Johnstone_Chris

Chris Johnstone

Chris Johnstone represents clients facing investigations and enforcement actions by the Department of Justice (DOJ), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and state Attorneys General. As a resident of the firm’s Palo Alto office, Mr. Johnstone has worked with companies throughout Silicon Valley on high-profile internal investigations and complex litigation. 

Mr. Johnstone has significant experience defending clients in SEC enforcement actions. He was a key member of the WilmerHale trial team that prevailed on all ten claims brought by the SEC against two former executives of Thornburg Mortgage. During that case, Mr. Johnstone presented more than a dozen oral arguments and managed years of litigation. More recently, he served as co-lead counsel for an individual in an SEC enforcement action in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Earlier in his career, Mr. Johnstone represented the former CFO of a Silicon Valley tech company in an SEC enforcement action in the US District Court for Northern District of California.

Mr. Johnstone has also played a leadership role in major antitrust cases. Last year, he represented a foreign manufacturer of capacitors in a class action lawsuit seeking more than $1 billion in damages. During that case, Mr. Johnstone deposed a former US Attorney and successfully excluded him from testifying at trial as an expert. In 2018, Mr. Johnstone was a key member of the WilmerHale trial team that obtained the acquittal of Rohan Ramchandani, a former foreign exchange (FX) trader charged with criminal violation of the Sherman Act in the US District Court for Southern District of New York. 

In his pro bono practice, Mr. Johnstone represents individuals facing criminal charges in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. He has repeatedly obtained successful results on behalf of clients facing decades in prison.

Before entering private practice, Mr. Johnstone served as a law clerk for two years for the Honorable Shirley Wohl Kram in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Experience

  • Investigations

    • Conducted an investigation of a major data breach on behalf of special committee of a technology company.
    • Conducted an investigation of whistleblower allegations concerning a company’s security and competitive intelligence practices on behalf of a special committee of a technology company.
    • Represented a healthcare company in parallel investigations by the DOJ and SEC concerning its disclosures to investors.
    • Represented a technology company in an SEC investigation into its initial public offering.
    • Represented a former BSA/AML officer in an investigation by the DOJ.
    • Represented an entertainment company in an investigation by the DOJ’s Antitrust Division and various state attorneys general.
  • Litigation

    • Represented a former FX trader in a criminal case brought by the DOJ’s Antitrust Division.
    • Represented the former CEO and CFO of a mortgage origination company an SEC enforcement action concerning the accounting of impaired assets.
    • Represented the CFO of a hardware company in an SEC enforcement action and parallel class action concerning the accounting of stock options.
    • Represented a technology company in a securities class action concerning its disclosures to investors.
    • Represented a technology company in an action seeking to enjoin the enforcement of a subpoena issued by a state attorney general.
  • Pro Bono Criminal Defense

    • Represented an individual charged with drug trafficking and conspiracy.
    • Represented an individual charged with drug trafficking, conspiracy and illegal reentry.   
    • Represented an individual charged with drug exportation and conspiracy to pass counterfeit foreign currency.   
    • Represented an individual charged with wire fraud.

Insights & News

Credentials

  • Education

    • JD, University of Southern California Law School, 2004

      Editor, Southern California Law Review
    • BA, Public Policy Studies, Duke University, 2001

  • Admissions

    • California

  • Clerkships

    • The Hon. Shirley Wohl Kram, US District Court for the Southern District of New York, 2004 - 2006

Credentials