How Much Longer Can Andrews Kurth Continue To Employ Spencer Barasch?

Almost exactly one year ago, I apologized for including Spencer Barasch in our list of Best Lawyers. The Andrews Kurth attorney with a troubling employment history had slipped through our vetting process. Well, an alert FrontBurnervian who saw that post from last May sent along a link to a Vice story about Barasch that was published a few days ago. And reading that story, I couldn’t help but wonder how the guy still has a job. From the Vice story:

Two years ago, Spencer C. Barasch, a former high-ranking Securities and Exchange Commission official based in Fort Worth, Texas, paid a $50,000 fine to settle civil charges brought against him by the United States Department of Justice for allegedly violating federal conflict-of-interest laws. The Department of Justice had alleged that Barasch, as a private attorney, had represented R. Allen Stanford, a Houston-based financier who was later found to have masterminded a $7 billion Ponzi scheme. Barasch had done so even though he’d played a central role at the SEC for years in overruling colleagues who wanted to investigate Stanford’s massive fraud. Federal law prohibits former SEC officials from representing anyone as a private attorney if they played a substantial or material role in overseeing the individual’s actions while in government. …

A three-month investigation by VICE has uncovered evidence of numerous similar instances of misconduct and potential violations of federal conflict-of-interest regulations and law by Barasch since he left the SEC. And while Barasch’s legal representation of Stanford might have been the single most consequential and egregious example of such misconduct, the new information shows that Barasch’s actions in representing Stanford were hardly an anomaly.

The Vice story was written based on a trove of internal Andrews Kurth emails, suggesting that at least one person at the firm isn’t happy that Barasch works there.

4 comments on “How Much Longer Can Andrews Kurth Continue To Employ Spencer Barasch?

  1. Is your heading a joke? Barasch is a partner in the firm and a $50,000 fine for activity that brings in millions of dollars in fees is not even a slap on the wrist but a cost of doing business. Vinson & Elklins took in over $150 million in fees from Enron and settled by returning $30 million and not having to admit any wrong doing. It is lawyers policing lawyers and they aren’t going to stop the gravy train.
    Do you think Paul Coggins is the least bit embarrased at representing Barasch ? Not as long as his checks keep clearing.

  2. The Vice story spells out a few other instances of his (alleged) wrongdoing in addition to the Sanford business.

    I have no idea why Andrews Kurth has kept him around for so long. AK cut people left and right during the recession, and they still are. Somehow he has survived. I hear he now can’t bring in clients of his own because of his history. And he isn’t well liked within the firm. He’s a screamer, for one thing. Like any big firm, AK has its share of drunks, sociopaths, depressives and seat warmers among its partners, alongside a lot of very good, talented lawyers who have normal and functional personalities. The truly crazy – the screamers, the pill poppers, the sexual harassers, the ones whose mistresses appear at the office – tend to get culled from the herd right away. But not Spence.

  3. The Vice story spells out a few other instances of his (alleged) wrongdoing in addition to the Sanford business.

    I have no idea why Andrews Kurth has kept him around for so long. AK cut people left and right during the recession, and they’re still doing it. Somehow he has survived. I hear he now can’t bring in clients of his own because of his history. And he isn’t well liked within the firm. He’s a screamer, for one thing. Like any big firm, AK has its share of drunks, sociopaths, depressives and seat warmers among its partners, alongside a lot of very good, talented lawyers who have normal and functional personalities. The truly crazy – the screamers, the pill poppers, the sexual harassers, the ones whose mistresses appear at the office – tend to get culled from the herd right away. But not Spence.