U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York Names Richard Zabel Chief of Criminal Division

(Washington, D.C.) – Richard B. Zabel has been named chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.  Previously, Mr. Zabel was a co-leader of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP’s litigation practice. 

Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2009, Mr. Zabel worked for 10 years as a partner at Akin Gump in New York, focusing his practice on white collar criminal defense, SEC investigations, corporate internal investigations, complex civil litigation and appeals.  He previously served for eight years as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, prosecuting cases involving securities fraud, obstruction of justice, racketeering, firearms and narcotics charges.  From 1997 to 1999 he served as chief and from 1996 to 1997 as deputy chief of the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  During his tenure, he received numerous awards, including the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service and the Department of Justice Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. 

Mr. Zabel received his A.B. summa cum laude in 1983 from Princeton University, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and his J.D. in 1987 from Harvard Law School.  He is the co-author (with Akin Gump litigation partner Jim Benjamin) of In Pursuit of Justice: Prosecuting Terrorism Cases in the Federal Courts, a comprehensive study of terrorism prosecution. 

R. Bruce McLean, Akin Gump’s chairman, said, “During the past decade, Rich has been a tremendous asset to our firm and to our litigation practice.  We will miss his leadership, but we are very pleased to see him return to public service, a tradition that has always been of great importance to Akin Gump.” 

Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said, “Rich is smart, tough and fair-minded.  He is a legal All-Star, with just the right experience, work ethic and temperament to lead the Criminal Division at a time when protecting national security and combating financial fraud are such critical priorities of this Office.”

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, a leading international law firm, numbers more than 800 lawyers and advisors in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. 

# # #