There are few things as potentially disruptive as the specter of a government investigation or criminal prosecution. Whether facing an informal inquiry or formal prosecution, businesses and individuals require counsel with deep experience in all phases of the criminal process. Cozen O’Connor’s attorneys are leaders in the criminal defense bar and offer aggressive representation of our clients to resolve their most difficult legal problems.
Cozen O’Connor has carefully assembled a team of attorneys with decades of experience on both the prosecutorial and defense sides. Having this full understanding both of how cases are built and how cases are won is critical to providing clients with sound advice. Our attorneys’ broad perspective enables us to identify the right solution quickly.
We represent individuals, public and private companies, corporate boards, special committees, and directors and officers in investigations and enforcement proceedings of all varieties. We handle inquiries initiated by the Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Federal Trade Commission, Office of Foreign Assets Control, state attorneys general, district attorneys, and executive agency inspectors general. We frequently conduct internal investigations both before and after government action, implement corporate compliance programs to prevent and detect wrongdoing, and defend clients against criminal charges.
Our corporate clients do not abide the disruption of an internal investigation simply out of academic curiosity. That is why Cozen O’Connor begins every investigation with an eye toward the end goal: advice that is thorough and practical. We provide clients with a comprehensive understanding of their potential liabilities as well as a clear strategy for how to move an inquiry toward an acceptable conclusion. Whether our legal analysis reveals the need to dismiss rogue actors, report mistakes, improve compliance, or take other remedial measures, our investigations are informed by an intimate familiarity with our clients’ businesses and a commitment to providing useful, jargon-free advice.
It is with good reason that clients often look to former prosecutors to conduct sensitive internal investigations. Cozen O’Connor’s team includes top federal and state prosecutors who have served as assistant U.S. attorney or led major crimes task forces. This prosecutorial background is a distinct advantage when conducting complex investigations, making factual findings, and judging the credibility of witnesses. Moreover, insights gained through prior government service and strong professional relationships with current government officials enhance our ability to narrow the scope of investigations and make arguments that are persuasive to regulators.
On the criminal defense side, we have had tremendous success trying difficult cases on behalf of individuals. This means that when trial proves unavoidable, our seasoned attorneys are fully prepared to dismantle the case against our client in court. It also means that our clients are able to make informed strategic calculations before trial, because we can reliably predict how certain facts and arguments are likely to be perceived. Cozen O’Connor’s respected criminal defense practitioners are known for their candor and take seriously their duty to help clients make well-reasoned decisions under extreme emotional distress.
Indeed, part of what differentiates Cozen O’Connor’s criminal defense practice is our attention to the emotional component of each case. We often represent clients who have unexpectedly found themselves in the completely unfamiliar world of the criminal justice system and are facing the alarming possibility of incarceration. We treat our clients with the care we would want for a family member in the same situation and are available around the clock to assure our clients that they do not carry the burden alone.
Direct high-level internal investigations into potential misconduct, either before or after the initiation of a government inquiry
Represent clients in criminal investigations and enforcement proceedings initiated by the Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Federal Trade Commission, Office of Foreign Assets Control, state attorneys general, district attorneys, and executive agency inspectors general
Defend clients against criminal allegations, including those involving securities and commodities fraud, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, health care fraud, qui tam whistleblowers, criminal antitrust claims, tax fraud, procurement fraud, bank fraud and Bank Secrecy Act, embezzlement, money laundering, political corruption, online misconduct, and other felonious acts
Provide counsel regarding federal export control regulations and enforcement proceedings by the departments of state and commerce
Implement or update corporate compliance programs, establish internal checks and balances, and conduct practical training for executives and employees
We represent individuals, public and private companies, corporate boards, special committees, and directors and officers in a wide variety of industries, including:
Shipping and transportation
Energy and utilities
The government investigations and criminal defense group is made up of litigators who have collectively first-chaired hundreds of trials as prosecutors, public defenders, and corporate defense attorneys. The team includes former assistant U.S. attorneys, assistant district attorneys, and the heads of major crimes task forces, as well as fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Chambers & Partners-ranked white-collar lawyers, and recipients of prestigious criminal defense awards. The team has impressive appellate credentials and includes several former federal clerks and a former U.S. Supreme Court clerk.
In addition to the risks of government-imposed punishment, we are keenly aware that our clients may face the additional risk of collateral damage to brand and reputation. Our attorneys work closely with in-house or external public relations professionals to defend clients against negative media coverage, craft effective counter-messaging, and coordinate public and legal strategies. The firm’s Washington D.C.-based bipartisan Public Strategies group also has extensive crisis management experience and is available to provide government relations assistance as necessary. Our goal is to ensure that clients emerge from difficulty unharmed.