The government and the mortgage industry are now engaged in a race to amass teams of attorneys over upcoming securities investigations and charges.
The Justice Department and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said last week they would coordinate with other state AGs in a wide-scale investigation into possible mortgage-backed securities fraud. Already 11 banks received subpoenas.
K&L Gates, the prolific, bank industry law firm, began forming a financial fraud task force of its own in recent days to prepare the defense.
The firm is organizing a group of more than 50 lawyers in a dozen offices around the country. This team will focus on formulating defense strategies for Wall Street firms.
With Connecticut and Delaware participating on the government side, Schneiderman said last week his task force will have jurisdiction over every MBS issued in the past decade.
They've begun their buildup as well.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said 15 lawyers and investigators are working with the group already. The FBI will add 10 agents, and another 30 lawyers and staff will join the group in the coming weeks. Connecticut AG George Jepsen began recruiting private consultants to comb through the complex instruments and documents.
"Now that federal and state governments are coordinating their enforcement activities among various disciplines, it is essential for the industry to respond in kind," said Laurence Platt, a financial services practice area leader in the K&L Gates Washington office.