Self-Proclaimed BigLaw Vet (and Unbelievable Blowhard) Charged with Sex Tourism

by lawshucks on March 31, 2010

Bitter Lawyer
drew our attention to the allegations leveled against one Kenneth Schneider:

CEO of a London-based M&A firm, international business attorney and performing arts philanthropist, was charged “with two counts of sex tourism for engaging in an eight-year sexual relationship with a young ballet dancer he met in Russia, federal authorities announced today.”

We know lots of international M&A lawyers so we decided to try to look him up and were astonished by what we found. M&A lawyers are far from shrinking violets, but Schneider takes self-aggrandizement to a whole new level.

His background and some of his amazing claims (seriously, it’s bullshit the likes of which we’ve never seen before), after the jump.

For a self-proclaimed international M&A lawyer, unfortunately, there are few actual details on his background (emphasis added, although the text is so emphatic it almost seems extraneous).

During his early period as an international financial attorney practicing with several of the world’s leading law firms in New York and London, Schneider masterminded new ways of thinking about his own profession while handling headline transactions in more than 50 countries on all six inhabited continents. But he would literally rewrite history itself when he agreed to focus these skills on the revitalization of the former Soviet Union’s (FSU) newly free and completely chaotic economies at the end of the millennium. In 1993, Kenneth Schneider undertook an assignment to represent the government of one of the FSU’s largest and most resource-rich republics: rewriting their legal frameworks and negotiating foreign investment on a massive scale that would enable not only the economic but the social redevelopment of the nation.

We did find out that he went to Chicago (’92) for law school, according to an interview with the Harvard College Law Journal (not to be confused with HLR).

In that article, it appears he alludes to the relationship that led to the current charges:

A huge turning point came in 1998 when instructors I’d befriended at one of the most famous performing arts training institutions in the former Soviet Union asked me to help an extremely gifted young student who had been thrown out on the street because his parents, both former artists, had lost their work and couldn’t pay some obscure amount. Apogee already had been taking shape for a year, at that point, and we’d done a great deal for that particular institution — so we managed to put this kid back in school and to build around him support structures which we’ve since provided to hundreds of gifted students across Eurasia.

WTF is an “obscure” amount?  They couldn’t figure out how much to pay?  Maybe he meant an “obscene” amount?  And his alleged behavior is what’s really obscene.  That depiction appears to stop right before the sordid part of the story begins, as the Philadelphia Inquirer describes:

According to the indictment, Schneider was working as a legal consultant in Moscow in 1998 when he met a 12-year-old boy who was a student at the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy.

The boy, identified in the indictment as R.Z., had been forced to leave the Academy because his parents could not afford to pay the school’s tuition.

Schneider, who had recently founded the Apogee Foundation, offered to pay for the boy’s schooling and proposed the child live with him in Schneider’s Moscow apartment, said U.S. Attorney Michael Levy.

Soon after, Scheider began “grooming” the boy for sexual contact by touching, kissing and buying the boy gifts, according to the indictment. Eventually, Schneider engaged in intercourse with the boy, according to the indictment.

In 2001, Schneider brought the boy to Philadelphia to study for the summer at the internationally renown Rock School for Dance Education. Schneider and the boy, then 15, returned to Russia and where the sexual relationship continued.

Putting aside the unseemly allegations, what really cracks us up is the guy’s boasting.  We’ll start by letting him describe himself – from a bio on his website (emphasis added (again)):

Kenneth Schneider’s career has included mastering everything from music and mathematics to philosophy and physics and from linguistics and law to education and economics in the course of a stunning path taking him to and beyond the world’s leading academic institutions, professional firms and international powerbrokers. Throughout his life, Ken Schneider seems to have taken on mankind’s most complex challenges on scales larger than life itself by demonstrating an intellectual virtuosity so unlimited that it can transcend fields, nations and cultures.

Bear in mind, someone else – an allegedly independent third party, no less – wrote that.  A journalist named Richard Morrison wrote it as part of a series about “international leaders in culture and commerce around the world.”

Here he is in his own words:

Kenneth Schneider is Aurience’s President and CEO. In directing Aurience’s global development, Mr. Schneider merges his pre-existing careers in relevant creative, financial and philanthropic fields to provide a vehicle for the firm’s partners to generate new forms of value for themselves and for the world at large.After obtaining honors in the theory and performance of music and drama, Mr. Schneider pursued a distinguished legal career during which he became a leading international attorney practicing with several of the most prominent law firms in the financial capitals of the U.S., E.U. and C.I.S. In the course of this work and his subsequent service as Head of Executions for the dominant C.I.S. investment and asset management group, Mr. Schneider handled acquisition and finance projects in over 50 countries on six continents.

In addition to his position at the helm of Aurience, Mr. Schneider has participated in forming and managing a number of international professional and philanthropic programs and organizations focusing on East-West opportunities and synergies.

Throughout his professional life, Mr. Schneider has marshaled his experience and relationships in all of these fields around the globe into developing new forms of value for everyone concerned.

His view on law as art or science (from the HCLJ interview):

Given that I spent my undergraduate career studying music and physics and my graduate career studying law, I’d like to offer you a strong opinion. My college work was focused on showing the deep unity of artistic and scientific approaches to our understanding of the world – because both approaches are unified at the deepest levels of consciousness. If we describe art as the order we give to subjective reality and science as the order we give to objective reality, then I would describe law as a bridge between the two, ideally with one foot planted firmly in each.


On his career path:

I decided to put myself through a kind of intellectual boot camp by going to law school at the University of Chicago and, while there, I remember watching the Soviet flag come down over the Kremlin – and, at that moment, all of the possibilities I could only have imagined the rest of my life suddenly were waiting just at the other end of an airport tarmac. While the ink was drying on my sheepskin, I went first to New York to earn my stripes in cross-border transactional work and then to London when the international financial boom went into high gear. By the mid 90’s, I had integrated the set of professional skills I felt I needed to put myself into the middle of all the potential unfolding out of the former Soviet Union – right at the point when those skills were most needed.

There’s really just too much here to mock, so we’ll ask you to pass along your favorite quotes.

More importantly, does anyone know what firms this guy worked at and have you ever done a deal with him?

And is he friends with Deidre Dare?

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