tax documents Above the Law Legal Blog.jpgLawyers are often criticized for lacking an entrepreneurial spirit. They say that risk-taking visionaries end up as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, while risk-averse weenies end up as their general counsels.
But this view of lawyers isn’t universally true. Some lawyers are willing to take a business opportunity when they see it.
Exhibit A: ATL’s Lawyer of the Day, Jay Gordon. From the New York Law Journal (via TaxProf Blog):

The former chairman of the tax practice at Greenberg Traurig has resigned from the bar for taking over $1.2 million in kickbacks on tax shelters he recommended to wealthy clients.

The incident is the latest ethical embarrassment for 1,600-lawyer Greenberg Traurig. Though largely not itself accused of wrongdoing, the Miami-based firm has recently dealt with the scandal surrounding lobbyist Jack Abramoff and has also seen some partners accused of self-dealing and other questionable conduct.

Between 1999 and 2002, Jay I. Gordon steered a number of clients, including real estate tycoon and Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Peter S. Kalikow, to tax shelter sponsors who in turn directly paid Gordon more than $675,000 in “referral fees.”

We commend Mr. Gordon for thinking “outside the box.” Way to go.
For a laundry list of recent ethical issues faced by Greenberg Traurig, check out the NYLJ piece (click here, scroll down).
Former Chair of Greenberg Traurig’s Tax Department Resigns from Bar Following Kickbacks in Tax Shelter Cases [TaxProf Blog]
Ex-Greenberg Tax Chief Resigns Over Kickbacks [New York Law Journal]


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