Secret to Bob Bennett's Success: White-Collar Crime Down, Cases Up

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Although he had foreseen early on, during the 1970s, that white-collar criminal prosecutions were on the rise, and pursued the practice area as his career of choice, famed Washington, D.C., defense lawyer Robert Bennett says had no idea that such cases would proliferate as much as they have.

He attributes the rise to more aggressive prosecution, in an interview with American Lawyer sparked by the publication of his book, In The Ring: The Trials of a Washington Lawyer.

“Years ago, when I was a federal prosecutor, a lot of these corporate issues were handled by regulatory agencies,” Bennett says. “Now, law enforcement is trying to reform how business is done. There is probably less corruption today because of the government’s aggressive approach. [Corporate executives] know it’s not just a matter of paying fines anymore.”

As an earlier article in the Washingtonian notes, “Bennett hasn’t actually tried a full case since joining the New York firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in 1990. Almost all his considerable achievements have been in hearings before a judge, congressional panels, or other nonjudicial forums.” To give him due credit, however, it is because of his reputation for achieving settlements that clients clamor for his services. As Bennett himself says, those who have to go to trial have already lost, the Washingtonian points out.

Additional coverage: “Bob Bennett Avoids Exaggeration in Memoir, Except When Bolstering Clients”

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