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Press Release

Blank Rome Welcomes Prominent White Collar and Complex Litigation Team in New York

Blank Rome LLP is pleased to welcome a leading team of five attorneys to the firm’s White Collar Defense & Investigations group in New York, bolstering the firm’s litigation capabilities. Led by partners David Spears, Linda Imes, and Chris Dysard, the group includes associates Michael Donohue and Rebecca Orel, as well as four business professionals. Prior to joining Blank Rome, the group practiced at the acclaimed litigation boutique Spears & Imes LLP.

“As we ring in the new year, I’m very excited to welcome David, Linda, Chris, and their team to Blank Rome,” said Grant S. Palmer, Blank Rome’s Chair and Managing Partner. “The group is highly accomplished and extraordinarily well-regarded in the areas of white collar criminal defense, securities enforcement defense, and complex civil litigation. They are steadfast advocates for their clients, inside and outside the courtroom, and their broad experience will benefit our clients facing high-stakes litigation and government investigations.”

“We remain committed to expanding our litigation bench to meet the needs of our clients, particularly in the area of white collar defense, as federal and state prosecutors continue to focus on investigating and charging financial and corporate crimes across the United States and internationally,” added Jerry D. Bernstein, partner and co-chair of the firm’s White Collar Defense & Investigations group. “The group adds remarkable depth to our litigation team. Linda, David, and Chris have tremendous experience defending clients in criminal investigations and regulatory inquiries, and they have a hard-earned reputation for crafting successful litigation strategies.”

This team of attorneys primarily devotes their practice to litigation and investigative work in the areas of white collar criminal defense, regulatory matters (including securities enforcement), and complex civil litigation. Often, their matters involve parallel proceedings simultaneously implicating more than one of these practice areas. Collectively, the attorneys have decades of experience trying matters in a wide range of forums and locations, including criminal and civil cases before juries in federal and state courts across the country, regulatory cases before administrative law judges and agency hearing panels, and arbitrations before a variety of tribunals. The group also has substantial appellate experience.

“We are very proud of the practice we have built, and we are excited to begin this new chapter,” noted David. “Blank Rome’s litigation team is a powerhouse. We look forward to working with our new colleagues in New York and across the firm to help our clients as they navigate criminal and regulatory investigations, complex civil litigation, Congressional inquiries, and more. Blank Rome’s vast platform, geographic reach, and broad range of service capabilities provide us with optimal resources to serve our clients and support their litigation and business needs.”

Linda, David, Chris, and their team represent clients across many industries, including financial services, technology, higher education, medical services, real estate development, and pharmaceuticals.   

Their wide-ranging experience includes matters with international elements, including litigation and government investigations in foreign countries with implications in the United States; litigation and government investigations in the United States involving clients, witnesses, and evidence located in foreign countries; and court proceedings in the United States to obtain evidence for use in foreign proceedings. They have helped clients who live abroad avoid criminal or regulatory charges in the United States; they have also counseled clients facing extradition.   

Linda added, “We have been extremely impressed by the members of Blank Rome’s White Collar Defense & Investigations group, who plainly share our values and hold themselves to the highest standards. More broadly, the firm has an esteemed litigation bench and an exceptional finance industry team, and we are excited to bring our capabilities together. We look forward to supporting our clients from the Blank Rome platform and contributing to the continued growth and success of the White Collar Defense & Investigations group.”

The group’s arrival continues the strategic expansion of Blank Rome’s nationally recognized litigation department. For example, in 2023, the department welcomed two groups of attorneys, including a group of nine litigators in New York and an international trade group in Washington, D.C., as well as several prominent partners across the country, including Barrett R. Howell, a partner in the White Collar Defense and Investigations group in the firm’s recently opened Dallas office.

About the Attorneys


David Spears has had extensive trial and appellate experience and achieved notable successes in complex civil, criminal, and regulatory litigation. In his more than three decades in private practice, David has tried many criminal and civil cases in federal and state courts and before the SEC, FINRA, and arbitration panels. He has also argued many cases in the U.S. Courts of Appeals and New York State appellate courts. David spent the early years of his career working in government, including at the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C., focusing on antitrust matters; as a Deputy Chief Trial Attorney in the Enforcement Division of the SEC in Washington, D.C.; and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. David earned his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and his B.A. from Northwestern University.

Linda Imes has been a criminal and civil litigator for more than three decades, with substantial trial and appellate experience. She has represented individuals and corporations in investigations by, and matters involving, numerous U.S. Attorney’s Offices, the DOJ, the SEC, FINRA, state Attorneys General, the District Attorney’s Office, and many other governmental and regulatory bodies. She also has experience representing individuals in connection with Congressional investigations and inquiries. She is the recipient of the prestigious Norman S. Ostrow Award, given annually by the New York Council of Defense Lawyers to one attorney who has made an “outstanding contribution to the defense of liberty and the preservation of individual rights.” Early in her career, Linda was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. She earned her J.D., cum laude, from Northwestern University School of Law and her M.A. and B.S., both with honors, from Northwestern University.

Chris Dysard has been a criminal and civil litigator for more than two decades, with substantial experience representing clients in complex civil litigation, including appeals, and matters involving numerous U.S. Attorney’s Offices, the DOJ, the SEC, state Attorneys General, Congress, and other governmental and regulatory bodies. Chris earned his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and his B.A., magna cum laude, from Harvard University.


Michael Donohue earned his J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School and his B.S., with highest honors, from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He clerked for the Honorable Edgardo Ramos of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Rebecca Orel earned her J.D., from Columbia Law School and her B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania. She served as the Habeas Law Clerk for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.