White Collar Defense and Corporate Investigations
Criminal investigations confront clients with defining moments. They may face loss of productivity, loss of assets and even loss of freedom. When facing criminal charges, an individual or corporation also confronts the immeasurable costs associated with damage to one's good name.
The white collar defense and corporate investigations practice at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP dedicates its collective energy toward fending off, and, if necessary, dealing with serious criminal allegations to guide our clients through the most perilous situations they may ever face. For more than 30 years, Akin Gump lawyers have maintained active roles in all stages of the investigative process. Our advantage lies in the perspective gained from directing cases for the prosecution, leading government inquiries, defending well-known public figures, influencing major congressional investigations and managing highly sensitive internal investigations. Prosecutors and agency officials respect our integrity, principles and thorough preparation.
Akin Gump’s white collar defense practice is among the most sophisticated criminal defense practices in the world. We represent corporate and individual clients of significant stature in cases requiring the utmost discretion and procedural know-how. Yet our approach is simple: obtain a favorable result by assembling the best team of experienced lawyers and other professionals.
The cases we handle involve high-profile, high-stakes issues. As such, our clients need a rapid response system for urgent problems. At Akin Gump, we are positioned to evaluate immediately client needs, put a team into action and quickly bring the case to resolution. We are most successful when our team joins a case as early as possible. Our ability to control the development of facts and operate as one uniform team—in coordination with public relations, investor relations and employee relations professionals—allows the client to maintain a semblance of order and continue business operations. Early involvement also means that we lead the case in a manner that averts other problems for the client down the road.
Although our primary role is that of counsel, being an effective advocate requires earning your trust as an ally. For anyone enduring the difficult circumstances of an investigation or grand jury proceeding, there is no substitute for knowing that your lawyer is both your advisor and your champion. Through the ups and downs of the investigative roller coaster, we work diligently to provide a 24/7 support network that enables the client to maintain peace of mind.
Akin Gump’s white collar practice comprises more than 50 lawyers. Our team members possess a wealth of experience derived from prior careers as trial lawyers with the Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. Attorneys’ offices, legislative bodies and congressional committees, as well as from years in private practice. The former federal prosecutors on our team afford invaluable insight on how the government approaches its cases.
The comprehensive nature of Akin Gump’s internal resources is hard to match. More than 800 lawyers around the globe provide ready access to extraordinary knowledge and skill in litigation, corporate, securities, financial, tax, intellectual property, insurance, public policy, labor, environmental, real estate and health care, among other areas. Together, they offer clients a criminal, civil and regulatory defense powerhouse across the spectrum of business litigation.
Our lawyers remain on the cutting edge of legislative and regulatory developments through focused research and analysis on a wide range of white collar crime topics. Our knowledge and experience in complex securities issues keeps us in the forefront of handling complex criminal and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigations.
Companies doing business in the United States (or having a connection to the United States) increasingly have found themselves as defendants facing charges of racketeering in suits involving the wide range of state and federal criminal laws that constitute predicate acts under RICO. In addition, it has become commonplace for businesses to use the statute as plaintiffs in their disputes with other businesses and labor unions. Akin Gump has a significant breadth and depth of experience on such issues, including criminal RICO cases and criminal matters incidental to Civil RICO litigation.
Collectively, the firm’s members are experienced in litigating RICO cases at every stage, from brainstorming the case and drafting the complaint or defenses, through motions, practice and discovery to concluding in trial where necessary. These cases have included allegations raising issues as to accounting malpractice, lender liability, corporate governance disputes, limited partnership disputes, securities fraud, employment terminations, industrial espionage, management disputes with labor unions over “corporate campaigns” and antitrust claims. A number of these cases have involved cutting-edge RICO issues in their respective jurisdictions or industries and have drawn substantial attention from the media.
Akin Gump has broad experience representing clients throughout the world on matters involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Our lawyers represent clients in a wide array of FCPA matters including criminal and civil litigation, conducting internal company investigations, counseling in proposed business transactions and establishing corporate FCPA compliance policies. We have represented clients with FCPA issues in numerous countries around the world, including Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bosnia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, England, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Romania, Russia, São Tomé and Principe, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zaire and Zambia.
Our representations have included a wide array of firms and industries, from small to very large, including companies engaged in the aerospace, insurance, foreign military sales, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, telecommunications, banking, construction and hospitality industries, among others.
Our leadership skills extend beyond the courtroom and boardroom to the classroom and other community forums. Our professional activities include speaking at American Bar Association functions; teaching at the National Institute of Trial Advocacy; judging the National White Collar Crime Mock Trial Invitational at the Georgetown University Law Center; and lecturing on trial practice and criminal procedure at various law schools, government, Inns of Court and continuing legal education groups. Team members are sought after as legal commentators for various television programs that examine current political and legal issues. Our community involvement regularly includes handling criminal cases on a pro bono basis.
Our worldwide white collar criminal litigation practice handles all phases in the defense of individuals and corporations, including state and federal prosecutions, administrative enforcement actions, inquiries by inspectors general and special prosecutors, internal investigations in the United States and transnationally, and the preparation and trial of complex criminal matters.
Akin Gump’s criminal litigation lawyers have the considerable know-how required to advise and represent clients facing virtually any problem. Specifically, we handle cases involving the following legal issues and more:
antitrust, including price-fixing and bid-rigging
bribery, gratuities and public corruption
clemency and pardon applications
commodities futures trading fraud
congressional investigations and hearings
customs import and export violations
debarment from government contracting
Economic Espionage Act
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) violations
False Claims Act
false statements and perjury
Federal Election Campaign Act
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)
health care fraud
Interstate Travel in Aid of Racketeering Act
military courts martial
obstruction of justice
OSHA and labor code violations
passport and visa fraud
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO)
trade secrets theft
Many well-known names and faces turn to Akin Gump for representation in criminal investigations and prosecutions, congressional and agency investigations, and impeachments. Our clients have included cabinet members, judicial figures, senators, congressional leaders, governors, political appointees, public officials, government contractors, Fortune 100 companies, corporate officers and directors, and countless other influential figures.
We have represented well-known executives and some of the biggest corporations, accounting firms and investment funds in the world in critical criminal investigations. In many of these cases, we successfully shielded our clients from any charges being brought and they avoided even the unfavorable publicity of a public case. We are also widely recognized for our representation of prominent leaders on high-profile issues, including the commissioner of Major League Baseball in the investigation of Pete Rose; a former attorney general in Watergate; a U.S. senator before the Senate Ethics Committee in the Keating Five hearings; and a former Arizona governor in connection with a federal trial regarding his financial affairs. When a sitting federal judge was falsely accused of involvement with drug dealers, Akin Gump worked to avoid what would have been only the third indictment against a federal judge in U.S. history.
We never accept that a case is hopeless. When information from confidential sources prompted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ground a Texas helicopter company with a 29-year accident-free record, we worked to prevent it from suffering devastating losses to its revenue and reputation. We represented a savings and loan institution in the first major criminal prosecution of a failed Maryland savings and loan, and served as counsel to a large investment firm, a leading ship building company, a major aircraft manufacturer and a major petroleum company in government probes. Our lawyers also represented a baseball legend in a civil action to recover money and goods obtained by a fraudulent scheme orchestrated by his former partner. When a CEO was indicted in the Southern District of New York before we represented him we succeeded in getting the indictment dismissed. In numerous other cases, only our client avoided indictment while others were charged and convicted.
Akin Gump’s representation of government targets and witnesses includes involvement in every major congressional investigation since the Watergate hearings. In addition to representing a former attorney general in Watergate, we served as counsel to individuals involved in Koreagate, an Air Force colonel in the Iran/Contra hearings, a former secretary of the Treasury before the Senate Whitewater Committee and a witness in the Clinton impeachment proceedings. Our lawyers also represented a former Nevada senator before the Senate Ethics Committee and an Arizona governor before the House Banking Committee’s Subcommittee on General Oversight and Investigations.
Recently, we defended the New Hampshire chief justice in that state’s first-ever impeachment trial. On a continuing basis, Akin Gump’s criminal litigation practice represents witnesses and assists clients in their preparation for testimony before various congressional committees.
Akin Gump lawyers conduct numerous sensitive internal investigations on behalf of corporations, including those focusing on price-fixing, money laundering, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Trading with the Enemy Act, professional sports, theft of proprietary information, Food and Drug Administration compliance, payola, bid-rigging and insider trading. In addition, we conduct compliance reviews for financial institutions and reviews for possible violations of export control and trade boycott violations.
In addition to conducting investigations for Major League Baseball, our lawyers have performed discreet internal investigations for another major sports league; a “Big Five” accounting firm under investigation by a federal grand jury; the Independent Review Panel investigating the Los Angeles Police Department; a major international car manufacturer in a DOJ investigation; individuals and corporations during various phases of SEC investigations; and numerous other organizations and individuals in the public eye.