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Bank of America's Last, Best Hope

"I think his experience is in the diplomacy of structuring settlements and in dealing on a foreign minister to foreign minister basis with effectively other heads of state at regulatory agencies and I think there he brings great credibility. If he's coming to a meeting, the attorney general of state "X" should be flattered," Coffee says.

James Cohen, a law Professor at Fordham University, sees another reason Lynch may have been hired.

"He gives the management insurance against being criticized by the board. How could we have gotten better than Gary Lynch? I'm not saying he doesn't bring anything to the table in terms of substance. I'm not saying that at all. But from a political point of view or a job retention point of view, management wants that big name so they can say we hired the best and the best solved the problem."

Lynch, like Wilmer's McLucas, is one of a long line of Wall Street enforcement chiefs who have gone on to help defend the industry they once policed. Deutsche Bank (DB)general counsel Richard Walker and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) are two other examples.

The "revolving door," between Wall Street and its regulators has long drawn criticism, though especially in the wake of the financial crisis.

Wilmer's McLucas may be more better protected from such criticism since he has overseen internal investigations at WorldCom, Enron and UnitedHealth in the wake of scandals at those companies. Lynch did similar work in the 1990's for companies including Bausch & Lomb Inc., Kidder Peabody, and Mattel, Inc. (MAT), though many of his reports were not made public as McLucas's were.

Regardless, McLucas argues much of the criticism of the "revolving door," is too simplistic.

"An enormous percentage of what we do out here, which nobody ever sees, including the government, is basically ensure and advise people to do things the right way, and that runs the gamut from disclosure advice to counsel in accounting matters to advising boards as to how they ought to conduct themselves, and I think the idea that having been in the government and now being in private practice you've sort of betrayed your original commitment and sold your soul is just not true. It is simply not true," he says.

-- Written by Dan Freed in New York.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.
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