Alumni play significant roles in Wall Street cleanup

As the crisis on Wall Street continues to affect the global economy and events unfold at a breakneck pace, numerous Law School alumni are working to implement solutions. From directing key aspects of the government bailout program to various positions in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy to regulatory oversight, here are the some of the crucial roles alumni are playing in what many say is the worst financial meltdown since the 1930s.

Neil M. Barofsky '95, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, was confirmed by the Senate on December 8, 2008, to be special inspector general of the U.S. Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program, part of Congress's emergency bailout plan for the financial industry. (See related story).   

Lee Meyerson '81, a partner and leader of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett's financial institutions practice, is directing his firm's team as the sole advisor to the Treasury Department on how to structure the federal government's ownership of large stakes in banks in order to get credit flowing in the economy again.

Judge James Peck '71 was selected at random to preside over the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy proceedings. Although the second most junior bankruptcy judge in Manhattan, Peck worked for 16 years as a bankruptcy litigator at Schulte Roth & Zabel and prior to that worked at Duane Morris in Philadelphia. Peck "knows time is money," Jack Williams, a professor of law at Georgia State University and resident scholar at the American Bankruptcy Institute, told "He's an outstanding judge for this case because he has a deep appreciation for markets."

Dennis Dunne '90, partner and leader of the restructuring practice at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, heads the firm's team representing the creditors' committee in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. The representation of the committee, which constitutes the largest unsecured institutional creditors, is usually the most coveted assignment in a major bankruptcy apart from debtor's counsel.

B. Robbins Kiessling '76, a partner and banking practice leader at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, advised the consortium of banks providing Lehman Brothers with a liquidity facility. Kiessling's practice encompasses a broad range of finance, banking, financial institution and related matters, including syndicated bank financings, leveraged finance, capital markets transactions, and mergers and acquisitions. Cravath is now being considered to represent Citi's 15-member board.

James Clarkson '69 was appointed as acting regional director of the Securities and Exchange Commission's New York regional office, which is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of enforcement actions and the performance of compliance inspections in the region. Clarkson currently serves as the director of regional office operations in the enforcement division at the SEC's Washington, D.C. headquarters. He will continue in that position and split his time between Washington and New York until a permanent regional director is named. Clarkson has worked at the SEC for more than 30 years and has received the Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor the Commission bestows on members of its staff.

Eric Dinallo '90, who had been appointed insurance superintendent by Governor Eliot Spitzer, remains in that post under Governor David Paterson. He maneuvered to stabilize the bond-insurance industry and played a key role in the bailout of AIG. He was one of the first to sound the alarm on credit-default swaps. Dinallo could be a candidate to head the SEC in President-elect Barack Obama's administration.  Bradley Smith '74 , a partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell, is leading the team representing the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the AIG bailout negotiations.


Bradley Smith '74, a partner at David Polk & Wardwell, is leading the team representing the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the AIG bailout negotiations.