Updated 12:45 p.m.
Arnold & Porter is beefing up its white-collar criminal defense practice with the addition of three lawyers from Arent Fox. Partners John Nassikas III and Baruch Weiss and counsel Laura Lester started working in the firm's Washington office last week.
Nassikas and Weiss garnered headlines last year when they scored a victory on behalf of their clients in the AIPAC Espionage Act case brought by the Justice Department against two former officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Federal prosecutors had charged Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman with passing national defense information from Pentagon officials to the Israeli government, foreign policy analysts, and journalists. Rosen was AIPAC’s director of foreign policy issues and Weissman worked as the lobby’s senior Middle East analyst.
After 10 years of investigation and prosecution, the Justice Department dropped the case shortly before trial.
Nassikas, who chaired the white collar defense and government investigations practice group at Arent Fox, had been with his previous firm for 15 years before deciding to move. At Arnold & Porter, Nassikas is now heading up the white-collar group. His practice focuses on criminal and civil litigation involving companies, executives, and foreign governments. Nassikas served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia from 1991 until 1995.
In an interview, Nassikas said that the move to Arnold & Porter was driven by a desire to take advantage of the firm's broader array of practices, including its government contracts, securities enforcement, health care, financial services, and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act work. He said the firm's international offices were also part of the lure.
"This was a real opportunity to expand our practice and handle the biggest, toughest defense cases worldwide. For white-collar people such as myself, that's the next frontier--worldwide criminal defense work," Nassikas said.
Weiss spent 18 years as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York before joining the Treasury Department as assistant general counsel for enforcement in 2002. In 2003, he moved to the Department of Homeland Security as acting deputy general counsel. Weiss represents clients in a variety of federal investigations, including parallel Securities and Exchange Commission and Justice Department proceedings, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act issues, Office of Foreign Assets Control enforcement, and public corruption prosecutions.
Lester advises corporations and individuals in multi-jurisdictional criminal litigation and internal investigations in the areas of Food and Drug Administration and health care fraud, government contracts, public corruption, and antitrust.
Arnold & Porter had a solid year in 2009, posting increases to both its gross revenue and profits per partner. Firm chairman Thomas Milch said that last year’s success was driven in part by a strong litigation practice.