Janis, Schuelke & Wechsler, a Washington boutique firm known for its white collar criminal defense, has dissolved, according to a letter posted on the firm’s website.
In the letter, name partners N. Richard Janis, Henry Schuelke III and Lawrence Wechsler announced they are ending their six-lawyer shop, effective today. The letter cites a “need to accommodate differing goals and time commitments for the remainder of our careers, as well as a desire to ensure that all of our employees are well situated in the coming years,” as the reasons for the break up.
Schuelke and Wechsler are joining Blank Rome in Washington as partners, with former Janis Schuelke attorneys William Shields and Ariel Glasner joining Blank Rome as counsel and associate, respectively. Janis heads to Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, to be joined by Janis Schuelke colleague Jennifer Sincavage as an associate.
Over the years, the firm was part of the defense teams in several high-profile cases, including the prosecutions of Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia Communications Corporation, and KPMG. The firm also served as defense counsel for the Operation Ill Wind investigation of fraud and bribery at the Pentagon, the Iran-Contra prosecution and Independent Counsel investigations, including the Whitewater affair involving former President Bill Clinton.
Schuelke gained widespread attention this spring after the release of an investigation of the Ted Stevens prosecutors at the U.S. Department of Justice. In April, Schuelke testified on Capitol Hill and advocated to changes how DOJ handles its obligations to turn over evidence to defense attorneys.
"As many of you know, the three of us have been friends for more than 40 years, since we were colleagues in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, and we and our families have literally grown up together," read the letter from the three name partners, noting that the firm was founded 32 years ago. "We have had quite a run.
“Although we will be practicing in different locations, our friendship will continue," the letter continued. "We will miss the collegiality of our practice and the comfort of our townhouse, but we are all excited about our new ventures and the opportunities that will be presented.”
“Hank [Schuelke] and Larry [Wechsler] have tremendous reputations and bring a depth of white collar defense experience that will enhance our practice and profile in Washington, D.C., as well as nationally,” Alan Hoffman, Blank Rome co-chairman and managing partner, said in a written statement.
John Libby, co-chair of Manatt’s corporate investigations and white collar defense practice, praised Janis in a written statement. “Dick is one of the best-known and highly regarded white collar lawyers in the country,” he said in the statement. “His decades of experience and expansive skill set are top notch and serve his broad range of clients well.”
Janis, Schuelke and Wechsler were not immediately available for comment.
Photo by The National Law Journal's Diego M. Radzinschi.