Cleary Gottlieb Adds Former Acting U.S. Attorney Lev Dassin to Litigation Team

November 9, 2009

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP announced today that Lev Dassin, 44, will join the firm as a partner. Mr. Dassin is the former Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and previously served as Deputy United States Attorney and Chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s office. He joins the firm’s New York litigation practice, where he will advise on complex commercial litigation, trial and enforcement matters.

“Lev is a talented leader with vast government, criminal and civil trial experience. He will enhance the strength of our litigation practice, particularly in the securities enforcement and white-collar defense area,” said Cleary Gottlieb Managing Partner Mark Walker. “As part of our team, he will work alongside our other litigators and regulatory experts, many of whom have also held senior government positions.”

Mr. Dassin served as Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York for approximately eight months until the confirmation of his successor in mid-August 2009. In that capacity, he was responsible for all criminal and civil litigation on behalf of the United States in the district and supervised more than 220 Assistant U.S. Attorneys. He oversaw a number of high profile matters spanning complex financial and securities fraud and civil cases, including the prosecutions of Bernard Madoff and Marc Dreier and the representation of the United States’ interest in the Chrysler and General Motors bankruptcy proceedings. In addition, he oversaw national security and terrorism cases. Before this, he served as Deputy United States Attorney, the second in command of the office, during 2008, and was Chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office from September 2005 through January 2008.

Prior to rejoining the U.S. Attorney’s Office in September 2005, Mr. Dassin served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1992 to 1998, where he prosecuted a wide range of cases involving terrorist acts, racketeering violations, narcotics trafficking, money laundering and white-collar crimes. He was a lead prosecutor in the investigation and prosecution of Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center. In recognition of his work on that case, Mr. Dassin was honored with the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service and also received the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service for his role in the investigation and prosecution of four other defendants for their participation in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Before rejoining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Dassin was in private practice. He received a J.D. in 1990 from New York University School of Law, where he served as the Developments Editor of the Law Review. He graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. magna cum laude and with Distinction In All Subjects in 1987, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He served as a law clerk to the Honorable David N. Edelstein, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, from 1990 to 1992. Mr. Dassin teaches trial practice at Columbia University School of Law, where he has been a member of the adjunct faculty since 1999.

At Cleary Gottlieb, Mr. Dassin will pursue a civil litigation and trial practice in addition to an enforcement and white-collar defense practice.

“Cleary Gottlieb is a natural fit for me,” said Mr. Dassin. “The firm has an exceptional group of talented lawyers around the world, a collegial culture, and a litigation practice that regularly handles interesting, complex and high profile matters. I am looking forward to working with my new colleagues in all of the firm’s offices.”

Cleary Gottlieb’s litigation practice regularly advises on high profile disputes involving securities, M&A, sovereign debt, bilateral and multilateral investment treaties, as well as white-collar investigations and defense, and has been particularly active in matters stemming from the financial crisis. The firm’s litigation practice includes a number of partners with government experience and frequently draws upon the experience of partners in the firm with corporate, regulatory and finance expertise.

About Cleary Gottlieb’s Securities Enforcement and White-Collar Defense Practice
Cleary Gottlieb’s securities enforcement and white-collar defense team regularly advises and defends leading financial institutions and multinational corporations in a broad range of regulatory and criminal matters before the U.S. Department of Justice, the SEC, state and federal government agencies and in court. The firm also conducts internal investigations for companies and their boards, and advises on compliance programs.

The current financial crisis has highlighted the ease and effectiveness the firm has in marrying its litigation capabilities with its world-renowned corporate, regulatory and finance expertise. We have helped governments, industrial enterprises, financial institutions and individuals in many of the cases that have dominated world business and legal news.

Our litigation and enforcement teams include partners with extensive government experience. With the addition of Mr. Dassin and Victor Hou, a member of the firm’s newly elected partner class that was announced separately today, we will have nine litigation partners who have served as Assistant U.S. Attorneys. Our ability to seamlessly call upon leading experts in various fields for their counsel, including those who have served with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (including partners who have served as General Counsel and Director of the Division of Corporation Finance), the Office of the Solicitor General of the United States, Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Competition of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, enables us to provide clients with the best possible solutions. Many of our litigators have also clerked for judges throughout the U.S. federal system, including the Supreme Court of the United States. The firm’s equally strong capabilities in Washington and New York, combined with our established practices in Europe, Asia and Latin America, enable us to provide a comprehensive and coordinated approach to litigation and enforcement matters that touch multiple jurisdictions.

About Cleary Gottlieb
Founded in 1946 by lawyers committed to legal excellence, internationalism and diversity, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is a leading international law firm with approximately 1,100 lawyers around the world. Consistently recognized as one of the top litigation and arbitration firms in the world by Chambers Global, Chambers USA, Chambers Latin America, Benchmark Litigation and The U.S. Legal 500, the firm was also named one of the top six firms worldwide appearing as arbitration counsel in 2009 by The American Lawyer in its biennial “Arbitration Scorecard.”

The firm has ranked in the top 10 of The American Lawyer’s A-List, a comprehensive ranking based on revenue, pro bono, associate satisfaction and diversity, since the lists’ inception in 2003. The firm was selected as one of Yale Law Women’s “Top Ten Family Friend Firms.” Cleary Gottlieb has offices in New York, Washington, D.C., Paris, Brussels, London, Moscow, Frankfurt, Cologne, Rome, Milan, Hong Kong and Beijing.