K&L Gates has one of the largest, most comprehensive and most geographically diverse Government Enforcement 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, Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong, state attorney generals, or another law enforcement agency, our group of more than 100 lawyers located across the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia provides substantial experience in addressing matters proactively and early. Our team includes a former U.S. attorney general, a former state attorney general, former SEC staff, former assistant United States attorneys, former heads of state securities regulators, and staff lawyers from FINRA, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), bank regulatory agencies, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice in Hong Kong, and numerous other law enforcement agencies.
Because the mere initiation of a government enforcement inquiry can cause severe 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, and we use our knowledge and experience to obtain the best possible result. If an action cannot be avoided and settlement is not practical, our enforcement lawyers litigate any charges or claims that may be brought against our clients. Lawyers at K&L Gates have handled a wide range of government litigation in court and administrative proceedings.
K&L Gates lawyers have handled hundreds of government investigations concerning a large variety of topics and issues on behalf of both corporations and individuals. These have included everything from routine inquiries to high-visibility state and federal investigations, to grand jury proceedings and criminal trials to congressional investigations. These investigations can be complex and pose difficult issues of individual rights and public policy. K&L Gates lawyers have a broad range of experiences that allow us to navigate clients through these challenges.
K&L Gates lawyers have been involved in virtually every significant enforcement initiative during the past 40 years, including Enron and WorldCom, insider trading, the recent spate of 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, Madoff-related matters, and investigations concerning municipal finance and the marketing or trading of municipal securities and other public debt, among other issues. Lawyers from our group even wrote the book on criminal and civil securities enforcement, titled “The Securities Enforcement Manual, Second Edition,” published in 2007 by the American Bar Association.
K&L Gates government enforcement lawyers are deeply involved in other high-visibility endeavors. Our team has served as the DOJ-appointed examiner in the WorldCom bankruptcy proceedings. We also have served as national coordinating counsel for several multi-regulatory investigations conducted by the SEC, DOJ, state attorneys generals, state securities regulators, and federal and state banking regulators.
We have a breadth of experience representing corporations and individuals who are subject to parallel civil and criminal investigations. These types of parallel proceedings present corporations with unique problems, such as whether corporate officers should invoke their Fifth Amendment rights due to a pending criminal investigation during civil depositions. Should such officers invoke their Fifth Amendment rights, an adverse inference attaches in the 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.