Criminal Law, Regulation & Enforcement

With decades of experience, multi-jurisdictional capabilities, and a reputation for toughness and integrity, Shearman & Sterling is strongly positioned to guide clients through today’s challenging criminal law and regulatory enforcement environment.

Challenging Times

In the wake of corporate scandals worldwide, recent years have witnessed an eruption of prosecutions and enforcement proceedings against companies and executives. The mere announcement that a public company is being investigated can deeply affect its business, often with broad and unfortunate consequences for shareholders, executives and employees. Flaws in a company's internal compliance procedures that allow an employee to commit an illegal act—inflating earnings, bribing foreign officials, price fixing, or maintaining false records—can lead to a criminal indictment or enforcement proceeding with catastrophic consequences.

This challenging enforcement environment is by no means limited to the United States.  Other jurisdictions throughout Europe and Asia have adopted and toughened enforcement procedures relating to securities, corruption, competition, and banking.  Many jurisdictions, including the United States, seek to apply their laws to conduct outside their own territories with the result that companies under investigation must often contend with multiple enforcement authorities.

An Integrated, Global Approach

To address client needs in today's global regulatory and enforcement environment, Shearman & Sterling’s Criminal Law, Regulation & Enforcement practice draws on attorneys in a number of different practice areas around the world.  Our Litigation attorneys in the United States and England include numerous former government prosecutors and regulators who, collectively, have tried well over one hundred jury trials and represent clients before all of the major government investigating agencies.  Our Antitrust attorneys represent clients before competition authorities in the United States and throughout Europe.  Our Financial Institutions Advisory practice includes a focus on regulatory and compliance matters on behalf of a wide variety of financial institutions and infrastructure providers in all of the key global financial centers.

Together, these attorneys have a depth of experience that is uniquely well suited to respond promptly and effectively to criminal and enforcement proceedings around the world.  Some of the types of proceedings that we regularly handle include:

Securities:  Investigations and enforcement proceedings brought by the US Department of Justice and SEC, as well as financial regulators in Europe and Asia.  Our experience includes matters relating to insider trading, false statements, market manipulation, market abuse, and accounting fraud.  Our related experience in private securities class actions ensures that we can cover all aspects of a securities problem. 

Corruption and Money-Laundering:  We have represented parties in many of the largest investigations under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act as well as anti-corruption laws in other countries.  As governments worldwide become increasingly cooperative in adopting uniform anti-corruption laws and mutual assistance treaties, the need for attorneys experienced in multi-jurisdictional proceedings is essential. 

Competition:  Criminal investigations and enforcement proceedings against alleged cartels and other anti-competitive activity have increased in the United States, Europe and Asia, with record fines being imposed in recent years.  We regularly represent parties in such cases before the US Department of Justice, the European Union and other authorities.  Our related experience in private antitrust litigation ensures that we can handle all aspects of an antitrust problem. 

Financial Institutions:  Financial institutions face an extensive array of regulations concerning the confidentiality of information, regulatory audits, trading procedures and other aspects of their business.  We represent a wide variety of businesses in the finance sector—including banks; broker dealers; commodities, futures and derivatives participants; asset management funds, managers and administrators; exchanges and other infrastructure providers; and insurance/reinsurance companies—faced with criminal and enforcement proceedings for purported violations of such regulations in numerous jurisdictions. 

Representation of Individual Executives:  The representation of individual executives who become the targets of government enforcement proceedings requires special skill and experience.  We are committed in such cases to guiding our clients through every facet of a case with constant attention to making certain that the client understands all procedural issues and to achieving the best possible result.  Our individual representations have primarily been in matters related to securities, competition, and corruption.  

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