Nicole H. Sprinzen

Vice Chair, White Collar Defense & Investigations

Washington, D.C.

(202) 471-3451

(202) 861-1905

Nicole is a former federal prosecutor and she focuses her practice on representing companies and individuals in criminal matters and parallel civil proceedings, as well as in internal investigations. Her practice includes advising clients in matters arising under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), U.S. export controls and sanctions and anti-money laundering regulations, and the securities and commodities laws, as well as in connection with federal procurement, mortgage, and bank fraud allegations. She frequently represents corporate and individual clients in antitrust cartel internal and government investigations.

Internal investigations that Nicole has conducted include allegations of workplace harassment against an internationally renowned opera singer on behalf of the industry labor union; allegations of harassment and hostile workplace environment in the entertainment industry; and various allegations of sexual assault, harassment and student misconduct on behalf of a government program administrator. Further to that work, Nicole frequently advises clients regarding implementation of recommendations for remedial measures and corporate governance and compliance program enhancements.

Nicole has also represented clients in investigations being conducted by World Bank Group's Integrity Vice Presidency, and served as a monitor for a company participating in the World Bank’s Voluntary Disclosure Program. Nicole has represented clients in investigations by U.S. government authorities under Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) and, while serving as a federal prosecutor, she coordinated parallel foreign proceedings under MLATs.

An experienced trial lawyer, Nicole has tried federal and state cases in the District of Columbia and throughout the country. She has litigated cases involving a broad range of industries, including accounting, banking, securities, commodities trading, health care, construction, government contracting, and the student loan industry. Her practice includes handling False Claims Act and other civil litigation matters, including civil forfeiture, shareholder class action, securities fraud, breach of contract and defamation cases, including under California’s anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation Law) statute, which supplements the First Amendment in that state.

Immediately prior to joining Cozen O’Connor, Nicole practiced in the criminal defense, investigations, and civil litigation practice in the Washington, D.C., office of a large international law firm. Prior to joining the law firm, she served as a prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section, where she prosecuted FCPA, securities and commodities, procurement, and health care fraud cases, as well as cases involving fraud against the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

As a prosecutor, Nicole led criminal investigations in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, and in parallel with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the then-UK Financial Services Authority, and other international antitrust regulators. Nicole was one of the first prosecutors of cases involving the manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and other international bank interest rates. She also tried one of the National Century Financial Enterprises cases in the Southern District of Ohio, then the largest private financial fraud committed to date.

Nicole is also an active member of the pro bono community — taking a substantial role in capital murder cases at the trial and U.S. Supreme Court appellate levels, and serving as a member of the ABA Criminal Justice Section’s Task Force on Law Enforcement Body Cameras. She also led a team that prepared a revision of The Constitution Project’s publication, Irreversible Error: Recommended Reforms for Preventing and Correcting Errors in the Administration of Capital Punishment.



Novartis and Subsidiaries Settle FCPA Cases for $346M, Avoiding a Monitor Despite Recidivism

July 08, 2020

Niki Sprinzen was quoted in an Anti-Corruption Report discussing the settlement agreement Novartis, a Swiss pharmaceutical company, reached with the U.S. DOJ and the SEC to settle FCPA charges.

63 Cozen O’Connor Lawyers, 16 Practices Earn Top Recognition in Chambers USA 2020 Guide

May 14, 2020

Chambers USA, the leading annual guide to the top lawyers and law firms in the United States, has ranked 63 Cozen O’Connor lawyers as leaders in their respective fields in the guide’s 2020 edition.

COVID Crimes: White Collar Cases To Expect From The Crisis

May 11, 2020

Niki Sprinzen was quoted in a Law360 article discussing white collar cases such as price gouging and insider trading that are likely to result from the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic fallout.

Fourteen Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Recognized as Washington, D.C., Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

April 20, 2020

Super Lawyers has named 14 Cozen O'Connor attorneys to its 2020 Washington, D.C., Super Lawyers and Rising Stars list.

Employers See Strings Attached In $500B CARES Act Relief

April 03, 2020

Niki Sprinzen was quoted in a Law360 article discussing the oversight by a newly created special inspector general of the $500 billion CARES Act that could result in an increase in enforcement and litigation similar to that seen in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

Samsung Heavy Industries Resolves Petrobras-Related FCPA Charges With a Split Fine

December 19, 2019

Niki Sprinzen was quoted in an Anti-Corruption article discussing the Deferred Prosecution Agreement that Samsung Heavy Industries, a Samsung Group subsidiary dedicated to storage vessels and offshore oil platforms, agreed to with the Department of Justice to resolve the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act-related charges.

How I Made Partner: Cozen O'Connor's Nicole Sprinzen

August 01, 2019

Nicole Sprinzen was quoted in about her time becoming a partner at Cozen O'Connor.

13 Cozen O'Connor Attorneys Recognized as Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

April 25, 2019

The 2019 Washington, D.C, edition of Super Lawyers Magazine, published by Thomson Reuters, has named 13 Cozen O’Connor attorneys to its list of Super Lawyers and Rising Stars.

Nicole Sprinzen Named to Law360’s 2019 White Collar Editorial Advisory Board

April 18, 2019

The main purpose of the advisory board, according to Law360, is “to get feedback on Law360’s coverage and gain insight from experts in the field on how best to shape future coverage.”

Nicole Sprinzen Named to DCA Live’s 2019 Emerging Women Leaders in Private Practice List

March 20, 2019

The list includes the female lawyers “who are emerging as leaders within their firms and the broader legal community.” Winners were recognized at a March 19 event held in the Washington, DC office of Willey Rein.

Healthcare-related FCA Enforcement Actions

September 19, 2018

Niki Sprinzen spoke with Modern Healthcare reporter Tara Barrow about the role of the Trump administration in the trend of increasing False Claims Act (FCA) enforcement actions and settlements.

Cozen O’Connor Promotes Eight New Shareholders

August 20, 2018

Cozen O’Connor is pleased to announce the promotion of eight members to shareholders: Marc Auberbach, Jonathan Grossman, Aaron Krauss, Daniel J. Luccaro, Barbara Muller, Joseph F. Rich, Nicole Sprinzen, and Paula Zecchini.

Betting on Compliance: The Supreme Court’s Decision in Murphy V. NCAA

July 12, 2018

Nicole Sprinzen, a member of Cozen O'Connor’s Criminal Defense & Internal Investigations Practice, shares her thoughts on the Supreme Court’s Decision in Murphy V. NCAA in an interview featured on Corporate Compliance Insights.

Banks Likely to Bet That Sports Gambling Worth the Risk

May 22, 2018

Nicole Sprinzen, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Criminal Defense & Internal Investigations Practice Group, spoke with Bloomberg Law about what banks will have to do with the legalization of sports gambling.

Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers Recognizes 15 Cozen O'Connor Attorneys

May 15, 2018

Fourteen Cozen O’Connor attorneys have been named 2018 Super Lawyers or Rising Stars by Super Lawyers Magazine Washington, D.C. edition, published by Thomson Reuters.

White Collar Cases To Watch In 2018

January 01, 2018

Nicole Sprinzen, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Criminal Defense & Internal Investigations Practice Group, discusses the significance of the upcoming sentencing and likely appeal of a former HSBC executive’s fraud conviction in Law360.

11 Cozen O'Connor Attorneys Recognized as Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

May 15, 2017

Selection to Super Lawyers is based on peer nominations and evaluations are combined with independent research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement.

Money-Laundering Rules Ripe for Overhaul, Bank Group Says

February 16, 2017

Nicole Sprinzen, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Criminal Defense & Internal Investigations Practice, discusses how money-laundering rules are ripe for overhaul in The Wall Street Journal.

U.S. Anti-Bribery Law Set to Remain in Place Under Trump

December 30, 2016

Nicole Sprinzen, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Criminal Defense & Internal Investigations Practice, discusses U.S. anti-bribery law under Trump in the Financial Times.

FERC’s Enforcement Appetite Makes Compliance Key

December 19, 2016

Barbara Van Gelder and Nicole Sprinzen discuss recently released white papers from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Law360.

Nicole Sprinzen Discusses Olympus' FCA and FCPA Settlement in The FCPA Report

March 09, 2016

Nicole Sprinzen, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Criminal Defense & Internal Investigations practice, discusses Olympus' FCA and FCPA settlement in The FCPA Report.

Van Gelder and Sprinzen's Move to Cozen O'Connor featured in Washington Post

January 31, 2016

Barbara "Biz" Van Gelder and Nicole Sprinzen, both members of Cozen O'Connor's Criminal Defense & Internal Investigations Practice, were mentioned following their move to Cozen O'Connor.

Cozen O’Connor Welcomes Nicole Sprinzen to Growing D.C. Office

January 14, 2016

New Member Further Strengthens Criminal Defense Practice.


CFTC Issues New Guidance Prioritizing Compliance Programs in Enforcement Decisions [Alert]

September 16, 2020

Nicole H. Sprinzen and Yehudah Gordon the CFTC's new guidance memorandum outlining factors that the Division of Enforcement will consider when evaluating compliance programs in connection with actions it brings.

DOJ Antitrust Division Endorses International Cooperation in Cartel Investigations [Alert]

August 20, 2020

J. Bruce Maffeo, Nicole H. Sprinzen, and Thomas Ingalls discuss the DOJ's the Guidance on Enhancing Cross-Border Leniency Cooperation.

Companies Receiving PPP Funds Should Prepare for Audits, and Implement Compliance Now [Alert]

May 08, 2020

Nicole H. Sprinzen and Joseph Simpson discuss steps companies who took PPP funds should take now to prepare for audits by the SBA, Treasury, DOJ, or the FBI.

Contracting to Avoid Force Majeure Litigation in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic [Alert]

April 23, 2020

Abby L. Sacunas and Nicole H. Sprinzen discuss possible language for new and future contracts to avoid contract disputes that arise out of COVID-19 and future pandemics.

Emerging Trends Under the DOJ’s Corporate Enforcement Policy

February 20, 2020

Niki Sprinzen and Kara Kapp (White Collar Defense & Investigations) authored an article in Corporate Compliance Insights, titled Emerging Trends Under the DOJ’s Corporate Enforcement Policy, offering guidance to help compliance professionals navigate the FCPA landscape given what lies ahead, particularly in terms of white-collar prosecutions.

DOJ Antitrust Division Now Gives Credit for Compliance Program in Cartel Investigations

July 22, 2019

Nicole H. Sprinzen and Thomas Ingalls discuss how, under the new Antitrust Division policy, an effective compliance policy would prevent antitrust violations but also remediate them when they do occur.

DOJ Issues Guidance Emphasizing Importance of Remedial Action to Corporate Monitorship Decisions [White Collar Defense & Investigations Alert]

October 17, 2018

Under new Justice Department guidance, corporate defendants have a crucial, time-sensitive window to implement remedial changes independently to potentially avoid the imposition of a government-required monitor to oversee that process.

CLOUD Act Guts Long-Awaited Microsoft Decision [Criminal Defense & Internal Investigations Alert]

April 25, 2018

Nicole Sprinzen and Thomas Ingalls discuss recent Congressional legislation that provides a procedure for U.S. law enforcement to obtain foreign-located communications data from U.S. service providers, ending a long-running dispute concerning the extraterritorial reach of the Stored Communications Act.

Justices Hearing Microsoft Appeal Appear Mixed on Jurisdiction over Foreign-Located Communications [Criminal Defense & Internal Investigations Alert]

March 02, 2018

Nicole Sprinzen and Thomas Ingalls discuss what took place during oral arguments before the Supreme Court, how a bill in Congress may affect the Justices' ruling, and what impact the decision will have on the obligations of electronic service providers.

Federal Budget Deal Reaffirms Executive Legislative Branch Split in Legalized Medical Marijuana Policy [Cannabis Alert]

February 12, 2018

Thomas M. O’Rourke and Nicole Sprinzen discuss how the budget deal affects the cannabis industry.

Microsoft: Supreme Court Decision on Jurisdiction over Foreign-Located Communications Anticipated [Criminal Defense & Internal Investigations Alert]

October 16, 2017

Nicole Sprinzen and Thomas Ingalls discuss the Supreme Court’s grant of certiorari and a forthcoming decision on the specific question of whether law enforcement authorities can use the SCA to obtain a third party’s foreign-stored electronic information under the SCA’s warrant provision.

New FinCEN Proposal Will Extend AML Rules to Currently Exempt Banks and Other Institutions [Criminal Defense & Internal Investigations Alert]

August 31, 2016

Nicole H. Sprinzen discusses a proposed rule by FinCEN that seeks to close a perceived “gap” in regulations intended to facilitate the government’s efforts to curb money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Supreme Court Overturns Former VA Governor’s Conviction Based on Narrowed Federal Bribery Definition [Criminal Defense & Internal Investigations]

June 28, 2016

Nicole H. Sprinzen and Emily Gurskis discuss the U.S. Supreme Court reversal and remand of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell on honest services fraud charges and charges that Governor McDonnell unlawfully obtained property under color of official right.


  • The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 1999
  • Lafayette College, B.A., 1996

Awards & Honors

Chambers USA

Super Lawyer 2017-2020

DCA Live’s 2019 Emerging Women Leaders in Law 2019

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland
  • U.S. District Court -- District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court -- Maryland
  • U.S. Supreme Court

ABA Criminal Justice Section’s Task Force on Law Enforcement Body Cameras