Taylor Named New Chief Compliance Officer at GM

Jeffrey Taylor

General Motors Co. announced on April 27, 2016, that it has appointed NAFUSA life member Jeffrey A. Taylor as Deputy General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, effective immediately. He will report to Craig Glidden, executive vice president and general counsel.

In his new role, Taylor will have overall responsibility for GM’s ethics and compliance program, and he will support GM’s business operations and leadership team in driving business success through an organizational culture committed to integrity, ethical conduct, workplace and vehicle safety and compliance with the law and company policies.

He will also oversee strategy, communications and training concerning GM’s code of conduct ‘Winning with Integrity’, which governs the ethical and legal obligations of GM’s Board, executives, and more than 75,000 employees around the world.

As Chief Compliance Officer, Jeff will lead a global team of attorneys and compliance professionals responsible for assessing and mitigating risk, devising and implementing compliance training and assessment, assuring the effectiveness of the compliance program, and conducting and overseeing internal and external investigations.

“Jeff is a highly accomplished attorney who has managed extremely complex legal issues,” said Glidden. “His appointment reflects GM’s commitment to the highest levels of global ethics and the strict compliance with the law and internal policies.”

Prior to joining GM in November last year as Deputy General Counsel for Federal Oversight, Taylor was vice president and general counsel of Tewksbury, Mass.-based Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems. Before that, he led a team of more than 300 professionals as chief executive of Ernst & Young’s Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services practice in the Americas.

He served as the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia from 2006 to 2009. He also served as Counselor to Attorney Generals John D. Ashcroft and Alberto R. Gonzales, and he began his career with the United States Department of Justice in 1995 as an Assistant United States Attorney.

Taylor earned his juris doctor degree from Harvard Law School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Stanford University.

Pocker in Spotlight in Sentencing Reform Debate

Richard Pocker talking at Senate briefing

Richard Pocker talking at Senate briefing

As the Law Enforcement Leaders To Reduce Crime & Incarceration continue to urge the Senate to pass sentencing reform, NAFUSA member Richard Pocker was one of the leaders holding a standing-room only Capitol Hill briefing for Senate Republicans. Pocket was joined by Ronal Serpas, chairman of the group, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Major Cities Police Chiefs Association President Tom Manager, and NAFUSA member Brett Tolman.

Pocker is a partner in the Las Vegas office of Boies, Schiller & Flexner. He was the U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada from 1989 to 1990, and was an assistant U.S. Attorney from 1985 to 1988.

“We’ve come to the point in the country at this time where sentencing reform is necessary. And we have to do it in such a way to protect the public.”

Watch his testimonial and others here:

Why We Joined Law Enforcement Leaders

A total of 22 NAFUSA members have joined Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime & Incarceration.

Michael Battle Joins Barnes & Thornburg

Michael Battle

Michael Battle

Barnes &Thornburg LLP announced on April 5, 2016, that NAFUSA member Michael A. Battle has joined the firm’s Washington, D.C., office as a partner in the Litigation Department, where he will join another NAFUSA member, Roscoe Howard (DC 2001-2004).

Battle has held several distinguished public service posts, including serving as director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys. Previously, Battle was one of the first three federal defenders in the Western District of New York, where he was eventually appointed U.S. Attorney, serving from 2002-2005. He also spent six years as a judge on the Erie County (New York) Family Court bench, during which he decided hundreds of family law cases. Most recently at Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP, Battle’s practice is concentrated on commercial and civil litigation, white collar criminal issues, and appeals.

“Michael’s vast public service experience not only reflects his deep understanding of a variety of legal issues and intergovernmental agency processes, but his strong character as well,” said Karen McGee, managing partner of Barnes & Thornburg’s Washington, D.C., office. “He brings tremendous skill and clout to the already robust and talented group of white collar practitioners we have in our D.C. office. Adding Michael was just another step forward in our continued expansion of the office and we are excited to be growing through hiring and adding such high quality candidates.”

As U.S. Attorney, Battle sat on the Attorney General’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights, U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and White Collar Fraud, and helped create a U.S. task force to prosecute fraud in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Following his career in public service, Battle has counseled clients on cases involving the Foreign Corruption Practices Act, health care fraud, the False Claims Act, and Disadvantaged Business regulatory violations, among others.

Battle earned his J.D. from SUNY Buffalo Law School, and his B.A. from Ithaca College, where he currently sits on the board of trustees.

With more than 600 attorneys and other legal professionals, Barnes & Thornburg is one of the largest law firms in the country. The firm serves clients worldwide from 13 offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Delaware, Indiana, Los Angeles, Michigan, Minneapolis, Ohio, and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit us online at www.btlaw.com.

Barry Grissom Joins Polsinelli and NAFUSA

Barry Grissom

Polsinelli announced on April 15, 2016, that Barry Grissom, who stepped down earlier in the month as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas, will join Polsinelli’s national White Collar Defense and Government Investigations and Compliance – Civil and Criminal Practice. Grissom will be a shareholder in its Kansas City headquarters office. Grissom is among NAFUSA’s newest members. He joins Bill Killian (ED Tennessee 2010-2015), another NAFUSA member, at Polsinelli.

“Polsinelli’s reputation for excellence, combined with its entrepreneurial spirit, clearly drew me to the firm,” said Grissom. “I’m particularly excited by Polsinelli’s national footprint, which will enable me to deploy my skillset nationwide.”

Grissom was appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas by President Barack Obama in 2010. Grissom was selected by Attorney General Eric Holder to serve on the Attorney’s General Advisory Committee (AGAC).  As a member of the AGAC, Grissom contributed to efforts to reform the federal criminal justice system through his Smart on Crime initiative. He also served on several sub-committees, including Financial Fraud, Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Team, Terrorism & National Security (Cyber), Native American Issues and Civil Rights.

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John McKay Joins Davis Wright Tremaine

John McKay

On April 20, 2016, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP announced that NAFUSA life member John McKay, the former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, has joined the firm in Seattle as chair of the firm’s government investigations and crisis management group.

McKay was appointed U.S. Attorney by President George W. Bush in 2001 and served in that position until 2007. He previously spent many years in private practice, representing local and national companies in complex commercial litigation.

As U.S. Attorney, McKay played a vital role in the fight against terrorism. He helped lead the investigation and prosecution of James Ujaama, who pled guilty to assisting the Taliban and later cooperated in terror investigations. He also spearheaded sentencing of Ahmed Ressam, who sought to bomb Los Angeles International Airport.

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Toobin Profiles Prett Bharara

Preet Bharara photograph by Platon for The New Yorker

Preet Bharara photograph by Platon for The New Yorker

In the May 9, 2016, issue of The New Yorker, in “The Showman”, Jeffrey Toobin profiles  Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Toobin, who was NAFUSA’s keynote speaker last fall in Scottsdale, traces Bharara’s extensive record of investigations and prosecutions of Wall Street figures, the leaders of both houses of the New York legislature and gang members in the Bronx.

As the leader of the “Sovereign District” of New York, Bharara’s office has been involved in some of the most important criminal cases in the country. He has, however, been criticized by some for the lack of any criminal charges against any top executives of the major firms involved in the financial collapse. But Toobin reports,

In a conversation in his office, Bharara rejected the critique. Without going into specifics, he said that his team had looked at Wall Street executives and found no evidence of criminal behavior. “It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the things that we had either been assigned before I got here or had the initiative to look at were looked at really, really carefully and really, really hard by the best people in the office,” he said. “There’s a natural frustration, given how bad the consequences were for the country, that more people didn’t go to prison for it, because it’s clearly true that when you see a bad thing happen, like you see a building go up in flames, you have to wonder if there’s arson. You have to wonder if there’s anybody prosecuting. Now, sometimes it’s not arson, it’s an accident. Sometimes it is arson, and you can’t prove it.”

When Toobin spoke to Eric Holder, he found support for Bharara,

Eric Holder, who, as Attorney General, was Bharara’s boss for six years, made a similar point. “Do you honestly think that Preet Bharara and all those hotshots in the U.S. Attorney’s office would not have made those cases if they could?” he said. “Those are career-making cases. Those cases are your ticket. The fight would have been over who got to try them. We just didn’t have the evidence.”

Toobin is a staff writer for The New Yorker and a senior analyst for CNN. He also served as an AUSA in Brooklyn earlier in his career.

Jeffrey Toobin



Vaira To Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

Peter Vaira

Peter Vaira

The Legal Intelligencer announced on April 28, 2016, that NAFUSA member Peter Vaira will be among this year’s recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Awards. See: Lifetime Achievement Award Winners Announced _ The Legal Intelligencer (1).

The Intelligencer, the daily legal newspaper in Philadelphia, will present the awards at a public dinner at a later date, announced that,

Our focus in selecting this group of individuals was to represent the figures who have helped to shape the law in Pennsylvania, whether through their work on the bench, assisting those in need of legal services, building a firm or any other means. We sought to honor attorneys who have had a distinct impact on the legal profession in the state.

Vaira served as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania 1978-1983, and is currently a partner at Greenblatt Pierce Engle Funt Flores in Philadelphia.

Ted Olson Calls For Truce on Supreme Court Confirmation Battles

Ted Olson

In an opinion published on April 28, 2016, in The Wall Street Journal, A Supreme Court Challenge for Democrats, NAFUSA member Ted Olson opines,

The relentless partisan warfare over Supreme Court appointments, including the latest manifestation involving Judge Merrick Garland, is disheartening, damaging to the court and corrosive to civil discourse. The Supreme Court renders 70 to 80 decisions every year, 20% to 30% of them highly controversial. Public acceptance of contentious outcomes, even from those who strongly disagree, is important to the stability of our Republic. And the public’s willingness to accept decisions depends on the court’s moral authority, independence, reputation and integrity.

But Olson states that a truce cannot be one-sided, arguing that the Rubicon seems to have been crossed in 1987 with the Senate rejection of Robert Bork. He urges that the Republicans could make Judge Garland’s nomination a turning point, but “Democrats must make a credible commitment to keep their part of the bargain.”

If, however, a pact could be reached among responsible Republican and Democratic leaders to give well-qualified Supreme Court nominees of either party a hearing and a vote within 120-180 days of a nomination, we could start down a path toward restoring an atmosphere of respect and civility to this process—and to prospective Supreme Court justices.

Olson, a former U.S. solicitor general, spoke on Supreme Court issues at the 2013 NAFUSA conference in Washington. He is a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

NAFUSA Officers and Board to Meet in New Orleans

Don Washington

The NAFUSA annual spring board meeting will take place in New Orleans on May 14, 2016. The board meets twice a year: at the fall conference and in the spring. Members pay their own travel and hotel expenses. NAFUSA members in the New Orleans area are invited to join the board at related social events. Former board member Don Washington and his law firm, Jones Walker LLP, are hosting this year’s meeting. Local NAFUSA members Don Cazayoux and Jim Letten will join us for dinner, as will local U.S. Attorney Ken Polite.

NAFUSA Liaison Committee To Meet With DAG and AGAC

Greg Vega

Greg Vega

NAFUSA President Greg Vega will lead the NAFUSA Liaison Committee to Washington on May 5 to meet with Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (AGAC) to discuss issues of mutual interest. This continues a series of meetings with Department officials which began in 2010.

The Liaison Committee is composed of President Vega, President Elect Bart Daniel, Foundation President Mike McKay, Ken Wainstein, Jenny Durkan and Executive Director Rich Rossman.