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White Collar Defense & Compliance

Mayer Brown’s White Collar Defense & Compliance practice handles the full range of criminal defense issues with a diverse team of former federal prosecutors and other government enforcement lawyers.

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Mayer Brown’s White Collar Defense & Compliance practice represents corporations and executives in every facet of criminal defense matters and has collectively tried hundreds of federal criminal cases both as defense counsel and as former prosecutors. Our lawyers know firsthand how government enforcement works and how best to respond to the challenges and risks posed by criminal investigations and related civil enforcement proceedings.

Mayer Brown has an extraordinarily experienced and diverse teams of former federal prosecutors and other government enforcement lawyers. Our practice includes several former Assistant US Attorneys who worked in US Attorney’s Offices across the country. Our lawyers have served in significant leadership positions in the Department of Justice (DOJ) and elsewhere, including Deputy Solicitor General in charge of criminal litigation before the Supreme Court, Chief Counsel of US Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General of the State of Illinois, and Chief of the Watergate Task Force.

To clients worried about facing a criminal investigation, we offer the reassurance of our considerable experience as we identify the scope of the concern and its potential consequences. Team members conduct internal corporate investigations and suggest corrective measures that frequently lessen or even avoid later law enforcement inquiries.

Our lawyers draw upon the world-class resources of firm colleagues in virtually every discipline relevant to our major corporate clients, including corporate and securities, finance, banking, derivatives, accounting, tax and environmental. This integrated and collaborative practice gives our firm a substantial edge over others by helping us to quickly grasp the business as well as the legal context of a problem.

Practice Capabilities
We offer comprehensive capabilities to corporate and individual clients, as we work closely with them to ensure proactive compliance with the law, investigate questionable conduct and provide litigation defense.

Compliance
Because of our wide-ranging practice and frequent collaboration with our other practice areas, we are able to identify weaknesses in internal controls and business activities that could present enforcement action risks. Our lawyers help companies evaluate and enhance their best compliance practices, and develop appropriate procedures and policies in response to the changed regulatory landscape created by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Regulation FD, and the increasingly aggressive enforcement efforts of prosecutors and regulators. Using our insight into how prosecutors apply the criminal law to alleged business crimes, we work with clients to undertake compliance audits and draft, implement and monitor compliance plans.

We analyze current compliance policies in order to find areas that may be out of date or need improvement. The goal is to eliminate the problems and minimize the risk by developing policies that meet all legal requirements and minimize the likelihood of regulatory violations and litigation. We not only provide review and revision of existing policies and procedures, but also work to ensure that they are properly carried out.

Investigations
Clients seek Mayer Brown’s advice in identifying the scope of a perceived problem, its potential consequences and the company’s internal and external reporting responsibilities. Our defense team conducts independent internal investigations on behalf of corporate management, boards of directors, audit or special litigation committees, government agencies and other investigators and has suggested corrective measures that have resolved or lessened later enforcement actions. We are able to staff these matters with a diverse team of seasoned criminal defense and compliance lawyers whose prior government and investigative experience make them the optimal choice for these assignments.

We also act as enforcement counsel for companies under investigation by the DOJ, the FBI, state and federal grand juries, and the various state attorneys general. Where these investigations are anticipated, we assist companies to prepare for the consequences and manage the process of document collection, review and production, as well as the many other aspects of representation during a government investigation. In cases where there is no warning of a search warrant or raid, we provide immediate assistance to the client, wherever and whenever necessary.

Because of our global practice and numerous colleagues in numerous European and Asian markets, we have conducted numerous internal investigations outside of the US.

In addition, we advise audit committees and individual corporate directors regarding fiduciary responsibilities, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance and financial reporting obligations.

Litigation
Our lawyers have an outstanding record in the state and federal courts, having collectively tried hundreds of criminal cases both as prosecutors and defense lawyers. In addition, we often represent clients in complex civil litigation arising under federal and state securities laws spawned by, and related to, criminal investigations. Frequently, we are retained near the culmination of an investigation to assess litigation risks and develop preemptive strategies, to defend against enforcement proceedings or to negotiate favorable settlements. As a consequence, we have negotiated with and litigated extensively—and successfully—against the government.

Mayer Brown’s legal team is composed of skilled negotiators who are familiar with issues that drive government investigations and the factors that most influence prosecutorial decision-making. Our substantial trial and investigative experience provides real value in negotiations. By teaming with lawyers in other of the firm’s practices, our white collar lawyers have, on various occasions, convinced many state and federal prosecutors that criminal charges should not be brought, or negotiated outcomes that are more favorable than those originally proposed by the government.

Evolving Environment
Government regulators and law enforcement officials continue to expand their use of civil, criminal and administrative actions against corporations, and the traditional distinctions among these activities have virtually disappeared. Mayer Brown understands this new environment; we work in this dynamic, complex and demanding context every day. Our lawyers are investigators, negotiators and advocates, who help our clients stay in compliance with today’s complex regulatory and statutory requirements, avoid or resolve potentially improper conduct, and develop the most effective enforcement defense if litigation is unavoidable.

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