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Felicity Huffman Nabs Foley Hoag, Willkie’s Caplan Lawyers Up (2)

March 18, 2019, 5:02 PMUpdated: March 18, 2019, 8:51 PM

Foley Hoag and Ropes & Gray have joined the roster of major law firms signing up to represent some of the 32 named defendants in the college admissions cheating scandal case.

Foley Hoag’s Martin F. Murphy is representing actor Felicity Huffman, according to the court docket. Huffman is alleged to have paid $15,000 to alter her daughter’s college entrance exam score. Murphy’s specialty is high-stakes litigation and he has defended a number of educational institutions in lawsuits.

Ropes & Gray attorneys Joshua S. Levy and Christopher J. Walsh have joined the team representing Willkie Farr Co-Chair Gordon Caplan, according to the court docket. Levy is co-chair of the firm’s global litigation and enforcement practice group in Boston. He focuses on white collar defense and related complex civil litigation. Walsh is an associate with the firm’s Boston office whose practice includes white collar defense work.

Peter Cane, of Cane & Associates in New York, and Patrick J. Smith of Smith Villazor in New York initially represented Caplan when the allegations broke March 11.

Other Big Law attorneys who’ve jumped into the fray to represent defendants in USA v. Abbott include David K. Willingham and Michael V. Schafler, partners in Boies Schiller’s Los Angeles office, and Miranda Hooker, a partner in Pepper Hamilton’s Boston office,

Latham & Watkins attorney Perry J. Viscounty confirmed last week that he’s representing actor Lori Loughlin in the case. Latham attorney B.J. Trach is representing Mossimo Giannulli, Loughlin’s husband. Trach’s bio says he represents companies and individuals regarding criminal and civil investigations brought by various government entities.

The Justice Department on March 11 charged the defendants, who include Loughlin and Huffman as well as Willkie Farr & Gallagher Co-Chair Gordon Caplan, with conspiring to bribe college admissions officials to gain entrance for their children to top universities.

Willingham and Schafler are representing defendant Davina Isackson. Along with her husband Bruce, the president of commercial real estate development and investment company WP Investments, she allegedly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to obtain fake evidence of athletic achievements and test-taking help for their daughters, who sought admission to the University of Southern California.

Willingham and Schafler have experience working on high-risk and complex litigation matters including fraud and kickback schemes. Willingham was deputy chief of the Major Frauds Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California before joining Boies Schiller. His work at the firm includes defending the individual charged with taking a clandestine video of former ESPN sportscaster Erin Andrews.

Hooker, who is representing Douglas Hodge, works in Pepper Hamilton’s white collar litigation and investigations practice group.

She also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, where she worked in the narcotics and money laundering unit.

Her client Hodge is the former CEO of Pacific Investment Management Co. Hodge allegedly paid to have his daughters admitted to USC as athletic recruits.

Boies Schiller is a global law firm with 15 offices throughout the United States and in London. Pepper Hamilton’s more than 425 lawyers work from 14 offices across the United States.

(Added more attorney information to top of story. )

To contact the reporter on this story: Melissa Heelan Stanzione in Washington at mstanzione@bloomberglaw.com
To contact the editor on this story: Rebekah Mintzer in New York at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com