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Barry H. Berke

Partner

Phone: 212.715.7560 Fax: 212.715.7660 New York

A partner and co-chair of Kramer Levin’s Litigation Department, and White Collar Defense and SEC Regulatory practice, Barry H. Berke is a nationally-recognized trial lawyer, who has represented individuals and corporations in many sensitive and high-profile investigations and proceedings, and has tried dozens of cases before juries and judges. He has handled major matters involving all aspects of white collar crime, including allegations of securities, accounting and bank fraud, RICO and FCPA violations, tax offenses, bribery, bid-rigging, and embezzlement. Mr. Berke also has represented prominent corporations and individuals in class action and other complex litigation.

Mr. Berke is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He was selected in 2010 as one of the “Top 10 Lawyers in New York” by Super Lawyers, and as one of the “Top 100” by Super Lawyers from 2008-2013. He has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America (2007-2015), Chambers USA (2008-2014), Legal 500 US (2009-2014), and Benchmark Litigation (2009-2013) as one of the leading trial lawyers and white-collar criminal defense lawyers in the United States. In 2012, Chambers USA ranked Mr. Berke in its top band for his success as both a trial lawyer nationwide and white collar criminal defense lawyer, recognizing him to be "the cream of the crop" for trial work, "an incredibly sharp legal mind and an awesome trial lawyer," who is known for his "great connection with juries." Legal 500 cited Mr. Berke as “one of the most high-profile and sought after white-collar attorneys in New York.” Benchmark Litigation has consistently named him a litigation star, citing him “for his white collar and securities achievements” and as “the go-to guy for white collar trial work.” The National Law Journal profiled Mr. Berke as part of a special report on five winning trial attorneys for 2011. He also was included in Law360’s 2011 Most Valuable Player list, one of only four named nationally in the area of white collar criminal defense. In 2007 he was profiled in The American Lawyer’s “Young Litigators Fab Fifty” as one of the 50 leading litigation attorneys in the United States under the age of 45.

Mr. Berke is co-author of the textbook The Practice of Federal Criminal Law: Prosecution and Defense, published in January 2006 by Thomson/West as part of its American Casebook Series. Mr. Berke has taught courses on criminal law and professional responsibility at New York University School of Law, and lectures frequently on criminal justice issues in a variety of forums. He is also chairman of the board of directors of the Coalition for the Homeless and chairman of the board of directors of the Federal Defenders of New York, Inc. Additionally, Mr. Berke is a member of the board of advisors of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City. Mr. Berke is also a member of the firm’s governing executive committee.

Prior to joining Kramer Levin, Mr. Berke was a trial lawyer with the Federal Defenders’ Office for the Southern District of New York for four years. During that time, he defended individuals accused of a wide range of federal offenses, serving as lead counsel in numerous jury trials and achieving favorable verdicts in a large majority of those cases.

Representative Matters 

  • In 2011, Mr. Berke successfully represented a former investment representative at Deutsche Bank Alex Brown in a criminal prosecution in the Southern District of New York related to what has been characterized as the largest tax fraud prosecution in US history. He was charged with conspiring with three lawyers from Jenkens & Gilchrist and others to deprive the IRS of billions of tax dollars through the use of allegedly abusive tax shelters. After a 10-week trial, our client was acquitted on all nine criminal charges. 
  • Mr. Berke’s client, the head of a multi-billion dollar investment fund, was cleared of all charges in an indictment in the Southern District of New York that alleged he conspired to bribe the President of Azerbaijan in connection with the privatization of the state-owned oil company in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. 
  • Mr. Berke has represented Bear Stearns in the criminal investigation and civil proceedings focused on the collapse of two Bear Stearns investment funds related to the sub-prime mortgage crisis. In the criminal investigation in which two of its officers were indicted, Mr. Berke successfully persuaded the United States Attorneys’ office for the Eastern District of New York not to charge Bear Stearns or require the company to enter into a deferred prosecution or non-prosecution agreement. 
  • In a major victory in the first bank against bank lawsuit arising out of the financial crisis, Mr. Berke’s client, JPMorgan Chase won summary judgment of all claims in a federal fraud and breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit brought by Bank of America against JPMC’s Bear Stearns Asset Management ("BSAM") unit in connection with a $4 billion CDO transaction as to which Bank of America alleged that BSAM improperly concealed material adverse facts.
  • Mr. Berke represented AIG, Inc. in a variety of regulatory and law enforcement proceedings, including investigations by the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission. 
  • Mr. Berke represented Bernard Kerik, the former Police Commissioner of New York City, in a criminal case in the Southern District of New York. 
  • Mr. Berke has also represented a variety of other federal and state elected and appointed officials in a wide range of investigations. 
  • Mr. Berke has conducted internal investigations for the boards of directors and audit committees of many public and private companies, including Moody’s, AIG, Bear Stearns and DoubleClick. 
  • Mr. Berke represented the general counsel of a company charged with violating federal immigration and labor laws. Following successful motions to sever and limit the charges, all charges were dismissed on the eve of trial and the client has resumed the private practice of law. 
  • Mr. Berke represented a lawyer who was charged with participating in a multi-million dollar securities arbitrage fraud. Following a two-month trial, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty on all 23 counts. 
  • Mr. Berke represented the president of an investment company charged with engaging in a 60 million dollar bond fraud. All charges were dismissed following the close of the government's case at trial. 
  • Mr. Berke represented an accountant and officer of a Fortune 20 company in an accounting fraud investigation by the SEC. Following the issuance of two Wells submissions, Mr. Berke successfully persuaded the SEC to not file any charges against his client. 
  • Mr. Berke successfully represented a doctor who operated a large medical center in a significant health care fraud case that received wide-spread media attention. The doctor avoided criminal prosecution, regained his medical license, and resumed the practice of medicine. 
  • Mr. Berke represented the owner of a 1933 Double Eagle gold coin, believed to be the rarest and most valuable coin in the world, that the United States government claimed was stolen government property. After successfully persuading the government to dismiss criminal charges, he represented the coin dealer in a protracted civil forfeiture proceeding that resulted in a landmark settlement on the eve of trial whereby the coin was auctioned for a record $7.6 million and the proceeds divided between his client and the government. 
  • Mr. Berke represented a well-known law firm in an arbitration brought by a former partner. He won the arbitration in a significant decision that upheld the enforceability of the firm’s partnership agreement and non-compete provisions that had been challenged by the former partner. 
  • Mr. Berke represented a businessman at the center of the State of Connecticut Treasurer’s office corruption scandal, and, with co-counsel, successfully persuaded the government to end its investigation and criminal prosecution of his client. 
  • Mr. Berke represented a former officer of a leading investment bank alleged to have participated in a fraud involving hundreds of millions of dollars, and successfully persuaded the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York to not pursue criminal charges against him. 
  • Mr. Berke has won a number of high profile boxing arbitrations.

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J.D., cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1989
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B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Duke University, 1986
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New York, 1989
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U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, 1995
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U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 1992
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U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 1990
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Honorable Mary Johnson Lowe,  U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 1989 - 1990
    -American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
    -Chairman, Board of Directors, Coalition for the Homeless
    -New York University, Acting Assistant Professor of Law, 1995
    -Chairman, Board of Directors, Federal Defenders of New York, Inc.
    -Board of Advisors, Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.
    -Board of Directors, City Bar Fund, 2007-2010
    -The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Judiciary Committee, 2002-2003; Committee on Criminal Advocacy, 1999-2002; Special Committee on Representation in Capital Cases, 1995-1998
    -American Bar Association
    -National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    -New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

    Teaching

    -New York University, Adjunct Professor, 2003-2007
    -New York University, Adjunct Assistant Professor, 1995-2003
    -New York University, Acting Assistant Professor of Law, 1995
    -National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Hauppauge, NY, 1997-Present, teaching trial advocacy skills as a member of the faculty for the NITA Northeast Regional Program