White-collar defense is a unique area of specialization in the law – one that has gotten bigger and much more diversified over the years. Indeed, the practice area as grown because the government investigation and prosecution of private and public business institutions and their executives and employees across the United States has increased. Federal and state prosecutors and regulators, armed with new statutes and increased penalties, are scrutinizing the transactions and agreements of institutions and individuals in virtually every industry to ensure compliance with the law.
Typically, the lawyers in a White Collar Defense and Internal Investigations practice group are highly-specialized. Their work concentrates on conducting internal investigations for companies and their audit or special board committees, defending clients in the face of a criminal, civil, or regulatory investigations or prosecutions, and developing, reviewing, and auditing corporate compliance programs to ensure that the firm’s corporate clients can minimize the risk of inadvertent violations of the law. Further, an individual or corporation did violate a law, and is subject to a government investigation, the attorneys will attempt to reduce the likelihood of prosecution.
There are clear cases that fall under white-collar criminal defense. On the other hand, there are less obvious instances, where lawyers need to dig deep. Most recently, Vault reviewed law firms in this area and some of the best are listed below:
Williams & Connolly
Williams & Connolly is still the best law firm for White Collar Defense and Internal Investigations. Why is Williams & Connolly doing so well? It follows a central rule: keep it simple. By doing just that, this smaller firm has stayed away from globalization, yet it still remains stable as compared to firms that are ten times bigger.
The firm undertakes complex litigation and has an exceptional property practice spanning from electronics to pharmaceuticals. Williams & Connolly represents many accounting and law firms in professional duty and other litigation. This expertise causes a great number of lawyers and other professionals to think of Williams &Connolly first when the going becomes tough.
When discussing top-ranked White Collar groups among practicing lawyers, Skadden always dominates the conversation. Indeed, Skadden consistently dominates as an AmLaw 100 firm with one of the top-ranked litigation groups, and further, as a firm with a top-ranked White Collar practice group. In support of that anecdotal prestige ranking, evidence supports high praise for their reputation. Skadden frequently receives honors from very reputable rankings, including organizations such as The National Law Journal, Chambers, The American Lawyer, and the Financial Times. Furthermore, the firm receives constant accolades from field-specific publications like Corporate Board Member’s listing of “America’s Best Corporate Law Firms.” Major Skadden clients include Deloitte, KPMG, JPMorgan Chase, Pfizer, and UBS. Moreover, Skadden has spent years as one of the most profitable firms, and, most recently, it became the first law firm to announce one billion dollars in yearly revenue.
Paul, Weiss delivers exceptional service in this area, has done so for decades, and will continue to do so. For example, Paul, Weiss successfully has defended and continues to defend a number of the world’s largest financial organizations and companies in this practice area.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
Gibson Dunn has a major presence mainly because of its noteworthy leaders, who set a high standard for the firm’s commitment in every aspect of its work. With such driven and intelligent leaders, Gibson Dunn does not lack for high-profile clients and cases.
Sullivan & Cromwell
Sullivan & Cromwell is famous for positively influencing its client service and professional growth. The firm has experienced tremendous success. S&C follows a “generalist approach,” where because of the firm’s experience, clients bring very complicated problems. Clients understand that the firm’s lawyers provide a comprehensive perspective to cutting-edge legal problems.
On the associate side, in contrast to the rotation systems established at lots of other firms, Sullivan & Cromwell associates handle a wide span of matters across industries, subgroups, and geographic location. S&C is different from other firms because of its Career Development Plan, which aids associates in taking charge of their career paths and identifying their unique career goals. Although discussing associates’ careers outside of the partnership may seem strange, this open communication is crucial at Sullivan & Cromwell. Associates feel comfortable at the firm and that makes clients feel comfortable as well. The Career Plan fosters the “S&C Passport” or the idea that there needs to be a strong focus on the firm’s leadership, teamwork, professional growth, commitment to clients, commitment to the community, and the wide range of experience (Vault).
No matter what your perspective, all of these firms are very highly-ranked and very prestigious. If you have an interest in a White Collar practice, these are among the firms that you should consider.
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Vault. “Best Law Firms in Each Practice Area.” Best Law Firms for White Collar Defense and Internal Investigations. Vault, n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2015.