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K&L Gates Bolsters Investigations Practice with Hire of Former U.S. Attorney as Research Triangle Park Partner

4 May 2021

Research Triangle Park - Global law firm K&L Gates LLP welcomes Robert J. (Bobby) Higdon Jr. as a partner in the investigations, enforcement, and white collar practice. He joins the firm’s Research Triangle Park office, having most recently served as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. 

As the chief federal law enforcement officer for the eastern half of North Carolina since 2017, Higdon led and directed federal law enforcement efforts and represented the U.S. Government in federal court in criminal, civil, and appellate matters. As a federal prosecutor, Higdon also previously served as Criminal Chief and Senior Litigation Counsel in the Eastern District as well as Senior Trial Counsel, Public Integrity Section, with the U.S. Department of Justice. During his distinguished 30 year career, Higdon prosecuted a number of high profile cases, led national government enforcement initiatives, and worked on various international projects.  

Prior to returning to government service as U.S. Attorney, Higdon also developed a thriving white collar and investigations practice, representing corporate and individual clients in federal and state criminal, civil, and administrative investigations in a variety of industry sectors, including health care. Higdon writes and speaks extensively on economic crimes, particularly as they relate to health care providers and related entities. 

“The intersection of the rapidly growing and changing health care industry and government investigations is a critical consideration for the industry,” stated David Wochner, co-leader of the firm’s global policy and regulatory practice area. “Bobby’s focus on this intersectionality is perfectly aligned with K&L Gates’ fully integrated global approach to serving our clients, particularly those in heavily regulated industries like health care.” 

Higdon’s arrival further strengthens K&L Gates’ investigations, enforcement, and white collar practice, following the additions of partner Michael Ruck in London in March, as well as former U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General David Rybicki in Washington, D.C., last year. They are among the nearly 70 partners and of counsel K&L Gates has added since the beginning of 2020. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Bobby to the firm,” said Mary Beth Johnston, managing partner of K&L Gates’ Research Triangle Park and Nashville offices and co-leader of its global health care and FDA practice. “His wealth of experience will be a tremendous asset not only to our investigations group, but also our leading health care False Claims Act practice. We look forward to his work across these and other teams in order to continue to better serve clients in a variety of industries.”  

Brian Saulnier, co-coordinator for the firm’s investigations, enforcement, and white collar practice, noted: “Bobby’s addition to our growing team of lawyers with substantial government investigations experience will be a major benefit for our clients and, simply put, makes us better. We are delighted that he chose K&L Gates as the firm with which he will continue his highly-distinguished career.”

K&L Gates’ investigations, enforcement, and white collar practice comprises hundreds of years of prosecutorial, enforcement, and congressional investigations experience on both sides of the witness table, including numerous other former DOJ lawyers. Lawyers within the practice provide clients comprehensive advice and counsel when facing the unique challenges associated with parallel political and law enforcement investigations, and have assisted in numerous investigations involving every major enforcement agency, committee, and subcommittee across nearly all industry segments.

The firm’s health care Fraud and Abuse Collaborative is composed of lawyers from the investigations, enforcement, and white collar and health care practice groups with significant experience handling the most sophisticated health care regulatory and False Claims Act matters. The group is equipped to help clients navigate the inherent complexities and challenges of all aspects of health care internal and government investigations.

K&L Gates is a fully integrated global law firm with lawyers located across five continents. The firm represents leading multinational corporations, growth and middle-market companies, capital markets participants and entrepreneurs in every major industry group as well as public sector entities, educational institutions, philanthropic organizations and individuals.

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