Paul Weiss scoops DoJ prosecutor for New York practice

US litigation powerhouse Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison has made one of the highest-profile post-crash hires to date with the appointment of Department of Justice (DoJ) prosecutor Mark Mendelsohn.

Rumours had been circling the New York legal market in recent weeks as a number of firms courted Mendelsohn, who is currently deputy chief of the DoJ’s criminal division’s fraud section and the key official of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement programme.

As deputy chief, Mendelsohn is credited with designing and implementing the DoJ’s current FCPA enforcement programme.

He was responsible for overseeing all investigations and prosecutions under the FCPA, had principal policy responsibility related to the OECD anti-bribery convention, and was the department’s representative on the OECD’s bribery working group.

With FCPA matters having rapidly risen up the priorities of most major international firms and their clients, Mendelsohn’s signature was particularly hotly hunted.

“Mark turbocharged the DoJ’s FCPA enforcement efforts over the past five years,” said Paul Weiss chairman Brad Karp (pictured).

“Mark shaped FCPA enforcement policies and priorities and developed a stellar reputation not only in the US, but across the globe as well. He’s worked closely with regulators all over the world.

“We’re very excited that he’s joining us. Mark should be on the short list of attorneys considered by any corporation facing significant FCPA issues.”

Mendelsohn will join Paul Weiss’ litigation department as part of its white collar crime and regulatory defence and securities litigation practices. He will be based in Washington DC when he joins on 1 June.

Karp said it had been the “quality and depth” of the firm’s practice as well as its culture that had ultimately attracted Mendelsohn to Paul Weiss. He added that the fact the firm has been one of the few to be consistently profitable during the downturn had been a factor. 

“We’re quite fortunate to be doing extremely well during this economic crisis,” Karp added. “We’re an enormously profitable firm with old-fashioned values, a traditional culture and a fervent belief in excellence and professionalism, a combination that Mark found very attractive.”