Holwell Says Rajaratnam Trial 'Challenging'

Feb 8 2012 | 1:57pm ET

On the day he stepped down from the federal bench, the now-former judge who presided over the Raj Rajaratnam insider-trading trial talked about his decision and about the trial that put him in the newspapers on a daily basis.

Richard Holwell announced yesterday that he would quit his lifetime appointment to the U.S. District Court in Manhattan to start a litigation boutique with two former colleagues from law firm White & Case, where Holwell spent more than 30 years before being named to the bench by President George W. Bush.

"I just felt a little itch and wanted to try and get back in the courtroom from the other side of the rail," he told Reuters.

As for last year's trial of the Galleon Group founder, Holwell said it was "personally challenging."

"I personally found it a difficult court case because it had to be dealt with both on an individual level and, obviously, the case had implications for the financial markets and the social fabric in general," Holwell said. "You couldn't really overlook where it was and it was always a constant struggle to strike the right balance on how one approached the case."

Holwell admitted that it was unusual for a federal judge to quit to start a law firm, but he denied that it was a matter of compensation.

"It wasn't an issue of the woefully inadequate pay," Holwell told The New York Times. "I worked for 30 years in the private sector. It's simply the opportunity to do something completely different, so I'm going to take that opportunity."


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