Johnstone, Chris

Chris Johnstone

Chris Johnstone represents individuals and corporations in investigations conducted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Department of Justice (DOJ), and other law enforcement agencies. As a resident of the firm's Palo Alto office, Mr. Johnstone has worked closely with the legal departments of many of the leading tech companies in Silicon Valley on high-stakes inquiries and corporate crises.

Mr. Johnstone also has experience litigating government enforcement actions. He has litigated two SEC enforcement actions in federal court and was a member of the WilmerHale trial team that prevailed on all claims brought by the SEC against two former executives of Thornburg Mortgage. In that case, Mr. Johnstone presented more than a dozen oral arguments.

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 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 in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. During his clerkship with the Honorable Shirley Wohl Kram, Mr. Johnstone focused on criminal matters and cases involving the securities laws.

Pro Bono and Community Service

  • 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.   

Experience

Representative Engagements

Investigations

  • Represented a Silicon Valley technology company in investigations conducted by the SEC, DOJ and other regulatory agencies.   
  • Represented a Silicon Valley technology company in an SEC investigation concerning its initial public offering.  
  • Represented two individuals in a Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)/Anti-Money Laundering (AML) investigation conducted by the DOJ. 
  • Represented a Los Angeles entertainment company in an antitrust investigation conducted by the DOJ and various state attorneys general.

Litigation

  • Representing an individual in a criminal case brought by the DOJ's Antitrust Division.
  • Represented the 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 concerning the accounting of stock option compensation.
  • Represented a search engine in an action seeking to enjoin the enforcement of a subpoena issued by a state attorney general.
  • Represented a technology company in a securities class action concerning its disclosures to investors.

Insights & News

Credentials