Is Randy Bodner the Bravest Lawyer in Boston

Is Randy Bodner the Bravest Lawyer in Boston

If one measure of randy bodner’s reputation is the panoramic view from his office window, he is driving excessive. The workplace is on the forty first floor of the cylindrical tower at one international region, a hovering landmark in downtown boston. The window offers a grand vista of sailboats in boston harbor, the runways at logan airport and a kaleidoscope of sparkling ocean. However the mementos on the wall of bodner’s workplace communicate no longer of boston however of new york. There are eight plaques commending him for his achievements as an assistant united states of america legal professional in ny town throughout the early nineteen nineties. There are two sketches with the aid of a courtroom artist depicting him as a younger prosecutor pleading instances earlier than federal judges. In recent times, bodner’s paintings as a associate inside the vintage-line boston regulation firm of ropes & grey has him in general protecting corporate customers in civil topics. But, his beyond as a difficult-driving federal prosecutor never seems far from his awareness. No wonder. The four years that bodner spent in the strain cooker of the big apple prosecutor’s task, he says, have been unforgettable. He prosecuted a capo of the luchese prepared-crime own family, who got existence. He convicted a kingpin inside the notoriously violent medellin cocaine-smuggling cartel. So fierce changed into his move-examination of a money launderer who was in cahoots with the cartel that the witness broke down on the stand in tears. In the course of a break inside the trial, contributors of the money launderer’s own family accosted bodner in the court. Despite such sound and fury — or perhaps because of it — bodner seems lower back wistfully at his time in the big apple. The prosecutor’s job, he remembers, became certainly one of “actual vibrancy” and “strength.” he provides, “and [there was] wonderful stuff to work on. The only top notch thing approximately being a prosecutor in ny is that the quality crime in the united states of america is there.” if bodner’s words connote a swashbuckling attitude, his out-of-courtroom manner is scarcely intimidating. Bald, 5 foot 9 inches tall and solidly built (he runs or works out with weights numerous instances per week), he is forty five years old. He talks rapid and laughs effortlessly. When he laughs, his pewter-blue eyes shine, and the corners of his mouth flip sharply as much as shape a crescent suggestive of a smiley-face sticky label. In 1986, when he married a massachusetts girl named betsy evans, the event made the big apple instances wedding web page. Bride and groom had stunning instructional credentials, each having graduated with high honors from dartmouth college and bodner having graduated magna cum laude from harvard law faculty. (bodner’s wife later attended clinical college and now works component-time as a pediatrician. The couple have 3 younger children.) as for pedigree, hers became greater top notch than his. Her father become a senior companion inside the boston regulation company this is now called goodwin procter. Her grandfather, george c. Sweeney, had been leader choose of america district court in boston. Bodner’s parents grew up on farms inside the lush horse country of primary kentucky, and both became factory workers. “my side of the own family was the sort of individuals who had been more mucking the stalls rather than proudly owning the horses,” bodner says. His father, a union organizer, wound up as a manager on the corning glass works. Lacrosse, in which bodner excelled, turned into his ticket to the st. James faculty, a prep college near hagerstown, md. Speedy hand-eye coordination and a knack for approach made him a herbal at goalie. He performed the placement on the varsity lacrosse crew at dartmouth, and he additionally studied hard. “sunday nights via thursday nights, i’d close the library,” he says. By the point he reached harvard law faculty, he changed into keen to do extra than study. He parlayed a summer season job on the now-defunct regulation firm of lord day & lord in new york town right into a six-month mission at some point of his 2d 12 months of regulation school. Every week he commuted from boston to new york for several days of exertions on a long and complex breach-of-contract case. When bodner signed on as a ropes & grey companion in 1987, he become only the present day harvard law graduate in an extended parade of them, a lot of whom got here to move the company. Ropes & gray, which turned into installed in 1865, is the largest boston-based regulation company. It employs approximately 580 lawyers in boston and in satellite tv for pc offices in big apple, washington, d. C., and san francisco, 199 of them companions. Ropes & gray become lengthy known as a roosting place for smart boston bluebloods with harvard law degrees, along with former u. S. Legal professional preferred elliot richardson. “within the old days,” quips bodner, “[the firm] diverse via figuring out to take some human beings from yale.” the firm’s popularity as a mecca for harvard graduates is a great deal much less deserved these days, according to bodner. Bodner’s arrival at ropes & grey coincided with what he calls the “wild west of the takeover days.” as a young legal professional within the company’s litigation department, he helped shield such organizations as virtual from antagonistic takeovers tried by way of company raiders. “there was simply loads occurring,” bodner recounts. “i used to be able to get lots of responsibility because matters have been transferring so speedy and furiously.” being a litigator inside the “midst of a number of firefights” appropriate bodner nicely, he says, except that one massive element became lacking: like their opposite numbers at different huge companies that represent broadly speaking corporate clients, ropes & gray lawyers hardly ever try cases. In his first 3 years at ropes & grey, bodner attempted none, a fact that gnawed at him. Bodner puts the point this manner: “for litigators, trials, in particular jury trials, are the call of the game. That’s what each person practices for and prepares for.” so bodner snagged a task with the u. S. Attorney for the southern district of latest york, that is to a litigator what, say, the excursion de france is to a bicycle racer. He explains: “i went to strive instances, and i desired to strive as many instances, mainly complex and hard instances, as i could get my arms on.” reporting to work at the u. S. Legal professional’s workplace in a drab red-brick building at one st. Andrews plaza in lower long island, as bodner did on a sunny day in 1990, become a shock. There have been weapons everywhere — guns worn via security guards, guns taped up for evidence and guns holstered on fbi retailers’ belts. If bodner needed to copy a file, report papers or ebook an airline reservation, no ropes & grey assistant turned into around to assist. He had to do all of it himself. For a year bodner labored on lesser instances, honing his prosecutorial talents. His first primary case, the investigation and trial of a former new york-based totally cocaine distributor for the medellin cartel, ate up the following yr, bodner says. “i had a day and a half of off, half of thanksgiving and xmas day. It turned into seven days every week, 14 hours a day,” bodner recalls. The trial, which started in september 1991 and led to march 1992, reached a climax in its last days whilst bodner became pass-inspecting the defendant, a colombian country wide named fernando gill (stated “hill”). To camouflage his sizeable cocaine-distribution community, gill operated a horse farm in manorville, manhattan. The government’s case relied heavily on fbi wiretaps, which had captured gill’s underlings discussing their drug commercial enterprise in code. Their code call for miami, as an example, changed into “the seaside.” the wiretapped conversations, gill insisted in his testimony, were about horses, now not cocaine. Bodner’s cross-examination of gill lasted four days. “suffice it to mention that he and i have been now not correct friends all through the direction of it because it changed into a completely aggressive, confrontational cross-exam,” recounts bodner. At the afternoon of the third day of gill’s pass-exam, bodner felt a severe attack of nausea and vertigo. The trial had to be recessed for a day and a 1/2 even as bodner recovered. In keeping with an account later associated with bodner through a defense attorney, gill claimed responsibility for bodner taking ill, saying he had located the curse of santaria, a south-american-fashion voodoo, on the prosecutor. The santaria “twist of fate,” to use bodner’s phrase, seems to linger in his mind as a rare second of comic relief within the high-stakes crook trial, which ended with gill being convicted and sentenced to life in prison. What took place subsequent nevertheless reasons bodner distress. On the night time of the jury’s guilty verdict, the husband and young son of isabelle gonzalez, who testified as a government witness on the gill trial, had been murdered in a bomb blast at their rental in medellin. Bodner assumed that the past due pablo escobar, who became then running the medellin cartel, had ordered the hit. Bodner and an fbi agent had the mission of informing gonzalez that her husband and son were murdered (“the toughest issue i ever did.”). Gonzalez had some other son nonetheless in colombia, who became speedy lively in another country and flown to the big apple at bodner’s behest. She and the son have been located within the u. S. Government’s witness-protection application. In another complicated case that bodner tried in u. S. District court docket in long island, he received a existence sentence against joey “bang bang” massaro, a capo within the luchese organized-crime circle of relatives. Massaro, whose nickname supposedly refers back to the ability he displayed as a younger boxer in delivering fast punches, was convicted of a racketeering conspiracy for using arson and extortion in an try to control the topless-dancing enterprise on manhattan. Massaro himself shot to death one of his leader lieutenants, joey fiorito, whom he believed had stolen a rolex watch from another member of the luchese corporation, according to testimony that bodner supplied to the jury. The info of the murder, which bodner hooked up as a predicate act in furtherance of the conspiracy, seem indelibly imprinted on his mind. With theatrical flourish, bodner can nonetheless quote what massaro stated after he lured fiorito to the basement of an unoccupied residence in hauppauge, ny, and shot him inside the lower back of the pinnacle: “hiya, i desire we had a pitcher. [the spurting blood] looks as if a fucking water fountain.” the massaro trial concluded in november 1993. Now not lengthy after, bodner rejoined ropes & grey’s litigation branch in boston. A accomplice at the firm due to the fact that 1995, bodner now heads its securities and commercial enterprise litigation institution, focusing on mergers-and-acquisitions disputes, corporate-governance matters and white-collar crook defense. Among clients he has represented are donald chiofaro, the boston real estate developer; directors of the trump inns & casinos inc. And demoulas top notch markets inc.; peoplesoft corp., the business-software program maker; and harvard college. Handiest a “fraction” of his time is spent trying instances, he says, and he fast adds, “it's miles the most enjoyable fraction.” explaining why he so enjoys the paintings of a tribulation legal professional, bodner waxes almost poetic: “it takes everything you’ve discovered as a legal professional and definitely as someone, in which your process is basically to persuade humans that your side of the case is right on the facts, on the law, on frame language, on the whole thing. You do it with an target audience. It’s this sports contest, this play, this wonderful intellectual assignment.”