Q&A with Cohen Seglias’ New Partners, Julie Grohovsky and Shanlon Wu
Our newsletter team recently sat down with our new partners in Washington, DC, Julie Grohovsky and Shanlon Wu. They handle white collar investigations and defense for clients in a variety of industries.
Q: What drew you to joining Cohen Seglias? How do you think clients will benefit from your addition to the firm?
Julie: Shan and I are happy to be here. We had our own law firm for years, and before that we worked together trying cases at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, DC. I enjoyed the freedom of working in a small firm and for ourselves, but a larger firm means more colleagues, allowing us to staff larger cases. We were interested in Cohen Seglias because our white collar and Title IX practices complement Cohen Seglias’ work, as well as Paul Thaler’s scientific misconduct practice. The firm’s clients who face investigations or disciplinary proceedings will benefit from our experience in both conducting investigations and representing clients who are being investigated. Clients will also benefit from my experience in preparing witnesses to testify in various legal proceedings.
We were also drawn to Cohen Seglias because the firm supports our involvement in a cause that is important to me: Shan and I are both on the Board of Directors of DOVE (Defenders of Victims’ Empowerment), a non-profit that we founded to train and mentor pro bono attorneys to represent victims of crime in criminal cases.
Shan: For me, it was Paul Thaler’s scientific misconduct and internal investigations practices that drew me to Cohen Seglias because it had a natural synergy with the college student defense practice I developed. Having a larger platform was particularly appealing because it is hard to market to institutional and corporate clients when you are a smaller law firm!
Q: Tell us a little bit about your practice and the services you provide to clients.
Julie: In addition to my internal investigation and Title IX work, I represent whistleblowers who report fraud against the government in False Claims Act cases or who report securities or tax fraud and I also represent victims of crime. Whistleblowers and victims of crime have a lot in common as people who are put into these situations through no fault of their own, by being victimized, or by witnessing wrongdoing in their companies. I help these clients navigate the legal process so that they can understand their options and make the best choices available to them.
Shan: My practice falls into three primary categories: white-collar criminal defense, college student defense, and outside general counsel work. In my white collar criminal practice, I primarily defend individuals with recent notable representations, including Paul Manafort’s former deputy, Rick Gates, in the Mueller Russia probe.
Q: What are three lessons you learned while working in government that shape how you practice law?
Julie: Your reputation is everything. Always prepare for the worst that can happen. Be generous when working with colleagues.
Shan: Lessons from working in the government: (1) It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission; (2) No good deed goes unpunished; (3) The government does not have unlimited resources!
Q: Describe a memorable challenge you overcame in the course of your career.
Julie: One of the most memorable challenges I faced was presenting the testimony of a victim of a violent crime who had a terrible drug addiction. She was the only witness who survived to testify in the trial of a serial rapist/murderer. I worked hard to keep her focused on her testimony during direct examination. After testifying about her experience of the crime, this witness proceeded to repeatedly nod off during cross-examination. Everyone in the courtroom was watching me to see what I would do, and I pretended that it was no big deal (as if witnesses fall asleep during their testimony all the time). Luckily, I was able to clean up some of her testimony on re-direct. I am happy to report that the defendant was convicted and sentenced to life without parole.
Shan: After my first court appearance in United States v. Paul Manafort and Richard Gates, I was left behind by the SUV carrying Rick Gates and the rest of my team because I got separated in the media mob leaving the courthouse (in full disclosure, because I stopped to give an interview). I then had to walk the longest block of my life surrounded by reporters until I could get in a taxi.