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As a thought leader in the legal world, Jim Walden has consistently broken new ground in a wide range of successful and significant cases with lasting consequences for criminal and social justice and political accountability. Through his use of creative and aggressive legal strategies, he has brought about real change and enduring impact on matters of national and global importance, all adding to a distinguished and unparalleled career in law. A veteran litigator of high-profile criminal, civil and regulatory matters, Walden is known by his peers and clients as a lawyer who can accomplish virtually anything. Rising from humble working-class beginnings, Walden put himself through law school at Temple University, where he graduated first in his class, and was hired by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York, beginning his career as a federal prosecutor at age 27. After breaking up a human trafficking ring as a newly minted Assistant U.S. Attorney, Walden moved to an organized crime unit where he indicted and convicted hundreds of mob members, resulting in the dismantling of New York’s infamous Five Families. His innovative prosecutorial and investigative techniques were instrumental in the bringing to justice of the bosses, captains and soldiers of the Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Lucchese crime families. Working in close collaboration with the FBI, DEA, NYPD and other agencies, Walden’s endeavors in the prosecution of a broad range of complex racketeering trials saw him garner many honors and awards, including the “Director’s Award for Superior Performance” and the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation’s “Prosecutor of the Year.”
Following his public service, Walden moved into private practice almost 20 years ago. He led the white-collar practices at two major international law firms, spearheading successful legal strategies for internal corporate investigations in a wide array of contexts including antitrust, foreign bribery, banking, securities and accounting fraud, procurement and billing fraud, embezzlement, health care offenses and market manipulation. He accomplished these victories while championing good government work to bring substantial and welcome change to people’s lives. His success was the catalyst for his decision to found Walden Macht & Haran, with two other distinguished prosecutors. The firm has flourished, growing in numbers from six to more than 50 professionals in the span of four years.
Unlike litigation specialists, Walden is a proud generalist and accomplished litigator who wins in a wide variety of arenas, including criminal, civil and administrative matters, representing both private defendants and plaintiffs, and government agencies. Walden brought a lawsuit on behalf of the Comptroller of the City of New York to block an illegal practice by another City agency, winning a permanent injunction. He defended a major false-claims case brought by New York City against a technology company and, after filing a compelling motion to dismiss the case, the City settled with his client for less than 3% of its original demand. Walden defended an energy company in a dispute over a broken development project and won the outright dismissal of the case. He sued the Obama administration over the illegal privatization of public land and won a permanent injunction. Walden’s superior ability to navigate new and challenging litigation problems — and to find solutions the specialists miss — is a hallmark of his career.
Walden’s inventive class-action litigation strategies brought against city and state agencies resulted in triumphant outcomes for thousands of disabled and impoverished New Yorkers whose food stamps and Social Security benefits were illegally terminated. In a class action school-bullying suit against the New York City Department of Education, Walden fought relentlessly to correct the systematic failure by the agency to fulfill its obligations to protect students, achieving a settlement that established landmark anti-bullying protocols in the largest school system in the U.S. This case set a legal precedent for sweeping national reform. As part of a lawsuit against the New York City Housing Authority on behalf of its tenants who demanded the agency uphold its federal mandate to provide safe, secure, dignified housing after years of neglect, Walden procured a court-ordered injunction forcing decades-overdue lead inspections and removal in thousands of apartments with young children. Walden currently represents the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York in a constitutional challenge to a new law signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on grounds that the legislation allows for executive overreach and degrades separation of powers between the three branches of state government. He is also leading a $11 billion investigation for the State of New Jersey, ordered by Governor Phil Murphy, to determine whether the state’s tax-credit program was misused.
Walden has represented a diverse array of high-profile corporate executives and whistleblowers in complex matters intersecting with federal and international investigations and with public policy. In these matters, Walden regularly deploys his creativity and boundless enthusiasm to defend and vindicate his clients against unfair and unfounded allegations. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, Walden led the defense of the former CEO of AIG Financial Products Division, Joseph Cassano, convincing DOJ and the SEC that the CEO was factually innocent, leading both agencies to drop their investigations. More recently, Walden’s work led to the dismissal of felony charges against a prominent Swiss banker on tax evasion conspiracy charges.
Through his representation of Russian whistleblower Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, Walden was invited to testify before the U.S. Congress and to consult on the development of groundbreaking bipartisan legislation, the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act, that would criminalize doping fraud in international sports while providing an instrumental gateway for the DOJ to investigate and prosecute related corrupt practices. The bill is sponsored by a broad array of lawmakers including Senators Sheldon Whitehouse, Roger Wicker, Ben Cardin and Marco Rubio and Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee, Michael Burgess and Chris Smith. Walden represents Dr. Rodchenkov in offering evidence to expose the elaborate Russian state-sponsored doping apparatus to investigations brought by the DOJ, the World Anti-Doping Agency, the International Olympic Committee and criminal authorities in various countries. Walden also represents whistleblower Brittany Kaiser, former Director of Business Development for Cambridge Analytica, who testified before British Parliament and has offered critical evidence on commercial and political data practices to various U.S. federal agencies and congressional investigations.
Much of Walden’s work – and, in particular, his internal investigations cases – has been international in scope, requiring him to tackle even knotty foreign law problems. His intricate cross-border investigations include work for multinational companies in Brazil, China, the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, and Switzerland. His work has spanned many industries, including banking, financial services, technology, health care, automotive and manufacturing. He has consistently helped corporations prevail in fully absolving or mitigating financial and criminal penalties through robust evidentiary strategies, dogged advocacy and deep knowledge of criminal and regulatory actions.
Walden’s work is depicted on screen in the Oscar-winning documentary film Icarus, in Aaron Sorkin’s Molly’s Game, in the National Geographic documentary series Inside the American Mob and in the Vanity Fair documentary The Disco Inferno.
Jim Walden served as a law clerk for the Honorable Anthony J. Scirica, U.S. Judge, Court of Appeals, Third Circuit. He is a cum laude, graduate of Hamilton College and a magna cum laude graduate of Temple University School of Law, where he served as a law review editor and received the Israel Packel Memorial Award for the highest academic achievement in his graduating class.
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Temple University School of Law, J.D. (1991)
Hamilton College, B.A. (1988)