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Investigations, Enforcement, and White Collar

K&L Gates has one of the largest, most comprehensive, and most geographically diverse investigations, enforcement, and white collar practices of any law firm.

Whether a matter involves the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Trade Commission, Financial Services Authority (FSA), BaFin, the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong, state Attorney Generals, or another law enforcement agency, our lawyers located across Asia, Australia, Europe, and the United States have substantial experience in addressing matters early and proactively. Our team includes a former state attorney general, former DOJ prosecutors, former SEC staff, former heads of state securities regulators, and staff lawyers from FINRA, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, bank regulatory agencies, the FTC, the Department of Justice in Hong Kong, and numerous other law enforcement agencies.

Because the mere initiation of a government enforcement inquiry can cause anxiety, if not harm, to a company or an individual, we advocate at an early stage of an inquiry or investigation to determine whether civil or criminal charges can be avoided. In certain situations, a settlement is in the best interests of our clients. In the end, we use our knowledge and experience to obtain the best possible result. Indeed, if an action cannot be avoided and settlement is not practical, our enforcement lawyers stand ready to litigate any charges or claims that may be brought against our clients. In fact, we have handled a wide range of government litigation in court and administrative proceedings.

Capabilities

Investigations

Our lawyers have handled hundreds of government and internal investigations relating to a full spectrum of substantive matters on behalf of corporations and individuals. These matters have included everything from routine inquiries, to high-visibility state and federal investigations, to grand jury proceedings and criminal trials, to congressional investigations. Investigations are oftentimes complex, with intersecting and conflicting laws, regulations, and policies, while also posing difficult questions of individual rights and public policy. This broad range of experience allows us to navigate clients through these challenges. 

We have been involved in nearly every significant enforcement initiative during the past 40 years. Examples include Enron and WorldCom, high-profile anti-bribery and anti-corruption investigations across industries and jurisdictions, insider trading, public corruption matters in Washington, D.C., mutual fund market timing or late trading, the “junk bond” crisis, analyst research conflicts, options backdating, auction rate securities, conflicts of interests, subprime lending, corporate reporting, mortgage foreclosures, and Madoff-related matters. Our work has also included investigations concerning municipal finance and the marketing or trading of municipal securities and other public debt, among other issues.  

Moreover, our experienced congressional investigations team stands ready to assist clients faced with a House or Senate investigation. This team knows the unique process and understands how investigative committees and subcommittees operate. This knowledge and understanding, including familiarity with members and staff, provides us with the tools clients need to respond to document requests, witness invitations, and subpoenas, as well as to prepare witnesses for congressional testimony—which often unfolds in front of television cameras rather than a courtroom.

Enforcement and White Collar

Our enforcement and white collar lawyers defend corporations and individuals in a wide range of investigations and enforcement matters. These lawyers, many of whom are former prosecutors, are located across our offices in the United States and abroad, and use their firsthand experience and knowledge of how the government conducts investigations and prosecutions to assist clients in achieving successful outcomes.

Our enforcement team also includes securities enforcement specialists, many of whom are former SEC, FINRA and Commodity Futures Trading Commission lawyers, who are ready to help clients navigate the complex civil and potential criminal aspects of securities enforcement matters. Moreover, lawyers from our group wrote the book on criminal and civil securities enforcement, titled “The Securities Enforcement Manual, Second Edition,” published in 2007 by the American Bar Association. 

Some matters are made even more complex because they involve parallel criminal, civil, and regulatory proceedings arising out of the same set of facts and circumstances. We have a breadth of experience representing corporations and individuals in these types of matters, drawing on the firm’s full spectrum of skills and resources, including collaboration with colleagues from other practice groups when appropriate. Parallel proceedings present unique problems, such as whether a corporate officer should invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege due to a pending criminal investigation during civil depositions, thereby permitting an adverse inference to attaches in a civil proceeding. Our lawyers have been successful in convincing federal judges to stay the civil proceeding pending the resolution of the criminal investigation, thereby presenting the corporation with the ability to defend itself in the civil matter.

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