July 10, 2014
Daniel Gitner And The Litigator Star System
Posted by David Zaring

Daniel Gitner got a splashy profile in the Times today in celebration of his recent trial acquiting Rengen Rajnaratnam, and congratulations to him.  My theory of white collar/defense lawyer eminence is that often, you don't have to win to be able to market yourself.  You were "picked by Martha Stewart," or "represented General Motors during the financial crisis," or "handle pro bono representations for five detainees in Guantanamo."  See?  It sounds like you're important.  You're so good you drew the assignment.

Still, you probably won't get a Times profile when you lose those cases.  Gitner won, and drew a reporter who didn't appear to like him much.  He forbade his staff to get haircuts during the trial for some uninteresting lucky rabbit foot related reasons, and generally came across as intense but yet very platitudinous.

That right there isn't bad marketing either, though.  My lawyer is a pain but leaves no stone unturned; it's practically in the job description.  And now Gitner gets to add that he's the only person to win an insider trading case in the Bharara era; he did two things right there.  First, he persuaded the jury to absolve his client of the one marginal count the judge didn't dismiss, and second, he got the judge to dismiss the two serious counts.  It could be his briefwriting, rather than his bedside manner, that did the trick here - that, at least is what Matt Levine thinks.

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