Some colleagues of indicted lawyer Marc Dreier, accused of stealing $380 million from hedge funds in investors, believe his alleged crimes may have been driven by a need to support an extravagant lifestyle and the aggressive expansion of his law firm.
The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) spoke to the colleagues and chronicled the excesses of Dreier’s fast-paced life. Dreier had “four dazzling homes on two coasts, drove an Aston Martin and sailed a 123-foot yacht,” the story says. “The law firm he owned displayed artwork worth at least $30 million. And he gave many of its 250 attorneys huge guaranteed compensation, no matter how much business they generated. His colleagues couldn’t figure out how he afforded it all.” Some were under the impression he was from a monied family.
In reality, Dreier was the son of a Polish immigrant who started a small chain of movie theaters, the story says. A former lawyer with Fulbright & Jaworski, he originally started his own law firm with another partner who dropped out, leaving Dreier as the only equity partner.
Once in charge, Dreier worked to expand the firm, according to the story. He “acquired law practices on both coasts, signing up lawyers with big contracts and taking leases on space at the best addresses—all the while throwing lavish parties, developing a swank restaurant in Santa Monica, Calif., and meeting the terms of a settlement with his now-former wife.”