Latham & Watkins partner Michael Fee, a former federal prosecutor who represented the late NFL superstar Aaron Hernandez, has joined New England-based Verrill Dana as the leader of its healthcare and life sciences defense practice in Boston.
Fee joined Latham & Watkins in 2014 from Ropes & Gray in Boston where he spent over 20 years and served as co-practice group leader of its government enforcement and white collar practice group.
At the time of his move, Fee, a former federal prosecutor, was a part of Aaron Hernandez’s defense team. He helped represent the former New England Patriot tight end in the murder trial of Odin Lloyd. Hernandez was subsequently convicted for first-degree murder and committed suicide in prison in 2017.
Fee makes a brief cameo in Netflix’s new docuseries, Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez, which chronicles the downfall of the NFL superstar. Fee said he wasn’t approached by the producers for an interview for the series nor has he seen it. He declined to comment about his representation of Hernandez.
In his move to Verrill, Fee is reconnecting with many of his former Big Law colleagues who have helped build out the firm’s healthcare practice.
“The group has grown like a weed,” Fee said. “It’s really been fun to watch and I’m pleased to be part of it.”
Fee represents organizations and individuals in a variety of investigations and enforcement actions brought by federal and state government agencies and focuses on white-collar criminal, civil, and administrative enforcement matters.
At least 50% of his defense practice is tied to the healthcare industry, he said, with clients ranging from academic medical centers to pharmaceutical and biotech companies and device manufacturers.
Verrill is a smaller operation than its Big Law counterparts so there’s less overhead costs making it a more attractive option for clients, Fee said. The firm has more than 130 lawyers across six offices in New England and one in Washington.
“We have big firm lawyers doing big firm work, but we are able to accommodate I think very nicely on price and it makes us a really competitive option,” he said.
As leader of its healthcare and life sciences defense practice Fee said he will work to build out the defense side of the group. This includes bringing more attorneys on board, particularly in the practice’s home base in Boston.
“We’re currently acting as sort of a bit of disrupter as we’re not one of the big names of Big Law, nevertheless the quality of work and quality of the client base is extraordinary,” Fee said.