Joe D. Whitley: Lawyer with Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Joe D. Whitley

Chair, Atlanta White Collar Criminal Defense Practice; Washington, D.C. Shareholder
Atlanta,  GA  U.S.A.

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AV® Preeminent

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Practice Areas

  • White Collar Criminal Defense
  • Corporate Internal Investigations and Corporate Compliance
  • Defense & Homeland Security
  • Health Care Fraud & FDA Business
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
  • Business Immigration & Compliance
  • Antitrust & Trade Regulation
  • Environmental
  • Government Law & Policy
  • Securities Litigation
  • Transportation
  • Foreign Corruption Practices Act
Contact InfoTelephone: 678.553.7339
Fax: 678.553.7340
University University of Georgia, B.A.
Law SchoolUniversity of Georgia School of Law, J.D.
Admitted1975, Georgia; 1989, District of Columbia; District of Columbia Court of Appeals; District of Columbia Superior Court; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces; U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit; U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia; U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia; U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia; Supreme Court of the United States

Professional & Community Involvement

•Adjunct Professor, George Washington University Law School (GW), Homeland Security Law, 2006

•Adjunct Professor, American University (AU), Washington College of Law, Homeland Security Law, 2005

•Board Member, Federal Bar Association, Atlanta Chapter, Advisory Board

•Member, Georgia State Bar Association

•Member, American Bar Association

•Chair, Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section, 2013-2014

•Chair-Elect, 2012-2013

•Vice-Chair, 2011-2012

•Chair, Fundraising Committee

•Co-Chairman, Homeland Security and National Defense Committee

•Council Member

•Member, Criminal Justice Section

•Former Council Member

•Frequent Speaker, Sponsored Events

•Member, Litigation Section, Antitrust Litigation Committee

•Member, District of Columbia Bar Association

•Member, Federal Bar Association

•Member, National Association of Former U.S. Attorneys (NAFUSA)

•Member, Federalist Society, International & National Security Law Practice Group, Executive Committee

•After tenure at the Department of Homeland Security, founded and Co-Chaired the annual Homeland Security Law Institute, sponsored by the ABA Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section; Currently serves as Chair of the Institute

•Recipient, Volunteer of the Year, Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section

Special Appointments

•Special Assistant District Attorney, Fulton County Georgia

•Hon. Deputy Chief, Atlanta Police Department (APD)

•Board Member, Atlanta Police Foundation (APD), Board of Directors

•Chair, American Bar Association (ABA) Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section, 2014

•Elected, The fellow of the American Bar Foundation (ABF)

•Former Board Member, National Association of Former United States Attorneys (NAFUSA)

•Co-Chair, ABA Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section for the Homeland Security and National Defense Committee (HSNDC)

•Co-Chair and Liaison, ABA Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section to the American Bar Association's Homeland Security Coordinating Committee (HSCC)

•Liaison, ABA Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section to the Standing Committee on Law and National Security and the Special Committee on Disaster Preparedness

•Chosen by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to serve as Chief Counsel to the Judicial Committee to investigate whether cases in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia were assigned improperly

•Served as a member of the U.S. Census Monitoring Board that was responsible for structuring the 2000 U.S. Census. The issue was ultimately resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court, which accepted the approach recommended by the Board

•Member of the team chosen to assist the Enron Corporation Examiner during bankruptcy proceedings and coordinate all criminal aspects of the case with the U.S. Department of Justice and other law enforcement agencies

•Member of interdisciplinary group charged with making recommendations to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regarding the use of geospatial information, Final report submitted to DHS, Fall 2005

•Former Member, Dow Chemical, Independent Advisory Panel to the Board

•Participated in a special purpose advisory committee to review a number of issues related to homeland security and chemical plant security

•Participated in a special purpose advisory committee to review a number of issues related to homeland security and chemical plant security

•Board of Visitors Advisory Board Member, University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs Advisory Board (UGA SPIA) work with the Dean of the UGA SPIA on a variety of issues, including assessment of new programs, reviewing research, increasing fundraising capability, and finding ways to enhance the national and international profile of the school

•Board Member, Washington Legal Foundation (WLF), Legal Policy Advisory Board

BornAtlanta, Georgia, 1950

Joe D. Whitley chairs the Atlanta White Collar Criminal Defense Practice. He represents clients nationally and internationally in a variety of matters, including white collar criminal matters and regulatory enforcement, corporate internal investigations, and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and U.S. export controls and compliance as well as corporate compliance, health care fraud and FDA-related matters.

Joe has had a wide-ranging career in the Department of Justice. In the George H.W. Bush administration, Joe served as the Acting Associate Attorney General, the third-ranking position at Main Justice in the Department of Justice. He was appointed by Presidents Reagan and Bush, respectively, to serve as the United States Attorney in the Middle (Macon) and Northern (Atlanta) Federal Districts of Georgia. Throughout his career, Joe served under five United States Attorneys General and four Presidents in a number of key operational and policy positions. Earlier in his career, he served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit in Columbus, Georgia.

In 2003, Joe was appointed by President George W. Bush as the first General Counsel of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the highest ranking legal official in DHS. He held that position for two years working for Secretary Tom Ridge and Secretary Michael Chertoff, before his departure and return to private practice.

Corporate defense and representation of clients in complex civil and criminal enforcement matters brought by the Department of Justice, other federal agencies, State Attorneys General and local prosecutors is the focus of Joe Whitley's practice. Joe has represented numerous individuals and corporations in major government investigations throughout the United States and internationally. He is a frequent speaker and lecturer on white collar, compliance and corporate governance issues.

Joe has been listed inThe Best Lawyers in Americafrom 2001-2014. He was selected bySuper Lawyersmagazine, andGeorgia Super Lawyersfrom 2010-2013 and listed as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Georgia from 2011-2014. Joe is also listed as one of Georgia's Legal Elite inGeorgia Trendmagazine, 2008-2014. He was selected bySuper Lawyersmagazine for Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers in 2012-2013.

Areas of Concentration

•White collar criminal defense

•Internal investigations

•Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)

•Health care fraud

•Securities fraud

•Environmental crime

•Criminal antitrust

•Financial institution fraud

•Public corruption and campaign finance

•Commercial bribery

•Defense procurement fraud

•Bankruptcy fraud

•Computer and Internet fraud

•Criminal tax

•Regulatory enforcement matters

•Export control matters

•Defense and homeland security

•Legislation and public policy

Awards & Recognition

•Team Member, a U.S. News - Best Lawyers Government Relations Law Firm of the Year, 2014

•Ranked, Tier 1 - Government Relations, Atlanta Metropolitan Area

•Ranked, Tier 1 - Administrative/Regulatory Law, Atlanta Metropolitan Area

•Listed,Chambers USA Guide, 2013-2014

•Listed,The Best Lawyers in America, White Collar Criminal Defense, 2013-2014

•Listed,Super Lawyersmagazine,Washington, DCSuper Lawyers, 2012-2014

•Listed,Super Lawyersmagazine,GeorgiaSuper Lawyers, 2010-2014

•Top 100 Lawyers in Georgia, 2011-2014

•Listed,Georgia Trendmagazine, Legal Elite, 2008-2014

•Listed,The Best Lawyers in America, Administrative / Regulatory Law, 2001-2014

•Listed,Washington DC & Baltimore's Legal Leader,Top Rated Lawyers, 2013

•Rated, AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5AV , BV , AV Preeminent and BV Distinguished are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used under in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies.

Articles, Publications, & Lectures

•Co-Chair and Speaker, Georgia Bar ICLE Corporate Internal Investigations Seminar, Atlanta, GA, 2012

•Co-Chair and Speaker, Georgia Bar ICLE Annual Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Seminar, Atlanta, GA, 2010-Present

•Co-Chair and Speaker, Georgia Bar ICLE Annual Southeastern Health Care Fraud Institute, Atlanta, GA, 2003-Present

•Co-Chair and Speaker, American Bar Association (ABA) Regional Southeastern White Collar Crime Institute, Atlanta, GA, 2014

•Chair and Speaker, ABA Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section Annual Homeland Security Law Institute (HSLI), Washington, DC 2005-Present

•Speaker, ABA White Collar Crime Institute, 1999-Present

•Speaker, ABA Health Care Fraud Institute, 2005-Present

•Speaker, Georgia Bar ICLE Annual White Collar Crime Institute, 2005-Present

•Speaker, Inside the Effective Management of an FCPA Internal Investigation: How to Plan the Investigative Protocol, Data Management, and Technology Infrastructure to Support Your Investigation, American Conference Institute (ACI) 30 th International Conference on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), Washington, DC, November 2013

•Speaker, The Globalization of Enforcement Actions and International Investigations, 2 nd Annual International White Collar Crime, London, UK, October 2013

•Speaker, Navigating Corporate Internal Investigations, American Corporate Counsel (ACC) Meeting, October 2013

•Speaker, You've Discovered and Investigated an FCPA Violation, Now What? Determining your Threshold for Voluntarily Disclosing and What to Do When Corruption Allegations Become Public Post-Disclosure, ACI FCPA Boot Camp, San Francisco, CA, October 2013

•Speaker, Is There a Pathway to Citizenship?: Surveying the Current Status of Federal and State Immigration Reform, Georgia Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society, September 17, 2013

•Speaker, Trends in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and Anti-Bribery Enforcement, ABA 8 th Annual Homeland Security Law Institute, Washington, DC, June 2013

•Speaker, Export Controls, GA ICLE Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Seminar, June 2013

•Speaker, Trial Practice Demonstration -U.S. v. Patel(W.D. La.), American Bar Association's 23rd Annual National Institute on Health Care Fraud, Miami, FL, May 2013

•Speaker, Federal Agents are in the Lobby: Preparing for & Responding to the Search of a Corporate Client, Georgia Bar ICLE White Collar Crime Institute, March 2013

•Speaker, Government Enforcement - Federal and State Health Care Fraud Initiatives, Georgia Bar ICLE Health Care Fraud Institute, Atlanta, GA, December 13, 2012

•Speaker, Trial Practice Demonstration -State of Texas v. Khaled Jabboury, American Bar Association, 22nd Annual National Institute on Health Care Fraud, 2012

•Speaker, The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: Defending the FCPA Case, Georgia Bar ICLE White Collar Crime Institute, 2012

•Speaker, In-House Counsel in the Crosshairs? Personal Liability for Corporate Violations, Institute for Continuing Legal Education in Georgia, Corporate Counsel Institute, Atlanta, GA, December 9, 2011

•Speaker, Careers in National Security, ABA Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice Section Brown Bag Conference & Webinar, Washington, DC, October 7, 2011

•Speaker, Trial Practice Demonstration -U.S. v. Fallah, et al(S.D. Texas), The 21st Annual ABA National Institute on Health Care Fraud, Miami Beach, FL, May 13, 2011

•Speaker, Economic Sanctions and Export Controls American Bar Association, 25th Annual National Institute on White Collar Crime, San Diego, CA, March 2-4, 2011

•Speaker, Global Legal and Regulatory Issues Series - Bribery, Corrupt Practices and Money Laundering, March 22, 2010

•Keynote Speaker, Protecting America: One Day at a Time, Suzette Talarico Lecture, February 2010

•Speaker, Global Settlements, ABA White Collar Crime Institute, 2010

•Keynote Speaker, Daughters of American Revolution/United Daughters of the Confederacy (DAR/UDC) Program, 2009

•Speaker, Homeland Security: A View from Across the Pond, Homeland Security Conference, Queen Elizabeth II Conference Center, London, England, 2007

•Speaker, Ethical Issues Related to Data Collection at the Department of Homeland Security, International Intelligence Ethics Association, January 2007

•Speaker, Avoiding Criminal Charges, ABA Securities Fraud Conference, September 2006

•Keynote Speaker, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security - Meeting and Managing the Threats of Today and Tomorrow, Homeland Security Summit, September 2006

•Speaker, Department of Homeland Security: Looking at the DHS Law Enforcement Team and Initiatives, ABA White Collar Crime Conference, March 2006

•Quoted The Morning Risk Report: Drop in FCPA Independent Monitors Continues in 2013,The Wall Street Journal, July 2, 2013

•Quoted, Likely FBI Nominee to Face NSA Debate,The Wall Street Journal, June 9, 2013

•Mentioned, Judge Approves New Scheduling Order in Expedia Case,Ledger-Enquirer, February 21, 2012

•Quoted, Former U.S. Attorney Discusses Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,GlobalAtlanta, August 2010

•Cited, State Bar Holds Conference Sept. 2 on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,GlobalAtlanta, July 2010

•Remarks of General Counsel Joe Whitley to the National College of District Attorneys, 2003

•Editor, Homeland Security Chapter, ABA Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section, Developments in Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice 2007-Present

•Co-Author, Homeland Security and Domestic Intelligence: Legal Considerations, The U.S. Intelligence Community Law Sourcebook , 2011 Edition, American Bar Association, August 2011

•Co-Author, Global Settlements, Indictments and Trials in FCPA Cases: Increasing Protection of Individual, February 25, 2010

•Editor, Homeland Security Desk Book , LexisNexis Matthew Bender, 2009

•Co-Editor, Homeland Security: Legal and Policy Issues , ABA Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section, 2009

•Co-Author, Congress Enacts CFIUS Reform Legislation, ABAAdministrative and Regulatory Law News, Spring 2008

•Co-Author, A New Standard for Security Regulation the Final Rule on Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards,ABA Trends, January/February 2008

•Author, Recent Developments in Critical Infrastructure Protection,The Real Estate Finance Journal, 2007

•Author, Homeland Security, Law, and Policy through the Lens of Critical Infrastructure and Key Asset Protection,Jurimetrics Journal, Spring 2007

•Author, Chemical Security: Recent Regulation and the Impact on the Private Sector,New Jersey Law Journal, 2007

•Author, Critical Infrastructure,ABA Homeland Security and National Defense Newsletter, 2007

•Author, Department of Homeland Security: Looking at the DHS Law Enforcement Team and Initiatives, 2007

•Author, The SAFETY Act: A Vital Tool in the Fight Against Terrorism,Contemporary Legal Notes, 2006

•Author, The Patriot Act: Myths, Misperceptions and Malapropisms,The Advocate, 2005

Associated News & Events


06.13.14 Fifteen Greenberg Traurig Atlanta Attorneys Included in 2014 USA Chambers Guide

05.23.14 Greenberg Traurig Attorneys, Practices Included in 2014 Chambers USA Guide

03.27.14 Greenberg Traurig Has the Most Attorneys Listed in the Top 100 List of the 2014 Edition of Georgia Super Lawyers Magazine

03.11.14 Greenberg Traurig Expands Atlanta Office with Addition of Jason R. Edgecombe as Associate

03.04.14 Greenberg Traurig's Joe D. Whitley and Jacqueline Becerra to Speak at American Bar Association's White Collar Crime National Institute in Miami Beach

12.23.13 35 Greenberg Traurig Attorneys Included in Georgia Trend's Legal Elite List Across 8 Categories

08.27.13 Greenberg Traurig's Joe Whitley Chairs ABA Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section

08.20.13 4 Greenberg Traurig Atlanta Attorneys Listed as Lawyers of the Year in 2014 Edition of Best Lawyers in America

06.04.13 Greenberg Traurig Shareholder Joe D. Whitley to Chair 8th Annual Homeland Security Law Institute In Washington, D.C.

06.04.13 Greenberg Traurig Shareholder Joe D. Whitley to Co-Chair Program: 'International Business Crimes: Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Criminal Antitrust and Export Controls' (Also at Washington, D.C. Office)

Reported CasesWhite Collar Defense ; Representation of numerous clients regarding bid rigging and kickback investigation by the Department of Justice.; Representation of U.S. publicly traded chemical company in a major environmental criminal investigation convincing the government that no criminal charges should be filed against the company.; Served as primary outside counsel for Homeland Security advice for major chemical company.; Representation of health care providers, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies/labs, etc. in qui tam Civil False Claims Act (FCA) investigations.; Representation of Urocor in False Claims Act (FCA) case - U.S. ex rel. Worner v. Urocor, Inc., 15 No. 3 Andrews Gov't Cont. Litig. Rep. 12 Andrews Government Contract Litigation Reporter, August 2, 2001.; Representation of public school system in an internal investigation of land purchase practices.; Representation of metal manufacturer for alleged violations of The Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA).; Representation of municipal waste water utility in Clean Water Act (CWA) investigation.; Representation of Middle Eastern-based company regarding alleged criminal and civil wrongdoing regarding U.S. government procurement.; Representation of former NBA athlete in a grand jury investigation and criminal RICO matter regarding allegations of money laundering.; Representation of corporate employees in a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) investigation.; Representation of corporate employee in a criminal antitrust market allocation conspiracy investigation.; Representation of global marketing and technology client providing comprehensive, end-to-end gaming solutions to the multibillion-dollar lottery and pari-mutuel racing industries.; Representation of major food manufacturer regarding FDA violations in an FDA criminal grand jury investigation of salmonella poisoning.; Representation of Italian-based, multinational catering and retail company providing general legal advice on business conduct/due diligence, assisting in an internal investigation, and acting as lead counsel for company to identify and coordinate counsel for individuals in federal grand jury investigation.; Representation of several individuals in Presidential pardon matters.; Representation of client in a grand jury investigation handled by the Antitrust Division of DOJ regarding the antitrust & FCPA conduct of one of the world's leading tire and rubber companies.; Representation of chiropractor in grand jury investigation of billing practices to Medicare and Medicaid.; Represented major insurance carrier in criminal grand jury investigation of commissions reporting practices and disclosure to customers.; Represented City of Boulder, CO - Wolf v. Ramsey , 253 F.Supp.2d 1323, 2003 WL 1821525, 61 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. 1715, N.D.Ga. March 31, 2003 (No. CIV.A.1:00-CV-1187-J).; Assisted one of the most renowned suppliers of corporate eLearning and eTraining content within German-speaking countries with Web-based training support on FCPA.; Following Hurricane Katrina, represented a major university in business continuity issues and coordination with FEMA to insure full recovery.; Representation of poultry company targeted in an ICE raid for immigration violations.; Worked with a number of public companies to structure and conduct internal investigations. Homeland Security Experience ; General Counsel for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and responsible for providing legal advice to more than 180,000 employees of the Department.; Responsible for directing the creation of a single legal department from the legal departments of the 22 agencies that were combined in the formation of the Department.; Responsible for supervision of a total of 1,800 plus lawyers in agencies, directorates and offices, including attorneys in the following components, as these components were configured in 2006, of DHS:; U.S. Secret Service (USSS); ; U.S. Coast Guard (USCG); ; Transportation Security Administration (TSA); ; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS); ; U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP); ; Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); ; Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC); ; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); ; The Directorates for Border and Transportation Security; ; Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP); ; Emergency Preparedness and Response and Science and Technology (PRST); and; The Offices for Privacy, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.; Responsible for a budget in excess of $10 million in the front office of General Counsel.; Provided legal assistance to Secretary Tom Ridge and Secretary Michael Chertoff on key legal issues, such as:; Worked closely with General Counsel counterparts throughout the federal government at the White House, Departments of Justice; State, Treasury, Defense and other agencies to include the coordination of counterterrorism and federal law enforcement initiatives; ; Responsible for responding to frequent Congressional inquiries, and the timely proposal and adoption of hundreds of regulations; ; Provided guidance and input to staff attorneys representing the department in litigation on a variety of matters; and; Worked closely with the Office of the Inspector General in conducting reviews of various department programs and responding to issues raised by those reviews.; Assisted in Homeland Security consultation and internal investigations for major U.S. defense contracting company.; Assist companies with government procurement and contracting issues with DHS. Private Sector Homeland Security Experience ; Provides counsel to major corporations on public policy and legislative issues, such as:; Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) implementation; ; SAFETY Act applications for certification and designation by DHS; ; Disaster recovery and forward-looking mitigation strategies; ; Cyber-security and critical infrastructure protection; ; Immigration compliance; ; Customs and trade compliance; ; Laws and regulations affecting all segments of the transportation industry; and; Vulnerability assessments for members of the energy sector to include the broad spectrum of environmental regulations. Prosecution Experience ; Assistant District Attorney; U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia; U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia; Deputy Assistant Attorney General Criminal Division; Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General; Acting Associate Attorney General Some of the above representations were handled by Mr. Whitley prior to his joining Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

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Office Information

Joe D. Whitley

3333 Piedmont Road NE, Suite 2500
AtlantaGA 30305


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