Despite operating from just one New York office, Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello’s reputation as a premier white-collar and investigations powerhouse transcends jurisdictions and its client base often traverses borders. “They don’t do everything, but they are the best at what they do,” sums up a peer. “And that word has gotten around well beyond New York.” One peer testifies, “I refer them work. They are an extremely adept and qualified firm for handling sensitive criminal defense matters for individual defendants and corporations.” Clients stand in agreement, also offering support. “Morvillo Abramowitz is among the most responsive firms in New York. It's hard to imagine they could deliver more focused and effective client service,” extols one. Another confides, “I use other firms but, when I can get them, I appreciate the personal touch I get with Morvillo.” Although white-collar crime is the firm’s most celebrated business, the firm has expanded into cases that touch on high-end commercial and labor and employment issues, largely involving executives. The cases coming through the firm, while as sensitive, and often confidential, in nature as always, have become noticeably more centered around novel and cutting-edge issues such as #MeToo, cryptocurrency, politically motivated prosecutions and social protests.
Arguably the most celebrated name on the firm’s current roster is Elkan Abramowitz, a seasoned partner revered by peers and clients alike. “[He is an] extremely talented criminal defense attorney and an exceptionally gifted trial lawyer,” extols a peer. Abramowitz and Richard Albert led the representation of the CEO of American Media, publisher of the National Enquirer, in connection with a high-profile Southern District of New York investigation relating to the well-publicized Michael Cohen scandal. Albert has his own fan base, with one peer calling him “an heir apparent to the more senior level partners.” Robert Anello is also heralded for his “unflinching approach to highly sensitive individual matters.” A client addresses Anello as “the go-to advocate in New York for high-stakes white collar investigations.” This client goes on to add, “He also excels at handling complex commercial disputes, especially ones that touch on regulatory and white-collar issues.” Anello leads the representation of a former Platinum Partners employee charged by the DoJ and SEC in connection with allegations that hedge fund assets were overvalued and that misrepresentations were made to investors. Anello resolved the criminal case by securing a deferred prosecution agreement with the government in which the government agreed to dismiss the indictment against the client with prejudice after the expiration of a two-year deferral period. Anello and Catherine Foti also handled a recent #MeToo-related case, which was particularly novel in that proceedings were conducted via ZOOM. The pair mediated the case and got it resolved. Foti is especially engaged in the #MeToo capacity, in which she acts on cases as plaintiff as well as defendant. Foti and Jodi Peikin, another practitioner operating in this space, are working together on a #MeToo case for a well-known newscaster. Foti’s practice also includes labor and employment matters. The firm is commended by peers for its development of its “next-generation” bench strength. Benjamin Fischer, a partner of younger vintage who has garnered a nearly annual increase in peer acclaim, is viewed as one whose profile warrants greater media attention. “You need to recognize Ben Fischer as a national white-collar star,” insists a peer. “He is my go-to when I need someone to represent an individual. I view him as the leader of the next generation there [at Morvillo.] He has an excellent bedside manner for senior executives.” Fischer acts (with Jonathan Sack) in the representation of the Spanish media company Imagina Group, a leading global content, production, and sports media provider, in connection with the Company's resolution of a multi-year investigation by the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York into improper payments made by one-time managers of the company to obtain media and marketing rights to certain World Cup soccer qualifying matches in the Central American and Caribbean regions. For his part, Sack is also championed by a client as “extremely knowledgeable and experienced, someone who excels at representing corporate executives caught up in DoJ investigations.” Fischer also acts with another younger star, Brian Jacobs in advising more than 100 individuals addressing issues relating to undisclosed offshore accounts. The firm also got another boost of young star power in 2019 with a pair of recruits that have been dubbed “the Fraud Twins” by others within the firm for their specific focus. Telemachus Kasulis, who joined the firm in January 2019 from his post at the Southern District of New York, has been attending to criminal matters primarily in the health care industry. Christopher Harwood, another relatively recent recruit, manages a diverse practice that includes commercial and civil fraud work, as well as the criminal work typical of the firm.
Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello has a dominating reputation as being a white-collar and investigations powerhouse. The firm has also established itself in the labor and employment realm with its expertise in handling some of the most sensitive and complex disputes and investigations. The firm’s employment practice is often called upon by high-profile individuals seeking formidable lawyers in disputes that are bound to gain public attention. In employment litigation, the practice specializes in single-plaintiff cases that involve all types of employment-related claims, but especially issues related to sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace. In addition, the firm maintains a significant sexual harassment investigations practice.
Catherine Foti is one of the most preeminent lawyers handling independent investigations and claims involving sexual harassment and abuse. Her expertise in handling sensitive and often highly confidential matters makes clients seek her out for representation. Foti is also deeply experienced with cases that require the ability to handle aggressive press coverage, media, and public attention. Most recently, she has been retained to represent an employee in the Chamber of the former Governor’s office in connection with the Attorney General’s high-profile sexual harassment investigation stemming from claims against former Governor Cuomo. Foti is also involved in litigation involving claims of retaliation, discrimination and sexual harassment.
Robert Anello is well-known as a trial lawyer with a practice that spans numerous areas. His labor and employment practice predominantly focuses on representing individual plaintiffs challenging their former employers, particularly in matters alleging discrimination, sexual harassment and abuse, and retaliation, among other claims for wrongful termination. Some of the clients that Anello has worked with in the past year include a former CEO and a New York City school teacher who has retained the team for the second time to handle another race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against the Department of Education and the New York City police department. In addition to a significant employment litigation practice, Anello has also been involved in labor disputes, recently representing a labor union challenging a New York City law that seeks to regulate unions, which the team alleges violates the NLRA.
New labor and employment star Christopher Harwood calls upon his experience as a former prosecutor and expertise in civil and criminal litigation to assist clients through complex employment matters. Over the last year, he has worked with his fellow partners on several matters, including representing a former Chief Innovation Officer who alleges that they were retaliated against after raising concerns of about racial discrimination and a hostile work environment. Harwood has also led internal investigations, most recently representing a multinational company investigating the potential liability after former employees allegedly engaged in misconduct.