(Burlington, Vt.) Attorney Tristram J. Coffin of the northern New England law firm Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC has announced the formation of Vermont’s first dedicated practice group to focus on government enforcement actions and the defense of white collar criminal and civil fraud allegations. The practice will be headed by Coffin, a director and the former United States Attorney for the District of Vermont from 2009 to 2014. Other attorneys will contribute to the practice from their own areas of focus. These include tax law attorney Wm. Roger Prescott, commercial business litigator Jennifer E. McDonald and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Doherty Jr.
“We have been quietly doing this kind of work at DRM since I arrived here in 2015,” Coffin explained. “This next step will formalize the practice and allow us to focus additional resources at DRM in order to help clients deal with these very challenging situations in a focused and effective manner.”
Services provided by the White Collar Defense and Government Enforcement group will include internal investigations, crisis management, white collar defense and dispute resolution with the U.S. and state governments across a broad spectrum. Clients can engage when they have been contacted by government officials, or at any time to assess an entity’s or individual’s vulnerability. The group’s attorneys have significant experience representing corporations, health care institutions and professionals in matters ranging from antitrust, consumer protection and civil conspiracy claims, to False Claims Act and health care fraud investigations to tax and licensing matters and malpractice actions. The group’s experience is well-suited to high stakes complex litigation between private parties where effective investigation and strategic problem solving are paramount.
“Effective investigation is a critical component in today’s litigation, and it is particularly important in enforcement actions and complex civil litigation,” Coffin says. “Our attorneys provide deep and demonstrated experience in investigations. Making responsible compliance and defense decisions requires the ability to gather facts quickly and effectively, and to have an understanding of the issues that are of primary concern to regulators.”
Coffin brings more than 20 years of experience at trying and resolving complex disputes with federal and state enforcement authorities, and a particular perspective as the former lead federal government enforcement official for the District of Vermont. As U.S. Attorney, he was responsible for conducting and approving all investigations, prosecutions and case resolutions for a wide variety of federal crimes and civil litigation. Cases prosecuted during his tenure involved major financial fraud schemes, health care fraud, False Claims Act and qui tam suits, international and domestic narcotics and money laundering schemes, firearms trafficking, cybercrime, child exploitation and other serious crimes, typically with an interstate or international nexus. Coffin also served as an Assistant U. S. Attorney for twelve years, representing the government in wide-ranging criminal and civil matters from investigation, through trial and sentencing, to appeal.
Doherty is a seasoned trial attorney who served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont from 2007-2017, where he worked closely with Coffin. As a federal prosecutor, Doherty handled complex white collar criminal cases, including mail, wire, tax, and bank fraud, from the investigation stage through conviction and appeal. He has tried multiple cases to verdict in federal court. Since joining DRM, Doherty has taken on high-stakes civil cases and has represented companies and individuals facing investigation by federal and state authorities.
McDonald has substantial experience representing entities, individuals, and large municipalities in complex commercial disputes from initial investigation through trial; on appeal at the Vermont Supreme Court and Second Circuit; and in alternative dispute resolution forums including the International Court of Arbitration. This experience includes resolution of breach of contract, consumer and securities fraud, bad faith, taxpayer derivative litigation, and federal preemption cases, and the defense of law enforcement in excessive force and civil rights violations. McDonald has tried numerous civil, commercial and other cases to verdict in both state and federal court.
Prescott is a highly-experienced tax lawyer, practicing as a director at DRM for 25 years. The group’s ability to draw on Prescott’s decades of experience covering a broad range of federal and state tax matters for its clients provides a strong coupling between technical tax expertise and deep experience in the enforcement and regulatory realms.
Coffin and the team expect to engage clients in both evaluating their exposure to regulatory action and early intervention when a situation arises, helping to mitigate evolving matters before they become uncontrollable. For contact information or to learn more about the practice, visit https://www.drm.com/practices/white-collar-defense-and-government-enforcement.