Bernie Madoff is a man of superlative accomplishments, albeit negative ones. He bilked thousands of hedge fund investors in a gargantuan and unprecedented $50 billion Ponzi scheme. He repeatedly evaded review by the SEC, as detailed in this Wall Street Journal article.
So persuasive were Madoff’s techniques, that he managed to make all but one of the banks that invested in his fund forget basic concepts of due diligence, as Eric Turkewitz points out in a post at New York Personal Injury Attorney.
But perhaps Madoff’s biggest achievement to date is that he’s spawned an entire law firm practice area unto himself. That’s right, you can now put “Madoff law” on the list with climate change and FDA regulatory issues as the hot new practice area for 2009. According to this press release, Holland & Knight has formed a “Madoff Advisory Group” to assist clients with strategies concerning any losses arising from their involvement with Madoff’s entities.
Among other things, Holland & Knight will help with:
[A]ssessing claims against the Madoff entities, in positioning our clients to reduce the likelihood of third party claims against them, and in accessing and providing avenues for governmental relief for aggrieved parties. [In addition] the Madoff Advisory Group will help clients stay abreast of related developments, including civil and criminal litigation and legislative and regulatory actions.
Holland & Knight’s idea of bringing together existing capabilities to develop a niche out of Madoff-related activities makes sense to me. And with the news still brimming with stories of foreclosures and auto maker plant shutdowns and the collapse of the Dreier law firm, perhaps the best marketing tip for 2009 is pick up a newspaper and christen a new practice area.