Adam J. Wasserman represents investment advisors, hedge funds, mutual funds, investment banks, broker-dealers, corporations, and their senior executives in white collar criminal defense matters, Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulatory investigations, internal investigations, and securities and complex commercial litigation. In 2012, he was selected as one of the nation's five White Collar "Rising Stars" under the age of 40 by Law360. Since 2012, Mr. Wasserman has been recognized by The Legal 500 United States for securities litigation and shareholder class action defense. In 2013, he was named to the New York Metro Super Lawyers list in connection with his securities litigation work. Mr. Wasserman was also appointed to Law360's White Collar Editorial Advisory Board for 2014.
Mr. Wasserman has represented the ten independent directors of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in the investigations, litigations, and corporate governance matters arising from the collapse of Lehman Brothers in what is the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. He is counsel to the independent directors in the consolidated securities actions, purported ERISA class actions, Congressional hearings, and related litigations, bankruptcy court proceedings, arbitrations and appeals. Among other things, Mr. Wasserman has played a leading role in the successful settlement of the multi-district securities class action (without any individual contribution by the directors), the dismissal of the ERISA class action with prejudice (which he successfully argued before the Second Circuit), the dismissal of numerous opt-out actions, and the defense of the directors in the year-long Bankruptcy Examiner's investigation – which ultimately concluded that there were no colorable claims against his clients.
In other notable matters, Mr. Wasserman served as trial counsel in a five month federal criminal trial, selected by the New York Law Journal as one of the "Top Cases of 2004," defending the chief operating officer of one of the nation's largest cable television companies who was accused of conspiring to commit a multi-billion dollar fraud. Mr. Wasserman helped his client obtain an acquittal/dismissal of eight counts (including conspiracy, bank fraud, and wire fraud), and a hung jury on the remaining securities fraud charges.
Mr. Wasserman has extensive experience defending broker-dealers, their senior executives, and their traders in SEC, New York Attorney General, and other investigations into such matters as auction rate securities, gifts and gratuities, conflicts of interest, and market manipulation.
In addition, Mr. Wasserman represents hedge funds and their senior management in securities investigations and litigations – relating to such issues as insider trading, concerted action, late trading, and style drift. And, he has actively advised several hedge funds and other investment advisors on insider trading issues, policies and practices in light of the recent wave of DOJ and SEC cases regarding the use of "expert networks" and other matters. Mr. Wasserman is a senior fellow from practice for the Regulatory Compliance Association and speaks and writes extensively on enforcement issues facing hedge funds and other investment advisors. He has been interviewed about hedge fund related litigation by Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Hedge Fund Alert, Hedge Fund Law Report, and other leading publications.
Mr. Wasserman's representative matters have included: White Collar, Regulatory and Other Investigations
- Representing the outside directors of an insurance company conducting an investigation into claims practices.
- Advising the audit committee of a Chinese company in connection with SEC and internal investigations into the accuracy of the company's financials.
- Defending a senior investment banking executive in SEC and New York State Attorney General investigations into Auction Rate Securities.
- Representing an international investment bank in an SEC/NASD investigation into research analysts' use of "matchmaker" firms.
- Conducting an internal investigation for a global investment bank into potential insider trading issues.
- Defending the head of U.S. equity research of a global investment bank in SEC, New York Attorney General, and SRO investigations relating to alleged research analyst conflicts of interests.
- Defending a senior executive at broker-dealer in SEC and NASD (now FINRA) investigations into gifts and entertainment practices.
- Convincing the NYSE, NASD and AMEX not to file charges against traders in three separate investigations (involving such allegations as market manipulation and marking the close) after Wells notices had already been issued.
- Successfully defending the COO of a cable company at a five-month criminal trial.
- Successfully defending a real estate developer indicted for RICO and RICO conspiracy, convincing the Department of Justice to drop all felony charges.
- Representing a reinsurance executive in parallel DOJ and SEC investigations into finite insurance accounting practices, helping the client avoid any charges.
Hedge/Mutual Fund Representations
- Defending outside directors of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in all litigation arising out of Lehman's bankruptcy.
- Defending the former CEO of Merrill Lynch in a multi-district securities litigation relating to Merrill's acquisition by Bank of America.
- Defending a former CFO of Bank of America in a securities class action concerning MBS repurchases.
- Successfully defending former CEO of the NYSE in actions brought by seat holders concerning the exchange's merger with Archipelago, obtaining dismissals of all cases.
Complex Commercial Litigation and Advice
- Representing UK investment advisor in connection with its first OCIE examination by the SEC.
- Representing multi-billion dollar investment advisor in SEC insider trading investigation.
- Conducting an internal investigation for a hedge fund into "expert network" issues.
- Defending a major hedge fund manager in an SEC insider trading investigation, convincing the government not to file any charges against our client after a Wells notice had already been issued.
- Advising a hedge fund in a SEC/European regulatory inquiry into whether one of the fund's investments implicated concerted action rules.
- Defending a hedge fund operations employee in SEC and New York Attorney General investigations into market timing and late trading, helping the client avoid any charges even though a Wells notice had been issued.
- Successfully defending investment advisors for three major mutual fund complexes in purported federal class actions regarding their funds' alleged failure to participate in securities class action settlements.
- Defending the independent directors of a major mutual funds complex in a revenue sharing action class action, obtaining a voluntary dismissal of all claims.
- Representing a hedge fund and its senior management in securities fraud actions brought by investors concerning an alleged shift in the fund's investment strategy, defeating plaintiffs' attempt to install a receiver at the fund.
- Advising collateral managers regarding potential litigation issues in connection with restructuring their CDOs.
- Advising commercial bank on regulatory risks in connection with a money laundering investigation of another bank that it was seeking to acquire.
- Advising global insurance company on regulatory and litigation issues in connection with the auction of one of its core businesses.
- Representing a real estate developer in partnership disputes and several litigations over a Las Vegas land deal.
- Advising UK plaintiffs on New York law issues relating to the publication of celebrity photos in an international tabloid.
Mr. Wasserman has also represented clients in other litigations relating to corporate, employment, antitrust, trusts and estates, and contract matters.
Pomona College, B.A., 1994, Magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
Harvard Law School, J.D., 1997, Cum laude, managing editor of the Harvard Journal on Legislation
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Honorable Franklin S. Van Antwerpen, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Mr. Wasserman is Co-Chair of Dechert's New York Pro Bono Committee and maintains a varied pro bono practice. He has won asylum for a detained Somali refugee, helped obtain a declaratory judgment against the New York City Police Department on behalf of clean needle exchange program participants, successfully represented the Brooklyn District Attorney's office defeating a defendant's appeal of his second-degree murder conviction, obtained parole for a D.C. inmate serving a sentence of twenty-years to life, and advised the New York City Campaign Finance Board in a dispute over its interpretation of the city's campaign finance laws. He is currently representing a Louisiana death row inmate in post-convictions proceedings. Mr. Wasserman has also served as a member of the New York State Bar Association's Special Committee on Public Trust and Confidence in the Legal System.