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Most federal prosecutors who move to private law firms use their government experience in financial fraud cases such as white collar crime, securities fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering to become defense lawyers. Matthew S. Axelrod, one of the highest-ranking career officials in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and an experienced federal prosecutor, is taking a different course: Axelrod is joining Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, a plaintiffs’ class action firm, as a partner. He will begin work in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office on January 6, 2014.
Axelrod worked at the DOJ for more than decade, rising from the position of line prosecutor to senior official at DOJ headquarters. Most recently, Axelrod served as Associate Deputy Attorney General in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, where he advised the Deputy Attorney General and Attorney General on white collar criminal matters and False Claims Act investigations, and oversaw the work of the DOJ’s Criminal Division, Tax Division, FBI, ATF, and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices. He also was responsible for managing the DOJ’s efforts to combat health care fraud, and served as the DOJ’s primary liaison to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on health care fraud matters.
“We are very pleased that Matt is joining the firm. He brings a broad portfolio of strengths, including significant trial experience as a federal prosecutor and deep expertise in the health care fraud, financial malfeasance, and False Claims Act areas,” said Cohen Milstein Partner Joseph M. Sellers. “We applaud his years of service to the Attorney General and look forward to his new work as a private attorney general.”
Prior to coming to Washington, D.C., in 2009, Axelrod served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Florida, where he worked on some of his office’s highest profile cases, including the convictions of the Sheriff of Broward County on fraud and tax evasion charges. Axelrod conducted 19 felony jury trials and also argued three appeals to the Eleventh Circuit.
“Cohen Milstein has a well-earned national reputation for bringing cases that matter. I am thrilled to be joining the firm, where I will be able to continue my work of holding corporate wrongdoers accountable,” said Axelrod. “I look forward to working in partnership with the outstanding lawyers at Cohen Milstein, and with federal and state enforcement officials, to bring to justice those who would defraud taxpayers and consumers.”
Prior to joining the DOJ in 2003, Axelrod was in private practice in Boston, Massachusetts, where he represented businesses and individuals in complex commercial litigation, white collar criminal matters, and litigation involving public agencies and public officials. He previously served as a law clerk to Judge Ralph K. Winter, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and to Judge Janet C. Hall of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.
Axelrod recently was the co-keynote speaker at the Ethisphere Global Ethics Summit 2013 in New York City. He also has testified on behalf of the Department of Justice before the U.S. Sentencing Commission. He has received the Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service and the Director’s Award for Superior Performance. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and Massachusetts.
Axelrod earned his J.D. from Yale Law School and his B.A. in English, cum laude, from Amherst College.
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