Boyd M. Johnson III


Co-Chair, Investigations and Criminal Litigation Practice Group


Boyd M. Johnson III is the Co-Chair of WilmerHale's Investigations and Criminal Litigation Practice. He has 25 years of experience as a skilled litigator and trial attorney. Mr. Johnson joined the firm in 2011, following a 13-year career with the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), where he served as the Deputy US Attorney and supervised more than 200 Assistant US Attorneys. Chambers USA has consistently recognized him as a leading attorney in white-collar crime and government investigations.

Mr. Johnson represents corporations and their executives in criminal and civil investigations conducted by a variety of prosecutors and regulators, as well as in complex civil litigation. He conducts internal investigations for companies, and advises business organizations on crisis response and media relations.

Mr. Johnson's experience includes insider trading and financial fraud investigations, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and public corruption probes, antitrust inquiries, anti-money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act issues, False Claims Act and FIRREA actions, and cybersecurity matters.

As Deputy US Attorney for the SDNY, Mr. Johnson managed the largest crackdown on Wall Street insider trading in history and the criminal prosecutions and civil forfeiture proceedings related to the Bernard Madoff fraud, as well as numerous FCPA, money laundering and cybersecurity matters. Mr. Johnson also participated in the creation of the SDNY's Civil Frauds Unit, and oversaw that Unit's civil fraud actions in the financial services and healthcare sectors. Mr. Johnson was a recipient of the Attorney General's Award, the US Department of Justice's highest honor. 

Before becoming Deputy US Attorney, Mr. Johnson served as Chief of the SDNY's Public Corruption Unit. In that capacity, he supervised bribery and embezzlement prosecutions of members of the US Congress, New York State legislators and New York City council members, as well as corruption investigations at the United Nations. While at the SDNY, Mr. Johnson also served as the Chief of the International Narcotics Trafficking Unit, focusing on the extradition of drug kingpins and the identification of global money laundering networks. In that role, he worked with the US Treasury Department to build prosecutions against the leaders of the Cali Cartel and the Taliban based on violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. 

Mr. Johnson is frequently invited to speak on issues related to corporate criminal liability, financial fraud and insider trading, the FCPA, anti-bribery and corruption, money laundering and cybersecurity.

Recent Highlights

Complex Civil Litigation Matters

  • Represented global financial services firm in False Claims Act suit regarding mortgage-backed securities
  • Represented board of trustees of multi-billion-dollar pension fund in consent decree litigation in SDNY
  • Represented international broker dealer in 18 USC Section 1782 litigation in federal court
  • Represented foreign bank in federal court proceeding to vacate FINRA arbitration award regarding rights to trading platform IP
  • Represented public relations firm and executive in motion to quash proceedings in New York Supreme Court
  • Represented municipal agency with 11,000 employees concerning DOJ investigations of certification for federal funding
  • Represented City of New York in securing dismissal of qui tam suit in SDNY and affirmance in Second Circuit

Financial Fraud and Insider Trading Matters

  • Represented US financial services firms in parallel investigations by the DOJ and the SEC regarding derivatives and mortgage-backed securities trading activity
  • Represented Audit and Risk Committee of securities broker dealer in DOJ and SEC investigations concerning offshore trading operations
  • Represented multiple US financial services companies in various DOJ and SEC investigations of alleged insider trading activity
  • Represented international construction management firm in DOJ investigation of historical union billing practices
  • Represented head of global money markets for financial services firm in LIBOR-related investigations by the DOJ, the US Commodities and Futures Trading Commission and the UK Financial Conduct Authority
  • Represented senior executives at global financial services firms in DOJ, SEC, and UK FCA investigations of FX trading  

FCPA and Public Corruption Matters

  • Represented Fortune 100 company in connection with US Department of Justice's FIFA corruption matter
  • Represented a New York State agency concerning allegations of official corruption related to real estate development projects
  • Represented public company in oil services industry in DOJ and SEC FCPA investigations
  • Represented General Manager of Ukrainian pharmaceutical company in DOJ and SEC FCPA investigations
  • Represented Chief Financial Officer of Argentinian pharmaceutical company in DOJ and SEC FCPA investigations
  • Represented General Manager of Brazilian aeronautical services company in DOJ and SEC FCPA investigations
  • Advised global financial services firm regarding FCPA issues relating to multi-billion-dollar loan syndicate restructuring

Bank Secrecy Act/Anti–Money Laundering Matters

  • Represented US financial services companies in DOJ and SEC investigations of alleged money laundering by financial advisers and their clients
  • Represented US financial services firm in DOJ investigation relating to alleged OFAC violations
  • Represented US financial services firm in DOJ and OCC investigations of historical BSA/AML program
  • Conducted internal investigations for global financial services firms relating to anti-money laundering systems

Cybersecurity and Data Breach Matters

  • Represented US financial securities firm in data beach investigations by DOJ, SEC, numerous state attorneys general and various financial regulators
  • Advised US financial securities firms on cybersecurity infrastructure and data privacy issues

Pro Bono Matters

  • Provided pro bono representation to indigent criminal defendants in US Courts of Appeal
  • Represented injured US war veterans in appeals for benefits

Honors & Awards

  • Selected by peers for inclusion in the 2018 edition of the Best Lawyers in America for his work in white-collar criminal defense
  • Selected as a leading attorney in the White-Collar Crime and Government Investigations category in the 2013-2017 editions of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
  • Recommended in the white-collar criminal defense litigation category in the 2013-2017 editions of The Legal 500 United States, where he was praised for his "excellent strategic advice" and "familiarity with government and internal investigations."
  • Selected by clients and peers as being among the world's leading investigations lawyers in GIR's Who's Who Legal: Investigations 2017 and 2018.
  • Recipient of US Drug Enforcement Administration's Administrator's Award, the DEA's highest honor
  • Recipient of Attorney General's Award, the US Department of Justice's highest honor
  • Recipient of Lifetime Achievement Award from Federal Drug Agents Foundation for his dedication to supporting federal, state and local law enforcement  

Publications & News


January 29, 2018

Preserving Privilege in Government Investigations in Light of 'SEC v. Herrera'

In this New York Law Journal article, authors Boyd Johnson, Brendan McGuire and Alyssa DaCunha explore how a recent case from the Southern District of Florida makes clear that counsel must tread carefully when assessing whether and how to share information derived from privileged investigative materials, as doing so may risk waiving the work product privilege over the underlying materials and potentially their entire subject matter.

August 16, 2017

WilmerHale Lawyers Named Among the 2018 Best Lawyers in America®, Nine Recognized as Lawyers of the Year

Best Lawyers in America®—the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal industry—recognizes 107 WilmerHale lawyers and names nine partners as Lawyers of the Year in its 24th edition.

June 9, 2017

The Legal 500 United States 2017 Recognizes 125 WilmerHale Lawyers Across 28 Practice Areas

The Legal 500 United States has released its 2017 rankings, recommending 125 WilmerHale lawyers—including 12 who are named to its elite “Leading Lawyers” list and two on its “Next Generation Lawyers” list—and 28 practice areas in its 11th edition.

May 26, 2017

WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices Recognized in 2017 Edition of Chambers USA

Chambers and Partners announced its rankings for the 2017 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, with WilmerHale listed among the nation's best in 50 practice area categories. Chambers also ranked 86 WilmerHale lawyers as leaders in their respective fields.

May 15, 2017

WilmerHale, Waivers and When to Stop Investigating

In this interview with GIR, Boyd Johnson and Stephen Pollard discuss how the WilmerHale's investigations practice has developed over the past five years, and how they foresee the law and practice of investigations taking shape over the next five years. This article was first published on GIR's website.

April 27, 2017

AML and Sanctions: 2017 Trends and Developments

This report reviews recent trends and developments impacting financial institutions with respect to the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering and economic sanctions regulatory landscape.

January 31, 2017

False Claims Act: 2016 Year-in-Review

In 2016, the Department of Justice continued to give high priority to False Claims Act investigations and prosecutions. This WilmerHale Client Alert was republished by Pratt's Government Contracting Law Report.

September 16, 2016

WilmerHale Named Industry's Most Impressive Investigations Practice by GIR

WilmerHale has been named the Most Impressive Investigations Practice of the Year by Global Investigations Review for its cross-border work in both high-profile internal and government-led investigations.

June 22, 2016

The Legal 500 United States 2016 Recognizes 111 WilmerHale Lawyers Across 30 Practice Areas

The guide's rankings are based on a series of criteria, including client feedback, interviews with private practice lawyers, and its own research.

May 27, 2016

WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices Recognized in 2016 Edition of Chambers USA

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business announced its final rankings for the 2016 edition, with WilmerHale ranking among the nation's best in 47 practice area categories. Chambers also ranked 82 WilmerHale lawyers as leaders in their respective fields.

Speaking Engagements

Professional Activities

Mr. Johnson is an active member of the New York City Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association and the Federal Bar Council. He has served on the New York City Bar’s White Collar Crime Committee.