WilmerHale has been named the Most Impressive Investigations Practice of the Year by Global Investigations Review (GIR) for its cross-border work in both high-profile internal and government-led investigations.
The firm has gone from “strength to strength,” achieving a string of major settlements this year, GIR noted, which culminated in receiving top investigations honors over seven other finalists. WilmerHale also placed second on the GIR 30 list, a ranking of the world's 30 leading investigations and compliance practices.
“I am delighted to see this recognition of our track record of success for clients,” said Partner Howard Shapiro, chair of WilmerHale's Litigation/Controversy Department. “Our investigations work—which is led by lawyers with extensive experience throughout the government, including leadership positions at the Department of Justice, several US Attorney's Offices, and at the SEC—is second to none.”
The honors were announced at the 2nd Annual GIR Awards Ceremony at the W Hotel in New York on September 15, 2016. WilmerHale Senior Counsel Roger Witten, a trailblazer in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) investigations work, presented the Outstanding Career Award at the event.
Last year, WilmerHale also ranked second on the GIR 30. The survey assesses firms based on their ongoing investigations work, hours billed, jurisdictions worked in, and partners' experience. Over the two-year span, which the survey covered, the firm billed more than 180,000 hours in cross-border internal investigations alone; those hours were spread across about 100 partners as well as counsel and associates.
WilmerHale's extensive investigations work spans five continents and stretches across offices in the United States, London, Brussels, Germany and Beijing. Given its breadth, the investigations practice is housed across a number of the firm's departments and groups, including Antitrust and Competition, Government and Regulatory Litigation, International Litigation, Investigations and Criminal Litigation, Securities Litigation and Enforcement, and Strategic Response.
The firm conducts investigations and defends clients across a wide variety of criminal, civil and regulatory regimes and disciplines, including cartels, FCPA, money laundering and legislative investigations. The Strategic Response Group represents clients involved in federal and state executive branch and congressional investigations, as well as handling regulatory-related and high-profile media intensive matters. The firm's Securities Litigation and Enforcement Group represents companies facing SEC investigations and inquiries from other regulatory bodies.
WilmerHale has achieved significant investigations success in the past year on FCPA matters. In 2016 alone, according to GIR, the firm's FCPA practice has handled a third (five-of-15) of all public FCPA settlements with the SEC and more than half (three-of-five) of all public FCPA settlements with the Department of Justice (DOJ). Between June and September, the firm also helped achieve three declinations on FCPA matters in DOJ investigations as well as a declination from the SEC. Partners Erin Sloane and Jay Holtmeier have each been part of two of those declinations. Additionally, WilmerHale was one of only seven firms whose Washington DC offices recently received an “elite” ranking from GIR for their FCPA practices.
This month, WilmerHale bolstered its investigations talent with the addition of Brendan McGuire, former chief of the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit and the Public Corruption Unit at the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY). Other recent hires include Bob Mueller, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Matthew Martens, former chief litigation counsel for the SEC's Division of Enforcement; Stephen Preston, former general counsel at the Department of Defense and the CIA; Ron Machen, former US Attorney for the District of Columbia; Matt Jones, former counsel and chief of staff to two US Attorneys for the District of Columbia; Aaron Zebley, former chief of staff to the director of the FBI; Sharon Cohen Levin, former chief of the SDNY's Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Unit; Anjan Sahni, former chief of the SDNY's Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force; and Boyd M. Johnson III, the SDNY's former Deputy US Attorney and former chief of the SDNY's Public Corruption Unit.