With offices in New York and DC, Schulte Roth & Zabel is praised by peers for its “very high-quality” work, primarily in the financial services sector. “Schulte has really come to dominate in certain areas,” observes one peer. “They have always been a go-to for private equity and hedge funds, and now they have cornered the market in areas like cryptocurrency as well.” The firm’s demonstrated strengths in the securities and white-collar areas have been prominently on display in a number of matters for a diverse spectrum of clients.
In one example of the firm’s expertise in the cryptocurrency sector, a team composed of DC partner Howard Schiffman and New York partners Michael Swartz and Gary Stein advised ParagonCoin in a trailblazing settlement with the SEC that effectively put an end to the uncertainties of the legal status of cryptocurrencies. A securities-focused partner, Swartz is also advising Starboard Value in a securities class action involving Advance Auto Parts and is also advising Veritas Capital in multiple class actions. Over the last two years, Swartz has also secured multiple hard-fought victories for venBio Select Advisor in a proxy campaign that was subject to an unusual level of litigation over many novel issues. New York’s Harry Davis represented National Bank of Canada and various Canadian and US subsidiaries in a major litigation relating to the alleged manipulation of a benchmark rate known as the Canadian Dollar Offered Rate (CDOR). In March 2019, Davis secured a dismissal of a putative class action alleging the manipulation of CDOR in its entirety.
The firm’s white-collar practice has seen a significant ramping up as of late as well. DC white-collar star Adam Hoffinger is representing the former Chairman and CEO of Anham, a Dubai-based government contracting and procurement company, against an indictment filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, charging violations of Iran sanctions in connection with providing food to US troops in Afghanistan.“Adam Hoffinger is quite a character,” offers a peer. “He has a certain level of aplomb that is tailor-made for the types of cases he takes on. And what cases! If you talk to him, get ready for hours of war stories!” Also based in DC, Peter White acts for Robert Jesenik, the chief executive of Oregon-based Aequitas Management (later revealed to be a Ponzi scheme) in the largest SEC enforcement case in Oregon’s history. The SEC’s complaint alleged that Aequitas defrauded over 1,500 investors nationwide by not disclosing the company’s true financial situation, using money from new investors to pay earlier investors, and not investing the money in healthcare, education, and transportation-related investments, as investors had been told, but rather using the funds in order to keep the firm afloat. The SEC sought permanent injunctions, disgorgement with prejudgment interest, and monetary penalties from all defendants, as well as bars prohibiting Jesenik and two other company officials from serving as officers or directors of any public company. Moving into 2020, the case is now a criminal one, with several Aequitas executives issuing guilty pleas to charges of conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering. White continues to defend Jesenik in respect of the criminal probe. The New York office has a white-collar star of its own in Barry Bohrer, a celebrated figure in the community. Bohrer advised Joseph Percoco, a former senior aide and campaign manager to Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York state, in a well-publicized investigation involving improper lobbying and conflicts of interest. In a mixed verdict, Percoco was convicted in 2018 of three corruption charges, but cleared of four others. Percoco was found guilty of engaging in “pay-to-play” scams with two energy companies seeking to do business with and influence the state, and was convicted of soliciting bribes from Competitive Power Ventures, but acquitted of extortion. After a federal appeals court ordered Percoco to prison in March 2019 to serve six years, Bohrer continues to appeal the conviction and fight for Percoco’s release, arguing before the Second Circuit appeals court in March 2020. (Percoco, for his part, maintains his innocence.)