Third Skadden Alumnus, Gary A. Rubin, Joins WTAII PLLC

Gary A. Rubin has joined WTAII PLLC as a member of the firm.  Mr. Rubin has more than twenty years of experience representing individuals and companies in corporate investigations and government enforcement proceedings involving anti-corruption, money laundering, antitrust, commodities, and securities laws.  Mr. Rubin also litigates civil matters in state and federal courts. 

Prior to joining WTAII, Mr. Rubin spent seventeen years at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP where he worked with WTAII’s co-founders Warren T. Allen II and Ray D. McKenzie.  Most recently, Mr. Rubin served as an outside consultant for the in-house litigation group of a global financial services company, where he advised on government investigations and class action litigation related to ERISA and securities laws.

McKenzie Invited to Join Edward Bennett Williams American Inn of Court

Co-Founder Ray D. McKenzie has been admitted to the Edward Bennett Williams American Inn of Court, an invitation-only professional organization devoted to white collar practice.  As one of the few Inns of Court specializing in white collar criminal prosecution and defense, the Edward Bennett Williams Inn of Court’s membership includes members of the federal and local judiciary in the District of Columbia, U.S. Department of Justice officials, and some of the most established defense attorneys in Washington, D.C.  The American Inn of Court is designed to improve the skills, professionalism, and ethics of the bench and the bar.  McKenzie is a former federal prosecutor, having served the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division where, in 2018, he was awarded the U.S. Attorney’s Award for Excellence in Prosecution of Fraud.

McKenzie Shares Thoughts with Law360 on $150M Deutsche Bank Settlement

Co-Founder Ray D. McKenzie spoke with Law360 regarding the $150 million fine recently imposed on Deutsche Bank AG by the New York Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) for alleged failures in its anti-money-laundering compliance program.  DFS’s allegations focused on Deutsche Bank’s relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and two correspondent banks, Danske Bank Estonia and FBME Bank.  McKenzie opined that the fine imposed on Deutsche Bank serves as a warning to other financial institutions that they should have compliance programs in place that recognize the risk of dealing with particular clients and should take appropriate corrective action when those programs identify red flags.  

McKenzie Shares Thoughts with Law360 on PPP Investigations

WTAII PLLC co-founder and former Assistant United States Attorney Ray D. McKenzie shared a few thoughts with Law360 about the initial prosecutions being brought in connection with the federal Paycheck Protection Program and investigations that may be on the horizon for financial institutions.  Thousands of financial institutions have participated in the program, which was designed to help qualifying businesses avoid layoffs by providing loans that are forgivable under certain conditions.  Several weeks after billions of dollars were disbursed by financial institutions participating in the program, federal and state authorities issued subpoenas to several major banks.  Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Department of Justice brought an initial set of charges against individual applicants who allegedly committed fraud or provided false statements in their PPP loan applications.  Drawing upon his experience as a federal prosecutor, McKenzie suggested that financial institutions likely are not the targets of current investigations for which the subpoenas were issued.  He cautioned, however, that financial institutions could face scrutiny if investigations suggest systemic failures with the diligence required under applicable laws. 

Justice Demands Our Voices

We had planned a post celebrating our one-year launch anniversary; but the unnecessary death of George Floyd in Minneapolis compels us to instead speak out for justice. Both the firm’s founders served in law enforcement, and we appreciate that most people who serve do so honorably with the best intentions. As lawyers, we are also mindful that the justice process must play out for the rule of law to prevail. But police misconduct and biases destroy the trust our justice system requires.  It is incumbent on everyone to speak out—loudly—against the abuse of authority.  We grieve for Mr. Floyd and too many others to name.  We hope firms with bigger voices than ours will join us in calling for accountability.


Ray D. McKenzie and Warren T. Allen II

COVID-19: How to Mitigate Compliance Risk Amid a Crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic places enormous strain on businesses as they attempt to comply with ever-shifting laws and regulations.  Many companies’ employees are doing their best to meet unprecedented business challenges while they are physically dispersed and distracted by both personal and professional stressors.  Our firm’s founding principle is that human and relationship capital are the most important assets in any business.  From that perspective, Warren T. Allen II shared advice with Thomson Reuters on measures businesses can take to continue meeting their compliance obligations while simultaneously doing what they can to foster employees’ wellbeing.

Q & A REGARDING THE FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT

In response to the strains that COVID-19 and recommended responsive measures have placed on employers and employees, on March 18, 2020, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) (“FFCRA” or the “Act”), which President Trump signed the same day. Key features of the FFCRA that will be of interest to businesses include: (1) extending and expanding Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) coverage to address certain absences relating to the current pandemic and requiring paid FMLA leave benefits in some cases; (2) establishing a new paid sick leave entitlement for similar absences; and (3) providing certain tax credits to help employers shoulder some of the costs of these benefits.

In the alert linked below, we have provided answers to common questions business have posed about some of the FFCRA’s provisions.

COVID-19 RESPONSES IN THE WASHINGTON, D.C. AREA AND INITIAL SUGGESTIONS FOR THE REGION’S BUSINESSES

On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (“SARS-CoV-2”) outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern,” and, on March 11, 2020, characterized the outbreak as a “pandemic.” Both the disease that SARS-CoV-2 causes—“coronavirus disease” or “COVID-19”—and measures intended to combat its spread have hampered businesses’ operations and will continue to do so.  Though circumstances change rapidly, for now, the following high-level summary describes federal and state responses in the greater Washington, D.C. area. The summary also includes observations about potential commercial measures businesses might explore in response to economic disruptions.

McKenzie Named as 2020 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellow

WTAII PLLC nominated Ray D. McKenzie to be a member of the 2020 class of Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Fellows.  The LCLD Fellows initiative was created to identify, train, and advance the next generation of leaders in the legal profession.  The year-long program has its initial meetings February 21–23, 2020.  Mr. McKenzie is thrilled to learn from others in the program and to contribute to the growth and development of this next generation of legal leaders.

Fourth Circuit Rules Litigants Must Assert Arbitration Rights in Foreign Litigation to Preserve Them

Litigants Should Expressly and Unequivocally Assert Arbitration Rights Early in Foreign Litigation—Fourth Circuit Ruling Suggests Failure to Do So Might Result in Forfeiture

In Iraq Middle Market Development Foundation v. Mohommad Ali Mohammad Harmoosh, the Fourth Circuit clarified the standard district courts should apply to determine whether an arbitration clause provides a viable means of invalidating an adverse foreign judgment. The Fourth Circuit explained that a party seeking to enforce an arbitration clause must expressly assert the right to arbitrate in both domestic litigation and in foreign tribunals.