Pepper Hamilton LLP is merging with the law firm run by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who supervised the wind-down of bankrupt MF Global Holdings Ltd. (MFGLQ) and a probe of the Pennsylvania State University sex-abuse scandal.
Freeh will join the 122-year-old Philadelphia-based firm’s executive committee, Pepper Hamilton said today in a statement. Lawyers at Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP will become members of Pepper Hamilton’s white-collar litigation and investigations group.
“The Freeh Group will deepen and broaden Pepper’s already substantial corporate investigations, white collar advocacy and enforcement practice in key markets,” Nina Gussack, chairwoman of Pepper Hamilton’s executive committee, said in the statement.
Freeh, 62, a former federal judge who led the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1993 to 2001, serves as a bankruptcy trustee for MF Global Holdings and issued a 267-page report last month on Penn State’s handling of the scandal surrounding Jerry Sandusky, the former assistant football coach convicted of dozens of counts of sexual abuse.
Founded in 1890, Pepper Hamilton has more than 500 lawyers in seven states and the District of Columbia, according to the firm’s website. The merger will be effective Sept. 1.
The deal includes the acquisition of Freeh Group International Solutions LLC, a consulting firm that advises on risk, compliance and security. The group, whose staff includes a former U.S. Navy SEAL, will keep its name and continue to operate independently of the law firm under the leadership of James Bucknam, its president and chief executive officer, according to the statement.
“This transaction will allow us to do a lot more than conduct investigations and uncover problems,” Freeh said in the statement. “We will now have the depth to react quickly to sophisticated, complex issues anywhere in the world.”
Freeh’s relationship with Pepper Hamilton dates back to his government days, the former judge said in a phone interview. Pepper attorneys assisted Freeh’s group on the Penn State investigation, the MF Global bankruptcy and a Daimler AG bribery case, Freeh said.
At Pepper Hamilton, Freeh will divide his time between conventional legal matters and investigations, though the latter are his passion and have been since he began as a 25-year-old FBI agent in New York working organized crime cases, he said in the interview.
“We have been growing slowly since we started six years ago and have had some good-sized engagements,” Freeh said. “This combination is a good opportunity to have a larger platform and access to resources in terms of white-collar investigations, and the cultures fit well together.”
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