Friday, April 16, 2010

What Others Are Saying About Mendelsohn's Departure

Earlier this week (see here), it was reported that Mark Mendelsohn (DOJ Deputy Chief - Fraud Section responsible for overseeing FCPA prosecutions) is headed to the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

Earlier today, Paul Weiss released this statement. Among other things, the Paul Weiss release says that Mendelsohn "is internationally acknowledged and respected as the architect and key enforcement official of the DOJ’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement program." The release notes that Mendelsohn "built the DOJ’s modern FCPA program," "designed and implemented the DOJ’s current FCPA enforcement program," and "was responsible for overseeing all investigations and prosecutions under the FCPA." According to the release, Mendelsohn's "background and experience will be an enormous asset to our clients, which are facing increased scrutiny on FCPA and other cross-border criminal and regulatory issues."

For other coverage of Mendelsohn's departure see below.

The FCPA Blog (here) notes, among other things, that "Mark Mendelsohn transformed the FCPA from a legal backwater to a headline practice" and that during his "term, no corporations mounted a courtroom defense against FCPA charges; instead all made deals with the DOJ to settle their cases." According to the FCPA Blog, "[t]hat gave Mendelsohn extraordinary power -- in the FCPA realm, he and the DOJ became prosecutor, judge, and jury."

Compliance Week (here) notes, among other things, that Mendelsohn "led a revival of FCPA enforcement when the law had lain largely dormant for more than 20 years" and that Mendelsohn "spoke at just about any public event he could find [...] to preach the gospel of FCPA compliance." The Compliance Week post contains unattributed comments calling Mendelsohn “the Moses of FCPA,” and “a veritable Oracle of Delphi … if he spoke at a conference, the high priests of the compliance world would work feverishly to decipher the meaning of his words.”

Main Justice (here) notes that Mendelsohn, "the face of the Justice Department’s aggressive crack down on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations" ... "now stands to make millions in the private sector, where the business of offering advice to companies and individuals about complying with anti-bribery laws or dealing with investigations is a hot and burgeoning area of the law."


  1. It appears the comments of the commentators, especially in the blogosphere, have had an impact. Paul Weiss' rather defensive release would lead one to believe that perhaps they protest too much.

  2. Professor - here's a question: The UK's new Bribery Act makes it illegal for certain entities to bribe foreign (US) public officials when the entity's intent is to obtain or retain business or an advantage in the conduct of business. I don't know whether the Paul Weiss firm has any UK offices, but if so, I wonder whether their hiring of Mendelsohn would have violated this new law had it been effective when he got the job offer?

  3. Paul Weiss
    Alder Castle
    10 Noble Street
    London EC2V 7JU
    United Kingdom
    Phone 44-20-7367-1600
    Fax 44-20-7367-1650

  4. Thinking creatively:

    While the UK law may not have gone into effect at the time Mr. Mendelson's offer letter from Paul Weiss, query whether any future relationships are implicated. Perhaps each time he receives a pay-check the law might be implicated? He might want to contact the British authorities on this topic.

    Also, one would need to do a country by country analysis of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.