Following his six years serving as United States Attorney for West Virginia’s Northern District, Bill Ihlenfeld has opted to continue his legal career in Wheeling as a member of Bailey & Glasser LLP.
Founded by Ben Bailey and Brian Glasser in 1999 in Charleston, W.Va., the law firm has grown to include 59 lawyers with offices in nine states and the District of Columbia. The firm’s complex litigation practice focuses on high-stakes commercial litigation; class actions for consumers, insureds, investors, and retirement plan participants; catastrophic injury and defective product cases; antitrust; and whistleblower lawsuits.
But that does not mean the former prosecutor will leave behind his commitment to battling the opioid epidemic by finding solutions to the state’s drug crisis as co-chairman of Governor Jim Justice’s Drug Epidemic Committee. During his tenure as U.S. Attorney, Ihlenfeld placed special emphasis on the prosecution of white-collar crime, including the brokering of a $150 million settlement with McKesson Corporation for its filling of suspicious orders for prescription painkillers in West Virginia.
“It is an issue that is important to me, and I spoke with the leaders at the firm before I accepted their offer because I wanted to continue my work in the area of substance abuse prevention,” Ihlenfled said. “I needed to find a place where I could continue to work in the areas that I spent so much time in at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. It won’t be work I do for the firm but instead the work I do during the evenings and on the weekend because that’s how important it is to me.
“What’s very attractive to me an attorney is that the firm handles a lot of interesting cases, so I am very excited to join the team,” he continued. “There will be some similarities between what I did as a federal prosecutor and what I do for Bailey & Glasser, and that’s why I felt the firm would be a good fit for me. Part of the mission of the firm is to protect the public. It’s just protecting the public in a different way than what I have done for nearly 20 years as a prosecutor on different levels.”
Ihlenfeld will be the managing partner of the firm’s newest office in Wheeling, and his practice will focus on complex civil litigation and internal investigations, along with providing strategic advice, compliance counseling, and crisis-management services to clients.
“I handled similar cases for the federal government, but with this firm it will be on the civil side of things and not on the criminal side,” Ihlenfeld said. “There is a case in Vermont right now in regards to fixing the price of gasoline, and I am on that case.
“We are representing the plaintiffs who have been subjected to price fixing on behalf of the gas suppliers. It’s a pretty complex case; there’s a lot of paper that has to be examined, the case has been filed, and I have been added to the trial team for that,” he said. “We also represent governments, institutions, and we represent West Virginia University in a number of matters.”
Ihlenfeld is a graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law and as U.S. Attorney prosecuted British banking giant HSBC for its failure to identify money-laundering transactions related to Mexican drug trafficking and for concealing money transfers that violated U.S. sanctions, resulting in a $1.9 billion settlement and significant changes to HSBC’s anti-money-laundering procedures.
“The fact that I get to represent West Virginia University, and, other than representing the United States of America as a client, it doesn’t get much better for me to be able to represent WVU as a graduate of the university,” Ihlenfeld offered. “I have always been a huge supporter of WVU in all that it does and not just on the athletic field. That is very exciting to me.
“I knew it was a possibility when I joined the firm, and last weekend I learned that I had been hired to represent the university on some very important matters,” he continued. “I also believe I bring a lot to the table when it comes to internal investigations, so I will be a part of those kinds of cases, as well.”
Ihlenfeld expects to have his office area in the Wagner Building settled by the end of the week and soon will be hiring staff members.
“We will be hiring a paralegal to work with me, and we will hire attorneys, support staff, and I am hoping that we will need a larger space than what we have right now in the Wagner Building,” he explained. “The plan is to grow the practice here in Wheeling, and our market will be the Northern Panhandle, east Ohio, and western Pennsylvania, and there’s a lot of work in those areas.
“I am optimistic about the growth of this region. I think good things are happening, and that’s going to be a good thing for all types of businesses, including the legal industry,” Ihlenfeld added. “What is unique about this firm is that it does work for both plaintiffs and defendants, and they have handled some pretty significant matters including the Volkswagon emissions scandal class-action suit that involves thousands of consumers across the country. It’s about protecting the people and that is something that has always been a goal of mine.”
Editor’s Note: Weelunk is pleased to announce a partnership with Bailey & Glasser LLP. In exchange, we will be periodically highlighting some legal issues that our readers may be interested in. As such, this is a paid piece, and now you know.
(Photos provided by Bailey & Glasser LLP)