Morrison & Foerster provides representation to corporations, board committees, and individuals facing government investigations and criminal charges, and has been selected as counsel on many of the highest-profile white‑collar defense matters in the past decade.

We represent clients in all stages of federal and state criminal proceedings, and in related regulatory investigations, including grand jury, SEC, congressional and state legislative committees, criminal trials, and appeals, as well as foreign enforcement and investigatory agencies. In many of these matters, our firm represents the client in parallel proceedings, often including simultaneous internal investigations, SEC and federal criminal investigations, and related civil litigation, such as securities class actions and derivative suits.

Past cases have covered such areas as antitrust, banking, bribery, campaign finance, customs, economic espionage, energy, the False Claims Act, false statements to the government, health care, mail and wire fraud, money laundering, RICO, securities, tax, and trade secrets.

We frequently represent corporations, senior executives, board members, and public officials in the U.S. and abroad. Our clients are in almost every business sector, including pharmaceuticals, health care, transportation, energy and natural resources, computer hardware and software, telecommunications, financial services, and consumer products. Many of our cases have been resolved through successful out-of-court advocacy and negotiation with authorities, thus keeping our clients out of the spotlight.

We have the experience, resources, and global presence necessary to meet our primary objective for each client: to obtain the most favorable outcome quickly and efficiently, with minimal impact on our client’s business and reputation. Our group includes more than a dozen former prosecutors, as well as former SEC enforcement attorneys, prominent partners with decades of experience, and current Fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers and American Board of Trial Advocates.

We are the only law firm in the world with two former managers of the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section’s FCPA Unit: the former Deputy Chief of the FCPA Unit, who was in charge of all of DOJ’s FCPA investigations and resolutions in the United States and was one of the principal authors of the widely acclaimed publication A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act; and a former Assistant Chief of the FCPA Unit, who tried two landmark FCPA-related cases and was later promoted to Senior Deputy Chief, the Fraud Section’s third-ranking official.

Our team’s strength comes from its unmatched experience and diversity, bringing together nationally recognized trial attorneys, former federal prosecutors and regulators, privacy experts, international trade specialists, government contracting lawyers, and an in-house forensic accounting director who is both a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Fraud Examiner. Because of the breadth and depth of our team, we are consistently able to tailor our resources to effectively and efficiently address client needs, whether that client is a large multinational corporation or an individual business executive or board member. With experience on both sides of the courtroom, we have the expertise to defend clients against criminal charges, navigate quietly through a government investigation, negotiate complex global settlements, and represent clients in parallel proceedings.

  • Represented the founder and former CEO of Vitesse Semiconductor, against allegations of stock options backdating in parallel criminal and SEC civil enforcement proceedings. In 2012 and 2013, we achieved two separate criminal trial victories, obtaining acquittal on six counts and a hung jury on the remaining one count. We ultimately negotiated a plea agreement and achieved a favorable sentence for our client.

  • Represented a News Corp. senior executive in phone-hacking and police payments investigations and civil litigation.

  • Represent leading Asian technology company in bribery investigations in multiple countries in Central Europe.

  • Represent pool of employees for large international bank in Latin America in connection with government investigation by DOJ regarding potential violations of the Bank Secrecy Act and anti–money laundering laws.

  • Represent a former executive at one of the world’s largest hedge funds in connection with DOJ and SEC investigations into allegations of FCPA violations, and a parallel civil class action brought in the Southern District of New York by shareholders.

  • Represent individual working for company with ties to Latin America in connection with ongoing FIFA corruption investigation.

  • Represent current and former executives of international investment banks in U.S. investigations of hiring of relatives of Chinese government officials.

  • Representing numerous current and former employees of major international financial institutions in the parallel cross-border criminal and civil enforcement investigations into manipulation of various benchmarks–including LIBOR, FX Fixing, and ISDAfix. The U.S. criminal investigations have been conducted by both the Fraud and Antitrust Sections of the DOJ, and the U.S. civil enforcement investigations have been conducted by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). We have also represented our clients in the parallel investigations being conducted by the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), as well as other foreign regulators.

  • Conducted investigation, on behalf of the Trustee in bankruptcy, into collapse of global financial broker, once led by the former governor of New Jersey and CEO of Goldman Sachs. Also investigating potential claims against third parties responsible for the collapse of MF Global and loss of investor funds. The collapse has prompted regulatory and congressional investigations.

  • Represented a senior executive of a global retailer in connection with an investigation by DOJ, the SEC, and other agencies into possible violations of the FCPA in Mexico, Brazil, and elsewhere. Our multilingual legal team was able to conduct its investigation in both English and Spanish, which helped us to better understand the intricacies of the matter.

Chambers USA 2017
National: FCPA
National: General Commercial Litigation
California: Securities Litigation
California: General Commercial Litigation
New York: General Commercial Litigation
New York: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations

Legal 500 US 2017
National: Securities Litigation Defense
National: Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense

Legal 500 UK 2017
Fraud: Civil
Fraud: White-Collar Crime
Corporate Crime (including fraud, bribery, and corruption)
Commercial Litigation

U.S. News Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms 2017
National: Financial Services Regulation Law (Tier 1)
National: Litigation - Regulatory Enforcement (SEC, Telecom, Energy) (Tier 1)
National: Litigation - Securities (Tier 1)
National: Securities Regulation (Tier 1)
National: Litigation - Mergers & Acquisitions (Tier 3)
Los Angeles: Litigation - Securities (Tier 1)
Los Angeles: Securities Regulation (Tier 1)
New York: Criminal Defense: White-Collar (Tier 1)
New York: Litigation – Regulatory Enforcement (SEC, Telecom, Energy) (Tier 1)
New York: Litigation – Securities (Tier 1)
San Francisco: Corporate Compliance Law (Tier 1)
San Francisco: Criminal Defense: White-Collar (Tier 1)
San Francisco: Litigation – Securities (Tier 1)

Global Investigations Review 2017
GIR 100: World’s Leading Investigations Practice

Ethisphere Institute
Six of our attorneys have been named “Attorneys Who Matter,” an honor that recognizes attorneys who have significantly advanced the cause of corporate compliance and ethics.

BTI Litigation Outlook 2015
Standout: Securities and Finance Litigation

FT's 2014 U.S. Innovative Lawyers Report
Commended for Securities Litigation

2013 White Collar Practice Group of the Year

Here is what they say about us:

A client says: “They have really been a great strategic partner for us, they have gone above and beyond.”
Chambers USA 2017

Sources reveal: “They combine intellectual firepower with a tremendous investigative and analytical ability, and they are brilliant on the tactical and strategic level.”
Chambers USA 2017

“diligent and experienced”
Legal 500 2017

2013 White Collar Practice Group of the Year
2013 White Collar Practice Group of the Year

“Offers a broad range of representation in corporate criminal defense and government investigations. Combines notable trial experience with significant regulatory expertise when handling domestic and international proceedings.”
(Chambers USA 2015)

“The firm is excellent. They provide the hard advice, but also manage complex global investigations seamlessly.”
(Chambers USA 2015)

Read our “Data privacy and transfer in cross-border investigations” chapter first published in GIR’s The Investigations Review of the Americas 2018.

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