On April 1, 2011, David Deitch started work as a partner at the Ifrah Law Firm. David is an experienced trial lawyer and former Department of Justice counterterrorism prosecutor. Because he will now be a regular contributor to this blog, the editor of FTC Beat conducted this brief interview to introduce David to our readers. Please feel free to ask him your own questions in the comments section and at the end of this post.
Q. Can you tell us a little about your background — where have you worked, and what kinds of cases have you tried?
A. In the 20-plus years since I graduated law school, the largest portion of my career has been spent as a state and federal prosecutor. I worked for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in the early 1990s, and later worked as a federal prosecutor, as an Associate Independent Counsel, as an Assistant United States Attorney, and as a trial lawyer for the Department of Justice’s Counterterrorism Section. I have also worked for law firms such as Covington & Burling, Schulte Roth & Zabel, and Janis Schuelke & Wechsler.
Most of my trial work has involved criminal cases. The most prominent cases were the two trials for which I was co-lead counsel while I was with the Counterterrorism Section, in which defendants were charged with providing material support to terrorist organizations.
Q. In addition to counterterrorism cases, what other types of white-collar cases have you worked on?
A. My background in white-collar criminal law comes from two sources. First, my work on counterterrorism cases often included a lot of the same kinds of investigative processes, issues and charges that are usually associated with white-collar crime. For example, in many cases, the focus of investigation and prosecution was on the illegal movement of money, and the charges under consideration involved money laundering. Other cases may have involved other facts and charges that are not as different from traditional white-collar work as you might expect. Second, since I left the government in January 2007, I have been involved with a wide variety of investigations and prosecutions of white-collar criminal cases. These included internal investigations undertaken on behalf of the boards of directors of large corporations, as well as representation of individuals charged with violating federal criminal law. The subjects of these matters included wire fraud, bribery and gratuities violations, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and other federal crimes, as well as forfeiture statutes.
Q. Why did you choose to join Ifrah Law?
A. I joined Ifrah Law for a number of reasons. The firm offers attentive, expert and effective legal representation to its clients, and these are the qualities of service that I have always sought to bring to my clients. Ifrah Law also has a strong client base in a number of different industries. I am looking forward to a long and successful relationship with the firm.
Q. What do you see as some of the major trends in white-collar law and litigation in this decade?
There are a few prominent trends. The Department of Justice has made no secret about its vigorous efforts to seek out and prosecute companies and individuals who violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and law enforcement agencies at all levels are looking hard at some of the economic activity involving mortgages and investments that are viewed as being related to the downturn in the economy of the last few years.
These vigorous efforts at enforcement have also seen the use of investigative tools in white-collar cases that were once traditionally reserved for investigations into other kinds of crimes. The best example of that is the use of wiretaps in the Rajratnam insider trading case. As readers of the Crime in the Suites blog may know, Jeff Ifrah has been quoted in the media discussing that matter.
Q. Can you mention some steps that companies can take, as a matter of corporate policy, to avoid finding themselves in the cross hairs of prosecutors?
A. There are certainly no guarantees, but companies must train their employees about the rules and regulations that govern their employees’ activities. Then, I suggest that companies institute a vigorous compliance program that reinforces that training and create systems designed to identify employees who violate the law. Finally, if a company receives information that an employee has violated the law, it should move promptly to investigate the allegations so that company counsel can advise the company on the best course of action to protect the company’s interests.