Former Foley & Lardner partner Seth Levine and Kenneth Lee, previously a partner at Hughes Hubbard & Reed, have joined forces with former federal prosecutor Scott Klugman to launch litigation boutique Levine Lee LLP, which will focus on complex civil litigation and white-collar and securities enforcement defense.
Levine and Lee were classmates at the University of Chicago Law School before starting their respective careers at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. And before joining Foley, Levine served with Klugman, the outgoing deputy chief of the business and securities fraud section of the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York, as an assistant U.S. attorney.
To Levine--who worked as a prosecutor for five years and served as the vice-chair of the securities litigation, enforcement, and regulation practice group at Foley prior to cofounding the boutique--the prospect of working with his two former colleagues again represented a remarkable opportunity.
"Through my career, whether it's been in private practice or in government service, Ken and Scott are two of the finest lawyers that I've ever had the pleasure of practicing with," he says.
At Hughes Hubbard, Lee represented clients in complex litigation matters, including recently serving as counsel to the Securities Investor Protection Act (SIPA) Trustee for Lehman Brothers Inc., in that company's U.S. bankruptcy court proceedings. Klugman began his career with Davis, Polk & Wardwell before spending nine years as a federal prosecutor.
Levine believes that the trio's combination of private practice work at large firms and prosecutorial experience makes their new enterprise unique.
"There are many fine boutique firms that emphasize complex civil litigation or white-collar," he says. "But because of our experience--both in handling the most challenging complex civil litigation, but also equally in cutting-edge white-collar work--we believe we have sort of a unique perspective in managing important litigation that our civil experience greatly enhances our white-collar capacity and vice versa."
Levine says he and Lee first considered the possibility of forming a boutique during their time at Cravath. "That idea, over time, was talked about and discussed as an idea that never really turned into reality," he says. "And quite recently we revisited it again and thought that this was an opportune time to start the firm and build on our previous experience."
Levine Lee, located on the sixteenth floor of the General Electric building on Lexington Avenue, has been open for less than a week, but has already begun hiring associates, though the three founding partners are the only attorneys listed on the firm's Web site. "We are currently actively interviewing for other people to join the firm," Levine says. "We do not have a specific, numerical quota that we're trying to reach.
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