So, you want to be a big-firm deal lawyer?

Collins_3 Continuing to fly well beneath the radar screen — probably because lawyers don’t want to talk about it except in hushed tones — is the seven-year prison sentence that former Mayer Brown partner Joseph P. Collins was handed late last week.

As this earlier post explains in detail, Collins was the former outside deal lawyer for Refco, Inc., which unraveled back in 2005 under the weight of public disclosure of a series of insider transactions that were apparently designed to hide millions in liabilities from customers and investors.

As the earlier post notes and as the Memorandum of Law in support of a new trial for Collins explains, whether Collins even knew about the allegedly fraudulent nature of the transactions is highly questionable and whether he hid those transactions from anyone is even more dubious. But that hardly matters in this era of “let’s hammer the white-collar defendant.”

Meanwhile, Collins’ family will be deprived of the presence of their father for seven years.

What is it going to take for this madness to stop? A truly civilized society would find a better way.

Memorandum of Law in Support of New Trial for former Refco, Inc outside counsel, Joseph P. Collins

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