June 23, 2011

Willkie’s Michael Schachter and Mr. Stewart discuss the line between zealous advocacy and unethical behavior.

On June 22, Willkie conducted an intimate discussion on attorney ethics with partner Michael Schachter and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James B. Stewart, who recently published his latest book Tangled Webs – How False Statements Are Undermining America: From Martha Stewart to Bernie Madoff. The CLE program, which drew over 180 attendees and was held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, addressed the line between zealous advocacy and unethical behavior. The discussion focused on recent developments in the government’s pursuit of obstruction of justice and the threats facing in-house lawyers in their interactions with the government.

Mr. Schachter, who co-chairs Willkie’s White Collar Criminal Defense Practice Group, discussed the recently dismissed prosecution of GlaxoSmithKline attorney Lauren Stevens, and also his role (as a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the SDNY’s securities fraud unit) in the conviction of media and homemaking entrepreneur Martha Stewart. James Stewart (no relation to Martha Stewart) discussed his book, which examines the impact of perjury and obstruction on our system of justice, taking the reader behind the scenes in the Martha Stewart case, as well as the cases of top White House political adviser Lewis "Scooter" Libby, home-run king Barry Bonds, and money manager Bernard Madoff.

Attendees were provided with signed copies of Mr. Stewart’s book, which was called an "engrossing re-examination of a quartet of celebrated federal investigations" by The New York Times. The Times also lauded Mr. Stewart’s "indefatigable reporting, consistent narrative drive and admirable balance."