Right after graduating from law school, Lynch went to work as a litigation assistant for the prestigious New York-based law firm Cahill Gordon & Reindel between 1984 and 1990. CG&R attorneys represented some of the more notorious figures behind the Savings and Loan Scandal of the 1980s and 1990s, including a man who had personal dealings with Charles Keating. In its profile of Lynch, the DOJ’s own website describes her as someone with extensive experience in “white collar criminal defense.” It’s very likely that Lynch went from Harvard straight to defending some of the worst financial criminals the country had ever seen at the time. On CG&R’s website, the “securities litigation and white collar defense” section describes the kind of crooks the firm defends:
Recent matters include the alleged manipulation of the US Dollar London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and multi-billion dollar federal and state court class and individual actions involving subprime and structured finance products.… We have handled some of the most significant investigations arising from existing and emerging regulation in the white collar arena, including for some of the largest transnational companies and banks as well as the largest securities rating agency.… Our securities litigation and white collar defense practice is top-ranked by Chambers USA, The Legal 500 and Benchmark Litigation.
Lynch basically got her first six years of white collar criminal defense experience working at the firm that is currently responsible for keeping the bankers behind the great subprime mortgage grift out of jail. CG&R is also defending the financial institutions that jacked up interest rates on everything from student loans to home loans out of greedy self-interest. They even defended the agencies that knowingly rated worthless mortgage-backed securities as AAA, setting up millions to lose their retirement savings in a snap.
After six years of exemplary work at this soulless law firm, Lynch walked through the revolving door to the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Eastern district of New York, which plays a major part in investigating financial crimes. She gradually worked her way up the ladder, going from an assistant U.S. attorney in 1990 to becoming the unit’s Deputy Chief of General Crimes in 1993. She was chief of the office’s Long Island division by 1998, and was tapped as U.S. Attorney by June of 1999, where she remained until 2001. Then, Lynch walked back through the revolving door to return to defending the worst of America’s worst corporate criminals.
Lynch couldn’t wait to get started at the Hogan & Hartson law firm (now known as Hogan Lovells). Interestingly enough, Lynch was a partner at Hogan, working alongside John Roberts, the current chief justice of what is the most corporate-friendly Supreme Court in decades. Hogan’s website doesn’t list its past clients, but you can get a pretty good idea by visiting the site’s “financial institutions” section:
We represent banks, brokers, insurers, asset managers, investment funds, regulators, and other market participants, large and small, on the full range of legal services. This includes corporate, competition, employment, finance, IT, intellectual property, litigation, pensions, real estate and tax.
As soon as Lynch joined Hogan in 2002, she interrupted her own vacation, came to the office without pay and immediately got to work defending an Arthur Andersen partner who had helped cook the books for Enron. From 2003 to 2005, Lynch sat on the board of the New York Federal Reserve, working directly under future U.S. Treasury secretary Tim Geithner. The New York Fed has been widely documented for its incestuous relationships with the big Wall Street banks it’s supposed to regulate. The revolving door spun once again in 2010, when President Obama appointed Lynch to her old job as U.S. Attorney of New York’s Eastern District.
Drawing on her past experience of standing up for white collar crooks, Lynch has spent the last four years treating big banks with kid gloves. Under Lynch’s oversight, the U.S. government allowed HSBC to pay a fine that amounted to five weeks of profit for the bank after they admitted to laundering $800 million for Mexican drug cartels. Lynch was also responsible for Citibank paying a $7 billion settlement– $3.8 billion of which was later billed to U.S. taxpayers – rather than going to jail over misleading millions of investors about mortgage-backed securities that were doomed to fail.
There’s really no question about whether or not Lynch will survive her senate confirmation hearing. Senator Durbin once referred to his chamber as overly subservient to the big banks, saying, “They own the place.” Bankers everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the president’s pick for the nation’s top lawyer won’t try to put any of them in jail. The senators they sponsored in the last election cycle will likely confirm her with haste.