Lev L. Dassin is a partner based in the New York office of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.
Mr. Dassin's practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, white-collar criminal defense, regulatory enforcement matters, and internal investigations.
Mr. Dassin served as Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from December 2008 through August 2009. In that capacity, he was responsible for all criminal and civil litigation in the district on behalf of the United States and supervised more than 220 Assistant U.S. Attorneys. He oversaw a number of high profile matters, including the prosecutions of Bernard Madoff and Marc Dreier, and the representation of the United States' interest in the Chrysler and General Motors bankruptcy proceedings. In addition, he oversaw terrorism and national security cases, including the prosecution of Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse, a Somali pirate, for participating in the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama and in the taking of the ship's captain hostage, and the prosecution of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, the first person transferred from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility to face criminal prosecution, for participating in al Qaeda's 1998 bombings of the United States Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Mr. Dassin served as Deputy United States Attorney, the second in command of the office, from January through November 2008, and was Chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office from September 2005 through January 2008. Before rejoining the U.S. Attorney's Office in September 2005, Mr. Dassin was in private practice, where he represented corporations and individuals in complex commercial litigation, including at trial in federal and state court, and in investigations conducted by the Department of Justice, various U.S. Attorney's Offices, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and other regulatory bodies.
Mr. Dassin served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1992 to 1998. At that time, he prosecuted a wide range of cases involving terrorist acts, racketeering violations, narcotics trafficking, money laundering and white-collar crimes. He was a lead prosecutor in the investigation and prosecution of Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center. In recognition of his work on that case, Mr. Dassin was honored with the Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service. He also received the Attorney General's Award for Exceptional Service for his role in the investigation and prosecution of four other defendants for their participation in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Mr. Dassin teaches trial practice at Columbia University School of Law, where he has been a member of the adjunct faculty since 1999. He is frequently invited to speak on various topics related to corporate crime, terrorism, and trial practice, and has addressed, among other groups, the Federal Bar Council, the New York City Bar Association, the New York County Lawyers' Association, the New York Council of Defense Lawyers, and the U.S. Army War College.
Mr. Dassin joined the firm as a partner in 2009. He received a J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1990, where he served as the Developments Editor of the Law Review. Mr. Dassin received an undergraduate degree, magna cum laude and with Distinction In All Subjects, from Cornell University in 1987, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He served as a law clerk to the Honorable David N. Edelstein, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, from 1990 to 1992.
Mr. Dassin is a member of the Bar in New York and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.