SAN DIEGO – Eric J. Beste and Charles “Chuck” G. La Bella, both former federal prosecutors and veteran trial lawyers, have joined Barnes & Thornburg’s San Diego office as members of the firm’s Litigation Department and White Collar and Investigations practice.
Beste, who joins as a partner, most recently served as senior litigation counsel in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, and previously supervised the office’s Major Frauds Section and the entire Criminal Division. At Barnes & Thornburg, he handles sensitive white-collar matters involving securities fraud, corporate malfeasance, domestic and foreign corruption, government contracting offenses, health care fraud, and financial institution crimes.
La Bella, joining as of counsel, focuses on white collar defense, complex business litigation, and internal corporate investigations, as well as enforcement and privacy work. Previously, La Bella practiced at Bartko Zankel Bunzel & Miller, a California-based boutique law firm, and was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California.
“Eric and Chuck are well-known and well-regarded when it comes to large-scale investigations and prosecutions of civil and criminal wrongdoing,” said Troy Zander, San Diego managing partner. “As we grow our litigation bench strength in Southern California, I can’t think of a better team to help us accelerate those efforts while strengthening our brand nationally.”
Beste and La Bella are the latest prominent former government attorneys to join Barnes & Thornburg, which has added several since 2015, including Roscoe Howard, Michael Battle and William “Billy” Martin in Washington, D.C., and Patrick Miles, Jeff Davis and Aaron Lindstrom in Grand Rapids.
“Eric and Chuck’s extensive experience makes them well-equipped to advise individuals and companies facing government investigations and other serious litigation challenges,” said Randy Brown, chair of Barnes & Thornburg’s Litigation Department. “They’re tenacious investigators and zealous advocates who are uniquely qualified to help clients navigating complex regulatory environments or dealing with evolving compliance risks.”
About the Attorneys
Eric Beste, partner, comes to Barnes & Thornburg after two decades of public service at the U.S. Department of Justice, including the past 15 years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego, California. As criminal chief in one of the busiest federal districts in the country, and chief of the office’s Major Frauds Section, Beste oversaw the prosecution of hundreds of cases, many of which were high-profile and nationally significant. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, a position he held from 2003-2010, Beste investigated and prosecuted complex fraud schemes, including the office’s first insider trading cases, its first Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) cases, and the largest securities fraud case in the office’s history. He was recently recognized by the DOJ for his leadership with the prestigious Assistant Attorney General’s Exceptional Service Award.
Earlier in his career, Beste was a trial attorney for the DOJ’s Criminal Division, Fraud Section (1996-2003), where he prosecuted myriad fraud offenses in federal courts across the country. He was also a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia (1997) and served as a law clerk for the Hon. Marvin E. Aspen, Chief U.S. District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (1994-1996).
Beste earned his J.D. from the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, and his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a frequent lecturer and instructor on white collar crime and trial advocacy.
Chuck La Bella, of counsel, was a federal prosecutor for more than two decades, including service periods with the Southern District of California (First Assistant U.S. Attorney, 1993-1998; U.S. Attorney, 1998-1999) and the Southern District of New York (Assistant U.S. Attorney, 1982-1993). During both stints, La Bella held numerous supervisory positions and led various task forces investigating public corruption, narcotics and organized crime. Most recently, he was in private practice.
La Bella’s most recent distinguished public service post was serving as the deputy chief of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Fraud Section (2010-2016), where he oversaw national white collar investigations and cases, including violations of the FCPA, the Securities and Exchange Act, RICO, healthcare offenses, and many other federal laws. Notably, he was responsible for convicting over 40 defendants in the largest fraud case in the history of Nevada.
La Bella earned his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law, and his B.A. from LeMoyne College. In 2018, he was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, adding to an extensive list of professional recognitions over the course of his career.
With more than 600 attorneys and other legal professionals, Barnes & Thornburg is one of the largest law firms in the country. The firm serves clients worldwide from 14 offices in Atlanta, California, Chicago, Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Minneapolis, Ohio, Texas and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit us online at www.btlaw.com or on Twitter @BTLawNews.