Andrew Weissmann ’84

The Right Stuff

Winter 2009

In 1997, Andrew Weissmann ’84 helped topple Vincent “The Chin” Gigante, of the Genovese crime family. Five years later, he prosecuted senior Enron officials for their crimes. He followed that with a stint as special counsel to the director of the FBI.

Weissmann traces his illustrious career back to a pivotal moment when he watched an assistant U.S. Attorney argue a case in court. “He was really good, and really right,” says Weissmann, who was, at the time, a clerk for the late Judge Eugene Nickerson of the Eastern District of New York. “And I just thought, ‘That’s a really good way to spend your time.’”

After 11 years as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and a year with the FBI, Weissmann has moved to the other side of the courtroom, as a criminal defense attorney specializing in white-collar cases at Jenner & Block in New York.

At the firm, Weissmann is again making news. He recently argued before the 2nd
Circuit in an effort to change legal standards for corporate criminal liability. Weissmann is looking to make it harder to prosecute corporations for the actions of employees who break company regulations. “You’ve now got an anomaly that it’s easier to prosecute criminally than civilly,” he says. The appeals court has reserved judgment on the case but has suggested it be argued before the Supreme Court, which would make broader change possible. Weissmann says that is what he has been hoping for all along.