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Former Head of SDNY Geoffrey Berman Joins Fried Frank

Dec. 1, 2020, 3:56 PM

Former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman, who was ousted by the Trump administration in June, is joining Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson to lead its white collar work, the firm announced Tuesday.

Berman will be based in New York and will helm Fried Frank’s white collar defense, regulatory enforcement and investigations practice. He will also serve as a member of the firm’s governance committee.

The shift to Big Law comes at near the close of a hectic 2020 for Berman.

Over the summer, Attorney General Bill Barr announced Berman had resigned from his SDNY post, which Berman denied. Berman eventually exited and was replaced by Audrey Strauss, now acting U.S. attorney and herself a former Fried Frank partner.

At the time of his ouster, Berman was overseeing an investigation into Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani for his dealings in Ukraine.

Berman was appointed to lead the Southern District in 2018 after Trump fired Preet Bharara from the post. Berman oversaw several high profile investigations and prosecutions at SDNY like those of former congressman Chris Collins for insider trading, Jeffrey Epstein for sex trafficking, Michael Avenatti for extortion, and Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman for campaign finance violations.

Fried Frank chairman David Greenwald said in a statement that clients will benefit from Berman’s experience both as a prosecutor as well as in the private sector.

“His skills and proven leadership ability will further strengthen our white collar practice and litigation department, and be of great value in helping to drive our broader strategy,” Greenwald said.

Berman was a partner at Greenberg Traurig before leading the Southern District. He also previously served as assistant U.S. attorney for the SDNY from 1990 to 1994 and was an attorney in the office of the independent counsel for the Iran/Contra matter.

Berman’s hire follows the addition of another former public servant to Fried Frank’s roster. In November the firm welcomed back Bernard “Barry” A. Nigro, former principal deputy assistant attorney general of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, as chair of its global antitrust and competition department.

“I am thrilled to join Fried Frank’s litigation and white collar team,” Berman said in a statement. “The firm is well known for its cutting-edge counsel to top tier companies and high-profile individuals and I am looking forward to working with the team to advance the practice’s key client initiatives and priorities.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at mtribe@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Tom P. Taylor at ttaylor@bloomberglaw.com

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