Business & Practice

Quinn Emanuel, Greenberg Traurig Join College Bribery Case

March 21, 2019, 6:13 PM

Three more major law firms—Quinn Emanuel, Greenberg Traurig, and Dentons—have lawyers representing defendants in the college admissions cheating scandal, bringing the total Big Law firms involved to 10.

In addition, recently opened Boston criminal defense boutique Miner Orkand Siddall brings to three the number of small, high-powered defense firms involved in the case.

Dentons attorney Christine M. Genaitis and Quinn Emanuel attorneys William D. Weinreb and Michael T. Packard are representing Robert Flaxman, co-founder and CEO of real estate development company Crown Realty & Development. He’s been charged with paying more than $300,000 in bribes to pave the way for his kids to get into college.

All three attorneys work in Boston and specialize in white collar defense work. Weinred and Packard are former assistant U.S. attorneys.

Greenberg Traurig’s A. John Pappalardo is representing Devin Sloane, the founder of a water infrastructure company who’s been accused of paying $250,000 to have a bogus athletic profile of his son created that would ensure his admission to the University of Southern California.

Pappalardo, a former U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts and a former commissioner of the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission, focuses on federal white collar criminal defense from the firm’s Boston office.

Smaller Firms, Big Names

Not all defendants are opting for big law firms but have instead gone to boutiques with a focus on criminal defense.

Miner Orkand Siddall’s named founders are representing Homayoun Zadeh. Zadeh is a professor at USC’s dentistry school alleged to have paid $100,000 for a fake athletic profile to help his daughter gain admission to the university.

Smith Villazor in New York is representing Willkie Farr Co-Chair Gordon Caplan, and attorneys with Boston-based Donnelly, Conroy & Gelhaar are representing Davina Isackson.

Caplan and Isackson are spreading their defense work among the boutiques and larger firms.

Three Ropes & Gray attorneys are also representing Caplan, and two Boies Schiller Flexner attorneys are representing Isackson, who 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 USC.

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.

Dentons is a global law firm with 74 locations in 78 countries. Greenberg Traurig has more than 2,000 attorneys in 39 offices in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan is a Los Angeles-based global law firm with more than 800 lawyers working on business litigation and arbitration in 23 office locations around the world.

To contact the reporter on this story: Melissa Heelan Stanzione in Washington at mstanzione@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: John Crawley at jcrawley@bloomberglaw.com; Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

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