Practice/Industry Group Overview
Sutherland’s former prosecutors and enforcement attorneys guide clients through the Byzantine maze of criminal, civil and regulatory issues.
As a result of today’s increased focus on the need to punish rather than remediate purported misconduct, white collar cases are on the rise and more intense than ever. The outcomes of criminal and civil matters can hinge on understanding exactly how to respond to government scrutiny. Our White Collar Defense team includes former DOJ attorneys, federal and state prosecutors and senior attorneys of the SEC's Division of Enforcement and FINRA. Members of the practice served as lead counsel in scores of jury trials in federal and state courts, as special prosecutors and as counsel in a variety of congressional probes. If we cannot stop the case from proceeding or reach a satisfactory resolution, we have the tools and experience necessary to litigate against the government.
Our attorneys are adept at conducting swift and comprehensive internal investigations, a crucial service in an era when whistleblowers have been incentivized and corporate conduct is increasingly subject to intrusive and expensive inquiries. When issues arise, it is critical that management, audit committees and other corporate constituencies get the facts rapidly to learn what really happened and, if appropriate, take remedial action. In addition, such rapid fact-gathering may be necessary to establish credibility with prosecutors, regulators, and auditors. The quality of the responses may forestall or moderate more intrusive government investigations. Our attorneys' knowledge of our clients and of the regulatory landscape allows companies and individuals to anticipate the investigation's course and focus, resulting in better resolutions of any disputes that arise.
Sutherland also provides proactive advice to minimize the possibility of future criminal or regulatory issues. For example, the group's specialized services help companies and senior executives establish compliance programs that meet the standards of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines (including risk analyses), and assist clients in complying with the Foreign Corrupt Privacy Act (FCPA), USA PATRIOT Act and anti-money laundering programs. We know that prevention is the best defense.
Inside experience. Our White Collar Defense practice includes former DOJ attorneys, federal and state prosecutors, as well as former senior attorneys of the SEC Division of Enforcement and FINRA who worked closely with prosecutors on parallel civil cases. As a result, we understand the prosecutors’ internal priorities and the hot issues that drive investigations.
Reputation. The stature of our practice is reflected in the high-profile clients we’ve served, from Fortune 100 companies to executives implicated in corporate and financial controversies that attract front page news coverage.
Comprehensive service. Sutherland offers legal counsel on all aspects of white-collar defense. We represent companies and their directors and officers, undertake internal investigations and proactively develop practices and procedures designed to minimize the possibility of future criminal regulatory investigations.
Litigation. A core strength of our practice is our ability and willingness to litigate when other solutions with prosecutors or regulators are not possible. Sutherland provides clients a seamless transition from investigation to defense in state and federal courts, whether before a judge or jury. Our capability is understood by the government and effectively acts as a deterrent to ultimate prosecution.
Broad support. Our white-collar team is actively supported by other practices within our firm. The team is complemented by substantive expertise from our financial services, corporate, tax and energy practices, to name but a few. The integration of litigation and investigatory skills with substantive expertise ensures the highest quality representation and advice.
Nuts and Bolts
Sutherland’s nationally recognized practice offers:
- Representation and guidance during investigations
- Internal investigations
- Vigorous defense
- Advice and support during compliance and regulatory examinations
Our white collar team has represented corporations and individuals in connection with investigations and enforcement proceedings brought by:
- Department of Justice
- Department of Agriculture
- General Services Administration
- State attorneys-general offices
We have worked with clients in areas such as:
- Securities issues such as disclosure, insider trading, fiduciary duties, corporate governance, sub-prime mortgages, stock manipulation, options backdating, market timing and late trading
- Accounting issues such as fair value, revenue recognition, loss reserves
- Consumer lending
- Government contracts/procurement
- Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (including parallel investigations by foreign governments)
- Commercial bribery/kickbacks
- EPA criminal investigations
- Congressional investigations
- Federal tax investigations and proceedings
When individuals or companies find themselves in the government’s crosshairs, they turn to Sutherland’s experienced White Collar Defense team.
Top executive of public company being investigated for alleged securities fraud and other matters retains Sutherland.
Our team represents the former president of an NYSE-listed company being investigated by the SEC and the U.S. Attorney’s office for his role in alleged accounting irregularities at the company.
Sutherland represents small business lender in investigations of improper lending practices and financial reporting.
Sutherland represented a small business lender in SEC, DOJ and USDA investigations of improper lending practices and financial reporting. In one instance, the USDA dismissed its claim that a significant loan was fraudulently granted.
Sutherland helps an ex-Arthur Andersen partner in Enron litigation.
We represented a former Arthur Andersen partner in a broad array of litigation and investigations arising from the collapse of Enron Corporation, including several class action lawsuits, regulatory enforcement investigations, grand jury proceeding and state licensing boards. Drawing on the skills of partners in several firm practice areas, we achieved very satisfactory results for our client in a high-profile, politically charged and complex representation.