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July 24, 2013

A Legal Bane of Wall Street Switches Sides

When he left his role as Wall Street’s top federal enforcer, Robert S. Khuzami began a long courtship with a who’s who of the legal world.

The calls rolled in from financial giants like Visa and Bridgewater, and from white-shoe law firms, like WilmerHale. Some offered outsize paydays, others promised an office not only in New York but also in Washington, where his family lives. They all wanted the benefit of his experience as a terrorism prosecutor and enforcement chief at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Six months later, lawyers briefed on the matter say, Mr. Khuzami has accepted a job that pays more than $5 million a year at Kirkland & Ellis, one of the nation’s biggest corporate law firms. In doing so, he is following the quintessential Washington script: an influential government insider becoming a paid advocate for industries he once policed.

As a partner at Kirkland, Mr. Khuzami will represent some of the same corporations that the S.E.C. oversees. Critics say this revolving door — common at the S.E.C. — undermines the agency’s independence and links it inextricably to Wall Street. Mr. Khuzami, who spent 17 years in the government and has publicly called for lawyers to build public and private experience, called defense work essential to the justice system.”

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Read full New York Times article here

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