Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP
Law School: New York University School of Law
Clients: Merrill Lynch & Co., Greg Reyes (Brocade Inc.) and Jeff Weitzen (Gateway Inc.)
As a law student, Richard Marmaro envisioned a career negotiating deal memos and closing major financial transitions. But his plans changed not long after he began practicing.
"I originally wanted to be a corporate lawyer," Marmaro said, "until I worked at a Wall Street law firm doing corporate law early in my career, which convinced me I wanted to be a trial lawyer."
Marmaro was in a federal courtroom in San Francisco recently, representing Brocade executive Greg Reyes in the first criminal stock options backdating case to go to trial. Reyes was found guilty of securities fraud earlier this month.
Marmaro was attracted to the drama and challenge that trial work provides. He has defended executives such as Reyes and companies charged with all sorts of financial improprieties over the past 23 years.
He represented the former CEO and Chairman of Columbia Savings and Loan, who was charged with bribery and fraud by federal authorities. He describes the executive's eventual acquittal as one of the highlights of his career.
Mamaro is also proud of winning summary judgments against the SEC for a Gateway Computer executive charged with fraud and a former director at Fidelity National Financial accused of insider trading.
Marmaro knows the other side, too. He was a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles and served as assistant chief of the criminal division early in his career.
During his tenure as a federal prosecutor Marmaro successfully prosecuted many individuals and companies on business-related crimes, but today he sees his primary role as "helping people and companies fight the awesome power of the federal government."
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Clients: Doug Dowie, Ray Jinnah and Toyota Motor North America Inc.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: I enjoy the challenge in the courtroom and the daily challenge of trying to provide the best advice and defense to a client. In my area of practice those efforts are often more difficult because by the time we get involved, the client has undertaken certain actions which simply cannot be undone.
Most Interesting Case: U.S. vs. Doug Dowie, a public relations executive who was found guilty of over-billing clients.
Most Challenging Case: U.S. vs. Congressman Jay Kim, who pleaded guilty to accepting illegal donations.
Best Career Moment: Representing an innocent defendant who had been wrongly accused and winning.
If I Weren't an Attorney: I would be a curator at a museum.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Clients: Wen Ho Lee, Jeffrey Skilling and Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: The idea of being in court and doing trial work always appealed to me. When I was in college I spent a summer working as a filing clerk at a law firm.
Most Interesting Case: Serving as lead counsel for Wen Ho Lee, who was originally accused of collecting information about America's nuclear arsenal for China. The subject matter was difficult and we all had to get top-secret clearances.
Most Challenging Case: Working as part of the team on the Jeff Skilling case. It was very grueling and when we lost the change-of-venue motion, I think we all were very concerned that it would be very difficult to convince 12 people in Houston to acquit him.
Best Career Moment: When Wen Ho Lee was released. We all feared he might spend the rest of his life in prison.
Lightfoot Vandevelde Sadowsky Crouchley Rutherford & Levine LLP
Clients: Former Superior Court Judge Ronald Kline, Leland Wong and Robert Kardashian.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: What other job or profession combines human drama, a constant intellectual challenge, the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of individuals and society, politics, and current affairs? And I am a "true believer" in the wisdom of our adversary system of justice, the constitutional rights of the accused, and the absolute need for dedicated attorneys on both sides.
Most Interesting Matter: The representation of Katrina Leung. Dealing with criminal allegations of espionage (which in the Leung case were necessarily intertwined with U.S. foreign policy and the history of US-China relations), and dealing with the politics of the F.B.I. and the Department of Justice together made for an absolutely fascinating, once in a lifetime case.
My Colleagues Don't Know: I love television, even reality TV. My current favorite is "Dancing with the Stars".
If I Weren't an Attorney: I would be a geologist.
Latham & Watkins LLP
Clients: Tenet HealthCare Corp., Guthy Renker Corp. and Insight Enterprises Inc.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: There is no greater feeling than being able to help a client solve problems that may otherwise destroy their companies, careers, or, more importantly, take away their freedom. And every day I get to work with some of the smartest and most entertaining people I've ever met.
Most Interesting Case: Representing Tenet Healthcare in a long-running criminal case that was ultimately settled in May 2006, after two separate federal juries deadlocked and were unable to reach a verdict on criminal charges regarding certain physician relocation agreements at Alvarado Hospital, a 311-bed Tenet hospital in eastern San Diego County.
Most Challenging Case: Trying my first trial as a young prosecutor against Richard "Race Horse" Haynes.
My Colleagues Don't Know: I tended bar in a Scottish pub.
Jones Day LLP
Clients: Hon Hai Precision Co. Ltd, Mattel Inc. and Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP.
Most Interesting Case: Wen Ho Lee's lawsuit against the U.S. government. Lee was falsely accused by the U.S. government of spying for China.
Most Challenging Case: Anthony Pellicano celebrity wiretapping case.
Best Career Moment: Listening to Judge Parker's issuance of an apology to Wen Ho Lee on behalf of the government for their treatment of him in his criminal prosecution.
My Colleagues Don't Know: I enjoy afternoon high tea.
Debra Wong Yang
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Clients: National Music Publishers' Association and University of Southern California.
Reason I'm a Lawyer: I always thought I'd run a business, but after finishing law school I decided to give law a try. So far, it's been a great run.
Most Interesting Moment: Preparing for trial in the case of John Orr, the Glendale arson investigator who was setting fires throughout California. It was fascinating to learn about the mindset of a serial arsonist.
Most Challenging Matter: Determining when and how to charge espionage and spy cases as the US Attorney.
Best Career Moment: When I reached a settlement in the Credit Lyonnais criminal case after having to negotiate with the French government.
My Colleagues Don't Know: I used to sit on the board of a venture capital company and once spent my entire vacation going through inventory for a sports supplier.
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