Scarpino, Former Westchester County DA, Joins Dorf & Nelson as Partner, Firm Says
By Tom McParland | January 04, 2021 at 05:14 PM
Anthony Scarpino, a former trial judge who served four years as Westchester County district attorney, is joining Dorf & Nelson as a partner focused on strategic planning and civil litigation, the firm announced Monday.
The move comes as the Rye-based firm is looking to expand its already diverse footprint into new areas of private practice, Scarpino told the New York Law Journal in an interview. In his new role, Scarpino said he would be concentrating his work on business development and counseling clients, as well as practicing in “all ranges of civil litigation.”
“I did not want to be a purely billable-hours person. I think I have a lot more to offer,” said Scarpinio, who served as Westchester County DA from 2017 through 2020.
For Scarpino, it is his second venture in private practice, following a stint with the firm DelBello Donnellan Weingarten Wise & Wiederkehr that started in 2015. Prior to that, he served for decades as a county and New York state judge.
In 2016, Scarpino was elected to head the Westchester County DA’s office, where he enacted a slate of progressive reforms, including an end to cash bail in cases that did not seek jail time and declining to prosecute offenses for possession of small amounts of marijuana. He also implemented a new case management system, which allowed prosecutors to proactively share information from police departments with criminal defense attorneys before the state’s new discovery laws took effect last year.
The updated systems, he said, were key to improving the office’s operational capacities when the COVID-19 pandemic his in March 2020.
“I would say I really honed my skills in crisis management,” he said. “There was no playbook for COVID.”
Scarpino also pointed to his decision as DA to prioritize violent-crime prosecutions, as well as the creation of a special task force centered on guns, gangs and narcotics. The office’s “Operation Sledgehammer” had also led to charges last month following a two-year fraud probe that accused nine individuals and five businesses of intentionally damaging cars and filing falsified insurance claims.
Scarpino lost his reelection bid to former federal prosecutor Mimi Rocah in a July Democratic primary, which featured a backlash against incumbent prosecutors amid a wave protests aimed at police brutality and racial injustice.
Scarpino said he had a longstanding relationship with Dorf & Nelson managing partner Jon Dorf and had been watching the firm’s expansion with great interest. Among the new potential practice areas he had identified, Scarpino said, were trusts and estates and corporate investigations.
Scarpino is accompanied in the move by his former deputy Paul Noto, who had advised on significant matters related to cases and policy initiatives. Both Scarpino and Noto were set to officially join the firm’s litigation department, effective Tuesday.
In a statement, Noto said he was drawn to Dorf & Nelson’s “entrepreneurial flair,” and welcomed the “opportunity to do great work together in the litigation and commercial real estate space.”
Dorf, who chairs the firm’s commercial real estate department, said in a press release that both attorneys were “very well-respected in their field and highly regarded in the community.”
“Their values and experience are right in line with the high level of skill, integrity and prestige we hold at Dorf & Nelson,” Dorf said.
In his own statement, Jonathan Nelson, the chair of Dorf & Nelson’s litigation department, said, “we’re proud to have Tony and Paul—two brilliant legal minds—join our firm.”
“I am particularly excited for Tony and Paul to join me in the litigation department,” he added. “They are accomplished leaders who share a commitment to our values and client-centric approach, and have dedicated their careers to the same high-caliber principles we adhere to at Dorf & Nelson.”
This article is also on Law.com: Scarpino, Former Westchester County DA, Joins Dorf & Nelson as Partner, Firm Says
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