Neil Barofsky

Neil Barofsky '95, who became a senior fellow and adjunct professor at the Law School in April 2011 following a high-profile stint in the federal government, has joined the New York office of Jenner & Block as a litigation partner, the firm announced yesterday.

In 2008, President George W. Bush appointed Barofsky as special inspector general of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), formed to stabilize the nation’s economy during the financial crisis. In a series of reports filed by his office, Barofsky questioned the priorities and effectiveness of the Treasury Department’s bailout programs, and he in turn drew both praise and criticism from government officials, members of Congress, and Wall Street executives.

Barofsky began reestablishing his ties to the Law School even while serving as overseer of TARP. In January 2010, he gave the inaugural Guarini Lecture, helping launch the Frank J. Guarini Government Scholars Institute. As a senior fellow, Barofsky taught a seminar on government responses to the financial crisis, worked with colleagues at the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law, and moderated a Milbank Tweed Forum titled, “Crooks on the Loose? Did Felons Get a Free Pass in the Financial Crisis?”

In July 2012 Barofsky published Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street, which drew widespread press attention and quickly became a best-seller. Barofsky himself established prominent footholds in traditional and new media, serving as a regular commentator for Bloomberg and launching a buzz-generating Twitter account that now has more than 13,000 followers.

Unlike many major law firms, Jenner & Block has occasionally represented clients that have sued financial institutions for their role in the financial crisis. “By joining a firm that takes on big banks, Mr. Barofsky appears to be taking a different tack from other regulators or top law enforcement officials who join firms that defend the same institutions they previously oversaw or policed,” New York Times reporter Gretchen Morgenson wrote in an article about Barofsky’s move.

“I feel incredibly blessed that I was able to spend the last couple of years at the Law School,” Barofsky said in a phone call from his new Jenner & Block office. “Intellectually, it was just an amazing experience.” He also noted that “without the incredible generosity of the Law School” he would not have been able to reflect on his time in Washington and write his book. “After I get my feet on the ground in private practice, I hope to come back and teach,” said Barofsky, who remains an adjunct professor. “I very much plan to continue to be part of the NYU Law community.”

Posted on September 10, 2013