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PokerStars Law Firm Got Bill Clinton Off, Assisted U.S. Supreme Court Judge Elena Kagan

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Jun/26/2011
Skadden Arps

Just how powerful is Skadden Arps, the law firm that is currently representing PokerStars in its money laundering/bank fraud case brought by the US Justice Department?

Skadden enjoys a long list of high profile clients including former US President Bill Clinton and the newly nominated US Supreme Court Judge Elena Kagan along with a Who’s Who of the most powerful corporations in the world.   

If PokerStars were to fight the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York, its chances of winning are likely greater than 50 percent thanks to the representation it will have from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.  Gambling911.com would not hesitate to offer such a price as the self-proclaimed “odds authority”.  The odds of this matter settling before it goes to trial are much greater, however. 

With more than 2000 attorneys, Skadden is one of the top five largest law firms in the world and considered by Forbes Magazine to be “Wall Street’s Most Powerful Law Firm”.  A recent issue of The American Lawyer placed Skadden in the top 10 in 14 different categories, far more than any other firm.

On April 15, the US Attorney’s Office charged PokerStars and two other online poker companies with money laundering in connection with allegedly disguising bank transactions used for Internet gambling.  Unlike the two other companies named – Absolute Poker and Full Tilt Poker – PokerStars was quick to pay its US customers in full immediately after exiting that critical market.  PokerStars by far is still the largest Internet poker company in the world. 

Let’s take a look at some of Skadden’s most visible clients throughout the years: 

Bill Clinton -  Skadden represented the former US President in the Paula Jones matter.  Ms. Jones was a former Arkansas state employee who sued Clinton on grounds of sexual harassment.  That suit was quickly dismissed though Clinton would ultimately settle with Jones while the case was on appeal, paying her $79,999. 

Elena Kagan - The newest US Supreme Court Judge turned to Skadden Arps for confirmation prep.  The Obama Administration directed Kagan to Skadden and evidently they did a pretty good job of prepping her.  She was nominated without a hitch. 

Mickey Mouse – Skadden Arps has enjoyed great success on the M&A front, representing the likes of Disney, AT&T and Sprint.  They also made merger or acquisition deals involving Dupont-Conoco, U.S. Steel-Marathon Oil, and GE-RCA, among others.

DaimlerChrysler Fraud Matter, Donald Trump Claims - Jonathan J. Lerner of Skadden, Arps was lead trial counsel for DaimlerChrysler AG in its resounding victory in the trial of the multibillion-dollar securities fraud action filed by Kirk Kerkorian’s Tracinda Corporation in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware over the 1998 merger of Daimler and Chrysler. Mr. Lerner’s victory for DaimlerChrysler was named the “Top Defense Win of 2005” by The National Law Journal.  He was also lead counsel for Christie’s Inc. in securing the complete dismissal of RICO.   In 2006, he represented the general partners of the Hudson Waterfront Partnerships in the dismissal by the New York Supreme Court of all of Donald Trump’s claims involving the $1.8 billion sale of Riverside South properties.

Eliot Spitzer – Not a client but a former attorney at Skadden Arps from the years 1992-1994.  He would later go on to become New York Attorney General (ironically making it a mission to topple payment processing companies that dealt with online gambling businesses including PayPal), then he became the disgraced Governor of the state.  Spitzer’s downfall came after he was discovered patronizing a prostitution ring.  He now has his own successful show on CNN.  Spitzer originally proposed a bill that would legalize same-sex marriages in the state of New York.  Current NY Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a similar bill into law over the weekend. 

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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