The world's leading financial institutions bring their most significant enforcement and controversy matters to WilmerHale.

Whether handling an agency enforcement matter, US Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation, high-stakes litigation or a Congressional inquiry, the firm's Banking Controversy Practice draws on the experience our attorneys have gained serving in senior roles at the DOJ, the offices of leading US Attorneys (including in New York and Washington DC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Treasury Department, the White House, and other agencies. Our practice has received numerous awards and rankings from Chambers USA and Best Lawyers, among others, with clients calling it “one of the top financial services practices in the country.”


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Gutierrez, Franca Harris

Franca Harris Gutierrez

Vice Chair, Financial Institutions Practice Group

+1 202 663 6557 (t)

Brown, Reginald J.

Reginald J. Brown

Chair, Financial Institutions Group

+1 202 663 6430 (t)

Adegbile, Debo

Debo P. Adegbile


+1 212 295 6717 (t)

Berkovitz, Dan

Dan M. Berkovitz


+1 202 663 6352 (t)

Brown, Reginald J.

Reginald J. Brown


+1 202 663 6430 (t)

Cohen, David

David S. Cohen


+1 202 663 6205 (t)

Donovan, David

David Donovan


+1 202 663 6868 (t)

No Image

Gail Ennis


+1 202 663 6014 (t)

Goldblatt, Craig

Craig Goldblatt


+1 202 663 6483 (t)

Our Practice

  • Department of Justice and US Attorney's Office Investigations and Litigation: WilmerHale's DOJ and US Attorney practice includes an impressive group of government alumni: two former Deputy Attorneys General, a former head of the DOJ's Civil Division, a former Solicitor General, a former Director of the FBI, a former US Attorney for the District of Columbia, a former Deputy US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, a former Chief of the Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Unit in the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, and numerous other former federal prosecutors. Drawing on the collective experience of these lawyers, no practice is better equipped to address DOJ investigations and government-facing litigation for the financial sector. For more information about this practice, please contact Sharon Cohen Levin, Boyd Johnson, Howard Shapiro or Jamie Gorelick.  
  • Regulatory Enforcement and Investigations: The world's leading banks regularly rely on WilmerHale's representation in their most difficult and pressing regulatory enforcement matters. Since the financial crisis, our team has been involved in some aspect of nearly every major enforcement action involving large banking organizations. We have also handled numerous high-profile matters before the SEC, Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and agency inspectors general. For more information about our banking enforcement practice, please contact Franca Harris Gutierrez or Reg Brown, and for more information about our securities practice, please contact Bill McLucas, Harry Weiss or Matt Martens.  
  • Congressional Investigations: WilmerHale has one of Washington DC's most sought-after congressional investigations practices and regularly counsels financial institutions and other clients facing complex and high-stakes inquiries. We have represented numerous financial institutions in significant congressional inquiries since the financial crisis. For more information about congressional matters, please contact Reg Brown or Howard Shapiro. For matters requiring a lobbying resolution, please contact the firm's Public Policy and Legislative Affairs Practice Co-Chairs Rob Lehman and Jonathan Yarowsky.
  • Multistate AG Investigations and State Regulatory Inquiries: WilmerHale's banking enforcement group includes a former Colorado Attorney General and Massachusetts Deputy Attorney General, along with New York partners who have worked closely with the New York Department of Financial Services in their government roles. For more information about our state Attorney General and state regulatory capabilities, please contact Ken Salazar, Stephen Jonas or Reg Brown
  • Financial Services Litigation and Class Actions: Many banks look to WilmerHale to handle their US Supreme Court litigation and high-profile litigation in the courts of appeals, and over the last two decades we have litigated many of the most significant and precedent-setting financial institutions matters. Clients also call on our litigators for high-stakes class actions and other consumer finance cases. For more information about WilmerHale's banking litigation practice, please contact Seth Waxman, Noah Levine, David Ogden or Matt Martens.
  • Intellectual Property Litigation: Our Intellectual Property Litigation Practice, named an IP Litigation Department of the Year finalist by The American Lawyer in 2016, has defended several prominent institutions against patent infringement claims by nonpracticing entities and other plaintiffs. Our lawyers have tried major cases in federal district courts throughout the United States, the US International Trade Commission, and in Germany and the UK. For more information about the firm's IP Litigation Practice, please contact Bill Lee or Greg Lantier.
  • Cybersecurity and Intellectual Property Litigation: Technology presents greater risks and threats to financial institutions than ever before. Our cybersecurity response practice is at the forefront of the emerging threat environment and has handled the most significant breaches for the most sensitive institutional clients. For more information on cybersecurity matters, please contact Ben Powell, Jonathan Cedarbaum or Reed Freeman.
  • Crisis Management and Strategic Response: WilmerHale assists financial institutions in navigating multifaceted challenges with legal, public policy and media dimensions. A bipartisan group with extensive senior-level experience both in the executive branch and on Capitol Hill, we work with the financial sector to identify, develop and execute strategies to defend or advance a position—whether anticipating and responding to fast-moving events, or working over the longer term to craft and implement legislative or regulatory solutions to complex problems. For more information, please contact Reg Brown, Jamie Gorelick, Bill McLucas or Robert Kimmitt.  


Department of Justice and US Attorney's Office Investigations and Litigation

We regularly represent clients before the DOJ and US Attorney's Offices. Our experience includes:

  • representing clients in dozens of internal and DOJ investigations, and obtaining several declinations of prosecution from the enforcement authorities for our clients;
  • representing major financial institutions and securities market firms in financial crimes, anti–money laundering (AML) and economic sanctions investigations by the DOJ and other regulators;
  • representing major financial institutions in False Claims Act investigations and litigation, including two recent cases in which district courts dismissed all claims against our clients; and
  • representing several financial institutions in connection with Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations concerning financial institutions with sovereign wealth funds.

Regulatory Enforcement and Investigations

We have represented clients in dozens of formal and informal enforcement actions brought by or before several agencies, including the CFPB, OCC, Federal Reserve Board of Governors, FDIC, FinCEN, OFAC, FHFA, FTC, SEC, CFTC and agency inspectors general. In recent years, our team has:

  • defended groundbreaking regulatory actions involving auction rate securities, initial public offering allocation practices, research analyst independence, mutual fund market timing, revenue sharing and broker-dealer markups, among many others;
  • been involved in some capacity in nearly every enforcement action the CFPB has taken against large national banks since its inception, including in the areas of credit cards and add-on products, mortgage lending, student lending, debt collection, fair lending, and others; and
  • assisted financial and other institutions with their responses to nearly all of the major congressional inquiries regarding AML issues over the last two decades.

Congressional Investigations

Financial institutions and other clients regularly look to us for counsel when facing high-stakes congressional inquiries. Our experience includes:

  • representing numerous institutions and senior executives in connection with Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission inquiries;
  • representing a global financial institution in connection with congressional inquiries into a large and high-profile trading loss;
  • representing a global financial institution in US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations inquiry regarding money laundering, drugs and terrorist financing.

State Attorney General Investigations and State Regulatory Entities

WilmerHale has represented bank and nonbank financial institutions in some of the most consequential and high-profile state attorney general investigations in recent years. This experience includes:

  • representing a top mortgage servicer in the National Mortgage Settlement involving 49 state attorneys general;
  • representing a large nonbank financial services company in a joint investigation by the CFPB and several state attorneys general;
  • representing a worldwide financial services company in state attorney general investigations into foreign exchange practices and other administrative charges; and
  • representing a global financial services company in an investigation into net asset value practices by the Massachusetts Securities Division.

Financial Services Litigation and Class Actions

Our team has guided financial companies through a variety of litigation and class actions. In recent years, we have:

  • obtained a complete defense verdict as lead trial counsel in a federal class action jury trial in the Central District of California in a case brought against a financial services company seeking $180 million in damages on behalf of 46,000 class members;
  • represented financial institutions in the US Supreme Court on preemption, jurisdictional and substantive banking matters in cases and represented financial institution trade groups as amici in multiple additional cases;
  • represented a major bank in a series of class actions consolidated in the Southern District of Florida pursuant to the multidistrict litigation (MDL) process, challenging item posting order, overdraft fees and related practices;
  • represented a major payment card issuer in a series of class actions consolidated in the Eastern District of New York pursuant to the MDL process, challenging on antitrust grounds the credit card interchange fees paid by merchants acquiring banks; and
  • represented a major national lender in an appeal of a class action verdict imposing significant compensatory and punitive damages on the institution as assignee of second mortgage loans, based on allegedly improper fees charged by the originating lender, and in other similar litigation concerning assignee liability concerning such fees.

Intellectual Property Litigation

WilmerHale regularly litigates intellectual property disputes, having served as lead litigation counsel in more than 300 major patent and trademark litigation cases. We have represented clients from a broad range of industries, including several preeminent financial institutions in patent infringement matters before the US Supreme Court, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, US District Courts, US Court of Federal Claims, and the US International Trade Commission.

Cybersecurity Issues

Our attorneys are at the forefront of current cybersecurity issues. Our experience includes:

  • regularly helping companies comply with data-breach reporting obligations across the states as well as under sector-specific federal regimes, such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act; and
  • representing an international bank in seeking removal of information stolen by a hacker and uploaded to a file-sharing site in the United States.