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Cleary Gottlieb Paid Brooklyn US Attorney $7 Million Last Year

Oct. 3, 2022, 7:53 PM

Breon Peace, the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, received $7 million in 2021 as a white collar defense partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, a federal disclosure form shows.

The compensation details published by the Office of Government Ethics on Monday offers a rare glimpse into the internal compensation structure at one of Big Law’s most prestigious shops.

The New York-based firm paid Peace a $2.9 million partnership share in the first nine-plus months of 2021, prior to his swearing in as the top law enforcement official for the district covering Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and Long Island.

The remainder of Peace’s income came from Cleary Gottlieb’s retirement plan ($2.4 million), capital account ($1.5 million), and the sale of his share of an investment fund for the firm’s partners and senior counsel ($273,212). The lump-sum retirement benefit and capital account refund were calculated upon his separation from the firm.

Peace is now at the forefront of implementing Justice Department leadership’s newly unveiled plans to crack down on corporate crime. He served on a DOJ advisory group that studied white-collar enforcement policies to inform a memo released last month by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco outlining those priorities.

He represented clients like Morgan Stanley, PwC, American Airlines Group Inc., and HSBC Bank, according to his 2021 filing with the OGE. As a nominee last year, Peace pledged not to participate in DOJ matters involving a former client for one year since he last counseled that client, unless he were to receive an authorization.

The most recent filing fulfilled Peace’s annual disclosure obligations as a Senate-confirmed DOJ official. He’s now chief prosecutor at one of the largest and most critical US attorney’s offices—particularly for white-collar crime—routinely battling with corporate giants in court.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Penn in Washington at bpenn@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com; John Crawley at jcrawley@bloomberglaw.com