For anyone who is caught up in a white collar investigation, the experience can be life-altering. The consequences of a conviction are very serious for individuals and business entities alike. But even if a client is able to prevail at trial, or if no charges are ever brought, there are often enormous costs. Simply being subjected to an investigation can be an ordeal—investigations tend to be expensive, protracted and stressful. Government investigators delve deep into otherwise private communications and business decisions, and normal business activity can be sidelined or even ruined. Even if a client did nothing wrong, investigations can be disruptive and distracting, and things can go “off the rails” if the government believes that the client is being uncooperative or not forthcoming.
At Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, we are experienced and adapt at helping clients navigate these challenges. We have been at the forefront of white collar defense for more than 30 years. Our team includes a distinguished roster of former prosecutors from most of the major enforcement agencies in the country—the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s Enforcement Division and the World Bank Sanctions Enforcement Program. We have industry-leading credibility and effectiveness in dealing with the government, coupled with broad, deep experience and the sound judgment that comes with it.
White collar matters are also commonly driven by major market regulators such as the SEC and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) or by leading state prosecutors such as the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office or prominent state attorneys general. Health care fraud has been a major enforcement priority for some U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the DOJ Fraud Section. As we have a wealth of experience with each of these agencies, we know them and their approach to investigations. Consequently, we have achieved great successes for our clients.
Over the past six or seven years, one of the major trends in white collar enforcement has been its increasingly global scope. Because of the broad jurisdictional provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (FCPA), individuals and companies can fall under the U.S. government’s microscope even if they have only minor or attenuated connections to the United States. But the global enforcement effort extends well beyond anticorruption cases; the “long arm” of U.S. law enforcement is reaching overseas in a host of areas, including securities, banking and antitrust enforcement. Increasingly, foreign enforcement agencies—especially in the United Kingdom—are adopting the same strategy by pursuing targets located in the United States, and the enactment of the U.K. Bribery Act of 2010 provides a new framework.
At Akin Gump, we have ample, meaningful experience in these international matters. Our attorneys travel widely on behalf of their clients, a great number of whom are non-U.S. persons or foreign business entities. As necessary, we team up with foreign counsel, including in other Akin Gump offices around the world, to provide a seamless, integrated approach to cross-border investigations.
We are proud of the fact that our client base reflects a balanced mix of institutional and individual clients. As the focus of investigations is directed increasingly at individuals, we regularly represent senior executives, Wall Street traders, current or former government officials and a variety of other individuals who are caught up in white collar matters. Representing individuals allows us to serve as strong advocates for our clients. Balanced against this aspect of our practice, we routinely represent public companies, board audit committees and other business enterprises and we have deep experience in handling enforcement matters from a corporate perspective.