Who? Trevor Asserson (pictured), 56, founding partner of Israel-based English law firm Asserson Law Offices.
Why is he in the news? Successfully defended Sonja Kohn, the main defendant in Madoff Securities International Limited (MSIL) v Raven & Ors.
At the height of the economic downturn in 2008, Bernard Madoff confessed that his investment company, MSIL, which he had been running for more than 20 years, was a Ponzi scheme. The following year, he was sentenced to prison for 150 years and ordered to forfeit £105bn.
MSIL alleged that its former directors had failed to exercise due care and diligence and that Kohn had wrongly obtained payments of some £17m from it. Asserson was able to show, through the use of expert witnesses, that Kohn had been paid the standard rate for the services she had provided.
The judge ruled that Kohn’s ‘honesty and integrity (had) been vindicated’.
Thoughts on the case: ‘This case was a colossal waste of public money. It was only brought because the liquidator was able to use Bernard Madoff’s dishonesty to taint everyone connected with him, even those who had worked in an honest way and were unaware of the fraud.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘To help people – I was a legal aid lawyer for six years between City firms.’
Career high: ‘Being able to set up and run a unique outsourcing model – an English law firm based in Israel to take advantage of low operating costs.’
Career low: ‘Arriving at court having just started my legal aid job with the wrong file. I didn’t know the name of my client or opponent or even what the case was about. The other side told me – and I won the application.’