Businesses face significant white collar scrutiny and risk in today’s complex global legal and regulatory landscape. With lawyers and other legal professionals based in key international financial markets and highly regulated jurisdictions, our white collar litigation and government investigations team helps clients navigate regulatory, criminal, and civil challenges worldwide.
Our US team includes seasoned defense lawyers who are leaders in their profession as evidenced by their inclusion in the American College of Trial Lawyers and leading directories such as Chambers. Many on our team are former US Department of Justice (DOJ) assistant attorneys general, US Attorneys, federal prosecutors and supervisors from numerous US attorney offices, senior enforcement attorneys and supervisors with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), state prosecutors, and leaders from other government agencies. Our lawyers outside the United States counsel clients in investigations involving regulators such as the UK Serious Fraud Office, UK Financial Conduct Authority, UK Competition and Markets Authority, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission, and the Dubai Financial Services Authority, including advising on parallel investigations involving the DOJ and SEC.
We represent and advise clients in the full range of internal investigations, civil litigation, criminal trials, enforcement actions, and government inquiries in developed and emerging markets. Our first priority—always—is to resolve problems with no charges filed, litigation, or adverse publicity by efficiently and effectively identifying the heart of an issue and leveraging our credibility with enforcement authorities on behalf of our clients. If litigation is called for, however, our veteran defense lawyers coordinate cross-border investigations, work with local counsel where necessary, manage global differences in the approach to privilege, advise on cultural nuances with the benefit of local language skills, coordinate regulatory settlements, and manage litigation risk, including potential group litigation.
Our representations have involved multiple agencies across global jurisdictions arising from issues related to:
There has been a staggering increase in FCA and whistleblower, or qui tam, investigations and related litigation over the last decade. The qui tam provisions of the US federal and state FCAs allow private individuals, or whistleblowers, with knowledge of fraud committed against federal or state governments to file suit on the government’s behalf, and recent amendments to the applicable statutes have provided significant advantages to whistleblower counsel.
Morgan Lewis lawyers investigate and defend FCA and qui tam actions throughout the United States, at the district court and appellate levels, often in industrywide investigations. The team includes nationally recognized FCA practitioners and thought leaders who have handled federal and state investigations in more than 36 jurisdictions. Often, we handle parallel proceedings that involve multiple government prosecuting agencies and multiple defendants at the federal and state levels.
Companies, boards of directors, officers and directors, and individuals who are the target of parallel prosecutions—including simultaneous criminal, civil, and administrative investigations—hire us to defend them in FCA and qui tam actions. We respond to all of the ancillary aspects of a government investigation, including shareholder suits, suspension and debarment proceedings, and administrative monetary penalty proceedings. Our team has FCA experience across all major industries—including, but not limited to, medical device, healthcare, energy, defense, financial services, and technology—and we have represented clients in investigations and enforcement actions brought or investigated by numerous federal and state agencies, including:
Companies that operate internationally face increased anticorruption risk and scrutiny. Our team represents clients before the DOJ and SEC in connection with FCPA investigations and before the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in connection with UK Bribery Act and Prevention of Corruption Act inquiries. Those representations include work in countries throughout the globe, in particular in the Middle East, Far East, Central and South America, and sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to those investigations that can lead to criminal prosecutions, we also undertake work for clients being investigated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority when acting in its role as regulator of anticorruption compliance in the financial services markets where businesses are expected to have the same level of compliance as is required of businesses in other sectors by the UK Bribery Act. We also handle matters under investigation by authorities in the European Union, Asia, the former Soviet Union, Latin America, and elsewhere.
Morgan Lewis brings a cross-disciplinary team of lawyers to counsel clients in FCPA investigations and compliance matters. Where red flags are identified, we conduct efficient internal investigations to quickly gather relevant facts and advise the client on the best course of action. Thanks to our international presence, we can respond effectively and quickly to any FCPA problem—wherever it arises. We weigh the advantages and disadvantages of self-disclosure based on the particular client’s circumstances, and where the government is already involved we leverage our experience with the DOJ and the SEC to defend companies and individuals in criminal or civil proceedings.
From pre- and post-transaction due diligence to compliance counseling and training, our lawyers can implement mechanisms designed to reduce the risk of corrupt activity and the enforcement actions and consequences that may flow from them. Where investigations arise, we also advise on remedial actions along the way, using our understanding of and experience with enforcement agencies’ expectations to best position the client to mitigate exposure.
Morgan Lewis lawyers:
Our healthcare fraud team includes lawyers well versed in white collar, FDA, and healthcare law matters. This combination of lawyers with both litigation and regulatory experience provides clients with comprehensive solutions to and strategies for healthcare fraud investigations and related litigation. We guide clients through every stage of these investigations and litigation—from responding to grand jury subpoenas through trial and appeal.
The team routinely counsels clients during government investigations and parallel civil or administrative proceedings. In addition to FCA actions, this includes federal and state criminal investigations, administrative proceedings, compliance counseling, and negotiation and implementation of Corporate Integrity Agreements (CIAs). Our lawyers handle significant pharmaceutical industry-related government investigations and litigation matters in the United States.
An interdisciplinary team of lawyers from our litigation and regulatory services counsels clients facing securities, commodities, and financial fraud investigations and enforcement actions. Our seasoned litigators and regulatory counselors include former federal securities fraud prosecutors and senior enforcement lawyers and supervisors from the SEC, with the experience and credibility to assist clients at every stage of the enforcement and investigative processes.
Morgan Lewis represents many public companies, financial institutions, brokerage firms, hedge funds and private equity funds, investment advisers, accounting firms, senior corporate executives, and boards of directors in investigations and enforcement actions before every major regulator, including the DOJ, US Attorney’s Offices, the SEC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and other self-regulatory organizations, as well as state regulators and attorneys general. Our capable international team represents clients in matters before the UK Financial Conduct Authority and Serious Fraud Office. Notably, our lawyers defend against a range of securities and commodities fraud offenses, including insider trading; accounting fraud; options backdating; market manipulation schemes; disclosure violations; issues relating to mortgage-backed securities, swaps, and other complex products; misappropriation of client funds; and Ponzi schemes. Our role often extends beyond the investigation and litigation and includes helping clients with crisis management as well.
Our tax fraud team, composed of the former head of the US DOJ’s Tax Division, former federal prosecutors, and IRS lawyers, handles complex criminal and civil matters related to tax fraud and noncompliance. Our clients have ranged from Fortune 100 companies and national nonprofit organizations to stock traders, real estate developers, doctors, accountants, tech entrepreneurs, and online sports-betting owners. Our lawyers seek to resolve taxpayer issues at the civil examination or appeal levels but also have experience successfully defending clients in civil or criminal proceedings or trials in federal and state courts, in Tax Court, and on appeal. We have been at the forefront of representing taxpayers’ interests and shaping policy in the cutting-edge tax issues of the day, most recently in connection with the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). Our clients involved in offshore tax enforcement have included scores of taxpayers who have successfully completed the OVDP process, intermediaries (e.g., lawyers, accountants, financial advisors), and foreign banks and their employees.
Companies accused of environmental crimes turn to Morgan Lewis because of our command of the subject matter, insight into government agencies, and demonstrated investigational and trial skills. We work on our clients’ behalf to avoid criminal charges or favorably resolve unavoidable enforcement proceedings. Our environmental crimes team includes white collar, environmental, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lawyers—among them, many federal prosecutors and agency alumni with experience trying environmental cases. Our team is led by a former Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, the government’s top environmental enforcement position, who is also a former US Attorney. In recent years, we have defended matters involving false statements regarding environmental reporting, allegations of illegal spills and releases to air and water from manufacturing and similar facilities, vessel pollution, illegal imports of engines and of internationally protected species (e.g., wood and coral), and damage to domestically protected species such as migratory birds. We regularly deal with the major environmental enforcement agencies such as the DOJ, the EPA, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and their various state counterparts.
Well-designed corporate compliance programs help companies prevent potential problems before they occur, reduce the likelihood of enforcement actions, and minimize criminal penalties and the risk of compliance monitors being required as part of investigation resolutions. Our lawyers work with clients to design and implement compliance programs from the ground up, and to strengthen existing compliance programs. We work with clients to perform comprehensive audits, develop training programs, and establish ongoing monitoring mechanisms.
For more than 20 years, Morgan Lewis has represented companies and/or their individual managers in almost every significant multidefendant criminal and civil antitrust price-fixing case. And in the last decade, corporate defendants in scores of antitrust price-fixing matters have turned to us for representation.
The advantage to our clients: there is no learning curve. We know and have defended every issue that surfaces in these investigations. We have success in limiting our clients' exposure during the criminal investigation and in the inevitable follow-on civil litigation. Additionally, our lawyers represent many clients in the private treble-damage actions that routinely follow US criminal prosecutions.
Morgan Lewis lawyers counsel and defend clients in procurement fraud proceedings, including both criminal investigations and civil litigation. Major government contractors across an array of industries, including aerospace and weapons, are among our clients. We are intimately familiar with the rules and regulations that govern contractors, and we constantly monitor new and proposed regulations.
Our white collar lawyers are well versed in the Economic Espionage Act and related state trade secret statutes. We assist companies and trade secret owners who may have been victims of trade secret theft or foreign economic espionage. We conduct internal investigations to determine the scope of any misappropriation and represent parties in all phases of a criminal investigation and prosecution through trial. Given our experience, we also conduct trade secret audits and design trade secret protection programs to prevent and discourage trade secret misappropriation.
Our white collar lawyers defend clients in immigration-related investigations involving the US Customs and Border Patrol, the Department of Homeland Security, and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. We also work closely with the firm’s immigration lawyers, who on a day-to-day basis advise clients on technical and administrative issues involving Form I-9 completion and maintenance. When I-9 issues directly affect hiring or continued employment, we counsel clients on compliance, help them avoid charges of unfair immigration-related employment practices, and work to avoid or respond to government I-9 audits. We understand state employment eligibility verification regulations, and we regularly advise clients with multistate operations.
We regularly counsel clients that engage in international business transactions on US export controls and embargo rules. We help clients design systems and programs to avoid compliance problems, anticipate and address enforcement issues, and deal with government regulators if necessary. We are familiar with issues affecting companies across all industries, and guide our clients through these issues to minimize risk and ensure cost-effective compliance.
State attorneys general (AGs) have become very active in the enforcement space, using tools like unfair trade practices and consumer protection laws, and the engagement of private plaintiff’s counsel, to pursue litigation in areas such as financial fraud, antitrust, and drug marketing and pricing. Frequently, AG investigations and related litigation are multistate actions. Because AGs’ enforcement responsibilities vary from state to state, addressing multistate matters requires an in-depth knowledge of each AG’s approach. It also requires an understanding of the ins and outs of each state’s laws and policies. Our lawyers, including former AGs and Morgan Lewis Consulting, work with clients to develop and execute a strong strategy for working with state AGs in both single- and multistate matters.
The white collar team includes lawyers with experience in defending public corruption investigations and charges. The leader of our public corruption team was White House counsel for two presidents and deputy White House counsel for one president, and we have several former federal and state prosecutors who have experience handling corruption cases. Our team responds to subpoenas, navigates congressional testimony, handles the press, and litigates on our clients’ behalf in high-profile congressional, federal, and state investigations and prosecutions.
Our international team of lawyers advises clients on money laundering and terrorist financing issues. This multioffice team, which includes former federal prosecutors and regulators with experience in BSA and anti-money laundering and terrorist financing issues, helps clients navigate the increasingly complex and global web of laws, regulations, and rules to avoid potential criminal and civil liability. These laws include the BSA, anti-money laundering laws, the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (USA PATRIOT Act), the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), and criminal statutes proscribing money laundering and terrorism-related activities.
We help clients, including public companies and financial institutions, to avoid enforcement actions in this highly critical area. We also help our clients to implement robust compliance programs to prevent legal actions and lawsuits, and, if necessary, we represent our clients vigorously should litigation be unavoidable.