Dewey & LeBoeuf was once a thriving, prestigious law firm with 26 offices, over a thousand lawyers, and a diverse set of clients. But that is very much in the past. When the firm filed for bankruptcy in 2012, all those lawyers, and the staff that supported them, had to find new jobs, and four members of the firm’s management were charged with crimes for their role in the firm’s downfall.

Of course, there were lots of legal wrangling to be done before a jury would convict anyone of anything related to Dewey & LeBoeuf. But Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance was not deterred.

Nearly five full years since Dewey went into bankruptcy, and folks in the legal community are asking if the time and effort to get the guilty verdict against Sanders was really worth it. Law.com spoke with a while-collar Biglaw partner to get his take:

“I think Cy and his office had a good faith belief that something bad happened here and they needed to bring these criminal charges. They did, and they were dogged in pursuing them,” said Charles Stillman of Ballard Spahr.

But even if the prosecution wasn’t misguided, Stillman added, the procedural background—two lengthy trials, a hung jury and dropped charges—supports the view that the case was too broad. He also said a case of this magnitude puts a strain on everyone involved.

“What the history of the case reveals is that they should have narrowed it before it got started,” said Stillman. “These long trials are just not fair; they’re just not fair to the defendant; they’re not fair to the jury; they’re not fair to the system. You need to find a way to circumscribe the evidence.”

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