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LaVigne, Christopher L.

Christopher L. LaVigne

Partner

Christopher LaVigne is a partner in the Litigation Group. Chris previously served as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York from 2005-2013, where he was a member of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force. Chris has extensive trial experience, having conducted multi-week, complex trials involving securities fraud, foreign corruption, terrorism, and international narcotics trafficking. Chris’ practice focuses on white collar criminal defense, internal investigations, and complex, commercial litigation matters.

Chris has received awards from various legal publications and rankings.  In 2014, Chris was named by Law360 as one of five White Collar Rising Stars, which recognizes “attorneys under 40 whose legal accomplishments belie their age.”  Chris was named a “Super Lawyer” by New York Super Lawyers in 2016, and Benchmark Litigation recognized him in 2015 and 2016 for his litigation skills.  In addition, Chris was recently selected as a member of the prestigious Criminal Justice Act Panel for the Southern District of New York where he represents indigent defendants in federal criminal cases.  Chris has also argued numerous cases before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. 

As a federal prosecutor and member of the SDNY’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, Chris prosecuted a wide array of securities fraud offenses.  Among other cases, Chris served as lead trial counsel in the insider trading trial of United States v. Doug Whitman, in which the founder of the Whitman Capital hedge fund was convicted of all insider trading counts after a multi-week trial.  Chris also investigated and prosecuted numerous other insider trading offenses at hedge funds and expert network firms, as well as cases involving investment adviser fraud, hedge fund overvaluation schemes, and broker-dealer markup schemes.

Chris also worked in the SDNY’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit, where he served as lead counsel in several of the Office’s highest profile international criminal prosecutions.  Chris’ noteworthy cases include the successful prosecution of individuals charged with conspiring to export military parts and carbon fiber from the United States to Iran and China in violation of OFAC and other regulations, as well as prosecution of an MIT-educated neuroscientist (nicknamed “Lady al Qaeda”) for attempted murder of federal officials in Afghanistan.  Chris also prosecuted several cases involving national security matters; foreign terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda and al Shabaab; export and money laundering offenses relating to embargoed countries and entities; and cases involving foreign corruption.

In addition to his government service with the Department of Justice, Chris clerked for the Honorable Kevin Thomas Duffy, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, and worked as an associate at another New York law firm where he focused on white collar criminal defense and securities litigation.

Selected Experience

  • Representation of David Nichols, a Bank of New York Mellon executive charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York with mail and wire fraud-related offenses concerning the institution’s foreign exchange practices.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office agreed to settle the case before trial, with no admission of mail/wire fraud by Mr. Nichols and no monetary penalty.
  • Representation of hedge fund in insider trading investigation conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the SEC.
  • Representation of global financial institution in internal and government investigations into alleged $400 million fraud at one of its foreign subsidiaries.
  • Representation of company in misappropriation of trade secrets matter.

Selected Publications

  • Co-Author, “Insider Trading Laws and Enforcement,”Practical Compliance & Risk Management For the Securities Industry, Vol. 9, No. 3, May-June 2016
  • Co-Author, “‘Litvak’ Dicta Provides Counsel Fodder for Challenging Proof of Intent,” New York Law Journal, April 2016
  • Co-Author, “A New Tool For Extraterritorial Sanctions Enforcement,” Law360 Expert Analysis, 2015
  • Co-Author, “Conducting An Effective Sports Investigation,” Inside The Minds: Understanding Sports Law, Aspatore 2014
  • Co-Author, “Trends and Strategies in Today’s White Collar Law Cases,” Inside the Minds: Managing White Collar Legal Issues, Aspatore 2014
  • Co-Author, “Strange Bedfellows: Insider Trading and Political Intelligence,” Bloomberg BNA, 2013
  • Co-Author, “New SEC Admission Policy May Be Tested Sooner Than Later,” Law360 Expert Analysis, 2013

Speaking Engagements

  • “Addressing Current Legal Issues in Daily Fantasy Sports,” Cardozo Sports Law Symposium, March 2016, New York
  • “Judge, Jury and Executioner: Internal Investigations in Sports,” Cardozo Sports Law Symposium, March 2015, New York
  • “White Collar Investigations and Sports Law: Conducting an Effective Sports Investigation,” Thomson Reuters Webcast, December 2014, New York
  • Ansfield v. Omnicare: Collective Knowledge in Securities Fraud Suits,” New York State Bar Association, Securities Regulation Committee, November 2014
  • “The Rising Popularity of Participating in Fantasy Sports Leagues for Cash,” Cardozo Sports Law Symposium, March 2014, New York
  • “Insider Trading and Beyond: Recent Enforcement Trends in the United States and the United Kingdom,” Alternative Investment Management Association Panel, January 2014, London, UK
  • Chris has frequently given CLE presentations on trends in insider trading and securities law enforcement
  • Chris has been a panelist at the Department of Justice’s National Advocacy Center on prosecuting export-related offenses
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Education

  • Northwestern University School of Law, J.D., 2002, cum laude
    • Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, George A. Spiegelberg Award for Best Oral Advocate of the 2002 National Trial Competition
  • University of Pennsylvania, B.A., 1998, cum laude

Courts

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