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DLA adds ‘practical’ regulatory expertise with hire of former high-ranking SFO lawyer

DLA Piper has hired a former Serious Fraud Office (SFO) division head in response to multinational clients increasingly demanding ‘expertise on the ground’ with regulators.

DLA announced today (28 August) it had hired corporate crime and regulatory investigations lawyer Patrick Rappo from the London arm of US firm Steptoe & Johnson, which he joined in 2013. Prior to that, Rappo spent five years at the SFO, where he became joint head of bribery and corruption.

Rappo helped introduce deferred prosecution agreements in the UK while at the SFO, and in private practice has advised both corporates and clients on investigations and responding to government enforcement action, including from the US Department of Justice, SFO, and World Bank.

DLA head of financial services and regulatory investigations Tony Katz told Legal Business there was a growing trend for multinational corporations looking for lawyers which have expertise working with regulators. He said the firm had hired partners in the US who have acted in law enforcement agencies and regulators there, which had proved successful.

‘If we’ve got people who’ve worked at the international regulators and enforcement agencies then clearly they’ve got a very good understanding of how to deal on a practical level with those agencies,’ he commented. ‘They are also very well-versed in dealing on a cross-border basis because many of those investigations run by the SFO have an international element and work very closely with international agencies.’

Katz added that DLA’s corporate criminal investigations group, which would increase to five partners and 15 lawyers in the UK with Rappo’s hire, would benefit from Rappo providing ‘expertise on the ground’ to the firm’s international clients which had a presence here.

‘We see this as a priority area for the firm. The UK, even with the addition of Patrick, can still benefit from significant additional resources.’

Rappo commented: ‘DLA Piper’s global presence and impressive roster of clients provides a very exciting opportunity. The firm has been a leader in the corporate crime and regulatory investigations space for many years and I look forward to working with our very experienced international team to further strengthen the offering for our clients.’

Rappo’s hire is announced on the same day former FBI deputy general counsel (GC) Lisa Osofsky begins her term as the new SFO boss. Osofsky, whose appointment was finally announced in June, replaces former SFO director David Green QC, who is expected to shortly join Slaughter and May.