The Justice Department's top foreign-bribery prosecutor, Mark Mendelsohn, who is leaving government service today, said he is looking forward to a "different kind of challenge" in private practice.
Mendelsohn is joining Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison as a partner in the Washington office, where he said he hopes to have a broad practice with a focus on building the firm's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act defense work. He said he was attracted to the New York-based firm’s “relatively small, collegial partnership.”
Mendelsohn, a federal prosecutor for more than a dozen years, is leaving Justice as a deputy chief in the Fraud Section in charge of FCPA enforcement, which has surged in recent years.
“What I see as the trend of the future in the white-collar area is more cross-border and transnational criminal inquiries and regulatory inquiries,” said Mendelsohn, who starts at Paul Weiss on June 1.
Mendelsohn won’t be able to work on cases he supervised while at Justice, but anything new is fair game. There’s no indication that FCPA enforcement is going to slow down. “I know what that pipeline looks likes, and it’s quite substantial,” he said.
Beyond criminal prosecutions, and there have been quite a few of those under Mendelsohn’s watch, he said he is most proud of the work the department has done in raising the standards for corporate compliance. “That’s how we have the biggest impact, by preventing these things from happening in the first place,” he said.
Career federal prosecutor Chuck Duross, an assistant chiedf in the Fraud Section, is replacing Mendelsohn as acting deputy chief for FCPA enforcement. Mendelsohn said he and Duross have worked closely the past couple of years and that Duross is sure to “do new and exciting things for the FCPA enforcement program.”
Paul Weiss chair Brad Karp said in a statement, “Mark’s background and experience will be an enormous asset to our clients, which are facing increased scrutiny on FCPA and other cross-border criminal and regulatory issues.”
Mendelsohn joins a crew of Fraud Section supervisors who have left in recent months for work in private practice. Kirk Ogrosky, who gets the lion’s share of credit for building up health care fraud prosecution at Justice, joined Arnold & Porter last month. Steven Tyrrell joined Weil, Gotshal & Manges in January.