Former AUSA, First Assistant NJ Attorney General Ricardo Solano Rejoins Gibbons to Help Lead Firm’s White Collar & Investigations Practice
June 1, 2023
Gibbons P.C. is pleased to welcome back to the firm Ricardo Solano Jr., a well-known, highly regarded leader in the white collar defense space in New Jersey who previously served in both the United States Attorney’s Office and the New Jersey Office of Attorney General. Mr. Solano, who began his legal career as an Associate in the Criminal Defense practice at Gibbons and later returned as a Director in that practice, has returned to the firm once again – on this occasion to help launch, lead, and build its newly-standalone White Collar & Investigations Group.
“This is a real homecoming for me,” said Mr. Solano. “At various points over the past two decades, I have worked at Gibbons as a summer associate, Associate, and Director, and I have worked with Gibbons attorneys as colleagues, adversaries, and co-counsel. Taking on a co-chair role at the firm feels like a natural next step, and I look forward to helping direct the White Collar & Investigations Group and ensure its continued growth.”
An experienced trial and appellate attorney with a distinguished background in white collar criminal and complex commercial litigation matters, Mr. Solano is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, serving from 2001-2006 in the Terrorism Unit, Special Prosecutions Division, and Appeals Division. There, he conducted grand jury investigations and prosecuted cases concerning federal anti-corruption and bribery statute offenses; accounting, financial, mail, and wire fraud; tax evasion; and FDA and export control violations. He also argued criminal appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. In 2008, Mr. Solano was appointed as New Jersey’s First Assistant Attorney General under then-Attorney General Anne Milgram, who is now Administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. In that role, he oversaw the Divisions of Criminal Justice, Law, Consumer Affairs, and Gaming Enforcement, participating in case reviews, developing litigation strategy for criminal investigations, affirmative civil litigation, and civil defense matters and handling various administrative and management responsibilities for the office.
“This is a bit of a ‘Back to the Future’ moment for us here at Gibbons, and we’re thrilled to have Ricardo back as we restructure our litigation practices to reestablish the firm’s White Collar Defense and Investigations practice,” said Peter J. Torcicollo, the firm’s Managing Director. “He will play a vital leadership role and further enhance the firm’s outstanding reputation in this area, positioning Gibbons to expand the practice’s scope, reach, and talent bench.”
Mr. Solano rejoins Gibbons at a crucial time in its history, when it seeks to formalize the distinction that its white collar criminal and investigations practice advances, as the singular, and particularly distinguished, practice group for which it has become known in New Jersey and beyond. Until recently operating under the administrative umbrella of the firm’s Commercial & Criminal Litigation Group, the more focused White Collar & Investigations Group has been spun off to better support and grow what is currently one of the firm’s most vibrant practices. This realignment accommodates the increasing volume, breadth, complexity, and importance of the often high-profile and precedent-setting matters the Group undertakes, not only in New Jersey but throughout the region and nationally. By spinning off the practice into a full-fledged legal department, Gibbons is providing its white collar defense attorneys the administrative infrastructure and management resources they need to support a practice that is expanding in size and significance to the firm and its clients.
Mr. Solano will co-chair the practice with longtime Gibbons attorney Lawrence S. Lustberg, one of the most well-respected and senior criminal defense attorneys in New Jersey and beyond and a nationally recognized authority in constitutional and criminal law and procedure, who has been responsible for many seminal federal and state court decisions in a broad range of cases.
“I could not be more thrilled that Ricardo is returning to Gibbons, and there is no one I trust more, in combination with our other outstanding attorneys, to carry into the future the practice we have worked so hard to build. I look forward to working with Ricardo, and ultimately to entrusting this extraordinary group to his demonstrated skills, experience, and leadership,” Mr. Lustberg said.
Mr. Solano’s ascent in the law is inspiring and marked by extraordinary accomplishment. Raised by a single mother in the City of Paterson, New Jersey, he earned a B.A. from New York University and, as the first in his family to pursue a legal career, a J.D., summa cum laude, from Seton Hall University School of Law, which honored him with its 2018 Exemplary Service Award for his unwavering commitment as an alumnus and adjunct professor. He clerked for the Honorable Maryanne Trump Barry of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the Honorable Deborah T. Poritz of the New Jersey Supreme Court before becoming an associate at Gibbons. More recently, he was a partner at Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman LLP, with a focus on white collar crime. Mr. Solano later joined The Straus Group, a private investment family firm in Fort Lee, New Jersey, and CareOne, a nationwide healthcare continuum with annual revenues in excess of $1 billion that operates more than 70 post-acute nursing and assisted living facilities, long-term acute care hospitals, hospice providers, and a long-term care pharmacy company, as its Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer.
Among his many notable cases are:
- The representation of a former executive of a major commercial bank in connection with parallel DOJ and state criminal investigations and related civil proceedings alleging violations of the Bank Secrecy Act and money laundering statutes, which resulted in no criminal charges.
- The representation of the former general counsel of a publicly traded technology company in parallel DOJ and SEC investigations regarding alleged improper accounting and securities laws violations, which resulted in a favorable settlement with the SEC and no criminal charges.
- The representation of a major financial services company in a five-month jury trial defending against claims of racketeering, misappropriation of trade secrets, and unfair competition totaling $1 billion loss, which resulted in dismissal of the plaintiffs’ racketeering claims after the close of evidence and a favorable settlement during deliberations.
- The representation of the State of New Jersey and Governor Murphy in connection with litigation alleging defamation and retaliatory discharge by former assistant commissioner of a state department.
- His representation of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority in connection with the investigation conducted by New Jersey Governor’s Task Force on Tax Incentives.
- The representation of a senior executive of a major pharmaceutical company in connection with investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, and the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding alleged anti-kickback and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations, which resulted in no criminal or administrative charges.
- The successful prosecution, as a federal prosecutor, after a five-week jury trial of seven defendants accused of terrorizing and interstate stalking dozens of victims throughout the country and coordinating their “campaigns” through the internet and social media.
Admitted to practice in New Jersey and New York, Mr. Solano is currently President of the Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey and is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association and the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey.
“With the wealth of experience he brings back to Gibbons, Ricardo will undoubtedly be a tremendous asset to our new practice group,” remarked Patrick C. Dunican Jr., Gibbons’s Executive Chairperson. “We can think of no one more qualified to help lead us in this endeavor.”