Barry H. Berke, Co-chair of the Litigation Department, is a nationally recognized trial lawyer who represents officers, directors, professionals and corporations in sensitive and high-profile investigations and proceedings. Mr. Berke has handled major matters on behalf of his clients involving all aspects of white collar crime, including allegations of securities fraud, accounting and bank fraud, RICO and FCPA violations, tax offenses, bribery, bid rigging, and embezzlement. Mr. Berke also has represented prominent corporations in class action and other complex commercial litigation. Some of his notable representations include securing the acquittal of a Deutsche Bank investment professional, and the deferred prosecution of another, in a criminal case that the government described as its largest tax shelter prosecution, successfully representing former SAC Capital Fund Advisors fund manager Michael Steinberg in a prominent insider-trading case that was ultimately dropped by U.S. prosecutors, and winning summary judgment for client JP Morgan Chase in a lawsuit brought by Bank of America, relating to CDOs in the wake of the financial crisis. Mr. Berke is currently defending Jerome Valcke, the Secretary General of FIFA, in connection with investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice and Swiss authorities.
Mr. Berke is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He has been repeatedly recognized by Chambers USA, Legal 500 and Benchmark Litigation as one of the leading white collar criminal defense lawyers in the United States. In 2015, Chambers USA ranked Mr. Berke in its top band for his success as a trial lawyer nationwide and named him one of the top four “star individuals” among white collar criminal defense lawyers in New York. Chambers recognized him as “a leading light of the New York criminal defense bar” and, quoting market peers, described him as a “phenomenal trial lawyer.” In previous years, Chambers reported that Mr. Berke is “the cream of the crop” for trial work and “an incredibly sharp legal mind” who is known for his “great connection with juries.” Legal 500 called Mr. Berke “one of the most high-profile and sought after white-collar attorneys in New York” (2011) and “superb” (2015). Benchmark Litigation has consistently named him a litigation star, noting in its 2015 directory that he is “acknowledged by peers on a nearly unanimous basis,” and naming him “the go-to guy for white collar trial work.” The National Law Journal profiled Mr. Berke as part of a special report on five winning trial attorneys for 2011. Lawdragon has recognized Mr. Berke several times, including naming him to the publication’s Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers list for 2013-2015, and describing him as “equally adept at convincing authorities not to bring charges … and at convincing juries to acquit,” in a Lawdragon “Limelight” profile in 2013. Mr. Berke was also included in the Law360 2011 Most Valuable Player list, one of only four lawyers named nationally in the area of white collar criminal defense, and named in 2010 and 2014 as one of the “Top 10 Lawyers in New York” by Super Lawyers. He was selected as the Am Law Litigation Daily’s Litigator of the Week for April 23, 2015 and May 27, 2011.
Mr. Berke is co-author of the textbook The Practice of Federal Criminal Law: Prosecution and Defense, published by Thomson/West’s American Casebook Series. He has taught courses on criminal law and professional responsibility at New York University School of Law, and lectures frequently on criminal justice issues in a variety of forums.
Mr. Berke is a member of the firm’s governing executive committee. In addition to his leadership roles within the firm, Mr. Berke serves as chairman of the board of directors of the Coalition for the Homeless and chairman of the board of directors of the Federal Defenders of New York Inc. He was also appointed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio as his designee on the Lincoln Center board of directors, and is a member of the board of advisors of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.
Prior to joining Kramer Levin, Mr. Berke was a trial lawyer with the Federal Defenders’ Office for the Southern District of New York for four years. During that time, he defended individuals accused of a wide range of federal offenses, serving as lead counsel in numerous jury trials and achieving favorable verdicts in a large majority of those cases.