White-collar lawyers are also representing clients in matters before the U.S. Justice Department, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and state attorneys general, among other government bodies.
Among the newer white-collar and civil litigation boutiques that have opened in New York in the last few years are Petrillo Klein & Boxer; Holwell Shuster & Goldberg; Levine Lee; Sher Tremonte; and Morvillo LLP, formed by the sons of the late Robert Morvillo.
"There's room for the boutiques to play in the white-collar world because there's oftentimes a stratification in representation," said Michael Rakower, a partner of a new boutique, Rakower Lupkin, which focuses mostly on civil litigation but handles some white-collar work.
Large firms commonly represent a corporate entity, but individuals within the company such as board members may need separate representation.
"Boutiques are well situated" for that, Rakower said.
Veteran defense attorney Robert Anello, a partner with Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello, said that while there are more cases in the white-collar arena, their is also more competition. He added, "I don't think we're an overcrowded profession."
When the practice was in its infancy some 35 years ago, white-collar firms were almost exclusively boutiques, because large corporate firms did not want to get involved in criminal practice, he said.
Now, Anello said, his main competition is from large firms.
"The firms realized [white-collar practices] were lucrative, that there was a considerable need for them, for their corporate clients who were receiving investigation subpoenas," he said.
Larry Krantz, a partner with Krantz & Berman, said, "Even though there is more competition, I still think there's a special niche for the small firms."