Ropes & Gray has hired Brian Blais and Samer Musallam, two former federal prosecutors, for its litigation and enforcement group in New York and Washington.
Blais, former general crimes unit co-chief in the Southern District of New York, joins the firm’s white collar practice in New York. Musallam, a senior counsel in the Justice Department’s antitrust division, joins the firm’s antitrust team in D.C.
The hires are meant to boost the firm’s enforcement practice as the incoming Biden administration likely increases regulatory oversight and enforcement, said Gregg Weiner, co-chair of the global litigation and enforcement practice group.
Blais and Musallam “are among the best lawyers coming out of those offices and those divisions” at the Justice Department, Weiner said.
Weiner said he expects the Biden administration to increase scrutiny in the areas of healthcare, financial services, and crypto technologies. In addition, the firm’s client demand has been steadily increasing in the areas of securities litigation, antitrust, government enforcement, and healthcare-related transactions and enforcement, according to Weiner.
Blais previously worked as an associate in Ropes & Gray’s Boston office before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in 2010. While at the Southern District, Blais investigated and prosecuted more than 150 criminal cases. He won jury convictions of the former chief financial officer of American Realty Capital Partners for accounting fraud and the president of a publicly-traded reinsurance company for market manipulation.
He will advise clients on white collar investigations, enforcement actions by civil regulators and internal investigations, according to the firm.
Musallam previously served as senior counsel to the assistant attorney general in Justice’s antitrust division. He was lead counsel in the DOJ’s successful challenge to the merger of automotive aluminum autobody sheet suppliers Novelis and Aleris, and he served as trial counsel in opposing the merger of Aetna and Humana.
Prior to joining Justice, Musallam was an associate at Paul Hastings.