Martha Stewart, Musical Chairs, Old People

Musical Chairs: John Martin + Otto Obermaier = $$$

otto obermaier otto g obermaier and john s martin john martin judge john martin.JPGHey, there’s a new firm on the block — or maybe it’s an old firm? Think of it as a movie remake, a Broadway revival, or the Simon and Garfunkel reunion concert.
Former federal judge John S. Martin (S.D.N.Y.; black-and-white pic), and prominent criminal defense lawyer (and ex-U.S. Attorney) Otto G. Obermaier (color pic) — who formed a white-collar criminal defense firm back in 1972 — are reuniting. Martin is leaving Debevoise & Plimpton, where he has been of counsel (and billing out at $1,000 an hour). Obermaier is leaving Weil, Gotshal & Manges, where he developed a thriving white-collar practice.
Their new firm, Martin & Obermaier, will rent space from the firm of another superstar lawyer: Robert G. Morvillo, the famed white-collar criminal specialist, who has had many high-profile clients over the years. Martin and Obermaier were once law partners with Morvillo, back in the 1970s.*
Obermaier and Martin aren’t exactly spring chickens: Obermaier is 70, and Martin is 71. They’re kind of like the Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathau of the criminal defense bar — just not dead.
But they obviously have a wealth of experience and connections. And they intend to focus their practice on private arbitration of commercial disputes, which can be super-lucrative for ex-judges and elder statesmen of the bar. At their former Biglaw homes, Obermaier and Martin’s ability to do this kind of work was limited by client conflicts; at their new firm, they will probably have more business than they can handle.
Good luck, gentlemen! Not that you’ll need it. 😉
* Yes, Robert Morvillo represented Martha Stewart. And yes, Martha Stewart was convicted and shipped off to Camp Cupcake. But as the old saying goes, “You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken s**t.”
Martin & Obermaier Redux [WSJ Law Blog]
Two Old Buddies (and Leading NY Lawyers) Reunite To Launch Small Firm []

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