Andrew J. Levander (born 1953) is an American lawyer and partner at the law firm Dechert who advises on securities fraud, commercial litigation and white collar criminal defense matters. A former federal prosecutor, he is known for representing numerous prominent Wall Street companies and executives, particularly since the 2008 global financial crisis. He is currently chair of Dechert’s policy committee.
Education and early career
Levander received his bachelor's degree summa cum laude from Tufts University in 1973. He graduated in 1977 from Columbia Law School, where he was a Kent Scholar and the Notes and Comments Editor of the Columbia Law Review. After completing law school, he clerked for the Honorable Wilfred Feinberg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
From federal prosecutor to private practice
In the late 1970s, Levander was an assistant to the Solicitor General. During this time he made his first argument before the U.S. Supreme Court at age 25, making him the youngest person ever to argue successfully before the Supreme Court. He later served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Unit.
Upon leaving the U.S. Attorney’s office in 1985, Levander joined New York-based firm Shereff, Friedman, Hoffman & Goodman, where he made a name for himself advising such clients as fund managers David Askin and John Kaweske, former Sunbeam Corporation chairman Paul Kazarian, Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, and Haroon Kahlon, an associate of National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia chairman Sheik Khalid-Bin-Mahfouz who was implicated in the BCCI scandal. He was named among The American Lawyer’s “Forty-Five under 45” for his work in white collar and securities litigation in 1995. Levander continued at Shereff Friedman through that firm’s 1998 merger with D.C.-based Swidler & Berlin to form Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman until joining Dechert with a group of 64 other Swidler lawyers in 2005.
Since joining Dechert, Levander has taken on several cases representing high-profile Wall Street executives. In June 2010, he was named chair-elect of the firm’s policy committee, a role that he assumed in July 2011.
Levander obtained an acquittal for Michael Rigas in 2004 on six counts and dismissal on two counts in the Adelphia Communications criminal fraud matter United States v. Rigas, despite the fact that Rigas’ father and brother were convicted of the same charges. The case was named among the New York Law Journal’s "Top Cases of 2004" and led to The National Law Journal profiling Levander as one of the nation’s top 10 litigators of 2005.
Also in 2004, he advised Symbol Technologies, Inc. in its internal investigation related to allegations of accounting fraud as well as subsequent criminal and SEC investigations and related securities class action, derivative and civil litigation. His work on behalf of Symbol was featured in The American Lawyer’s February 2005 cover story.
Levander represented former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain in a 2009 investigation by the New York Attorney General’s office regarding executive bonuses paid by Merill before the closure of its sale to Bank of America. The same year, he began defending hedge fund manager J. Ezra Merkin in lawsuits brought by the New York Attorney General and investors connected to the Bernard Madoff ponzi scheme. Levander obtained a dismissal of the federal class action in September 2011 and negotiated a settlement with the Attorney General’s office in 2012.
He was hired in January 2011 by Hewlett Packard’s board of directors to conduct an independent investigation into the departure of CEO Mark Hurd in response to a shareholder lawsuit stemming from the payment of up to $53 million in severance to Hurd despite reports that he violated the company’s conduct standards. A subsequent derivative lawsuit attacking the independence and thoroughness of that investigation was summarily dismissed in September 2012.
Beginning in 2008 through 2012, Levander represented 10 independent directors of Lehman Brothers in several securities actions, ERISA class actions, and other related litigation arising from the bank’s 2008 bankruptcy. He won a dismissal with prejudice in the ERISA class action in October 2011 and settled the main securities class action in December of that year.
He was hired by former New Jersey governor and MF Global CEO Jon Corzine in November 2011 for advice on matters related to that company’s collapse.
In 2011 and 2012, Levander obtained a series of victories on behalf of New York real estate investor Rubin Schron in a longstanding dispute regarding the ownership of nursing home operator SavaSeniorCare LLC. In May 2012, the New York State Appellate Division, First Department, upheld a previous ruling that Schron’s option to acquire Sava was valid. Subsequently, in September, the New York Supreme Court, following trial, decided that Schron’s company, Cammeby's Equity Holdings, could proceed in acquiring Sava through the assumption of $100 million in outstanding debt.
In July 2012, it was reported that Levander is representing Barclays ex-CEO Bob Diamond amid allegations that the bank was involved in manipulating the LIBOR benchmark interest rate.
Levander has been listed among the leading lawyers for white-collar crime and government investigations since 2005 by Chambers USA, which has also recognized him for his work in securities litigation and regulation: enforcement. In 2010, he received Chambers’ individual national Award for Excellence in white collar crime and government investigations.
Since 2008, he has been noted for his work in white collar/criminal defense by Benchmark Litigation, The Legal 500 (U.S.) and Best Lawyers in America, the latter of which has also recognized him in its commercial litigation, bet-the-company litigation, corporate governance and compliance law, regulatory enforcement and securities law categories.
Levander was named among The Lawyer’s “25 Transatlantic Elite” in 2009.
Levander is an active congregant at the Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Manhattan. He is married to Carol Loewenson, a practicing architect; they live in New York City with their sons, Sam and Ben.
Known for his “trademark bow ties,” Levander revealed in a 2005 interview with The National Law Journal that he made the neckware his signature during his 1970s tenure with the solicitor general’s office and has kept the look ever since, although he wears a regular tie once a year. After the 5 ½ month Adelphia trial, he learned that the jury had given him the nickname “Mr. Bow Tie.”