News & Thought

New York Law Journal: Attorneys Mark Elliott, Dennis Kwok, Matthew Levine and Ilene Jaroslaw Form New Legal Practice

Veteran attorneys Mark Elliott, Dennis Kwok, Matthew Levine and Ilene Jaroslaw today launched a boutique law firm specializing in complex business litigation, financial and regulatory investigations, and white collar criminal defense. The firm, Elliott Kwok Levine & Jaroslaw LLP (“EKLJ”), is uniquely suited to address a wide range of complex financial and business matters including international trade and disputes involving companies conducting business in China.

Mark Elliott was most recently the chair of Phillips Nizer LLP’s litigation department. Dennis Kwok was a leading pro-democracy member of the Hong Kong Legislature who fought tirelessly to protect the rule of law and defend human rights for nearly eight years. Among other key roles, Matthew Levine previously served as Executive Deputy Superintendent for Enforcement for the New York State Department of Financial Services. Criminal defense attorney Ilene Jaroslaw was formerly the Chief of the General Crimes section in the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

“This is my personal dream team and I could not be more excited to work with these incredible attorneys,” said Mark Elliott. “Dennis is an internationally-recognized voice for justice who brings unmatched insight on China and international affairs generally. Matt and Ilene, whom I have admired since our earliest days at Paul, Weiss are among the most talented white collar defense attorneys in the country. Together, our unique partnership is intentionally designed to address a host of domestic and global legal matters that many large law firms are unable to take on.”

EKLJ will launch with four distinct practice areas: Commercial Litigation and International Arbitration; White Collar Criminal Defense; Regulatory Counseling; and Antitrust. In addition, partner Dennis Kwok will spearhead a specialized team to engage in matters involving international human rights.

“As the economic decoupling process with China unfolds, businesses and organizations are evaluating the geopolitical risks in a region where political and legal interests are heavily intertwined,” said Kwok. “Our practice will unflinchingly work on contentious matters involving Chinese companies and state-owned entities.”

Mark Elliott brings more than 30 years of litigation experience to EKLJ, representing a wide client base with a focus on financial institutions, corporate governance, creditors rights, contractual disputes, and antitrust. He has led litigations against the Central Bank of Iraq and in the Madoff, Delta Air Lines, LandAmerica and Enron bankruptcies. Other high-profile cases include an eight-week jury trial for the County of Westchester, New York, resulting in a verdict that saved taxpayers over $30 million.

Mark was most recently the Chair of Phillips Nizer’s Litigation Department. He began his career at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind Wharton & Garrison and later spent more than a decade as a partner at the international law firm Bingham McCutchen. Mark is Co-Chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Antitrust Reports/Amicus Subcommittee, and he regularly advises clients on antitrust compliance. He served as the Chair of the Board of Ethics of the City of White Plains and on that City’s judicial screening panel, and he currently is a Member of the Committee on Character and Fitness in the Ninth Judicial District in New York’s Second Department. He also serves on the Lawyers Committee of the Inner-City Scholarship Fund, and was the President of the College Young Democrats of America.

Dennis Kwok has focused his practice on complex commercial litigation and arbitration, Sino-foreign joint ventures, as well as cross-border disputes involving China and the Asia Pacific region. He regularly advises international businesses and organizations regarding geopolitical and operational risks within the greater China region. A qualified lawyer in both England & Wales and Hong Kong, Dennis was first elected by his peers as representative of the legal profession in the Hong Kong legislature in 2012 and re-elected in 2016 with 69% of the vote. Alongside his legal practice, Dennis has worked on frontline politics and public issues involving China, Hong Kong and the Asia Pacific region. He began his legal career at the international firm Herbert Smith and later expanded his practice as a barrister in Hong Kong in 2006. Dennis served as a director on the board of the Hong Kong Competition Commission (Hong Kong’s antitrust watchdog) and is a registered foreign legal consultant (Hong Kong) in the State of New York.

Along with his work as a lawyer, Dennis is a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center, and a Distinguished Scholar at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Asian Studies Program, as well as a visiting Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo. The New York State Bar Association’s International Section recently bestowed the Award for Distinction in International Law and Affairs on Dennis for his eight years of work as a pro-democracy Hong Kong legislator representing the legal profession.

Matthew Levine is a seasoned litigator focusing on complex civil and criminal matters who has tried more than 50 cases to verdict. For nearly a decade Matt served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, first in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, and later in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, where he held the role of Acting Chief of the Business & Securities Fraud Section. Matt later served as Executive Deputy Superintendent for Enforcement for the New York State Department of Financial Services where he oversaw complex investigations involving money laundering, terrorist financing, cybercrime, virtual currency fraud, market manipulation, tax fraud, and consumer fraud. He also supervised major monitorships implemented by NYDFS at financial institutions, and served as the main point of contact for other criminal and civil governmental authorities. In private practice, Matt has counseled numerous companies on risk assessments and compliance, and has defended Fortune 500 companies, fintech startups, and other technology firms in regulatory and criminal investigations, trade secret matters, and civil litigation for decades.

Ilene Jaroslaw defends individuals, universities, and businesses in high stakes criminal, civil, and asset forfeiture litigation in federal courts throughout the United States. Her experience includes white collar criminal defense matters, internal investigations, and commercial litigation. As a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, she investigated and prosecuted hundreds of cases, including taking 30 federal cases to a jury verdict and arguing 30 appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. While serving as Chief of the General Crimes section in the US Attorney’s Office, Ilene investigated a wide range of financial crimes, including securities fraud, insider trading, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, money laundering, tax fraud, and health care fraud. Ilene has also litigated on behalf of physicians and medical practices throughout the U.S. court system at a leading nonprofit advocacy organization, and successfully challenged state laws restricting women’s access to abortion.

In 2019, Ilene monitored hearings in the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed military commission at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on behalf of the American Bar Association (ABA) Criminal Justice Section. She serves as co-chair of the ABA Women in White Collar Committee, social media coordinator for the New York Chapter of the Women’s White Collar Defense Association (WWCDA), and member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Judges and Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert (JALBCA).