Blank Rome adds four-lawyer white collar team from Akerman

Bradley Henry joins in DC as practice vice chair as another partner, a counsel and foreign associate come aboard in New York

Top 80 US firm Blank Rome has bolstered its white collar defence and investigations group with the hire of a four-lawyer group from Akerman.  

Partner Bradley Henry has joined the 700-lawyer firm in New York as vice chair of the practice, with the remaining team members – partner Kathleen Shannon, of counsel Jason Emert and foreign associate Ekinsu Çebi Elkei – joining in Washington DC.  

The group advises domestic and international clients on criminal defence and government investigations, internal investigations and compliance matters. The hires follow the Philadelphia firm adding five white collar attorneys from litigation boutique Spears & Imes in New York last month.  

Last November, the firm also added white collar partner Barrett Howell in Dallas, where it opened an office last July after hiring six partners from rivals including Alston & Bird and Locke Lord.

“We are thrilled to have Brad, Kathleen, Jason and Ekinsu join our firm and bring their cross-border experience and trial skills to our robust and growing white collar practice,” said Jerry Bernstein, co-chair of the group.  

“In 2024, we expect to see aggressive enforcement actions from US Attorney’s Offices, the Justice Department, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the SEC and the Treasury Department, as well as an increase in the international scope and breadth of enforcement actions. Our expanded team is well-positioned to help clients facing scrutiny by government enforcement and regulatory agencies.” 

The incoming team represents corporate and individual clients in the US, Turkey, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Ukraine in complex civil and criminal matters. They focus on white collar defence litigation, government investigations and enforcement actions, international disputes and arbitration, internal investigations and advising clients on compliance programmes, voluntary disclosures and remediation.

The group counsels clients on issues relating to financial crimes, US economic and trade sanctions and export controls, bank secrecy and anti-money laundering regulations, crypto-currency fraud, anti-bribery and anti-corruption matters and criminal trials. They also represent foreign clients in the US for issues arising under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.  

Henry said he and Shannon were happy to rejoin their former colleagues, including Craig Weiner and Massimo D’Angelo, who joined Blank Rome last May when it hired a team of nine litigators from Akerman in New York. 

“We are energised by the synergies between our work and that of Blank Rome’s practices and industry teams, including its maritime and international trade groups,” he added.    

Henry has joined the firm after just over two years at Akerman, before which he practised at national US law firm Michelman & Robinson, and this month also took up a role as co-chair of the International Bar Association’s sanction and anti-money laundering expert subcommittee.

Shannon likewise joined Akerman in early 2022 from Michelman and before that worked in government, including as senior counsel to the executive office of the president.

“It was clear to us that Blank Rome is invested in strategically building and strengthening its white collar practice to meet the needs of clients, which aligns with our goals,” she said. “This, combined with the opportunity to join the firm’s deep bench, including our former colleagues and recent additions, make it an exciting time to join the firm.”

Following the recent hires Blank Rome’s white collar team has around 40 partners, according to its website. 

Last month top 35 US firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher added partner Michael Li-Ming Wong in California from Gibson Dunn to co-chair its national white collar defence group. 

And in December Seyfarth Shaw secured a quartet of white collar lawyers from dissolving firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan in New York and Washington DC, including partners Scott Morvillo and Ellen Murphy.

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