Law Firms

Ex-Milberg Weiss Partners Among the Lawyers on List of Madoff Investors

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Former Milberg Weiss partners Melvyn Weiss, David Bershad and Patricia Hynes (who is now senior counsel at Allen & Overy) are among several lawyers who are on a list of investors with accused hedge fund manager Bernard Madoff.

Others on the list include Sol Wachtler, former chief judge of New York’s highest court until his resignation for a stalking arrest, and several lawyers at large law firms.

The American Lawyer noted several Milberg Weiss connections on the list. Weiss, who is serving a 30-month sentence for paying kickbacks to name plaintiffs in securities class actions, is “bitterly disappointed” to learn he is a victim of fraud, his lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, told the American Lawyer.

Bershad is serving a six-month sentence in the kickback scandal. Hynes jumped to Allen & Overy after the Milberg Weiss law firm was indicted in the case. A broker who received kickbacks from the firm is also on the list, the American Lawyer story says.

Ira Lee Sorkin, who is defending Madoff on charges that he defrauded investors of $50 billion in a Ponzi scheme, is also listed. Sources told the Wall Street Journal Law Blog that Sorkin’s father opened an individual retirement account with Madoff that eventually moved to Sorkin’s mother and then his brothers. Ethics experts told the blog that any conflict of interest caused by Sorkin’s prior connection to Madoff could be waived by his client.

The Am Law Daily notes other lawyers on the list, but says some may be trustees for Madoff customers. The New York Times also cautions that the lawyers may be trustees or agents for victims, and says some names may be erroneously placed on the list.

Among the lawyers on the list, turned up by the Am Law Daily:

• Patricia Hynes’ husband, Roy Reardon, a litigation partner at Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett.

• Carl Bellows, co-chair of the trusts and estates department at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, and Charles Robins, senior counsel at Weil Gotshal.

• Marc Cherno, a litigation of counsel with Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson

• Joel Levin, a charitable planning partner with Bryan Cave.

• Mark Goldsmith, tax practice group leader at Troutman Sanders.

• Martin London, litigation of counsel with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; David Washburn, of counsel in the firm’s corporate and personal representation departments; and Steven Simkin, chair of the firm’s real estate department, who is seeking to reopen his divorce settlement because of Madoff losses.

• A. Paul Victor, co-chair of the antitrust practice at Dewey & LeBoueuf.

• Arthur Siskind, former general counsel of News Corp.

• Michael Weinberger, a trusts and estates partner at Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal, and Susan Slater-Jansen, a former trusts and estates partner at the firm.

Other famous names on the list include Sen. Frank Lautenberg and actor John Malkovich, the New York Times reports, and former Miss America Phyllis George, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal story predicts that lawyers and other professionals will use the list to troll for clients.

Story corrected at 7:55 a.m. to say that Melvyn Weiss received a 30-month prison sentence.

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