Ronald C. Machen


Co-Chair, Investigations and Criminal Litigation Practice Group


Ronald Machen, a member of the firm's global Management Committee and co-chair of the Investigations and Criminal Litigation Practice Group, is one of the nation's leading trial and white-collar defense lawyers. His practice focuses on government enforcement actions, corporate and congressional investigations, and litigating civil business disputes. An experienced litigator who has tried more than 35 cases to verdict, Mr. Machen specializes in litigating complex criminal and civil actions. He also routinely helps clients navigate high-stakes, crisis situations that garner the attention of multiple regulators, enforcement authorities, Congress and private litigants. Prior to rejoining the firm in 2015, Mr. Machen served for over five years as the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.

As the US Attorney for the District of Columbia from 2010 to 2015, Mr. Machen led the nation's largest US Attorney's Office with more than 600 attorneys and support staff. He oversaw the investigation and litigation of major criminal and civil matters concerning government procurement, healthcare fraud, securities fraud, national security, international corruption, economic sanctions, money laundering and structuring, and cybersecurity. Due to the office's location in the nation's capital, Mr. Machen was frequently responsible for representing the United States in matters of great significance to the entire country, including the successful prosecution of the largest domestic bribery and bid-rigging scheme in the history of federal contracting, and a number of landmark settlements in False Claims Act cases against government contractors, healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies. He secured numerous convictions in terrorism cases and more than 160 convictions in public corruption matters. He also defended the United States in a wide range of civil matters involving alleged age, race and sex discrimination, torts, and medical malpractice. 

As US Attorney, Mr. Machen established an Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section within his office and prioritized affirmative civil enforcement actions. As a result, during his tenure, Mr. Machen's office obtained financial recoveries of nearly $2.5 billion for US taxpayers from domestic and foreign corporations and financial institutions. In particular, he obtained resolutions with four global banks that moved money illegally through the US financial system on behalf of sanctioned countries and entities. Mr. Machen also established the first Cyber Unit within the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. He oversaw investigations and prosecutions involving significant cyber breaches of personal and financial data, sales of the use of “botnets,” cyber frauds committed against multinational corporations, and insider trading schemes that obtained confidential information through cyber breaches. While serving as US Attorney, Mr. Machen was also appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder as a member of the Attorney General's Advisory Committee, a small group of US Attorneys from across the country who provide advice and counsel to the Attorney General on policy, management and operational issues.

Prior to his appointment as US Attorney, Mr. Machen was a partner in WilmerHale's Investigations and Criminal Litigation Practice, where he represented individual and corporate clients in the areas of white-collar criminal defense, regulatory enforcement, corporate compliance and complex civil litigation. Mr. Machen also served as an Assistant US Attorney in the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia from 1997 to 2001, where he prosecuted matters involving bribery, mail fraud, government contract fraud, federal conspiracy, homicide, embezzlement and theft.

During his career, Mr. Machen has been repeatedly recognized for his professional accomplishments. In 2015, he was identified as one of DC's “Top Criminal Defense Lawyers” by Washingtonian magazine and also honored as one of the "100 Most Outstanding African American Leaders" for his contributions in the field of law by African Leadership Magazine. In 2013, he received the Equal Justice Award from the National Bar Association. In 2012, he was recognized as a “Visionary” by Legal Times for helping to advance the practice of law during his tenure as US Attorney. In 2008, The National Law Journal named him one of the “50 Most Promising Litigators in America Under the Age of 45” and also recognized him as one of the “50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America.” In 2006, the Washingtonian magazine named him one of DC's “Top 40 Lawyers Under the age of 40.”

Honors & Awards

  • Recognized in the 2018 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business for his white-collar crime and government investigations practice. Clients have described Mr. Machen as "probably the best I have ever dealt with—the most competent, the most diligent” and “extremely thoughtful - he leaves no stone unturned." Clients have also remarked: "what is so good about Ron is that you can present a matter to him and he looks at it and gets the big picture very quickly - he can create a strategic plan and get us where we need to go." 
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Recommended by The Legal 500 United States 2016 for his government relations, white-collar criminal defense and general commercial disputes practices
  • Recognized as one of DC's "Top Criminal Defense Lawyers" for 2015 by Washingtonian magazine 
  • Selected by his peers as one of The Best Lawyers in America in 2010
  • Named one of the "50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America" and recognized as one of the "50 Most Promising Litigators in America Under the Age of 45" by The National Law Journal in 2008
  • Recognized as one of the "100 Most Outstanding African American Leaders" for his contributions in the field of law by African Leadership Magazine in 2015 
  • Named a 2007 and 2017 Washington DC Super Lawyer for his civil and criminal defense work
  • Selected by The American Lawyer as one of the nation's "Top Fifty Young Litigators" under the age of 45
  • Recognized as one of the "Top 40 Lawyers Under 40" in Washington DC by Washingtonian magazine
  • US Department of Justice, Special Achievement Award (two-time recipient)

Publications & News


May 3, 2018

WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices Recognized in 2018 Edition of Chambers USA

Chambers and Partners announced its rankings for the 2018 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 95 WilmerHale lawyers as leaders in their respective fields.

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.

April 28, 2017

WilmerHale Partners Ogden and Machen Chosen to Monitor Tenet Healthcare

Tenet and the US Department of Justice jointly selected the WilmerHale partners, pursuant to the terms of the non-prosecution agreement the health care giant reached last year with the DOJ to settle kickback allegations.

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.

September 9, 2016

WilmerHale's FCPA Practice Lands GIR “Elite” Ranking

Global Investigations Review Just Anti-Corruption recently gave WilmerHale's Washington DC office an “elite” ranking for its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) practice, putting it among the top firms in the nation's capital.

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.

January 12, 2016

False Claims Act: 2015 Year-in-Review

In 2015, the Justice Department continued to give high priority to False Claims Act investigations, bringing in nearly $3.6 billion in settlements and judgments.

December 4, 2015

Washingtonian Magazine Names Eight WilmerHale Partners Top Attorneys in Washington DC

Washingtonian magazine has released its list of 2015 Top Attorneys, recognizing Washington's top legal talent based on peer review. The 2015 list is the Washingtonian's largest ever and ranks the top one percent of the nation's capital's 80,000 lawyers across 21 different practices.

November 23, 2015

WilmerHale Among Top 10 Largest Global Securities and White Collar Law Practices

Law360 has ranked WilmerHale number six in its 2015 Securities/White Collar Practice Group Partner Rankings, which recognize the 100 largest and most powerful securities and white collar practices in the nation.


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JD, Harvard Law School, 1994

AB, Stanford University, 1991

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia


United States Supreme Court


The Hon. Damon J. Keith, US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, 1995 - 1997

Government Experience

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