If lawyers helped get us into this mess by ignoring warnings at the SEC that Bernie Madoff was a fraud, can we use a coalition of lawyers to get us out of it?
That's the idea being put forth by the Madoff Case Global Alliance of Law Firms -- an alliance of 45 law firms, and counting, representing over 10,000 investors in Madoff-related civil cases. Gaytri Kachroo, the lawyer for Madoff whistle blower Harry Markopolos, is spearheading the coalition and heads to Washington to meet with Barney Frank's office and lobby for the creation of an international financial court.
Kachroo says that an international financial court will help restore investors trust in financial markets and provide legal certainty and transparency. Monday's press conference inside McCarter & English's New York offices, where Kachroo is a partner, didn't provide a lot of details, such as how the financial court will be funded.
The coalition's proposal calls on world leaders to restore integrity to financial markets by establishing a single global body to consolidate and settle financial disputes, like an arbitration court.
The coalition's president, Javier Cremades of Spanish law firm Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo, said the court should be established to work in conjunction with another international organization, like the United Nations' Commission on International Trade Law (Uncitral), the IMF, or World Bank. (If the UN couldn't prevent genocide in Rwanda, what's to say an international court could prevent another massive Ponzi scheme?)
The coalition plans to make its pitch in London on April 2 to lobby the Group of Twenty (G20) -- the meeting of representatives from the world's 20 largest economies. Much sooner than that, Kachroo and her famous client, Mr. Markopolos, meet with the SEC's new chairperson, Mary Schapiro. The former chairperson, Linda Thomsen, resigned following Markopolos' testimony before Congress that the agency ignored his repeated warnings that Bernie Madoff was a fraud running a Ponzi scheme.