A corporate white collar crisis may start in a variety of ways, including allegations from an individual employee about potential corporate wrongdoing, problems discussed by a board of directors, negative publicity in the news media, or, more directly, as a result of a federal or state subpoena. Other corporate crises—such as environmental incidents, major product issues, financial troubles, and data breaches—may result in a civil or criminal government investigation, sometimes based on the significance of the public reaction to a situation, the factors that led to a problem, or even how a corporation responded to an issue. In highly regulated industries and those that face tremendous consumer scrutiny, a white collar crisis may arise whenever there are allegations of statutory violations or wrongdoing resulting in potential harm to consumers, patients, the environment, or government finances. Federal, state, and local governments may seek to investigate, prosecute, and hold corporations accountable for the alleged conduct that gave rise to the crisis. Increasingly, there is a focus on individual liability, with significant pressure on the government to hold senior management accountable. Occasionally, problems arise not from what occurred but rather from how the individuals involved in the response handled the situation and subsequent allegations.
Morgan Lewis’s white collar litigation and government investigations team has decades of experience assisting corporations and individuals in addressing criminal investigations and enforcement proceedings. This is further enhanced by our government experience—our team includes lawyers who were federal prosecutors and supervisors from US Attorneys' Offices, leaders from the US Department of Justice Attorney General’s Office, senior enforcement attorneys and supervisors from the US Securities and Exchange Commission, state prosecutors, and leaders from other government agencies. We work quickly, often preempting adverse publicity, the filing of charges, or follow-on litigation. Seasoned with investigative experience, we work closely with our clients’ internal teams to identify and address issues of potential concern, leveraging our credibility with the enforcement community on behalf of our clients. Our lawyers have experience in criminal, civil, and administrative proceedings, including parallel civil and criminal investigations that sometimes involve both federal and state authorities across a variety of enforcement contexts.
We are committed to obtaining a successful outcome in all proceedings and have a strong track record of engaging in multidisciplinary representations in jurisdictions around the world, as well as in successfully navigating crises that involve parallel proceedings. We know what a crisis looks like, how to slow or stop its impact, and how to work with clients to achieve positive results. Our lawyers pride themselves on their ability to persuade government investigators to decline cases and—in the context of US False Claims Act litigation—to encourage relators’ counsel not to pursue their matters. Thus, some of our biggest “wins” are cases that never became public. We also have a proven track record of achieving settlements on more favorable terms than comparative resolutions at both federal and state levels. But when reasonable negotiations fail and litigation is necessary, our team has both experience in and a reputation for providing a rigorous defense of our clients at all stages.