Robert Morvillo, a white collar defense lawyer, passed away at the age of 73 on Sunday. He is most famous for representing Martha Stewart, Geraldine Ferraro’s husband John Zaccaro, and AIG’s Maurice Greenberg. Morvillo’s law firm announced his death on their website:
“With great sadness, Morvillo, Abramowitz, Grand, Iason, Anello & Bohrer, P.C. announces the passing of our partner and colleague, Robert G. Morvillo. Bob was an unrivaled advocate dedicated to protecting his clients, upholding the finest traditions of the legal profession. He also was a dear friend, wonderful colleague, and cherished mentor to us all. We extend our love and deepest sympathies to his family. We will miss him.”
Morvillo was recovering from a recent operation, passing away in his sleep, according to the New York Times.
Morvillo first started out as a prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office in Manhattan under Robert Morganthau. Morganthau later became the District Attorney for Manhattan. The mark left by Morvillo on the legal industry is immeasurable. A boutique was founded by Morvillo in 1973 that would eventually turn into Morvillo Abramowitz. The firm became one of the top white collar practices in the entire country.
The law firm started by Morvillo was one of the first firms to focus on white collar criminal defense for high profile cases. He turned this practice into a very profitable enterprise. When the law firm began practicing this type of law, not many others were willing to do it because they viewed it as work beneath their standing. When you look at major law firms today, almost all of them have a practice that is devoted to white collar crime, competing with the firm of Morvillo Abramowitz.
Morvillo is most widely known for representing Martha Stewart in her case that charged her with obstruction of justice. There are a handful of Morvillo’s biggest victories that will only be known by a select few people because he was able to resolve those cases prior to charges being filed.
Friends and colleagues of Morvillo say that he was a sight to behold in the courtroom, according to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
“What is very difficult to convey is his tactical brilliance,” Judge Jed S. Rakoff said. Rakoff, speaking in Manhattan, presided over the final trial Morvillo was involved in this past summer.
“Win or lose, he was always thinking three steps ahead of anyone else in the room,” Rakoff said. Rakoff also is a 40-year friend of Morvillo. Their friendship began back when the two were federal prosecutors.
“He just had a great ability to see how a particular tactic would play out, not just in the short run but in the long run,” Rakoff said.