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Sean Coffey to Explore Potential Run for New York State Attorney General

Bernstein Litowitz Senior Partner Retires to Explore Democratic Bid If Cuomo Runs for Governor

NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 10/15/09 -- Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP ("BLB&G") today announced that Senior Partner John P. ("Sean") Coffey will retire from the Firm, effective tomorrow, to explore on a full-time basis a potential bid to become the next Attorney General of the State of New York.

Born in the Bronx and raised on Long Island, Coffey is a former federal prosecutor and retired Navy Captain. Mr. Coffey joined BLB&G in 1998 and has played a leading role in a number of the Firm's most significant litigations during his tenure. In 2002, just days after his opening statement in the trial arising out of the collapse of the Baptist Foundation of Arizona, the largest non-profit bankruptcy in U.S. history, Mr. Coffey and his BLB&G team obtained a $217 million settlement from former BFA auditor Arthur Andersen LLP, one of the largest amounts ever paid by an accounting firm. Mr. Coffey was also lead trial counsel in the landmark WorldCom Securities Litigation, in which the Firm recovered over $6 billion for investors in the now defunct telecom concern. The WorldCom litigation, which culminated in five weeks of trial in Manhattan federal court in 2005, was groundbreaking on numerous levels, not least in that, for the first time in history, investors successfully recovered over $50 million personally from the pockets of former WorldCom officers and outside directors.

"I have deep affection for my colleagues and clients at Bernstein Litowitz and am exceptionally proud of the results we have achieved on behalf of defrauded investors and victims of discrimination," Mr. Coffey said, "but the pull to return to full-time public service is too strong to resist, particularly when so many critical State-wide issues must be addressed." Mr. Coffey added, "It has become increasingly clear that New Yorkers are looking to Andrew Cuomo as the person best able to tackle the enormous challenges facing our State, and if Andrew answers the call to run for Governor, our State will need another strong and capable advocate to serve as our next Attorney General. I believe I can be that advocate. I intend to spend the coming weeks and months traveling across our State listening to the concerns of New Yorkers and earning their trust and consideration as the best person to succeed Andrew Cuomo as Attorney General."

The Democratic primary for State-wide offices will be held in September 2010.

Max Berger, the Senior Founding Partner of BLB&G, said that Mr. Coffey's departure was bittersweet: "Sean is as fine a litigator as you'll ever find and a dear friend to me and all his partners. He embodies the core values of integrity and professionalism our Firm represents. Sean's presence at the Firm will be sorely missed but we are very supportive of his continued commitment to public service and I am very proud of all that we have accomplished in over a decade of working together. We know he would make a tremendous AG."

For his work with the Firm, Mr. Coffey has been profiled by The Wall Street Journal, The American Lawyer, BusinessWeek, and Bloomberg Markets, among numerous other media outlets, and he and Mr. Berger were named two of the 2005 "Winning Attorneys of the Year" by the National Law Journal for their work on the WorldCom litigation.

About Sean Coffey

The oldest son of working-class Irish immigrants, Mr. Coffey was raised with his six siblings in the Bronx, Buffalo and Long Island, New York. After a brief stint working alongside his father as a union carpenter in New York City, Mr. Coffey was sworn in as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy at age 17 and, after graduating with merit and an engineering degree in 1978, served as a commissioned officer in the Navy for twenty-six years (eight years on active duty and eighteen years in the Navy Reserve).

After completing his first sea tour as a Naval Flight Officer tracking Soviet submarines aboard P-3 Orion patrol planes, Mr. Coffey was reassigned to shore duty in Washington D.C., where he served in the Pentagon as Junior Officer Intern to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the White House as Special Military Assistant to Vice President George H.W. Bush. While stationed in Washington, Mr. Coffey attended Georgetown University Law Center at night, was selected as the sole night student editor of the Georgetown Law Journal, and graduated magna cum laude in 1987.

Mr. Coffey resigned his active duty commission and returned home to New York to practice law as a litigation associate with Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison. Mr. Coffey was appointed an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York in 1991, and as a federal prosecutor worked closely with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies on a wide range of criminal investigations and tried many jury trials to verdict. Mr. Coffey left the U.S. Attorney's Office in 1995 to join the New York office of Latham & Watkins as counsel and later partner of that firm. After several years of representing Fortune 500 companies at Latham, Mr. Coffey departed for Bernstein Litowitz in 1998.

Notwithstanding the demands of practicing law in New York, Mr. Coffey voluntarily continued his military service with almost two decades in the Navy Reserve, flying missions that included armed surveillance flights in support of the embargo of the former Yugoslavia and counter-narcotic missions over South America. Mr. Coffey was selected to command an elite reserve P-3 squadron (1996-98) and the reserve component of the Enterprise carrier battle group staff (1998-2000), was eventually promoted to the rank of Captain, and retired from the Navy in 2004, shortly before the WorldCom case was scheduled to go to trial. Among his various military decorations are the Meritorious Service Medal and the Joint Service Commendation Medal.

Mr. Coffey and his wife Anne, a former actress whose credits include the classic movie "This is Spinal Tap," live in Westchester with their children Katharine (17), Cameron (15) and Conor (12).

About BLB&G

Founded in 1983, BLB&G is widely recognized as one of the nation's top litigation boutiques. The Firm has obtained over $20 billion in recoveries for investors and achieved precedent setting corporate governance reforms on behalf of its institutional investor clients. In addition to obtaining unprecedented monetary recoveries, the Firm has litigated numerous seminal cases establishing precedents that have increased market transparency, held wrongdoers accountable, and changed corporate business practices in groundbreaking ways. BLB&G has also represented victims of discrimination in some of the most notable anti-discrimination litigation in U.S. history, including the landmark Texaco race discrimination settlement in the late 1990s.

Contact information

For more information about BLB&G, please contact Alexander Coxe at 212-554-1423 or visit the Firm website at

For more information about Mr. Coffey's potential bid for New York Attorney General, please contact Stefan Hankin at 202-257-4006.

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