Bienert Katzman Littrell Williams LLP Partner Whitney Z. Bernstein has been recognized as one of the Top White Collar Lawyers in California for 2022 by the Daily Journal. The publication, which is lauded as California’s leading legal newspaper, honored 24 of the best white collar criminal defense attorneys in the state based on clientele, experience, reputation, and success in the courtroom, among other factors.
The Daily Journal profile highlights Whitney’s recent case successes, including her work in securing a misdemeanor and no-jail time for the firm’s client who was charged with CAN-SPAM Act violations. The client, along with three others, was charged with one felony count of conspiracy, four felony counts of wire fraud, and five counts of electronic mail fraud relating to the alleged theft of “IP netblocks” used to send large amounts of emails through the internet. Through her strong advocacy, Whitney convinced the court to not only adopt a loss amount of $9,700 – a huge departure from the $70 million alleged – but to also reduce the client’s fine, over the government’s objection, from $100,000 to $25,000.
In her profile, Whitney credited her background in criminology and as a federal public defender, along with her upbringing in a family of lawyers, for her “healthy skepticism about government authority.”
“I always wanted to be a defense lawyer and hold the government accountable,” Whitney told the Daily Journal. “I’m very interested in how deeply flawed our penal system is . . . [My] criminology degree helps when we stand back and think about the government’s purported goals in imposing sentences: punishment, deterrence, rehabilitation and retribution.”
Whitney is currently defending an individual in an alleged complex $150 million wire fraud and money laundering case against Qualcomm recently charged in the Southern District of California. She also represents clients in other matters being investigated by the DOJ and the SEC. On the civil side, Whitney is currently involved in a multimillion-dollar estate dispute.