullivan as a defense attorney in the headline.


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