PEOPLE : Noted Lone-Wolf Lawyer Joins Major N.Y. Law Firm

Associated Press

Stanley S. Arkin, one of the nation’s best-known trial attorneys and a leading defense lawyer in Wall Street fraud cases, has decided to hang his shingle on someone else’s door.

The 52-year-old courtroom veteran, who began his career defending accused murderers and drug dealers and later expanded to more complex cases ranging from celebrity divorces to stock manipulation, said he’s joining Chadbourne & Park, a 250-lawyer firm based in New York, on July 1.

Arkin’s decision to vacate his lone-wolf practice after 20 years surprised some colleagues in Manhattan’s elite fraternity of high-paid lawyers. But others called it a reflection of the growing power of big multiservice firms that make it increasingly difficult for smaller practices to compete.

“Going back a number of years ago, none of the large firms had that capability. Most of that work was referred out,” said Andrew Lawler, a fellow defense attorney who has maintained his own practice. “As more have taken on these matters themselves, there’s fewer referrals.”


Arkin said the increasingly complicated nature of his work required expertise in many fields, from tax law to bankruptcy, and his association with Chadbourne “will enable me to expand the scope of my practice by offering clients the varied legal resources of a major law firm.”

Asked in a telephone interview whether he feared dulling the allure of his rogue identity by joining a larger practice, he said: “I’ll be Stanley Arkin at Chadbourne Park and be even more sellable.”

Arkin is one of the country’s leading securities fraud and trial attorneys, whose client list reads like a Who’s Who of celebrities both on and off Wall Street. He’s also is an aggressive businessman who reportedly earns more than $1 million in fees a year and has been known to accept non-cash compensation ranging from African dolls to Georgia O’Keeffe paintings.

“Stanley is undoubtedly one of the top--if not the top--business getter in the private practice defense bar. More than that, he’s a remarkable lawyer,” said attorney John Siffert, an Arkin friend. Asked why Arkin would abandon his lone-wolf image, Siffert said, “a lone wolf sometimes wants to be part of the pack.”

Arkin’s best-known claim to fame in recent years has been representing Wall Street professionals implicated in fraud. He is outspoken in his criticism of what he calls the overzealous prosecution of insider trading cases, once likening it to “shooting a black-marketeer in Russia.”

His clients have included Richard B. Wigton, a Kidder, Peabody & Co. trader who faced insider trading charges later dropped by federal prosecutors; Salim B. Lewis, a well-known stock speculator convicted on charges of stock manipulation, and Ronald Yagoda, head trader at Marcus Schloss & Co., acquitted of insider trading in what became known as the “Yuppie Five” fraud ring.

One of Arkin’s most important clients was a comparative nobody: Vincent Chiarella, a printer accused of illegally trading stocks based on secret information he obtained by reading tender-offer documents he printed.

Arkin successfully argued an appeal before the Supreme Court in 1980, and the conviction was overturned in what became a landmark decision about what defined an inside trader.

He also represents Father Bruce Ritter, former head of Covenant House, a well-known charitable organization based in New York tainted by allegations of financial irregularities and sexual misconduct. His matrimonial clients include Richard Snyder, chief executive of Simon & Schuster, and “Tonight Show” host Johnny Carson.

Chadbourne & Parke is a wide-ranging law firm with offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, the United Arab Emirates and beginning this summer, Moscow.