In BigLaw, prosecutors mean Big Business.
Though the majority of firms have been cutting back on overall partner compensation, it appears as though they are still willing to shell out the big bucks just to capture top-notch prosecutors looking to jump sides.
With paychecks in the millions, these prosecutors-turned-partners sometimes make 10 times more their colleagues.
The so-called revolving door between government and the private sector is not new. In fact, it's often encouraged, with ethics rules specifically taking into account the unique position of government lawyers.
However, in recent years, it seems as though government superstars are using that door more frequently, seeking bigger salaries after they've racked up some big wins.
One of these men, the subject of a recent piece in The New York Times, is Michael Loucks.
Considered to be the most feared prosecutor in health care, he joined Skaddan Arps, where the paper reports he now represents the companies he once prosecuted for fraud.
Other top prosecutors, particularly in the areas of financial and health care fraud, have also taken their inside knowledge elsewhere, earning upwards $2 million a year, reports Forbes.
While it is neither illegal nor unethical to switch to BigLaw, prosecutors doing so are on the receiving end of much criticism.
While the ire of former colleagues and consumer rights groups is no surprise, one assertion is.
Legal commentator Harvey Silverglate believes that this practice is ruining the justice system, asserting that prosecutors are pushing boundaries and looking to take down corporate giants just so that they can increase their reputational clout, which they can then leverage elsewhere.
It's an interesting argument, but there's no need to blame BigLaw. Prosecutors with a penchant for overzealousness have been around a long time.
- Pay Gap Widens at Big Law Firms as Partners Chase Star Attorneys (Wall Street Journal)
- Overpaid Lawyers? 4,300 Govt Attorneys Earn More Than Governors (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
- Partner Fired by Brother for 10 years of 'Abject Laziness' (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)