Our History

Over the last fifty years, Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello PC has established itself as a respected litigation boutique known for its seasoned and talented trial lawyers. The firm is the first port of call for many corporations and individuals on their most sensitive and high-profile white collar and regulatory matters and sophisticated business disputes.

Our roots trace back to 1972 and the predecessor firm, Martin and Obermaier. Former government colleagues, John Martin's and Otto Obermaier’s boutique firm represented businessmen and political officials embroiled in ‘sensitive’ matters that New York’s large firms steered clear of at that time. One year later, Robert G. Morvillo, a former head of the Securities Fraud Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan and a former Chief of its Criminal Division, joined them and the firm’s name changed to Martin, Obermaier, and Morvillo. White collar defense work was their focus, reflecting increases in federal resources being deployed to white collar crime and the subsequent increases in indictments against corporate executives. Merrill Lynch became an early client of the firm, with Morvillo serving as the financial giant’s principal outside counsel on regulatory issues.

In 1979, after serving as Chief of the Criminal Division in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, Elkan Abramowitz joined the firm, succeeding John Martin, who in 1980, left private practice for public service, as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and later became a United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York. Abramowitz had previously served as Assistant Deputy Mayor for the City of New York and as a Special Counsel to the Select Committee on Crime for the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 1985, after serving as an Assistant Special Prosecutor in the Watergate Special Prosecution Force and later as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Lawrence Iason became a partner at the firm. In 1988, Iason left to head the New York office of the Securities and Exchange Commission, returning to the firm in 1991.

In 1989, Paul Grand, who had also served as Chief of the Securities Fraud Unit and a founding partner of Grand & Ostrow, joined the firm. Grand was also no stranger to the types of big insider trading and securities fraud matters circling financial institutions, both as a prosecutor and in private practice.

In 2002, the firm added a name partner with a long tenure at the firm and tremendous litigation experience – Robert J. Anello – becoming Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason Anello PC. Robert J. Anello joined the firm as an Associate in 1980 and by 2002 had developed a wide-reaching practice that included white collar criminal defense, complex civil litigation, and internal corporate investigations and reviews.

In December 2011, the firm, as well as the entire white collar bar, mourned the passing of Robert G. Morvillo.

The firm's leadership in the field of white collar defense has long been widely recognized. In 2003 Chambers and Partners, in their first USA Leading Lawyers Guide, noted that sources described the firm as, “in a class by itself" with "independently substantial players" who “won recognition as a first stop for high net-worth individuals under investigation for white collar crimes.” Since Chambers’ inception, the firm has continued to be listed in Band 1 with our lawyers receiving its top individual accolades. The firm is also featured in all other third-party directories, including The Legal 500 United States, Benchmark Litigation, Who’s Who Legal, Best Lawyers, and Super Lawyers to name a few.

The firm can also boast of its impressive alumni, including numerous Assistant U.S. Attorneys in both the Southern and Eastern districts, the current and previous Manhattan District Attorneys, other high-level government employees at various agencies such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the New York City Department of Investigation, and executives and partners at many Fortune 500 companies and global law firms.

While the firm continues to be well-known for its high-profile representations, many of the firm’s greatest successes over the years have been for clients who never become known to the public. The firm continues its tradition of dedication to its clients' needs and first-rate advocacy – in and out of court – which it has refined and expanded over the past decades.