Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

  • Adriana Riviere-Badell

    Kobre & Kim




    I became an investigations specialist because it combines many of the areas I find most interesting in law – it takes research, and understanding the issue and the business you are investigating, and you also get to use your skills as a questioner.

    What I like most about the role of investigating is learning about different businesses and the roles that each employee plays in the business. One of the biggest challenges of investigations is producing a thorough investigation while expediting the investigation and minimising disruption to the business. Some of the most successful investigations I've been involved in are actually for witnesses I've represented who I've successfully convinced the company's counsel did not commit any malfeasance and they were able to continue their employment at the company and avoid any government enforcement action against them.

    One of the biggest talking points right now, for monitorships and for investigations, is when is it appropriate to discharge a monitor and end an investigation? What we've increasingly seen lately is that sometimes monitorships and internal investigations take on a life of their own and courts that appoint monitors and companies that commence investigations hesitate to bring them to an end.

    I've been inspired by experienced partners who have mentored me from the beginning of my career and continue to mentor me today.

    Gender equality in the work place starts with hiring the most qualified professionals, treating them all with respect, and promoting them based on their merit.

    For young women starting out their careers, I would say to take time not just to focus on billable hours but also to learn new areas of law, particularly areas they believe will increase in importance in the future, and to hone their skills as questioners.

    Most people who know me know I was born in Venezuela, but many do not know that I was born there by "accident" (my father was a pilot for a short time there), and I would otherwise have been born in Colombia as my older brothers were. I am also Italian by descent, so I have lots of different cultures in my background, which makes for interesting dinners at my house.

  • Alice Fisher

    Latham & Watkins

    Managing partner of the DC office

    Washington, DC


    I have enjoyed the challenges that working on investigations provide, whether on the government or defence side of an issue. It has allowed me to focus on a range of substantive areas of criminal law – ranging from areas such as healthcare fraud, to bribery and corruption, to international sanctions. You may not always be able to predict the next criminal focus in white collar, but you can count on it being substantively dynamic. It has also allowed me to work with companies around the globe and investigations in many different countries.

    Probably what I love most about practising in the white-collar area is being able to provide companies with strategic advice on how to identify issues and solve them. It’s truly a blessing and an honour to work with some incredible clients and colleagues, and to be able to help clients navigate some of their toughest and most sensitive legal challenges.

    We’re fortunate in Washington, DC to have incredible capabilities here – bet-the-company litigation strength, regulatory insights and powerhouse corporate capabilities all backed by industry know-how and a client-first approach. As managing partner, my focus is on finding ways to support the talented lawyers here, and to support other professionals and colleagues at Latham who aren’t lawyers. And in my practice, it’s about putting my clients first – to be strategic for them and provide very high-quality service that meets clients’ needs in a way that the developing market shows they should be met. Often the greatest challenge is simply to be available – both with time and energy – to meet all of those demands. I’m sure that I couldn’t do it if I didn’t have such a great group of colleagues around me.

    Having the honour to engage in public service as a leader of the Department of Justice’s criminal division and also be a manager at Latham have been incredible highlights in my career. I have been able to see white-collar cases of the most complex type from both sides. Also, it allowed me to be in a position to find ways to support talented lawyers and professionals. Watching young lawyers grow and succeed is very gratifying.

    There are so many who have been an inspiration to me – my mother, who raised six children while working the night shift at the hospital, for her work ethic and constant positive encouragement; Michael Chertoff, my long-time mentor, for teaching me how to be a lawyer and advocate, how to prioritise the things that matter the most and bringing laser-like focus to those things, and for opening many doors and providing opportunity.

    My advice to other women would be to not try to do everything at once, or be everything to everyone right away. With each experience, you will gain fresh insights that shed light on your next steps and form a solid foundation from which to build. For young women, and, frankly, young men too, the law is a wonderful career. But I encourage all young lawyers to reach out for mentors and supporters who will help you in ways you may not even be able to imagine now.  These are the people who will allow you to balance, pick you up when you fall, push you and encourage you.

  • Alison Levitt QC

    Mishcon de Reya

    Head of business crime



    I got into the investigations field because I have a high level of curiosity, and very good memory, and love analysis. Perhaps having read many hundreds of crime novels is part of this.

    What I enjoy most about my role is the opportunity to drill deep into complex questions of law and fact, many of which are coloured by fascinating human behaviour.

    But the main challenges include building the structure of an inquiry, inspiring my team to follow a complex strategy and answering the questions asked by clients.

    A career highlight so far has been creating a new and specialist department in a major law firm, after effectively doing the same for over five years for the UK government.

    The developing role of private law firms in investigations and prosecutions is one of the biggest talking points in the UK.

    My Inspirations include Sir Keir Starmer KCB QC, whose effective deputy I was for five years when he was Director of Public Prosecutions of England and Wales: I learned from him the paramount importance of both principle and imagination in legal analysis. Also my husband Lord Carlile CBE QC, from whom I have learned the importance of well-researched certainty when advising clients.

    Regarding gender equality in the workplace, is there anything more important? Women when treated equally make up at least 50 per cent of the best professionals. It is short-sighted not to promote their interests.

    I would advise women to be twice as determined as men, but always as women.

    What people may not know about me is that I am the daughter of a judge, and my mother and I as women are very proud of this.

  • Ana Lopez Espinar


    Partner, forensic services



    Having started my career providing accounting services for KPMG clients, I was working in transaction services by the beginning of 2001, and I felt that doing due diligence services mainly for international companies willing to acquire local important companies was a very challenging and interesting job. Then, I was requested to assist in a forensic investigation and at that very moment, I knew that was what I wanted to be good at. Every case is different. Every case challenges you. Every case requires effective and coordinated teamwork. And mostly, I feel that no matter how small the case may be, our efforts contribute a bit to building a more ethical and fairer society.

    What I enjoy most is articulating the several different forensic technical abilities and capabilities embodied in our team of specialists to give a timely and effective response to our clients’ needs.

    I am the main individual responsible for the strategy suggested to clients and the adequacy of the procedures performed. An investigation is a very dynamic process, similar to a chess game. Even though you plan every activity of each procedure, it frequently happens that situations not directly related to the investigation can affect it, adding new unexpected complexity and interdependencies.

    I have led very complex and sound cases in Argentina, but these cannot be mentioned as they are confidential.

    Corruption is a big talking point in Argentina, and has become a very sensitive issue nowadays.

    The individual who has been an inspiration to me was partner Hector Filgueira, who offered me the opportunity to move into forensics, who developed the forensic services practice at KPMG in Argentina when very few people in the country understood what he was talking about. He always encouraged me and relied on me.

    I am totally in favour of gender equality, of course! Some years ago, in Argentina, it was not that easy for women, but currently, it is more and more common for women to get to the same places as our male colleagues. At KPMG, it is your hard work and performance that count, not your gender.

    I would tell other women to trust in themselves and to work hard for what they want.

    Many of my most ingenious ideas to solve very difficult problems at work have come to me when I was not “officially” working, when I was running, cooking or driving my car.

  • Ana María Rodríguez-Maldonado

    Brigard & Urrutia

    Associate director of the foreign exchange, derivatives and structured finance team

    Bogotá, Colombia (currently working remotely from Thailand)


    A colleague who was initially in charge of developing the compliance practice left the firm. Some of the partners at that time reached the conclusion that the fx and derivatives team should be responsible for leading and developing this area of practice, given the proximity of certain concerns involved in fx transactions. Since I have been coordinating the latter for a long time, I was given the opportunity of this new challenge, which I found refreshing and exciting from a professional point of view.  

    What I like most about this role is the opportunity to work with a multi-disciplinary team of specialists – lawyers in different fields, investigators, forensic accountants and PR firms – creating strategies to help clients face current problems, and planning how to prevent potential related risks.

    The role involves various challenges, such as being able to work and coordinate the work of others in situations of extreme stress. Another interesting challenge, complementing my previous answer, is the need to work with specialists in different areas, which requires a lot of strategy and a cool head to ensure the protection of the client and the promotion of their best interests. 

    One of my main achievements is the creation of an expert compliance group in Iberoamerica. This group has members from the top five law firms in 17 jurisdictions and is committed to developing and enhancing the practice of compliance in the region. We are also working on a joint publication and we will be launching the group and the publication during the first semester of 2015.  

    Probably the biggest talking point in investigations right now is the case involving Ecopetrol and Petrotiger. The investigation was started by the DoJ, under the FCPA, upon the discovery of a potential case of transnational bribery. The information available suggests that some employees of Petrotiger paid a bribe to a former employee of Ecopetrol to obtain the assignment of a fuel service agreement.

    One of my inspirations has been my boss, partner Carlos Fradique-Méndez, who has a good combination of professionalism and charisma.

    I am absolutely in favour of promoting gender equality in the workplace. However, this subject must be approached with caution. Employers should be much more aware of the differences in the roles that women and men play in society. Gender equality in the workplace is necessary, but reality should not be ignored: women need to be able to access certain flexibilities to allow us to comply with all of our roles and not be obliged to choose between our dreams.

    To women at the start of their careers, my advice is to believe in themselves and not marginalise themselves from the opportunities of applying for the job of their dreams. Also, they should try to prioritise maintaining a balance between their personal lives and their jobs; this will definitely allow them to feel happier.

    My family is my priority. To keep all of us close, my daughter and I came to live in Thailand with my husband, who has been temporarily transferred for his job. Notwithstanding this, I continue to work for my law firm remotely, doing my job thanks to the internet and phone conferencing. Again, family and my profession can work in tandem!

  • Angela Burgess

    Davis Polk & Wardwell


    New York


    Early in my career, I began working on internal investigations and found that I really enjoyed them – it was great to have the opportunity to dive into the client’s specific business, try to figure out what happened, where the grey areas were and how best to ensure that, to the extent that misconduct occurred, it would not recur in the future.

    It is a privilege to help our clients through their most sensitive and critical matters, often when the company’s reputation or business is at stake. The work is never boring – there are usually a host of legal and factual issues within each investigation and increasingly, the work involves coordination across multiple jurisdictions and with multiple regulatory and enforcement agencies. I enjoy designing a strategy that takes into account the multiple risks and exposures that the company faces, evaluating and adjusting that strategy as developments require, and trying to achieve the best possible outcome for the client.

    What makes the practice so interesting and rewarding is also what can make it challenging. Because these matters are high stakes with a lot on the line, there is a premium on quickly and efficiently getting to the bottom line. At the same time, because many of these matters are cross-border, it is also extremely important to demonstrate sensitivity to different cultures and take the time to explain the US process and perspectives, which are not necessarily intuitive to management and employees in other jurisdictions.

    Our global clients are increasingly encountering parallel regulatory enforcement regimes and proceedings with cross-border impacts. Understanding the competing demands and obligations and ensuring that the strategy takes into account all stakeholders is an important and complex juggling act.

    I have been very fortunate to have many great mentors at Davis Polk. One of the most influential has been Bob Fiske. I am inspired by Bob for so many reasons, but one that stands out is that, while he is recognised as one of the very best lawyers in the country, he always takes the time to mentor younger lawyers and takes a personal interest in their careers and lives.

    Gender equality is a very important issue to me personally and I am fortunate to be at a firm that also takes it very seriously. In addition to the overall social importance of the issue, finding opportunities for and promoting women is a critical component of any firm’s business success.

    I encourage younger associates to seek out mentors (men and women). Often, the best training you can receive as a lawyer is learning from more senior lawyers. Those mentors can also help facilitate opportunities for you to demonstrate your skills and grow professionally. I am fortunate to have had Scott Muller as one of my mentors at Davis Polk. Scott provided me with great opportunities to take on a leading role early on – in interfacing directly with clients and regulators, and in helping to establish my reputation and credibility as a leading lawyer.

    I also encourage all young associates to take on pro bono matters. In addition to being an important responsibility of all lawyers and serving the overall public good, pro bono matters provide invaluable opportunities for young lawyers to lead a matter and gain “on your feet” experience in court.

    I always thought that I would be a prosecutor. Early in my career, I filled out an application for the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York, but ultimately never sent it in because I was so enjoying my defence practice at Davis Polk.

  • Anne Riley

    Shell International

    Associate general counsel antitrust



    I don’t view myself as an investigations specialist. My job is to try to help Shell avoid investigations by ensuring that we comply with the law, so I really prefer to think of myself as a compliance specialist. Of course, in compliance there is no such thing as zero risk, so if we have to face an investigation, we try to do so cooperatively and in a way that avoids obstruction.

    I am an antitrust lawyer, and I absolutely love the subject. I feel that I am working for the benefit of our customers and our shareholders, and that gives me a real buzz. The next thing I love about my job is the people I work with, and especially Shell’s antitrust and wider compliance team. You could not find a more dedicated group of professionals anywhere in the world. I am proud to work with them.

    My role is not a challenge. It is fun. People in Shell are really nice – our core values are “honesty, integrity and respect for people”. The business is dedicated to “doing the right thing” so I rarely get push back because my role is seen to be helping Shell continue to be an ethical company.

    The highlight of my career is probably being appointed a non-governmental adviser to at the European Commission’s directorate general for competition for their work with the ICN. The International Competition Network is a network of over 120 antitrust and competition agencies around the world. For DG Comp to have placed trust in me in this way is an incredible honour.

    I have a global role, so the global village is my jurisdiction. I try to keep on top of developments around the world if I can.

    My husband inspires me. He has a lot to put up with, and does it with incredible grace.

    I’m strongly in favour of equality in the workplace, as you would expect, but only on a merit basis.

    My beautiful boys, now aged 19 and 18, were adopted by us when they were two and three years old. We bought a home in Ireland to help bring them closer to their roots. It also happens to be a shared origin, as both my husband and I have Irish roots.

    Anne Riley is on Global Investigations Review’s editorial board.

  • Antonia M Apps

    Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy


    New York


    I have always enjoyed the iterative process of figuring out the facts and analysing them within a legal framework, whether for the purposes of building a case as a prosecutor or helping clients put the best defence forward for regulators and juries alike. Being able to develop a narrative while understanding the details and the nuances of the evidence and the law is both an interesting and intellectually rewarding process.

    The most satisfying aspect of being an investigations specialist is providing guidance and strategic advice to clients facing crisis situations, and developing solutions that enable them to emerge from the crisis as stronger and better institutions.

    People and institutions are never perfect, but unlike what you see as a criminal prosecutor, in most cases there is a tremendous amount of good faith effort to do the right thing, to fix mistakes, and move forward. Making sure that all of the favourable facts are brought to the attention of the relevant decision makers in regulatory and law enforcement agencies in a way that resonates with their agendas is both critical to successful advocacy and one of the greatest challenges.

    While in the US Attorney’s Office, I conducted investigations with experienced FBI agents and other federal agencies, and developed leads into networks of illegal insider trading activity through the use of court-authorised wiretaps of telephones, search warrants and interviewing witnesses. These multi-year investigations culminated in several high-profile insider trading cases, including the successful prosecution of SAC Capital Advisors, which resulted in a guilty plea by the company and the largest financial penalty for insider trading in history.  

    Corporations and financial institutions that operate on a global scale commonly face regulatory inquiries from multiple jurisdictions. Even within the United States, there are a plethora of state and federal agencies that may seek to investigate the same corporate conduct. A successful defence strategy requires an understanding of the different agencies’ interests and agendas, which are sometimes at odds with each other; it also requires an ability to satisfy often competing demands from those agencies while achieving a single global resolution for the client.

    I have had critical supporters throughout my career, including judges, US attorneys and many talented lawyers. One of the stand-outs for me was Audrey Strauss. She was the first woman to head the Securities Fraud unit in the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, one of the few women in the 1990s to head a large law firm’s white-collar practice group, and an outstanding lawyer in every respect. On top of that, she was a real advocate for the women around her, including (fortunately) me. I often hear women bemoan the lack of support they receive from other women in the workplace, but Audrey exemplified the polar opposite of that. Audrey was, and is, a role model for women everywhere.

    Gender equality in the workplace is critical for so many reasons. Studies have shown that outcomes are better and productivity increases in institutions with significant female leadership and participation. Women add value in countless ways in every business setting. In the investigations world, women are key players at every level – from the GCs who hire you to the junior associates in companies and financial institutions who may be witnesses to the events you are investigating. You provide better client service when you can present a diverse team that includes talented women with a strong investigations experience.

    I would advise women to focus on establishing a reputation for hard work and excellence by executing their work projects to the best of their ability. To the extent that you wish to engage in networking to further your career, nurture your friendships and peer relationships. One day, those friends and colleagues who know and trust your work, will be reaching out to you for advice.

    I am a big believer in competitive sports. I used to be a competitive figure skater, which I loved because it combined athleticism with artistry. Sport teaches discipline, focus and the ability to perform under pressure. Those are some of the most valuable skills you can learn in life.

  • Astrid Waser

    Lenz & Staehelin




    Around 20 years ago, I started focusing my studies and thereafter my work on competition law, investigations and other regulatory fields. In Switzerland, competition law had only been introduced in the mid-nineties, which meant that the basic concepts have had to be developed and shaped in the past years. This has been a very interesting and challenging field. For a specialist in competition law and other regulatory matters, investigations are an important part of the work. In investigations, it is crucial to gather and analyse the relevant facts in a very short time period and to develop the required and adequate defence strategy. Quick and strategic thinking is very important. Investigations have, therefore, been a fascinating part of my work.

    The highlights of my career include the investigations in which we could find the right facts to show and convince the regulators that the allegations were unfounded. This required a successful investigation process in which the right facts were uncovered and a good defence strategy through which the regulators could be convinced.

    At the end of 2014, the Swiss Competition Commission and the EU Commission have concluded an agreement concerning cooperation on the application of their competition laws, which may have a significant impact on investigations in Switzerland. As the first of its kind, the agreement allows for the exchange of certain confidential information between the two bodies. In view of the improved investigative tools at the disposal of the competition authorities, companies must brace themselves for a more rigorous antitrust enforcement. The agreement will also have a significant impact on legal practitioners, namely regarding (internal) investigations, the design of compliance programmes, the use of leniency procedures, the initiation of settlement negotiations and the cooperation with authorities’ requests for information and investigative measures. Finally, “forum shopping” for access to the files may be one of the consequences of the agreement.

    I would tell other women that liking the field of work they are in is the most important thing. Investigations is a fascinating field of work for which specialised legal skills and strategic thinking are very important. After a broad general legal education, you should find a specialisation and then focus on this in practical work and in your studies.

  • Audrey Harris

    Mayer Brown


    Washington, DC


    I was raised a defence attorney and introduced to the investigations fast track from the start. From day one of law school a career in criminal law was my path, and I was set to spend my third-year defending indigent clients in the Georgetown Criminal Justice Clinic, with the ultimate goal of sitting at the prosecutor’s table. All that changed during my summer associate tenure, when a partner asked me to hop on a last-minute flight to South Beach on an FCPA investigation. This assignment fast-tracked my investigations career, and cemented my path as a white-collar and FCPA defence attorney. During that pivotal trip, I assisted Laurence A Urgenson, a former chief of the DoJ’s fraud section, in a series of interviews with Latin American executives of a corporate client, a hands-on investigative experience that got me hooked on investigation work from the start of my professional career. We’ve been a team ever since.

    For me, the main challenges of my role are what I enjoy most. At its core, the job is not only investigator and counsel, but also professional problem-solver.

    I am most proud of the work no one ever hears about. Of the public matters I can discuss, the highlight has to be our collaboration with automation technology company ABB. In 2005, post its 2004 Vetco-Gray settlement, ABB moved its FCPA work to Larry’s and my practice, then at Kirkland & Ellis. I was fortunate to become the field general for an investigation of ABB Network Management, based in Sugar Land, Texas. The work included designing and executing a comprehensive work plan, leading document collection on the ground in Texas, overseeing document production, working with forensic accountants, drafting presentations to the DoJ and the SEC, and presenting to the client and enforcement authorities. The combined 2010 settlement included an innovative self-monitoring provision that allowed ABB to avoid the significant additional expense and intrusion of an outside monitor. Concurrent with the ABBNM matter, in 2007 I was also asked to help in ABB’s divestiture of Lummus Global to Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CB&I), designing and executing the due diligence work plans. The multinational scope of the project added an extra layer of complexity. Our team conducted due diligence in multiple domestic and international locations and the work resulted in an on-schedule closure by ABB of the $950 million divestiture of Lummus Global. During the five-year period from 2005 to 2010, I was privileged to work with ABB’s top-notch compliance and integrity team to develop what are now considered state-of-the-art compliance and investigations capabilities within ABB, positioning ABB to self-monitor. In 2013, ABB successfully completed the self-monitoring programme and has been honoured with a spot on Ethisphere Institute’s list of top ethical companies for the last two years running.  

    The biggest talking point in my practice today continues to be where the DoJ and SEC are putting their enforcement resources: FCPA investigations. 

    Without question, my professional mentor has been Laurence A Urgenson. His strategic, savvy and client-customised approach have become key elements of my professional foundation. Larry’s collaborative practice style and commitment to valuing and incorporating young talent into a multi-generational practice is the model I adopted when I joined him in the partnership ranks of Kirkland in 2008. He is an FCPA master. Our team currently represents Las Vegas Sands, the world’s largest operator of integrated resorts, in front of the DoJ and SEC. The matter has generated significant media attention and it is anticipated that it will continue to be watched closely by the FCPA and business press. The opportunity to work again with Larry on such a high-profile matter was one of the reasons I chose to join Larry at Mayer Brown LLP in 2014. 

    General counsel and corporate compliance officer ranks are filling with smart and experienced women who know how to run investigations and litigation. They are sophisticated consumers of legal and investigative services who are increasingly the decision-makers for hiring and managing outside counsel. Firms are beginning to realise the value of diversity in investigative teams and client pitches.        

    I’d advise other women to become indispensible. Value every opportunity to learn all aspects of an investigation – from the logistics of document collection and e-discovery, to the legal arguments and strategy of presenting before enforcement authorities. Consider no task too low for you to master, and do each with excellence. In short order, you will be the one who knows how to run an investigation from start to finish, the one who can teach others, and the value-add that partners and clients want.

    I interrupted my practice between partnership at Kirkland and Mayer Brown to care for my two young children. My husband took a position requiring constant travel, with a West Coast headquarters, and I considered international investigations work too high-stakes to handle effectively with less than a full-time commitment, so I placed my travel-heavy practice on hold. After my husband returned to an East Coast-based position, I once again teamed up with Larry, who had since moved to Mayer Brown LLP.

  • Bertha Alicia Ordaz-Avilés

    Greenberg Traurig


    Mexico City


    I did not hesitate to take the chance when a momentous compliance project emerged. I was at the right place at the right time, having done anti-corruption consulting work before. I have had the privilege of being supported by true masters in the field who have shared invaluable experience with me.

    Also, I have always seen an idealistic component in the legal practice to do with how things should be. This has been central for me when undertaking compliance projects.

    I like being able to contribute to the establishment of a culture of compliance.

    For me, the main challenges of the role are inadequate law enforcement and embedded cultural practices.

    The highlight of my career so far has been the opportunity to work on global anti-corruption compliance matters and other international projects. When I was at law school, I always saw myself interacting with multicultural and interdisciplinary teams, travelling abroad and getting involved in complex and intellectually challenging matters. My career is at that point now and I am grateful for it.

    Compliance is becoming an important area in Mexico, not only concerning anti-corruption, but also other legal disciplines such as antitrust, data protection and money laundering, among others. Recently, new legal provisions have been put in place in all these areas, and their effectiveness is still to be proven.

    Particularly in regard to anti-corruption, the Mexican Congress is discussing initiatives to reform the legal frame and reshape the institutional structure to pursue better enforcement. This discussion has been intense in many ways, emphasised by a general public perception of corruption impunity.

    I have been inspired by a number of people at different moments in my life. My parents have always inspired me as they have overcome many challenges and difficulties with extraordinary love and excitement for life. Today, my deepest and more powerful inspiration is my six-month-old daughter, because of everything she is.

    It is essential to create and maintain equal opportunities for the professional development of women and men, not only for reasons of elementary justice, but also for far-reaching business purposes, economic development and general welfare.

    The World Economic Forum, under its Gender Parity Programme, has stated that from a global economic perspective, capital is not the pivotal factor of production any more. Non-material assets, such as talent, increasingly determine the competitive advantage of an economy. If we consider that women represent half of such talent available worldwide, then creating equal opportunities for the development of women is a matter of competitiveness and concerns us all.

    For the OECD, gender gaps are pervasive in all areas of economic life and imply big losses in terms of forgone productivity and living standards. From some representative data available, gender inequality indexes show that the more developed an economy is, the better the indicators of the inequality index that are presented.

    Public policy needs to embrace serious programmes to eliminate the gender gap. In parallel, both on the public and private side, best practices need to be implemented for hiring, training, promoting and retaining women’s talent.

    To women at the start of their careers: be sure you love your field. Have a goal and a strategy. Prepare yourself. Sharpen your talents. Tackle your weaknesses. Build a network.

    I grew up in El Espinal, which has a population of 8,000, in the state of Oaxaca, southern Mexico, until I was 17 years old when I travelled to Norway to spend one year as an exchange student. During those early years I absorbed the simple but fundamental values and principles that have taken me to a level I had dreamed of.

  • Bridget Moore

    Baker Botts


    Washington, DC


    I learned how to conduct an investigation when I started at the SEC in enforcement. I quickly realised I enjoyed the fact-finding process associated with an investigation. It’s like putting together the pieces of a puzzle. I also enjoy helping clients understand how their organisation got into the situation it is dealing with that required an investigation, and working with the client to address any issues that are uncovered.

    The trust a client puts in you when it authorises an investigation. It is a big responsibility when a client asks you to determine if it has an issue, how large that issue might be, if it has a reporting obligation, and if remedial efforts need to be taken.  I enjoy helping a client understand what is working, and maybe not working, within its organisation, and looking for creative ways to address the issues. Also, conducting an investigation allows you to learn about a client’s business from a very interesting perspective.  It affords the opportunity to understand the business side of an organisation, and how the client operates from the inside out.

    I face three main challenges. First, dealing with whistleblower allegations that claim misconduct but look to be more HR-related. Second, defining the scope of an investigation so as to stay focused and effective. Third, in the FCPA context, dealing with cultures where gifts and entertainment are given as a sign of respect, and explaining to well-meaning employees why some gifts and entertainment are not allowed.

    The highlight of my career so far was representing Scott Herckis, the former hedge fund administrator who became a whistleblower. It gave the SEC crucial information that led to an emergency enforcement action against the Heppelwhite Fund founder. In connection with that representation, I secured the first-ever individual deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) from the SEC. The SEC agreed to the DPA because of Herckis’ “voluntary and significant cooperation” that helped halt the fraud that included the misappropriation of more than $2 million from investors.    

    Investigations that stem from whistleblower reports are one of the biggest talking points right now. Because of the bounty available to a potential whistleblower, companies need to make quick, yet informed decisions about how to handle allegations made by a whistleblower. Maintaining privilege in investigations is another talking point. Decisions concerning who directs the investigation, how the auditors are involved and with whom the results of the investigation are shared, among other things, all raise privilege issues.

    My parents are my biggest inspiration. My parents were truly interested and invested in how I lived (and continue) to live my life. They always supported me and made me feel like I could accomplish anything. They created a solid foundation in my life, and taught me and my two sisters to take pride in everything we do. My father has passed away, but I try and give my kids what he gave me – unconditional love, support and a true sense that I can accomplish anything that I put my mind to.

    Promoting gender equality in the workplace is very important to me. I believe in creating an even playing field for women and men to prove themselves. I am very proud of Baker Botts’ initiatives that promote gender equality, a core value of the firm.

    In addition to finding mentors, it is important to find a sponsor – someone who takes an interest in your professional growth, and goes the extra mile to help promote you inside and outside your organisation.

    I played Division I college tennis and love sports.  I went to law school to become a sports agent.

  • Brittany Prelogar

    Steptoe & Johnson


    Washington, DC


    I began my career in general litigation but found that I most enjoyed investigations, especially those with an international angle. Given this, I was excited to move to Steptoe, where I have been able to focus on FCPA and other internal and government investigations. I love the work, both at a granular, day-to-day level – eg, piecing together a factual puzzle, interviewing witnesses, or learning about clients’ business processes – and at a bigger-picture level – as required when scoping a review, formulating findings and remediation plans, and appearing before enforcement authorities.  

    While investigations often involve similar process steps at a high level, each investigation is different. Over time, you’re exposed to various industries and legal issues, and – especially on FCPA matters – countries, cultures and legal or political systems. This means the work is always fresh and interesting. I also enjoy being able to use foreign language skills in my work, particularly in Francophone Africa, where I have conducted investigations, risk assessments and client training in French.

    Investigations should be resolved as quickly as possible but also be robust enough to reach reliable conclusions and withstand scrutiny. This can translate to doing a large volume of work in a compressed time frame. In complex, multi-jurisdictional matters, it also means managing multiple work streams simultaneously. The fast pace of investigations is both challenging and energising. 

    A highlight of my career has been resolving several corporate and individual investigations without charges by investigating authorities. More generally, I’ve enjoyed working closely with certain clients, not just on discrete investigations but over time as they roll out and enhance compliance programmes, encounter challenging legal and compliance issues in their operations, and conduct periodic risk assessments and audits. Deepening my knowledge of the client’s business, as well as my relationship with the client, makes the work meaningful and fun.

    Investigation specialists debate whether FCPA enforcement will remain a priority in years to come and what will be the next area of enforcement focus. The FCPA appears to remain a priority while at the same time new areas, such as cybersecurity, are attracting more scrutiny. 

    Among public figures, I admire US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s advocacy for gender equality, success at the pinnacle of the legal profession, and continued vitality at over 80 years of age.

    Women law graduates make up about 50 per cent of law firms’ incoming associates but are a much smaller percentage of law firm partners and leaders. Women lawyers need opportunities to hone their skills on the most challenging matters, interact with clients and participate in pitches and other business development activities alongside successful senior attorneys. Even then, attrition often occurs when juggling work with a young family becomes overwhelming. This is an unfortunate loss of talent, given that these demands are most acute during a relatively short period in what could be a 40-year career.  This suggests that retaining top female talent over the long term requires workable part-time and flex-time options and a reliable on-ramp when attorneys are ready to resume a regular schedule, including the possibility of returning to partner-track roles beyond the usual eight to 10-year path.

    Advice to women at the start of their careers: Ask for work from attorneys in your field of interest who are passionate about what they do, successful at it, and willing to train, mentor and promote younger lawyers. Focus on becoming the best lawyer you can be within that field. Seek public speaking and publication opportunities. Stay connected to classmates, colleagues and other contacts who will form the heart of your professional network. 

    In my free time, I can be found hiking or playing music.

  • Carli Yung


    Head of litigation & employment in Asia ex-Japan

    Hong Kong

    Like many in-house counsel, risk management is one of my primary responsibilities. I became involved in conducting investigations because it is an important way in which I help the firm mitigate potential risk issues before they become actual claims or liabilities. Personally, I have found that it has given me opportunities to significantly expand my network across the organisation as I work with a variety of business units. For those who enjoy detail-oriented work, it also allows you to obtain a more in-depth insight into the business’s products and operations than you may otherwise gain in a purely legal role. On the flip side, one of the challenges of running an investigation is continually assessing the who, how and when of keeping relevant stakeholders updated and engaged as it progresses.

    It has frequently been stated that more diverse teams produce better outcomes as they bring a broader range of perspectives and backgrounds to decision making and problem solving. I am an advocate of gender equality in the workplace as I believe it is an important means to improving business performance – whether it is increasing female participation in a male-dominated workforce or vice versa! 

    I would encourage women at the start of their careers to consciously look for opportunities to challenge themselves and to volunteer for stretch assignments. This can seem easy at the start of a career, but may be more difficult for women with family responsibilities as their career progresses. I have watched some of my female colleagues and friends who were ambitious in the early stages of their careers take a step back from new work opportunities as they juggle personal responsibilities such as children or elderly relatives. In each case, it has usually been an understandable response to a personal situation. However, the reluctance to take on new challenges can sometimes become an unconscious habit, that may unintentionally lead to stalling your career. Do not underestimate your ability to stretch into a new role or assignment without compromising outside work interests or responsibilities that are important to you!

    For anyone working in this area, it would be difficult to avoid the media reports about alleged anti-bribery and corruption investigations in this region – particularly in China. Based on the many industry professionals who have spoken on this topic at seminars and conferences in recent times, it seems like this will be a continuing trend for some time.

  • Caroline Black





    I qualified as a healthcare regulatory lawyer, defending the owners and operators of care homes and independent hospitals from regulatory action and prosecution. One of my clients found themselves on the receiving end of allegations of fraud against the NHS and was the subject of a police and counter fraud agency raid. I attended the raid and assisted with the defence of the directors in the subsequent police prosecution. From there I started to work more closely with the financial crime team, and volunteered to take a lead role in an investigation into potential corruption in Asia in relation to defence industry contracts. It was a hard assignment, working 12 hours a day over Christmas and New Year – but my now husband told me “Caroline, there are some holidays which you should not take, and this is one of them.” We concluded the investigation, shadowing concurrent court proceedings against a former defence minister and reported our findings to the SFO, who were satisfied that our client was not involved and took no further action.

    Piecing together the story based on evidence taken from e-mail, SMS, hard copy and financial forensic reviews is what I enjoy most in this role. Undertaking interviews with witnesses regarding the evidence and analysing the legal position.

    The challenges include the sheer scale of some investigations – involving multiple jurisdictions, shell companies, nominee directors, hidden beneficial owners and secret money transfers. Those committing financial crime are becoming more and more sophisticated in how they operate, for example by using newer methods of communication, which can be a challenge to detect.

    Working on the UK end of one of the largest corruption investigations in the world has been a personal highlight. Reviewing the evidence, working as a team with several sets of lawyers, monitoring concurrent extradition proceedings and finally reaching a settlement on behalf of the client with the UK Serious Fraud Office.

    Hot topics in the UK include the SFO’s more aggressive stance in relation to self reporting the findings of internal investigations under Director David Green QC, the introduction of DPAs and the apparent upcoming challenge to legal professional privilege. His is markedly different to the attitude of the US authorities, and will likely have a significant impact on corporate decision making in the future.

    Inspirations include my parents: who were each the first people in their respective families who went to university (to Oxford, no less). My mother (the daughter of a shipbuilder) at the tender age of 17 left home in Belfast, having won a scholarship to Somerville College. Both exemplify what you can achieve if you are determined to work hard and make your mark. Despite getting divorced, they each have always shown me and my two sisters love, support and encouragement to meet the challenges in my career and in my life more generally.

    All people should be treated equally regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation – and even if they are lawyers!

    I’d tell other female lawyers at the start of their careers to not expect it to be easy. Working at a law firm is tough. Make sure that you specialise in something you are passionate about, as there are plenty of long hours and high-pressure scenarios. Try to face these hurdles with enthusiasm and with a smile on your face. There are also plenty of great times, decisive wins, strong bonds with colleagues (who become friends), great clients (who become friends) and the ultimate chance to lead and shape the business as a partner. There will be times when you may consider taking a backward or sideward step for an easier life – this is normal. If you do, make sure you are doing it for the right reason and not because you have given up. Pursue your dreams with a plan in mind: you will get there.

    I was born in Trinidad. Unfortunately I came back when I was one year old so I cannot remember my early Caribbean life, but I was a well-travelled baby.

  • Christa Band




    The work is fascinating and could not be more current. The ability to run a major internal investigation is now an essential skill for litigators and contentious regulatory lawyers.

    Managing a large investigation draws on skills from such a broad spectrum, both within the firm, where we often combine several areas of expertise, and with the client.

    In many major investigations, the issues have the capacity to play out in a number of different contexts and the work may be done under considerable public scrutiny. Helping the client determine the right strategy with often competing considerations at stake presents a challenge, but makes this work even more interesting.

    Not easy to name one case that’s a career highlight, so picking something that is current, I would say helping the Management and Standards Committee set up by News Corp to deal with the issues that arose from allegations of phone hacking.

    A major talking point here is the fact that so few investigations can truly be said to happen “in your jurisdiction”. Almost everything has an international dimension to it.

    I was very fortunate to have been taught by truly inspirational teachers: John Collier, Professor Adrian Briggs and Professor Peter Birks. I couldn’t have hoped for a better introduction to the law.

    I am proud to be a partner in a firm that takes gender equality so seriously. We are determined to motivate, inspire and support our women lawyers and have many practical initiatives designed to do this. One example is the Women’s Leadership Programme, which I am involved in sponsoring; a number of women who have participated in the programme are now partners and counsel in the firm. Ensuring that we retain and promote our talented women lawyers is a business imperative, but the right thing to do for so many other reasons as well.

    Have confidence in yourself and back your ambitions. There is all to play for. Determination, energy and a good sense of humour will stand you in excellent stead.

    I am a keen cook and spent my garden leave on a cookery course.

  • Claire Taylor-Coulson


    Director in the fraud investigation & disputes services practice



    I became an investigator by accident – seizing an opportunity to work on a large insurance investigation at the UK financial services regulator. Early on I realised I had the right attributes to be an investigations specialist: I have attention to detail, I am naturally analytical and sceptical, and I am not fazed by unfamiliar situations. Most importantly though I found I really enjoyed the work.

    Without a doubt, the variety of the work is what I like most about my job. No two investigations are the same and by their nature you don’t know when or where they will arise. This unpredictability may unsettle some people, but I love it. I get bored easily and the thought of coming to the same office every day and knowing my work schedule for the coming week or month does not excite me. Although at times I crave more routine, the craving quickly passes!

    Educating people about what an “investigation” really is, is a challenge. Often companies conduct a review, which they call an investigation, and then realise they have not identified the issue or gathered evidence in a forensically sound manner and they look for a “quick fix”. When a client instructs us, we spend a lot of time explaining our suggested investigation approach. There are a lot of misconceptions about what constitutes good investigative procedures.

    One highlight includes my first investigation, which was a huge learning curve. It lasted over three years and resulted in three people being convicted for fraud. As well as the satisfaction of seeing justice being done, it gave me confidence as an investigator.

    In the financial services sector it is the increase in regulatory investigations, most recently relating to product mis-selling and rate-fixing scandals, that everyone talks about. It is now not unusual for banks to be subject to more than one regulatory investigation at a time. This has had a huge impact on banks’ processes for managing enquiries from regulators. “Firefighting” is now part of business as usual!

    My parents encouraged me to make my own decisions and be my own person. They had no expectations about my future. They gave me the confidence to map my own route, to take risks and allowed me to make mistakes.

    Gender equality is about creating a level playing field, for example focusing on eliminating conscious and unconscious bias in the workplace, as well as actual or perceived barriers to career progression. Personally, I do not think setting hard quota targets is the answer – positive discrimination casts doubt (often unfairly) on the merits of individuals.

    I would advise women to start practising self-promotion from the start of their career. It doesn't come naturally to most women but is necessary if you want to progress. It's important to find a way that you feel comfortable with. Leverage your strengths and don't focus too much on your weaknesses.

    If I weren't an investigator I would be an interior designer.

  • Colette Wilkins



    Cayman Islands


    Work with liquidators and trustees as an insolvency lawyer led to increasing volume of asset recovery and investigation work on behalf of the office holders.

    What I like most about this role is the human interest (there is always a story, often stranger than fiction) and the wide range of legal issues spanning a number of developing areas of law.

    Challenges include the time pressure. It is vital to work quickly in asset recovery work, often across jurisdictions, and a strong work ethic is essential.

    I have been extremely fortunate to have been involved in a number of significant fraud cases, but leading the team at Walkers in the Cayman Islands on the Saad liquidations where the asset recovery litigation in Cayman alone involves claims exceeding $15 billion is a current highlight.  Being named in the top ten “Who’s Who Legal” asset recovery lawyers worldwide in 2013 was another highlight, as was being named Cayman’s Restructuring and Insolvency Association’s Lawyer of the Year in December 2014.

    The biggest talking point in my jurisdiction is the increasing pressure to maintain a central register revealing beneficial ownership of entities established in offshore jurisdictions. At first blush such information, even if available only to regulators and law enforcement agencies, might be thought valuable in asset recovery work. However, evidence of wrongdoing is sufficient in most cases to obtain information about ownership through court orders (service providers are obliged for compliance reasons to verify beneficial ownership information) and a central register is unlikely to improve access to reliable data, particularly if it relies on self-reporting, which is unlikely to lead to better detection of fraudsters.  

    The strong female politicians across the political divide who came to prominence in Great Britain during the 1970s have been an inspiration to me. They sent a message to young women at that time that anything was possible in terms of career.

    Improvements in technology mean employers can be flexible about the hours employees are required to be in an office. Employers should be flexible. While the downside to this is that many of us work more hours than ever, this flexibility is an enormous benefit to those with family commitments – both male or female – and makes it possible for employees to retain satisfying work and employers to retain experienced and talented staff.

    I would tell other women to strive to find something that you love doing because passion for what you do means you are likely to succeed.

    My first job was teaching English in the Sultanate of Oman.   

  • Colleen Conry

    Ropes & Gray LLP

    Partner and and co-leader of the government enforcement group

    Washington, DC

    I was an auditor by training and worked for Ernst & Young, and my legal career flowed from that background, which led me to become a criminal prosecutor at the Department of Justice. I joined Ropes & Gray because I wanted to see what it was like to be on the side of the defence, and also because I wanted to help companies navigate complex legal challenges. 

    The real challenge is to gather information internationally, which requires investigators to focus on local laws and to work with interpreters who understand cultural norms and sensitivities. Once the information is obtained, our objective is to share that information with our client, and to determine how best to navigate compliance planning or an enforcement action.

    One highlight in my career includes the challenges presented by the multinational investigation into the China operations of GlaxoSmithKline – handled by Ropes & Gray – which required our team to coordinate a global response effort to a complex enforcement action.  The acquittal of former GSK associate general counsel, Lauren Stevens, has also been a highlight for me; Lauren was charged with obstruction of justice and making false statements in connection with an FDA inquiry into the company’s marketing practices. We worked to explain to the government that Lauren’s behaviour certainly was not criminal in nature, and fortunately, the trial judge viewed the evidence favourably, and dismissed the charges at the close of the government’s case.

    What’s worked for me in my career has been to raise my hand, to always be an active participant. What put me into a position for growth was to always jump onto extra cases or matters that required a little extra sacrifice; it’s about showing eagerness to work harder. It’s also important to support your co-workers and to be a good colleague.

  • Colleen Mahoney

    Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

    Partner and head of securities enforcement and compliance

    Washington, DC


    I have been involved with securities investigations since soon after law school, and with few exceptions have found them to be incredibly interesting. I spent 15 years at the Securities and Exchange Commission. During a large part of that time I helped manage the Division of Enforcement, which conducts investigations into possible violations of the securities laws. For the last 16 years, since I left the SEC, I have devoted my time to representing institutions and individuals who are the subject of SEC and other government or regulatory investigations.

    I enjoy working with clients to try to determine the underlying facts and the best possible strategy for explaining and defending the client in the investigation.                                                                                                  

    The biggest challenge we face on behalf of clients today is working to persuade the government that there is another side to the story. The client is entitled to a vigorous defence before the government reaches its conclusions without the government thinking the client “just doesn't get it”.

    Trying to establish effective communication between the government and the client in order to get both sides to listen to and understand the others’ perspective is another challenge of the job.

    In private practice, the biggest victories are those that never see the light of day – prosecutions and litigation averted early. So, unfortunately, many of the biggest highlights remain confidential. I will say that it is hard to choose what I enjoyed most – my work at the SEC or my work at Skadden. I have been fortunate to have two, very different, chapters in my career that I found tremendously challenging and rewarding. I also have current and former colleagues from both of my professional lives that have enriched my day-to-day work life and continue to fill my life outside of work.

    My father was a small-town doctor and mayor. He taught me the importance of making people (his patients or my clients) feel that you believe in them and that you will do whatever it takes to improve their circumstances. 

    I think women and minorities have made great strides toward equality but we need to remain mindful that there is more to be done. All of us who have benefited from the progress that has been made need to continue to devote and dedicate energy to ensuring advancement continues in the future.

    Mika Brzezinski (MSNBC's “Morning Joe” co-host) is advocating a concept for women called “know your value”. Studies show that women underestimate themselves (in contrast to men). I think women need to make a brutally candid assessment at the outset of their careers (which they should refresh as they move forward) of their strengths and weaknesses and be deeply mindful of each as they advocate for their career on their own behalf. 

    There is nothing in the world I would rather do than cook and sit down to dinner with my two kids.           

  • Daniëlle Goudriaan

    The Public Prosecution Service

    National coordinating prosecutor for corruption



    After law school I was admitted to the government traineeship to become a judge or a prosecutor. The first three years all trainees go through the same stages: as a clerk in criminal court, as a clerk and judge in the civil and administrative court and as a prosecutor. After three years you have to decide whether you wish to become a prosecutor or a judge. I chose to become a prosecutor because as a Dutch prosecutor you are involved in the criminal investigation from the beginning, and you are able to decide which course to take, which tactics to use and to decide whether you should prosecute the suspect or not. Investigating revolves around getting the pieces of the puzzle together. The prosecutor decides whether a case will be presented and how.

    What I enjoy most about the role is thinking about the tactics and ways to resolve and conclude a case. I try to think outside the box, and I try to accomplish the most-desired outcome. I will need to consider whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute but also whether prosecuting a case will result in a contribution to the desired social effect, to agree a resolution that’s tailored towards the defendant but also ensures the maximum desired result.

    There is no shortage of cases, and resources are limited. To use these resources wisely and in a clever way and still to be able to get the best result is a major challenge.

    One personal highlight was the investigation and prosecution of the “Klimop” (Ivy) case, a large real estate development fraud and corruption case which involved hundreds of millions of euros - it took my colleagues and me six years. Klimop was the first fraud case in which we used special investigative tools and 13 defendants were convicted to up to seven years of prison.

    In the Netherlands, there is a lot of discussion about settlements with companies in large fraud and corruption cases. Some people are of the opinion these cases should not be settled and all cases should go to court. Personally, I think settlement can be a good instrument. A lot of cases just have to be brought before a court, of course. But if a company self discloses, cleans up the company and takes every measure to prevent fraud and corruption in the future, settlement can be a good and fast way to react.

    My former colleague, corporate defence lawyer Robert Hein Broekhuijsen has been an inspiration to me. His never-ending dedication to a case and ability to always be two steps ahead has inspired me and I learned a lot from him.

    In the Netherlands there are a lot of female magistrates, judges and prosecutors. So in my job there aren’t many issues regarding gender equality. But in general I think it is very good for companies to try and have as many qualified women as men. There are differences in how men and women work and by employing both you get the best of both worlds.

    My advice to other women would be to work hard, but do not forget to play.

    After a hard days work I try to relax by cooking, trying new recipes. It’s a secret wish of mine to write a cookbook someday.

  • Debra Wong Yang

    Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

    Partner, and co-chair of the crisis management group, the white-collar defence and investigations practice group and the privacy, cybersecurity and consumer protection practice group

    Los Angeles


    Becoming an investigations lawyer was a natural extension of my years of being a federal prosecutor and judge. Years of cross-examining witnesses and probing for the truth make it much easier to conduct global investigations where one constantly assesses credibility and truthfulness. Often you need not only a command of the factual details but also an insight into the contextual issues.

    Each investigation is different from the next and I thoroughly enjoy the learning that comes with that. In large part this stems from needing to understand the underlying business and its complexities. Watching how businesses grow, profit and provide the services of the world has been infinitely fascinating. As one who probably should have gone to business school, I enjoy watching management and boards deal with making critical decisions, exhibit true ingenuity and leadership and drive profit without making the wrong sacrifices.

    My services for clients have moved past the point of simply conducting investigations. Often I get called in to deal with strategic counselling and long-term business decisions. I have had projects where I have been asked to take a business idea and examine it from a legal perspective, and to identify strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities and critical concerns for a company.

    A big talking point here is money laundering and AML issues as they affect businesses beyond financial institutions. Also, third-party relationships and examinations of the same in foreign countries.

    Gibson Dunn partner Ted Olson has been an inspiration to me. I have watched him exhibit absolute leadership over and over in his career. I have seen him employ the highest degree of ethics in even the smallest of decisions. His latest work on gay marriage demonstrated bravery but also a way in which legal acumen was used to profoundly make the world better.

    I believe that a woman who makes the decision to have a successful career, have a meaningful personal relationship, have children and be actively engaged in their lives, and maintain close relations with friends and family, does not have an easy path. I continue to think that her career trajectory may not be linearly upward. In order to facilitate their desire to have meaningful careers, greater flexibility needs to be offered to women in the workplace. That means support, such as childcare services, or other types of support services offered, or that can mean being able to sideline or B-track your career during challenging personal times, such as when you are parenting young children, without the risk of impairing your career. I don’t think that the legal profession has sufficiently grappled with this issue.

    I’d tell other women to go big. Don’t limit yourself. And leave your options open, because as life unfolds it will offer you more opportunities if you keep yourself open to them.

    I strongly believe in the concept of “random acts of kindness”. I have been the recipient of some of the kindest gestures at some of the darkest of times. And I have found those gestures spiritually and emotionally uplifting. I keep this feeling close and try to do the same for others when I can.

  • Eleanor Davison

    Outer Temple Chambers




    I hoped to specialise in an area where I could see a problem through from beginning to end. I wanted to increase the strategic decision-making part of my role as well as retaining the advocacy side, and investigations allow you to fulfil both aspects in a wide variety of circumstances.

    I enjoy understanding what has really occurred in a case, telling the story from factually differing accounts. This is particularly engaging where an issue has arisen inside a large business and perspectives legitimately vary between management and employees and past and current decision makers. 

    In large cases it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees. Stripping out what is relevant and focusing on that while also keeping an eye on the bigger picture is challenging. The best legal, commercial and reputational outcomes are not always aligned and balancing them can be complex.

    It may be a cliché, but the “challenge” of working while bringing up two small children also ensures you are not easily flustered and have eyes in the back of your head – which is of more use than you might expect in a global investigation.

    One of my current cases is at the cutting edge of corporate liability law and it is fascinating to watch the story unfold. Socially, it has to be seeing the range of reactions from the banking community to Bob Geldof's direct and amusingly unrepeatable Mansion House speech on culpability for the financial crisis.

    One hot topic in the UK is the SFO’s approach to challenging privileged material generated during the course of an internal investigation and its approach to privilege generally. We are waiting for the first deferred prosecution agreement, which will be a turning point in the landscape of corporate liability.

    I am inspired by the people that I know and see in my daily life who have developed principled qualities in their character and act with thought, kindness, patience and integrity. I am fortunate that I have contact with such people in both my professional and home life.

    I am cautious about positive discrimination in the workplace. For me the guiding principle is merit, regardless of gender. However, there are certain times in an individual’s life when flexibility is needed in order to retain and promote the best people. The most prominent example of this for me in relation to women is the period of time when they have young children, particularly between returning from maternity leave until the children are at nursery. For both parents, this is a time when some understanding is needed and the culture of presenteeism can be difficult. There needs to be recognition that being in the office for long hours does not necessarily mean value is being added. It is only when men feel that they can leave for home (without stigma), and then elect to do so that this will become an accepted part of working culture, that equality will emerge. For me this is not an issue solely for women but is an issue that needs to be addressed in employment generally.

    Your career will be a long one so there is plenty of time to excel in a chosen field and to have a family if you choose to. Sometimes it may be suggested to you that if you have a family or career break you will lose your position or practice. But, with determination you can create the career that you want. To become established in your chosen field you will need to be vocal and promote yourself. This can feel uncomfortable at first but it gets easier the more you do it. Find (and be) a kind and supportive partner who understands the choices made in pursuing a career and who respects those decisions.

    “I cut down trees, I skip and jump, I like to press wild flowers. I put on women’s clothing and hang around in bars.” (From the Lumberjack Song by Monty Python.) Well, it’s 80 per cent true.

  • Elisabeth Roscher


    Head of fraud investigations and disputes services



    Becoming an investigations specialist was a bit of a coincidence! It all started when I was seconded to work for a year as a senior prosecutor. I enjoyed both the role and the dynamics of investigations so much that I ended up working at Økokrim, the National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic Crime in Norway. I spent eight years there handling a wide variety of serious economic crime cases.

    I like the diversity of the cases and working in a multidisciplinary team, pulling together the best people for the job. I am also able to call on my wide-ranging experiences for the benefit of my clients.

    One challenge of this job is that the business of private investigations is unregulated. Some investigators are relatively inexperienced and without formal qualifications. The quality of their work may therefore have an impact on the market’s perception of investigation services and the value to the clients. Another challenge is the perception that the cost and scale of many fraud investigations can be excessive.

    I was on the prosecution team for the Finance Credit case, one of largest and most complex fraud cases in Norwegian history. In addition, I am proud of building up a leading fraud investigation practice in Norway utilising the skills and experience gained from my time in white-collar public prosecution, combined with the expertise and an expansive network across EY globally. 

    There is currently a corruption trial in the Norwegian courts where four previous executives of a global Norwegian fertiliser company have been indicted for bribing foreign public officials in Libya and India. The company had previously accepted the highest corporate fine ever issued in Norway. One of the main issues to be determined by the court relate to the extent of responsibility of top management for corruption, including “wilful blindness”.

    I have worked in male-dominated environments for most of my career. Although I find inspiration in a variety of people, both men and women, I have been particularly inspired by pioneering, trailblazing women (ie, the first women to make a move into male-dominated professions, such as the first female supreme court judge, prosecutor etc).

    In 2006 Norway introduced a requirement that 40 per cent of all board members of Norwegian public companies should be women. Although the proportion of female board members has successfully reached the statutory level in all public companies, the measure has not yet had the spillover effect many had hoped for, namely more females rising to the executive suite of top companies. This is both interesting and disappointing.

    In my view, work-life balance is important. However, as women in general tend to take greater domestic responsibility than men, I think it is important for women to realise that building a career and raising a family at the same time may require relentless prioritisation and discipline.

    I have a fascination for lighthouses.

  • Elizabeth Robertson

    K&L Gates




    I became an investigations specialist by accident. I began life as a criminal lawyer, specialising in financial crime and things have grown from there as criminal cases involving business have become global and more complex.

    Every case is different depending on which sector you are working in. At the moment I am advising a large media organisation accused of phone hacking, and a mining company accused of bribery and corruption. I also really enjoy working with lawyers from other jurisdictions and other consultants such as PR companies and settling a strategy together.

    The most difficult thing is trying to help a client in crisis who may have no experience of a large investigation, let alone a criminal allegation. I am often brought in as a “new face” and the priority for me is to instil trust and calm as quickly as possible.

    Making equity partner at a leading global firm is quite a success, although I feel that my most significant successes have yet to come. I have three sons under 18 and worked a four-day week until 2009, which is why I feel my career will peak later than a typical male counterpart. I feel that this trajectory allowed me to think about my career while I was away from it on maternity leave, focusing more clearly on what was important to me. Success may have come later, but I have enjoyed my children and am really proud of my choices.

    The extraordinary cost of investigations and how to manage that better for clients, particularly in a global investigation, is a big talking point. The rise of the whistleblower is a hot topic and the pros and cons of self reporting to a regulator or prosecutor will always provoke strong opinions.

    All working mothers are an inspiration, whatever they do. They make me feel good about the decisions I have made. If I have to name a lawyer who has inspired me, it would be Deborah Finkler, head of dispute resolution at Slaughter and May. Her career speaks for itself and she is the most stylish woman in the City of London.

    My advice would be if you want to have children, don’t delay your personal and family goals. Your career will take care of itself and you have to have a leap of faith that the business you work for will do the right thing. If they don’t, then move on and secure promotion that way. I made partner while I was working a reduced working week following the birth of my first son in 1999. K&L Gates has been an eye-opener for me in that I did wonder if a global law firm could be as flexible as the two other, smaller firms I have worked at. Light-touch management here allows me to work in a free, entrepreneurial way, and I run my team similarly.

    There seems to be an epidemic, at least in London, of women lawyers disappearing from big law after their second baby. I am in favour of equity partner targets after seeing nothing much change over my 20-year career. The number of hugely talented women I have seen walk away from our profession depresses me profoundly. Having said that law is a hard way to make a living and it is not for everyone. I am sure I would not still be here if it was not for the support of my husband, my first employer, Peters & Peters, and the fact that I do a job I love. Staying in the game during those early years, when childcare is most difficult and expensive, has been amazing in terms of enriching my life. My cases are on the front pages of the newspapers around the world. The people, places and ethical issues related to my practice have made my life so much richer. It complements my home and family life and allows me to serve as a role model to my three sons.

    Be your authentic self and if you have children, stay away from the women at the school gates who don’t work – they just make you feel bad, whether on purpose or not. When they say “I don’t know how you do it” it took me years not to hear “you don’t love your kids as much as I do!”

    I was one of two girls at an all-boys school. I learnt much!

  • Elly Proudlock





    I always wanted to be a criminal defence lawyer. However, becoming a white-collar and investigations specialist happened more by accident than by design. I qualified at a firm that dealt with a broad range of criminal defence but my first case as a qualified lawyer was a complex price-fixing prosecution. I found myself drawn to the detailed, forensic nature of the work and I haven’t looked back since.

    I get a lot of enjoyment from sitting down with a client and a pile of documents, delving into the facts to piece together what happened. I also love the variety of the role – no two problems are ever the same. You find yourself learning about the freight forwarding industry one day and becoming an expert in interest rate swaps the next. Obviously there is often a common thread – for the most part you are dealing with criminal or regulatory risk – but the underlying context is always different.

    What I find simultaneously terrifying and thrilling about this role is how high the stakes can be.  My clients are facing life-changing consequences that are potentially devastating for them. Whether that is the risk of financial and reputational ruin or, for individuals, a loss of liberty, their future lies to some extent in your hands. That certainly keeps the pressure on. 

    As a very junior defence solicitor in 2010, I saw the fruits of my labour as the Office of Fair Trading price-fixing prosecution of four BA executives collapsed spectacularly. What was particularly satisfying was that I had just gone on maternity leave assuming I was going to miss most of the six-month trial that I had been preparing for the past year. However, my supervising partner called me two days into my leave and said, “You might want to be in court tomorrow.” The next day the prosecution offered no evidence and the judge directed the jury to acquit all four defendants, including our client. I couldn’t have asked for a better send-off.  

    Much of the talk here is around whether 2015 will be the year that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) starts acting on the tough talk of the past two years. SFO director David Green has made much of the agency “recovering its mojo”, with some significant prosecutions in the pipeline. So, the question is, will we see a high-profile corporate prosecution this year? Our first DPA? A formal challenge to the application of legal privilege? The next 12 months could be interesting.

    It’s more a question of “what” than “who” has been an inspiration. The event that most inspired me to become a criminal defence lawyer was visiting an inmate in Bangkwang prison when I was travelling in Thailand many years ago. Something about that experience has stayed with me and is a constant reminder to me of the importance of a fair criminal process.  

    It’s time that issues around childcare and flexible working became parents’ issues rather than solely women’s issues. We need to stop talking about how we can enable women to leave the office at five o’clock every afternoon and start asking ourselves why they should have to.

    I would give women the same advice that I would give to men at the start of their careers: buckle down, work hard, be humble and apply yourself as much to the less interesting tasks as you do to the exciting ones. People will remember it and your time will come.    

    I got a tattoo in my late teens. I came to hate it so much that I had to spend a silly amount of money getting it removed 10 years later…

  • Elvan Sevi Firat

    Fırat İzgi




    When I became a junior associate, effects of global anti-corruption and international criminal law rules to Turkish legal practice was increasing and there were very few bilingual specialists in the market. As I was always interested in criminal law and continued to represent individual and corporate clients in matters relating to white-collar crimes and regulatory enforcement matters, I decided to focus my practice on criminal law, anti-corruption and investigations, and continued my academic career with a PhD study on criminal law.

    In an investigation, bringing to light the facts of a case requires very dedicated teamwork. Duties including examining records, interviewing victims and suspects are not easy and require a very objective evaluation. At the end, advising and assisting clients for good-practice rules makes me feel that I am doing work that creates public value. 

    In each project we deal with a number of different personalities and I need different communication approaches tailored for different styles of communication. Also, working as a part of a global team is even more challenging.

    There are a lot of memories and feelings about my past experiences. Working hard to prevent wrongfulness and being dedicated to my work made me the kind of lawyer I am today. One of the highlights and greatest challenges of my career was leading a team consisting of 13 lawyers having different backgrounds and expertise that reported to an international firm and a very challenging in-house team. Each and every day, I found myself in the middle of a conflict among team members, which I had to resolve without negatively affecting their motivation in this investigation that took over one-and-a-half years.

    Judicial independence is the biggest talking point in Turkey right now. The high-profile cases involving political elements were concluded without proper judicial trial and without satisfying public consciousness. Obstruction of lawyers’ access to investigative files is under discussion. Finally the new draft law, the Domestic Security Package, has created a major public discussion and attracts significant criticism. Among other matters, especially, giving bureaucrats (such as governors) the right and authority to start a prosecution without proper judicial control is overshadowing the good intentions of the law for providing a safer ground for free speech and other freedoms.

    Many people contributed to my personal development during my career, everything around me inspired me in a different way. For me, success and failure are two sides of the same coin. When I think of my life, I see that my mother has had a powerful influence on me with her strong character and by saying the right things when I needed support at very critical times in my life. And a statement by Churchill, “Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it”, is worth remembering.

    Contrary to common belief, giving birth strengthens a woman’s character instead of being an obstacle to her career. This process should be acknowledged in all kinds of communities, and accordingly, conforming policies should be developed in workplaces. Educational organisations and seminars should be held for anti-discrimination. There should be reliable procedural means to report discrimination encountered in workplaces. Employees should be aware of the consequences of their behaviour. Arianna Huffington’s book Thrive is a must-read for anyone in business life.

    I read as much as I can, as reading is the air I breathe and my recovery method. I believe that it is not always necessary to actively experience an occasion or a feeling; books illustrate and provide a world without limitations. The classics especially affect readers on a deeper level as they have remained relevant in our time.

  • Erica Sellin Sarubbi

    Trench Rossi e Watanabe in cooperation with Baker & McKenzie


    São Paulo


    I was always interested in working on compliance and corporate investigations. When I moved to the US nine years ago, I had the opportunity to work as a consultant for a multinational corporation in their compliance department, working with the director of internal investigations. I became more passionate about this area and since then I have been following this path in my career.  

    There are several aspects of this area that I really like. First, every case is different, but equally important. It is the type of work, that – although at a preliminary stage it may unveil issues and concerns to companies – in the end always brings about great improvements in governance, internal policies and controls, and even contributes to the greater good, such as by making companies compete fairly in the market place.

    I also really enjoy the personal aspect of the work. Investigations require neutrality and independence, however, they involve not only extensive review of documents and other documentary evidence, but also require a review of personal aspects of individuals under investigation. It is always an interesting challenge to balance the evidence obtained and individual accounts.

    There is one challenge that is intrinsic to the market in which we work. Compliance and corporate investigations is a fairly new practice in Latin America and Brazil and that by itself presents some challenges. It is also very important to consider local cultures and regulations when conducting global investigations.

    Right now I'm involved in one of the biggest challenges of my career. I had the great opportunity of becoming involved on a project that is undoubtedly one of the most significant current FCPA investigation cases. With Esther Flesch in Brazil, we are leading a team of several lawyers conducting a complex multi-jurisdictional investigation, and cooperating in decisions about the strategy for cooperation with enforcement authorities in various countries.

    There is a lot of media attention on corruption investigations in Brazil. After the enactment of an anti-corruption law in Brazil, companies are more aware of their responsibilities with stakeholders and are therefore heavily investing in the creation of robust compliance programmes, as well as conducting corporate investigations more often.

    I have two great inspirations that every day remind me of the importance and seriousness of my job. The first one is my former boss, Thomas Giller (the former director of investigations at Kraft Foods). Tom is one of the most serious and detail-oriented lawyers I have ever met. From him, I learned the importance of looking into every detail, to always dig deeper and to trust my instincts. He is also an amazing person and one of the most ethical individuals I have ever met.

    I also have the great pleasure of working with Esther Flesch. She built a compliance practice in Brazil over 13 years ago, when many other law firms weren’t even looking into this area of law. She is a visionary and a brilliant lawyer.

    Diversity is very important everywhere, but especially in the workplace. I had the great pleasure of always working for companies with exceptional women in leadership positions and places that truly value gender equality. I believe this should be among the top priorities of every serious organisation.

    Women should never give up or accept being underappreciated. If the company where you work does not appreciate diversity in a way that positively affects your career, then you are not at the right company. Look somewhere else.

    I started my career working as a litigator and moved to compliance almost by chance when I moved to the USA. This major change in my personal life significantly changed my professional life. I was able to conclude my LLM at Northwestern University School of Law in the US, I worked on several interesting compliance projects abroad and I returned to Brazil five years ago to help continue to develop the compliance and investigations practice at Trench Rossi & Watanabe. As people say: It was meant to be.

  • Esther Flesch

    Trench Rossi e Watanabe in cooperation with Baker & McKenzie

    Partner and head of the Brazilian compliance group

    São Paulo


    I was a partner in our IP and IT group. In that role, I assisted many IT companies with their operations in Brazil. One day I received an urgent request from a software company who was a long-term client. They needed an internal investigation regarding a possible FCPA violation. The allegations were very credible and they needed someone on the ground that they could trust and they trusted me. This was my first FCPA-related investigation. The year was 2003! Now I am a full-time compliance and investigations professional and my team continues to grow.

    Usually an investigation that requires the engagement of an external firm is a significant matter for a corporation. Sometimes it is related to a governance crisis. I enjoy being able to assist businesses with matters that are fundamental to them. In a compliance investigation we need to be very focused, very dedicated – as there is no rest during a crisis – and count very much on seniority, as experience is fundamental to making decisions in this type of work.

    When a company needs to investigate possible wrongdoings, this means it may have to go through a difficult and painful process. What I like most is to see the company come out of this process much stronger and healthier than it used to be.

    The uniqueness of each case creates unique challenges – all of them with very particular aspects. Brazil recently adopted the new anti-corruption law, which for the first time creates potential strict liability for companies that participate in acts of bribery, for instance, and here we can see an effort being made towards developing a new culture within the business community. Yet there is still a bumpy road ahead. The process of changing the mindset will take some time.

    As a compliance and investigations lawyer, the highlights come in every case when a company comes out stronger and more balanced after an investigation. However, my main achievement, as a partner in a well-established law firm, was to see my team grow and have people that started with me as my interns grow to be my partners. I cannot do a good job alone. Having the dream team I have is my main achievement.

    Brazilian media has been widely covering corruption cases. From the public perception perspective, brands are concerned about damage and company value that is at stake, so there is a general atmosphere for promoting transparency and combating corruption on many levels.

    My parents have been my inspiration. They immigrated to Brazil with no material assets and were able to build a family and pave the road for a successful professional life for me.  They have always taught me that you can achieve results with knowledge. Knowledge is what you carry with you anywhere you go.

    I believe gender equality and respect for diversity is a reflection of what you see in society. That is why in some cultures this is easier to accomplish than in others and it evolves with cultural changes. Our firm is ahead of the curve for Brazilian standards. Over 50 per cent of our lawyers are women, and more significantly, over 50 per cent of our partners are female. Our current leadership is formed of a three-member management committee, and two of them are women.

    Some women believe that they need to make a choice between having a successful career or building a happy family. That is not true. You can have both! You will certainly need support from your partners at work and even more from your partner at home, as I have from my husband. My advice is: go for both.

  • Francesca Petronio

    Paul Hastings




    Internal investigations represented an area of practice in which I had the opportunity to match my skills as a litigation specialist with my background in criminal law. When I joined Paul Hastings in 2005 together with the co-chair of the Milan office, Bruno Cova (who was legal adviser to the commissioner appointed by the Italian government to investigate Europe’s largest financial fraud at Parmalat) we invested in building up this practice in Milan. Following the Parmalat case, internal investigations and consequently a much sharper focus on compliance were becoming crucial in Italy so we have had the opportunity to build up a new practice out of our sound experience.

    I like the unique environment, meaning being part of a truly global law firm capable of enhancing our significant cross-border capabilities through ongoing collaboration with other Paul Hastings offices.

    The main challenges of the role are combining the multiple skills and capabilities necessary to conduct an investigation and having a mindful and strategic approach to the case, especially in cross-border investigations.

    The Paul Hastings Milan office was a pioneer in internal investigation in Italy. I have been given the opportunity to grow a team of lawyers who have developed unique capabilities in the sector and who are in continuous contact with our colleagues in the US. I have received recognition several times and had the chance to work on the major internal investigations and white-collar crime cases that occurred in Italy in the last 10 years.

    The main points to watch include a thorough revision of the rules on remote monitoring of employees, which in Italy is restricted by law, and which will be subject to reform under the government’s Jobs Act and future trends in whistleblowing and privacy laws.

    An inspiration? My mom, definitely! She taught me that you can always go one step further and that if you work hard, you will get what you deserve.

    I am proud of being part of a firm that is consistently recognised as a firm of choice for diversity and that has made significant effort to promote gender equality. The firm encompasses a lot of extraordinary women in important roles.

    No matter who you are or where you start your promising career, you will have to face the dreadful moment in which doubt over “family v career” keeps you awake at night. Take no compromises and no prisoners, because the very simple truth is that you can definitely have, enjoy and successfully nurture both. When I gave my first interview as a trainee at a prominent Italian firm, I was asked by the senior partner interviewing me why the firm should invest in me considering that in 10 years’ time there was the real risk that I would decide to build a family. I answered that that should not be a consideration and refused the offer. After that I have always had the opportunity to work in firms and with partners who have always offered me the chance to develop my career and take care of my family.

    I always had a passion for investigations. When I was at primary school I founded a detective agency with some of my school friends. We investigated the frauds happening at school (theft of rubbers and graffiti vandals were our key areas). The team was composed of a perfect balance of two girls and two boys, very innovative for the late seventies.

  • Georgia Dawson

    Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer


    Hong Kong


    My workload over the past 10 years or so has increasingly involved investigations – both regulatory and internal – but I also continue to work on litigation matters as litigation can arise alongside or after an investigation and it is important to be able to plan for, and manage, both.

    I enjoy scoping the investigation, uncovering the evidence and then helping clients resolve the issues arising – whether that be defending regulatory enforcement activity, pursuing employee disciplinary action or bringing a claim.

    Investigations spring up unexpectedly and often in urgent circumstances – so it can be hard to plan your workload. But the flip side is that this is why the job is so interesting.

    We recovered some very large diamonds for a client and being able to see and hold them was extraordinary – it has, however, distorted my idea of what is good jewellery to receive as a birthday present!

    The challenges include cross-border investigations as business links grow in the region and regulators start to cooperate more.

    I have learnt a lot of different things from the many people I have worked with or who have been on the other side of my cases – brilliant minds, working mums, great strategists, good team leaders or players, and people who don’t take themselves too seriously. Trying to combine all those things in some sensible way is the hard part.

    On gender equality in the workplace – It is just obvious to me that it should be done. Business leaders should ensure this is a top priority if they want a successful organisation.

    You can’t have it all but you can make choices about where your priorities lie and those priorities can, and do, change with time – so my advice to other women would be to find an employer and colleagues who recognise and respect that.

  • Georgina Philippou

    Financial Conduct Authority

    Acting executive director of enforcement and market oversight



    I have always been interested in information, curious about behaviour and enjoyed building something from nothing. The role is a perfect mix of technical and psychological, numbers and negotiation.

    What I enjoy most about this job is the unique opportunities it offers to delve into how companies operate and how individuals behave; how what you do can make a real difference to the quality of financial services and to the lives of ordinary people.

    The main challenges include staying on top of everything and staying ahead – trying to suppress bad behaviour in financial services and anticipating where the next misconduct will come from; being very aware that the decisions you make every day have a real impact on market participants so you need to get it right.

    In terms of highlights in my career, every year builds on the last – but the very existence of a list like this is something I would never have envisaged when I started my career.

    One of the biggest talking points in the investigations space in the UK includes credible deterrence – how can you improve the behaviour of firms and individuals through enforcement action and how do you know you are succeeding? Also, culture in financial services – how do you encourage positive, customer-focused cultures in financial services firms and those who work in them?

    Zaha Hadid (a leading Iraqi-British architect) has been an inspiration to me – for succeeding in a man’s world and being technically brilliant and wildly creative at the same time. Otherwise just about everyone I have worked with and for – good and bad, there is always something to learn.

    I support equality of all kinds – not just gender equality. I would like to live in a world where people did not need to talk about quotas because we are a genuine meritocracy. I am really proud that the FCA is in the Stonewall  (an organisation working for equality and justice for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals) Workplace Equality Index.

    I would tell other women just starting out to: be yourself and don’t listen to the crowd – there are options and sometimes you are the only one who is right.

    I have “acted” on stage with Sir Ian McKellen (he probably doesn’t remember – I was one of a crowd in “Coriolanus” at the National Theatre a very long time ago).

  • Hannah Laming

    Peters & Peters Solicitors




    I started working on civil fraud cases while at the Bar and enjoyed the work so much that I went to the Serious Fraud Office to work on some of the biggest and most complex fraud investigations. The more involved I got, the more I got the bug! I have specialised in this area for nearly 10 years and each investigation I work on throws up new issues and challenges. It is fast-paced and exciting work.

    I enjoy the detective work and problem solving involved in investigations. Many investigations occur in a crisis situation requiring you to think quickly and prioritise to try to build up an idea of what has happened and what next steps should be taken. Over the course of time, you may have to analyse voluminous documentation, obtain information from different jurisdictions and individuals and deal with legal, accounting and IT issues. This can be very challenging but also rewarding.

    Sometimes the biggest challenge when conducting an investigation, particularly for a multinational, is understanding exactly what areas of the business you need to focus on initially, how the business operates and identifying the individuals performing the critical roles and the location of relevant data, all in a short time frame. Also you often have to have difficult conversations with clients about taking steps that might have a negative impact on their business, for example, stopping certain payments or suspending employees, pending the outcome of an investigation.

    A career highlight: making partner at a firm I love!

    We have recently acted for the complainant in the largest private prosecution brought by an individual to date. Everyone is talking about private prosecutions and the different challenges they pose from an investigation perspective. The limited resources of law enforcement agencies means that fraud cases are often not investigated or prosecuted, leaving a gap for victims, particularly corporate victims. We are excited to be able to offer private prosecutions as an alternative to enable these clients to secure justice and to act as a deterrent to the perpetrators of financial crime.

    My mum has been a real inspiration. She was a business woman who saw the opportunities in IT in the 1980s and set up her own business as a consultant on large projects. She managed to negotiate a technical and male-dominated world successfully and had a very matter-of-fact approach. She taught me that you can achieve your goals by having firm resolve and dealing with obstacles in a calm and professional manner.

    As a mother of three children, I have actively chosen a work environment that enables me to have a good work/life balance. I think that the most exciting development recently in this area is the introduction of laws making it easier for dads to take extended paternity leave, which will help to remove the assumption that it is women who will take time off to raise children. My husband and I took advantage of earlier changes in the law so that we each took six months of maternity/paternity with our third child. As more men experience the types of issues women face, even simple things like the anxiety you may face when telling your employer that you’re taking maternity/paternity leave, and when employers are equally receptive to men taking such leave, gender equality in the workplace will improve.

    The environment for women has changed dramatically since I started work. I remember being criticised for wearing a trouser suit when I first started pupillage! Years ago, there was a perception that women had to choose between family or a career but I don’t think that is true anymore. The challenge now is to introduce changes in the workplace that make it easier for men and women to enjoy a successful career and be productive employees as well as caring for their children. My advice to men and women at the start of their careers would be to choose a job that you are passionate about and always pursue your goals.

    I fancy myself as a bit of a Sarah Beeny and I’m currently working on my own house renovations. I haven’t been asked to go on Property Ladder just yet, but who knows!

  • Helen Marshall

    Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld




    I was lucky to start my career at one of the best criminal law firms in London – Kingsley Napley – and I very quickly came to realise that it takes everyone; police, investigators, defence lawyers, prosecutors, the court administrators and the judiciary, to play their part in helping to deliver the fairness and integrity that should be at the heart of the criminal justice system. I was hooked…

    During my career I have been a defence lawyer, a prosecutor (at HM Customs and Excise), a court administrator (clerk at Bow Street Magistrates Court in London), and a regulator. For almost 10 years I was an enforcement head of department and the head of forensic investigations at the Financial Conduct Authority (formerly the SIB and the FSA).
    Since I left the FCA in 2004 I have specialised in financial services enforcement and investigation work.

    The work is complex, high profile and pressured. We have the privilege of being trusted by our clients to help them when the stakes are high and I love that we are so often able to make a significant difference to the outcome. I have a fabulous team around me and great partners and colleagues in the office and the wider firm.

    Challenges: delivering competent, focused and strategic advice to clients who are in great need of it, but who, in the heat of an investigation, may sometimes find it difficult to hear. You need to demonstrate your knowledge, show commercial awareness and be candid to gain their trust.

    I’m very proud of having built a successful team of financial services regulatory lawyers at Akin Gump.

    The biggest talking point: the increasing cross-border nature of investigations, and an overlap between multiple investigating agencies with regulatory, criminal and civil powers. There is wider cooperation between the agencies, but also increasing competition between them for media headlines or political approval, which can make it very difficult to advise clients on how to best resolve a set of circumstances or to predict the eventual outcome.

    So many people have been inspiring; in my working life I’ve always had good role models and mentors; (and some less good!). I believe you can learn something from everyone you work with: good or bad. In my personal life, family and close friends.

    The best workplaces offer all employees access to the same opportunities and the same rewards, rather than particular gender-based initiatives or targets. I’m in favour of making sure there are robust arrangements in place so the opportunities are there and can be taken up by anyone.

    To women at the start of their careers I would give the same advice I would give to everyone; find something you really enjoy, work hard and see where it takes you. Be true to your values along the way.

    I’m an independent member of the City of London Police Committee – responsible for strategic oversight of the City of London Police force; and so my photograph appears on a poster on the walls of every police station in the City of London!

  • Hollis Salzman

    Robins Kaplan

    Partner and co-chair of the antitrust and trade regulation group

    New York

    Spearheading international investigations has been a significant part of my career as an antitrust attorney, and has offered me the perfect opportunity to combine my economics degree, my law degree, and my interest in prosecuting antitrust violators.

    The high-stakes nature of my work is what I enjoy most about my role. In many of my cases, billions of dollars are on the table, which makes achieving favourable results for clients that much more rewarding. I also enjoy working as part of a team at my firm, Robins Kaplan, particularly when I can inspire younger lawyers to shine on their own merit. I especially appreciate the opportunity to act as a role model to junior female attorneys to show them that women can succeed and lead blockbuster investigations, even in a male-dominated field, without losing their identity or acting in a way that is not true to themselves.

    Tight deadlines, worldwide depositions and intense legal arguments have a way of raising blood pressure for some. However, these challenges are what drive me to become a better attorney.

    In terms of case highlights, my role as co-lead counsel in In re Automotive Parts Antitrust Litigation has allowed me to be at the forefront of the largest global criminal antitrust investigation in US history; and as co-lead counsel in In re Air Cargo Shipping Antitrust Litigation, I’ve helped secure nearly $1 billion in recoveries for businesses harmed by a global price-fixing conspiracy, which has certainly been rewarding. I also had the opportunity to provide testimony regarding cartel enforcement before the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights for the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, which was a memorable experience. I’m equally proud to support women through extensive pro bono work, in which I represent indigent women and victims of domestic violence.

    Global investigations are a major talking point. Given the international scope of so many businesses today, antitrust investigations are no longer confined to the borders of the United States. Cartel investigations now span the globe.

    The Honourable Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been an inspiration. Her resilience astounds me. Even putting aside what it took to become the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court, she is a two-time cancer survivor, she served on the Law Review at a time when it was remarkable for a woman to even attend law school, and she went on to be a beacon in the profession even after no law firm would hire her because, as she put it, “to be a woman, a Jew, and a mother to boot…was a bit too much” for them. My career challenges seem trivial when I consider what she has overcome.

    Achieving gender equality is as relevant today as it was 23 years ago when I became a lawyer. Biases – conscious and unconscious – still exist, which makes advocating for equality more crucial than ever. Helping women, and all minorities in the workplace, cultivate their strengths as lawyers and future leaders goes a long way to ensuring parity and makes great business sense. It helps fuel a firm’s success by expanding its talent pool, and to me, is a win-win.

    My advice is applicable to all new lawyers, not only women. Get hands-on experience as often as you can. Take on pro bono cases to give back to communities and gain litigation skills. And at the end of the day, just be yourself. You will never advance in your career by pretending to be someone else.

    I was fortunate to grow up on the water and have sailing as part of my everyday life. I recently became a board member of Hudson River Community Sailing (HRCS), a non-profit organisation that develops leadership and academic success in underserved New York City youth through sailing education.

  • Isabel Franco

    Koury Lopes Advogados


    São Paulo


    I became an investigations specialist because I love investigations. It is a dynamic and fascinating activity within the world of anti-corruption and compliance.

    The aspect of my role that I enjoy most is the interaction with people who are being investigated. It is fascinating to be successful at finding what you are looking for. It is extremely rewarding. Investigation requires a lot of skills, the most important of which are the use of psychology, shrewdness, common sense, savviness, and several other people’s skills – all very enticing.

    Sometimes in our activities we are confronted with threats – some veiled and some very clear! It is important to know how to confront these threats and not be intimidated – especially when other members of your team are involved. We have to face real danger sometimes and I am always concerned for my team’s safety.

    There are several accomplishments of which I am humbly proud: In 2001 I was elected to become the first female chair of the New York State Bar Association (Section of International Law). That was a superb year in my life leading an incredible group of international lawyers. Then, in Brazil, the highlight of my practice was the nomination for the “Women of the Year” award by the most traditional women’s magazine Cláudia for my role in combating anti-corruption and compliance in the corporate world. Last but not least, I was voted, together with a colleague, as the top corporate anti-corruption and compliance counsel in Latin America by the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association (LACCA, a GIR sister organisation) in 2014.

    Investigators working in Brazil must understand Brazilian culture, which, when it comes to investigations and interviews, requires a lot of savoir-faire. If the investigator is able to understand Brazilian culture and apply its knowledge of Brazilian customs, he or she may be successful – but without this knowledge, the investigation is definitely doomed to fail.

    In the area of investigations specifically, I have learned a lot from my US counterparts – especially monitors of deferred prosecution agreements. Without mentioning names for fear of leaving important mentors out, I can guarantee that there have been fabulous inspirations among US lawyers and prosecutors at the FCPA unit of the Department of Justice who have contributed to an incredible advance in recent years of awareness of corruption in the corporate world.

    I have always been a passionate advocate of gender equality. In every activity in which I have ever been involved I have promoted equality, since I myself was the first woman in so many positions that I have had the fortune to take in my career. And people do not realise how important it still is to have people committed to equality. It is still a very challenging issue to this day.

    A piece of advice from my heart: never compromise who you really are. Never leave behind your own essential personality traits – you must be who you are and never allow anyone to require that you change. You will learn, improve, evolve but you should never compromise your inner self, your values and principles, just to satisfy others in your career. Be yourself and never allow anyone to undermine your self-esteem.

    When I was young, I wanted to be a ballerina. When I was six years old, after two years of lessons, I had my first audition at the São Paulo Municipal Theatre, the most important classic ballet school in Brazil. I was not accepted but did not feel defeated. In the following year, I had a private tutor for the whole year and practised intensively – only to fail again and be told that I was not allowed to try again. I am thankful as an adult that I learned how to deal with failure so early in my life! It was one of the toughest lessons that I learned and probably the best. I sincerely see failure in life as a challenge and opportunity to improve.

  • Janet Levine

    Crowell & Moring

    Partner and chair of the trial practice

    Los Angeles


    I have been a white-collar attorney for most of my career. Investigations are a critical and significant part of the work of white-collar lawyers. And they are fascinating and important; an investigation offers a window into a company and often a chance to proactively shape an entity’s future.

    What I like about my role: in investigations, sometimes discovering that things aren’t as bad as feared and other times helping clients solve today’s problems and prevent tomorrow’s.

    The main challenge of this role is the constant learning curve in what we do: different clients, different industries, different jurisdictions, different regulators and regulations. But, that is also one of the exciting parts of investigations; you are always learning and growing.

    A highlight of my career: the matters that aren’t public – the clients we successfully kept out of the news.

    Protecting privilege and conducting efficient yet effective investigations are the biggest talking points here.

    Last month the judge for whom I clerked, the Honourable Arthur Alarcon, passed away. He was a judge for 50 years and a lifelong government servant. He taught a generation of lawyers (including me) ethics, professionalism, creative legal thinking and concise writing, not to mention other key life lessons such as the importance of family and friends, and the need to mentor the next generation of lawyers. He was a huge advocate and sponsor of women in law.

    We all benefit from gender (and all) equality. The business world seems to be leading the legal world in this area.

    Get a broad range of experience, don’t show fear, don’t hesitate to take charge of matters, and challenge yourself with new experiences.

  • Jennifer Gillian Newstead

    Davis Polk & Wardwell


    New York


    I had opportunities early in my career at Davis Polk to work on high-profile white-collar investigation matters, and immediately found the practice interesting and challenging. The first case I worked on as a young associate almost 20 years ago ultimately became what was, for its time, the largest global criminal antitrust conspiracy ever prosecuted. When I left the firm for a time to work at the US Justice Department and in the White House, I broadened my experience in areas including financial fraud and anti-corruption. Since returning to the firm 10 years ago, I have focused on multi-jurisdictional investigations involving the FCPA, economic sanctions, securities, tax fraud, and other issues. I have always enjoyed the intensity, complexity and global nature of the investigations practice.

    When we represent a client on a large investigation matter, we often work closely with a range of individuals responsible for key aspects of a company’s legal, compliance and business operations. Our role may include strategic advice and advocacy; working closely with the client to proactively enhance compliance; and advising senior management and the board of directors on how to manage risk. These multiple roles make for an exciting and constantly varied legal practice.

    To be effective in my practice area, it is essential to understand a client’s business, in order to put facts and issues under investigation into the proper context and to enable us to provide the best legal advice. This can be challenging, but I enjoy learning the business fundamentals of a company and using that to enhance the quality of our work.         

    I’m very fortunate to have had opportunities to serve in senior roles in government, in the White House and at the DoJ. But the highlight to date was becoming a partner in Davis Polk’s white-collar investigations practice, which has over the years included some legends of the bar, some of whom I have been fortunate enough to have as colleagues and mentors.

    Two issues that are receiving a lot of attention are the strong focus by US prosecutors and regulators on coordination of their investigations with those of government authorities in other countries, and the increased focus on the quality of a company’s cooperation with the government investigation.

    There are many people who have inspired me, but first, my mother and grandmother, who each worked full-time as doctors while raising their children, and who seemed to effortlessly balance their professional and personal commitments. Second, the judges I was lucky enough to clerk for early in my career, and from whom I learned about dedication to both professional excellence and public service.

    I think it is essential that we try to ensure equal opportunity for men and women to succeed in the workplace. There is more to do, but I think great strides have been made toward that goal since I joined the bar.

    Women at the start of their careers should devote their full energies to whatever work they find most satisfying and engaging, and to consider public service as part of their long-term career plan.

    I love opera and go whenever I can.

  • Jennifer Kennedy Park

    Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton


    New York


    I’ve always enjoyed the opportunity to satisfy my curious nature through my profession. As an investigations specialist, I find enjoyment in continually compiling and synthesising pieces of the stories as the investigations run their course. Doing so in the context of high-profile matters makes it all the more exciting.

    The work is interesting – each new matter is a totally new area of the financial markets. I really enjoy that “newness” – it keeps the work challenging. I also truly enjoy how much personal interaction I get as an investigations specialist. I spend my time managing teams, interviewing witnesses and working with clients on solutions – not your traditional litigation life. Of those, working with clients on solutions is certainly the most rewarding. I like the feeling of working with a business that is struggling with regulatory scrutiny and helping them come out the better for it.

    There is growing competition among the global regulators, often times with multiple regulators examining the same conduct in parallel investigations. The media scrutiny and political pressure for there to be examples made of large financial institutions is challenging as well. The two things combined exponentially increase the challenge of handling large-scale cross-border investigations.

    Shepherding a major financial institution through the process of negotiating a multi-bank, multi-regulator cross-border settlement relating to the FX market has been a professional highlight. That the settlements were reached for the bank after only 12 months of investigatory work made it all the more of an achievement.

    Cooperation, cooperation, cooperation. What does it mean? How do you get credit for it? How do you balance the desire and need to cooperate with US authorities against foreign laws that may hinder such cooperation?

    My partner Lewis Liman has been a professional mentor and inspiration. His intellect and tireless work ethic are things I aspire to. Outside the law, my father is without question the person I aspire to be like most. He has always had his priorities in the right order.

    In my opinion, we need to be more creative about ways to achieve gender equality in the workplace, particularly at law firms. I’m particularly interested in debunking notions about why women hit the glass ceiling. I don’t think it’s because women choose family over work, as is commonly argued. Women and men, I hope, both value family over work. The question is how those in positions of authority view women’s commitment to family differently to men’s commitment. We need to speak more about how unconscious bias influences these views.

    Find multiple avenues of support and if the support isn’t there, create it. There is no one person who serves as the person I lean on for advice, counsel and comfort. I’ve got different people who fill different roles. And there have been times where I couldn’t readily find the support I needed and had to make a concerted effort to ensure I had it. For example, when I became a mother for the first time and was looking for greater support, I created a mother’s group in my practice area.

    Additionally, there were a few points in my career where I wish I had been a more vocal advocate for myself for getting certain opportunities that I needed instead of thinking that just saying “yes” to everything that came my way would get me ahead. I would encourage young female lawyers to seek out and make their own opportunities.

    My mother has worked at fast food restaurants for almost my entire life. She and my father, neither of whom are college educated, put three kids through graduate school. They taught me so much about the value of hard work. I couldn’t be more proud to be their daughter.

  • Jessie K Liu

    Jenner & Block


    Washington, DC


    As a junior associate, I left Jenner & Block to join the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia because I wanted to try cases. While there, I learned that cases can be lost or won on the thoroughness of an investigation, long before they ever see a courtroom. When I returned to Jenner in 2009, I found that the investigation skills I had developed in the government were in great demand, both in responding to government investigations of clients and in conducting internal investigations for clients seeking to ensure that they live up to their legal and ethical obligations.

    I appreciate the opportunity to help a client at the very beginning of a matter. Usually, when a call comes in from a client that has just received a government subpoena or a hotline call reporting allegations of wrongdoing, no one knows all the facts, and it’s up to me and my team to figure out what happened. Sometimes, the investigation takes us in a completely different direction than we ever anticipated.

    This is a very unpredictable job. I have no control over when a government will serve a subpoena or when a whistleblower will report alleged misconduct, and when that happens, clients typically want to get to the bottom of things right away. That could mean that I have to get on a plane later that day or that I have to rejig my schedule so I can spend parts of the next several weeks or months in another city. It can be disconcerting, but also exciting. 

    These days, the traditional Washington “three-branch problem” – a case that gets the attention of all three branches of government – seems to have grown extra branches. Recently, I’ve worked on a number of matters that have involved federal and state regulatory agencies, federal and state law enforcement agencies, private litigants, Congress, and the media, or some combination thereof. It’s more and more important to understand how all of these entities interact and how a strategic decision in one arena can affect the others.

    The judge for whom I clerked, Carolyn Dineen King of the Fifth Circuit has been an inspiration to me. She leaves no stone unturned in her efforts to get to the right answer.

    I am a huge proponent of sponsorship. Law is a tough profession. I think it is critical that more senior lawyers of both genders look for opportunities to sponsor talented women as well as men.

    A young female lawyer needs more senior attorneys to staff her on significant matters, introduce her to their clients or colleagues as a “go to” person, and advocate for her.

    I would advise other women to, first, find work they love and work hard at it. Second, don’t be afraid to ask for more responsibility. If the answer is no, ask what you can do to get ready so that next time, the answer is yes.

    One of my law partners and I, competing as “Team Texas”, recently won our office chilli cook-off. Our recipe was just beef and chillies – no beans, no tomatoes – in the true Texas tradition.

  • Jocelyn Strauber

    Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom


    New York


    I’ve had an interest in criminal investigations since law school. I’ve always been fascinated by the fact-finding process – how to figure out what happened and make sure we truly understand it. Before working at Skadden, I was a federal prosecutor in the US attorney’s office in Manhattan, where I investigated and prosecuted international narcotics and terrorism cases. That work deepened my interest and my investigative skills, which I still use in my work today. Although the subject matter I handle now is different, the basic approach to investigations is, in many ways, the same. 

    With each case, you have an opportunity to become an expert in a new subject matter. The legal framework may be familiar, but the particular business, product, market or problem is new. I enjoy that learning process, as well as the process of clearly and persuasively presenting complex subjects, to obtain the best possible outcome for our clients.

    The challenges are really what make this work most interesting – dealing with complex subject matter that requires a close study in order to fully understand. Many of our clients are multinational corporations and institutions that may face law enforcement and regulatory investigations in multiple countries simultaneously, which adds another layer of complexity.

    The international narcotics and terrorism prosecutions I supervised as a federal prosecutor stand out as career highlights thus far. These include the cases against Faisal Shahzad, who attempted to bomb Times Square in Manhattan in May of 2010, and Mansour Arbabsiar, who participated in a plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States in the fall of 2011. These successful prosecutions are a testament to the tremendously skilled investigative work of the men and women of the New York City Police Department, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    One of the biggest talking points is the increasing international coordination between the US and countries worldwide in the prosecution of multinational financial institutions and corporations across all areas, including corrupt practices, market manipulation, tax fraud, price-fixing and sanctions violations.

    The late Chief Justice of the United States, William H Rehnquist, for whom I clerked, has been an inspiration to me. He was a brilliant and thoughtful jurist with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law, whose opinions provided clear rules that could be easily understood by lawyers and non-lawyers alike. Equally important, he was a truly good human being who was deeply committed to his friends and family and to a well-balanced life outside of the practice of law.

    I think the best way to promote gender equality is to give women and men the same opportunities – challenging work, significant responsibilities, and contact with clients and more senior colleagues.

    Run with every opportunity that is given to you to develop and deepen your skills. Have confidence in yourself. Do not worry in the early stages about how to balance work with family or other responsibilities that you may have in the future – it is easier to live your way into those answers than to try to figure it out in advance.

     I am a devoted country music fan.

  • Jodi Misher Peikin

    Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello


    New York


    I have been interested in criminal law and the investigative process since I was on my high school’s mock trial team. I always found it fascinating to review information and documents from various sources and individuals and pull all the relevant pieces together to create a cogent and persuasive argument of the events at issue.

    It is hard for me to say what I like most about my role, but clearly at the top of the list is being able to assist my clients through what in almost all cases is a terrifying and unknown process. Most of my clients have never been in the position before of being investigated by regulators or prosecutors, and although I can never fully take away the shame and fear that most of my clients have, I like that I can offer them some comfort simply by being available whenever they need to talk and by mapping out a plan for moving forward.   

    I think the most difficult part of my job is watching lives and families destroyed by the stresses and strains of being under investigation or being charged. I also find it very painful to watch my clients, most of whom have been law-abiding citizens all their lives, try to come to terms with the reality of the situation they are facing.  

    It is hard to pinpoint one particular event, although certainly one of the highlights of my career was participating in a high-profile representation in which an indictment was issued, yet we were able to persuade the prosecutors not to move forward with the case. The more truthful answer to this question, however, is that I am most proud of the cases in which my clients were initially investigated but ultimately were never charged and thus virtually no one knows about the matters.

    The biggest talking point in my jurisdiction is the standard for insider trading in cases involving remote tippees. 

    Although my father practised an entirely different type of law, I was always inspired by his hard work and devotion to his clients and knew from an early age that I wanted to follow in his footsteps and be a lawyer. Beyond that, in the over 20 years that I have been at my firm, I have been inspired by the group of incredibly talented lawyers with whom I have worked since I was a very young lawyer. 

    I am strongly in favour of promoting gender equality in the workplace and hiring and keeping talented women. I have been at my firm since 1993 and became a principal in 2000, and in all that time, I never have believed that my firm has had any issues in this respect. 

    I would advise other women to understand going in that being an excellent lawyer requires hard work and an extraordinary amount of diligence and attention to detail. I also would tell women considering the criminal and regulatory world that hours are often unpredictable and long, but a career in the field is rewarding on many levels. Finally, I would suggest that if they have any issues along the way, they should speak up and talk to those people with whom they most often work, as in most cases you can come to some solution that makes everyone happy.

    I have been at the same firm my entire career and hope to finish my career here. Additionally, although my firm generally is known as a firm that specialises in white-collar criminal defence, for many years I was involved in a case in which I represented a woman who was convicted of murder. My firm did not handle the initial trial, but rather got involved after she was convicted, and ultimately we assisted the woman in obtaining parole. 

  • Jodi Wu

    Kirkland & Ellis

    Washington, DC


    I entered law school knowing that I wanted to start my career in the white-collar area. From there, my specialisation in investigations developed, in part, because of the firm’s needs. Kirkland represents a number of multinational corporations that require counsel who have the expertise to manage large-scale investigations that span multiple countries. 

    I most enjoy advising clients and helping companies navigate the complex regulatory and legal requirements that they face on a daily basis. It’s both challenging and rewarding assisting clients with developing practical solutions that balance the needs of their business with compliance with laws.

    Not every problem has the same solution – there is no one-fix solution – and a big challenge is finding the right solution for a specific client. That process can often be difficult, but it’s what makes the job so interesting and rewarding.

    A highlight of my career has been getting to work in different jurisdictions all across the globe, including China, India, Switzerland, Brazil and Saudi Arabia.   

    In the FCPA space, there has been a growing focus on the risks of acquiring foreign business and the adequacy of due diligence conducted with respect to those acquisitions. The recent penalty against Goodyear has shined a spotlight on making sure that companies do enough diligence work on potential acquisitions to make sure they know what they are buying.

    It is important to have all voices at the table. People’s backgrounds and experiences allow them to bring different perspectives to a problem and allow us to come up with creative solutions to challenges facing clients. This is especially important when you are working with clients across the globe who need innovative solutions to unique problems.

    Always do your best work. No one will invest resources in you if you don’t put in the work. Navigating the legal profession is not easy, and you should identify allies and mentors from both genders to help you be successful, but you have to prove you are worth their time first.

    Before becoming a lawyer, I produced documentary films. That background has actually been quite beneficial for me – the interview and management skills I learned working in films have helped me be successful in conducting large-scale investigations.

  • Judith Seddon

    Clifford Chance




    I started life as a criminal defence lawyer in 1997, dealing with people at the sharp end of criminal investigations. I enjoy the narrative of investigations, meeting a wide range of different people and the insight and understanding you gain into different aspects of people's lives, businesses and their operations, as well as uncovering and resolving issues.

    My work means helping clients in the most difficult situations they may ever face – when reputations, businesses and, in the case of individuals, livelihoods or liberty may be at stake. Obtaining a positive outcome – be it a criminal charge being dropped or a successful settlement that allows a business to continue operating – is hugely rewarding.

    Challenges can come in different forms – difficult, aggressive regulators or prosecutors, and sometimes the practical challenges of the immense time pressures that can be imposed during investigations.

    It is difficult to give any one highlight of my career – obviously obtaining recognition through my elevation to partnership at Clifford Chance is one; however, achieving a great result for a client particularly at the end of a lengthy investigation is something that always gives me huge satisfaction.

    A major talking point: privilege and its scope, particularly in internal investigations.

    My husband has been an inspiration because of his unwavering courage and dedication to representing his clients to the best of his ability; and his hard work and the preparation he always put into doing so.

    Gender equality is incredibly important in the workplace, both in terms of the employees who are there and also the clients we represent. I place a great deal of importance on encouraging women to believe that they can achieve their potential.

    I would advise women to ensure that they do everything to the best of their ability, to take every opportunity to gain experience and expertise at the start of their careers and to identify someone more senior within the organisation who can act as a sponsor.

    I had my own ice cream business for a summer, making and selling my own homemade ice cream from a tricycle on Islington Green! The following September I joined Clifford Chance, which I quickly realised was a better way of making a living!

  • Judy Krieg

    Former CCO (Rolls-Royce), FSA enforcement lawyer and law firm partner

    I love working with a team and putting together the pieces of the puzzle. There are few things in life more satisfying than the “aha!” moments.

    What I like most about the role: when a whistleblower comes directly to you. Even when they retain anonymity, it’s a compliment when they trust you to look into their concerns.

    The main challenges of the role: helping business leaders take the right decisions when an investigation turns up lots of red flags but no absolute smoking gun. A close second is dealing with the internal politics of investigations. 

    I’ve had the good (or bad) luck of having in-house roles when significant investigation issues have arisen. It’s happened more than once. 

    There is a lot of speculation about deferred prosecution agreements. I think like most US imports, the reality in the UK will look quite different to the US model. I also expect that attorney–client privilege for internal investigation materials – particularly first interviews of witnesses – will get increased attention in the UK.

    I’ve had some real life examples of what Winston Churchill said about courage (that it is knowing when to stand up and speak, and when to sit down and listen). Unfortunately I can’t name names.

    Gender equality in the workplace is like companies that have “integrity” or “honesty” as a core value. Everyone agrees on the concept. Making it a reality is the tough part.

    Have a life outside of the office. Complex investigations – particularly the high-profile ones – have a way of taking over as much of your life as you let them. Make sure you are always doing something to take care of yourself. 

    Also remember that investigations involve real people. And often scared people. To quote Oscar Wilde: "The truth is rarely pure, and never simple." Good people sometimes do bad things. A little bit of empathy goes a long way.

    I used to play ice hockey. Badly. It was one thing I enjoyed doing even though I was no good at it. It’s amazing what you’ll do with enough protective padding.

  • Julia Gorham

    DLA Piper


    Hong Kong


    From the very earliest point in my career in London as a junior lawyer I was regularly involved in internal investigations, primarily for financial services clients. At the time, disputes, grievances and litigation were rife and many organisations faced high-value, lengthy and complex allegations that required legal assistance to investigate and manage. From that point onwards this became a core part of my practice. My move in-house coincided with a sea change in regulatory scrutiny and an unprecedented volume of internal investigation was required to meet regulatory enquiries and manage potential litigation risk.

    What I like most about the role: getting my clients solutions to their issues that make sense for their businesses within the context of the challenges they are facing.

    Investigations work is a necessary evil – they are generally on a reactive basis and are very time-consuming. I am always acutely aware that the business does not want to spend its time and money dealing with issues that will not directly help or progress its business aims. Remembering that helps you try to manage cases effectively with the client's interests in mind.

    I get most enjoyment when my clients tell me when I've done a good job for them. If someone tells you that they enjoyed working with you and you helped them out, then you feel like the hard work is worth it. Additionally, being awarded in-house counsel of the year 2014 by the Asian Lawyer was also quite rewarding to be recognised for the work we do behind the scenes.

    The biggest talking point: Previously we saw this primarily from the European and US regulators but now it’s coming from every corner.

    Apart from the lawyers who have mentored me during my career… I am continually inspired by those who selflessly do good for others – for example those volunteering to work on the frontline with Ebola – that’s a level of sacrifice and selflessness we can all learn from.

    Employers have learned to spot direct and obvious gender inequality but they now need to turn their attention to unconscious bias in the workplace (words, gestures, manner of speech etc), which is harder to spot but still exists – people should not have to work in an environment that inadvertently tolerates inequality.

    To women at the start of their careers: don’t over think it. Do a good job, be pragmatic, relevant and level-headed – the rest will come naturally.

    I grew up in Africa and did a course to qualify as a safari guide in South Africa – very useful in the urban jungle!

  • Kareena Teh



    Hong Kong


    Many of the issues encountered in investigations have the potential to seriously undermine my clients’ reputations, operations and security of assets. They are what keep them awake at night.

    Challenges are par for the course in investigations. They are what make it such an interesting yet rewarding area of practice.

    I can mention two significant milestones. The first highlight was becoming a self-employed barrister in New Zealand in 1994, with only five years’ post-qualification experience as an employed solicitor, so that I could be a specialist advocate in both civil and criminal matters. During that time, it caused a stir within the profession in the city I worked in as only senior litigation partners in firms (the majority of whom were men) dared to venture down this path. By 2002 when I gave up self-employment as a barrister for the next phase of my career in Hong Kong, a few other young lawyers (men and women) had joined me as self-employed barristers to make their own fate. The second highlight was in 2013, when I became the first (and at that time the only) woman solicitor to be granted higher rights of audience, a recently established designation, which gave me the privilege to represent my clients in civil matters at all levels of Hong Kong’s judicial system.

    Enforcement actions and investigations in China by the Chinese authorities have been very topical since President Xi Jinping launched China’s anti-graft campaign in December 2012 and Chinese authorities started in June 2013 to investigate the operations of a number of multinational life science companies. The biggest talking point right now is where the Chinese authorities are going to go next, and whether companies in other industries are equally at risk.

    Justice John Fogarty QC of the High Court of New Zealand, who was my mentor and the head of the barristers’ chambers that I practised from as a barrister in New Zealand has been an inspiration to me. He taught me the importance of strategic and clear thinking, having a strong foundation in the law, and mastery of the facts. For all his brilliance, he was an incredibly humble man who would be surprised that he had such an impact on me – someone who was only a junior barrister who had the privilege of working with him.

    I support gender equality in every facet of life, not just at work. I believe society as a whole, not just organisations, should promote gender equality, and that men and women should be provided with equal opportunities in life.

    Women should focus on the journey and not just the end goal, and try to obtain as much experience as they can in the various aspects of legal practice, leaving specialisation for later. As a litigator who ran both civil and criminal cases, I received a broad grounding in various aspects of contentious legal work and acquired a wide range of skills and expertise. This gave me a lot of options and flexibility in practice. It has also exposed me to a wide range of people from different walks of life, which has been extremely helpful in the investigations I have conducted. They should also try to learn as much as they can from different people, and to seek out and adopt mentors, whether men or women, who inspire and enlighten them. In the earlier part of my career, I was blessed to have a number of such mentors who positively influenced and shaped my career. Perhaps it was a reflection of the time and place, but all of them were men.

    I became a litigator by accident. As a Malaysian Chinese woman completing my LLB degree in New Zealand in 1988, I never thought that I would have the necessary skills or confidence to become a litigator. Back then, there were not many Chinese women lawyers in New Zealand, much less litigators. However, I needed a job to stay in the city where my future husband lived at the time, and the only legal position that was available to me was in litigation. I found that I took to it like a duck to water, loved all aspects of it, and never looked back. The lesson is that one never knows what one is truly capable of if one does not try.

  • Karen Popp

    Sidley Austin LLP

    Partner and head of the white collar: government litigation & investigations group

    Washington, DC


    I enjoy work that involves finding the facts, applying the law and counselling the client on the many ramifications coming out of the investigations conclusions. The work is never boring; indeed, it is fascinating.

    I have conducted dozens of internal investigations on a wide range of legal issues in more than 60 countries around the world in the last 16 years. I started doing investigations as a federal prosecutor in New York in the early 1990s. At the White House as associate counsel to President Clinton, I worked on investigations defending the president during his second term. My practice at Sidley since leaving the White House has been predominately internal and government investigations work.

    The work is interesting, challenging and global. It is high stakes and often during a time of crisis management for the client. I am never bored!

    One of the most critical challenges of being a good investigator is to have an open mind and to be fair in your reaction to what you see – you’ve got to follow the evidence where it takes you and you have to be very organised. Often, the evidence is circumstantial. Thus, “connecting the dots” in a fair way is crucial to determining what actually happened. If you reach conclusions too quickly, you may miss something. On the flip side, you don’t want to go “down every rabbit hole”. It takes discipline, good judgment and experience to make these decisions.

    I have had the privilege of representing major US and non-US corporations, senior executives and government officials, including a US president, a US presidential cabinet member and other senior officials, in major cutting-edge matters. My other jobs on Wall Street, as a federal prosecutor, and in the Office of Legal Counsel at the US Department of Justice, have been extremely rewarding and have given me the opportunity to work on historic matters.

    I have had a number of mentors and roles models in my professional career, but my parents have been my biggest inspiration. My dad, a former college and NFL football coach, grew up the son of a steel mill worker who was a first-generation American. He was the first to go to college and enjoyed a very successful career. My mom stayed home and “was in charge of everything off the football field”, as my dad often said. After my brothers and I were grown, my mom founded a ladies shoe store chain, owned several other businesses and became a business leader, helping to revitalise the main street in the town my parents retired to. She was the first woman to receive the annual business leader award in that community.

    My parents raised my brothers and me to put family first, and to believe that we could be whatever we wanted if we worked hard, were committed to our goals and believed in ourselves. Perhaps their greatest lesson was giving us the freedom and encouragement to pursue the careers that would make us happy.

    I was raised to believe in gender equality. As a lawyer, I’ve been involved in promoting gender equality in various ways. At Sidley, I am one of the founding members of the women’s committee that champions the recruitment, retention and promotion of women at the firm. I co-founded (in 1999) and chair the Women’s White-Collar Defence Association. We have more than 700 members in 16 locations around the world. I am also on the board of WILEF – the Women in Law Empowerment Forum – an organisation that promotes gender equality in the legal workplace.

    My dedication, drive and passion extends to my family – some people might not know that I play (at home) as hard as I work. I strive to be good at balancing both!

  • Kathleen Hamann

    White & Case


    Washington, DC


    I was assigned to be the anti-fraud officer, which included field investigations, on my first tour in the Foreign Service. I really enjoyed it, even though it was very different from what the Foreign Service usually does – I followed that path and never looked back.

    I love the cutting-edge issues and challenges of a legal arena that is crossing into new frontiers every day. I have been witness to amazing leaps forward in transnational criminal law, which didn’t even exist as a field when I first began doing investigations over 20 years ago.

    Most of the challenges of my role are the reasons why I love it – dealing with transnational issues, conflict of laws, often having no clear answers or guidance, trying to solve the puzzle of what happened, and the constant travel.

    It’s hard to select just one highlight of my career, but working closely with the medical device companies and their trade associations in their pioneering efforts to raise the bar in compliance across the board has been very rewarding. It started as an investigation, but the industry made some truly transformative changes, improving the delivery of health care in a number of countries.

    Think broadly. When there is potential misconduct in transnational white collar, you can almost guarantee that there is more than one law and more than one jurisdiction at issue. You can’t only address one – for example, determining that there is no violation of the FCPA – and then stop.

    I have worked with many incredible people over the years. Ambassador Mary Ryan, the first woman to reach the rank of career ambassador, and Jack Lacy, a dedicated prosecutor, both taught me to bring compassion to everyone involved in an investigation. But those who inspire me most are too numerous to name – all the people who have come before me, who sacrificed and risked so much to do what I do, so that I can do it without fear.

    To me, it is less about gender equality and more about embracing difference and diversity, in all its forms. For example, I came to transnational crime through foreign policy, rather than the traditional route, and I have been treated unequally because of that just as I have been treated unequally because of my gender. Variations in career paths, histories, education, gender, culture, socioeconomic background, race, ethnicity – all of these differences make teams more creative, more capable of seeing the entire picture, and ultimately more effective. We need to encourage difference wherever we can.

    There are so many different things you can do, and it’s hard to know which one will actually be fulfilling. Don’t be afraid of trying something outside your skillset. Don’t be afraid of varying your path from the norm or bucking conventional wisdom if you think it will make you happier – I demoted myself (twice) to do something I enjoyed more. Find what motivates you – solving puzzles, making money, serving the public, helping companies, travelling – and embrace it.

    I run an annual Six Nations Rugby pool and am a huge fan of the Leicester Tigers.

  • Kathleen Harris

    Arnold and Porter

    Partner and co-chair of the anti-corruption practice



    I enjoy getting to the heart of matters and if you do an investigation well, it tends to be multi-faceted, challenging and has a diverse range of topics. You have the joy of learning new things as each investigation is different, while polishing and enhancing your existing skills.

    I enjoy meeting a diverse group of people and the fact that no two cases are the same so there is always a new challenge.

    The challenges tend to vary due to the nature of the work. Some days it can be managing the time differences as most of my cases are multi-jurisdictional, and other days it is finding time to rest.

    As you get older you realise there have been many highlights, but for me it was making a successful transition from government practice to private practice.

    As we approach a general election in the UK, many wonder if we will have a change of government and the impact that may have on the approach to addressing financial crime and fraud.

    There are so many inspiring people who I can think of that have fought for fairness, equality and integrity that I greatly admire and who have inspired me. During the last few years I have had the great pleasure of working with Brendan V Sullivan and his team at Williams and Connolly, you can’t help but feel inspired! They work hard, have great ethics and are motivating to be around. My boys are also a constant inspiration to me as I learn about the world through their eyes – it might not all be the inspiration I would want but nevertheless, it does constantly inspire me.

    As a woman, you have to keep trying to address barriers and not be viewed as the “exception” to the rule but strive to be part of the norm. I would say that you need to be prepared to work hard, listen, be patient and select an area of law that you genuinely enjoy. You have to work for a long time. If you plan to have children, don’t wait for the ideal time as there really isn’t one.

    After my boys, my priorities include my two wonderful golden doodles and becoming a great baker.

  • Kathryn Cameron Atkinson

    Miller & Chevalier

    Member and chair of the international department

    Washington, DC


    At the family dinner table, my father discussed his work and travels for a foreign multinational corporation, and sometimes brought us with him on trips. It inspired me to pursue international studies and work. I am interested in how differences across companies and countries – and how they are addressed or ignored – can influence the success or failure of business initiatives and create legal and business risk. International investigations explore that question – we look not only at individual actions, but what factors influenced them. If you can understand those factors, you can take steps to address them going forward.

    What I like about my job is that I learn about different companies, industries and countries, the unique cultures of each, and how those cultures combine to positive or negative effect. I work daily with the question that drew me to international work in the first place - how can we effectively communicate across languages and cultures? There is always room for improvement. Each situation we consider offers a new nuance to the question, and an opportunity to devise a better answer.

    The main challenge of the role is also the main draw – communicating effectively, pushing past preconceptions and implicit or explicit biases to understand what really happened, and why, and how we can do better.

    I was selected as one of the first women to serve as an independent compliance monitor following KBR’s settlement of FCPA violations. Monitorships emphasise “verify” over “trust” and require a shift in perspective from our normal client work. The experience improved my ability to take a hard look at client programmes and spot vulnerabilities.

    A continuing area of focus given the multi-jurisdictional nature of the investigations is managing privilege and privacy concerns.

    My husband has an amazing work ethic and conscious integrity as a prosecutor, which inspires me to work harder and better. My colleagues at Miller & Chevalier make that easy to do, because I can always count on a team effort that prizes efficient excellence.

    Gender equality in the workplace can only be achieved if we achieve it in society more generally. You can’t separate the two. We’ve had over 25 years of gender balance in law school graduation rates, but have been stalled for over a decade at less than 25 per cent of equity partners in law firms being female. There are so many factors that drive those statistics. We need to be vigilant and talk about biases and expectations that undermine equality.

    I would advise women to pay close attention from day one to what inspires them, and what doesn’t. You will need to push yourself past your comfort zone at times, but you need to be aware of that zone because it is hard to sustain a career if you’re outside it too much of the time. It’s hard to appreciate when you start out just how long a career lasts; you need a good internal compass to guide you.

    I’m an assistant soccer referee. The tensions that can arise during investigations are nothing compared to dealing with parents on the sidelines!

  • Katya Jestin

    Jenner & Block


    New York


    Becoming an investigator was the natural next step after my time as a federal prosecutor. I am experienced in finding the facts, assessing the risks for my clients and advocating for them with the government.  

    Typically, investigations result from either the discovery that an employee is suspected of wrongdoing or the receipt of a subpoena from the government. These situations can be fraught with extreme stress and anxiety; I find it highly gratifying to guide our corporate clients through the investigative process and assist them in ferreting out the facts, all with the goal of emerging a better, sounder institution for it.

    Generally, each case presents its own unique challenges. The challenge might be in advising the client to make difficult HR decisions, or in negotiating with aggressive prosecutors.

    Receiving the Jenner & Block mentor award is one highlight in my career. Jenner boasts the most intelligent and gifted group of associates that I have ever come across; to be recognised and honoured by them was very meaningful to me.

    This has been a talking point for awhile – but the evolution of prosecutors into regulators.   Prosecutors now can play a significant role in the day-to-day operations of companies, whether through merely the dictates of a DPA, or through the appointment of a corporate monitor.

    My mother is an inspiration to me. She was a single parent when she went to law school, and she helped to pave the way for women in BigLaw. As I was growing up, it was never a question for me of “what is possible” – it was always a question of “what do I want to do”. She is a force of nature. And my husband. He is an incredible journalist who is unrelenting in his search for facts and truth, and wonderfully supportive at home.

    There is a lot of opportunity in BigLaw to promote greater gender equality: bring women to pitches; staff them on critical matters; pay them fairly. On that last point, in my experience, women can be poor advocates for their own compensation. The compensation setters at firms should take note, and pay fairly. And a related point – women should be smart about assignments, both billable and non-billable. Look for the challenging work, push yourself to get out of your comfort zone. And with respect to non-billable and committee work, avoid taking on all the more touchy-feely assignments at the office (morale committees, etc). It takes time from your own business development and BigLaw does not always compensate you fairly for it.

    Women can have it all. Believe in yourself.

    My husband and I collect modern art and mid-century modern furniture.

  • Kelly Austin

    Gibson Dunn & Crutcher


    Hong Kong


    I have always loved the fact-finding aspect of investigations: putting the pieces together from multiple sources to arrive at a whole.

    I practise with fantastic colleagues on a wide range of compliance and regulatory matters across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The work is always interesting!

    I have a very global practice, so working across multiple time zones and cultures is a constant challenge.

    Opening the Hong Kong office for Gibson Dunn in 2010 was a highlight of my career.

    For Asia investigations, we are increasingly focused on local enforcement of country-specific requirements. Leading an investigation today requires a granular understanding of local laws and regulations and a global perspective.

    I was fortunate to work for Ellen Segal Huvelle – then a partner at Williams & Connolly and now a judge on the US District Court for the District of Columbia – when I was right out of college. Ellen is an exceptional lawyer, and she ably balanced a top-notch litigation practice and a busy family. She has always been a role model.

    I spend a great deal of time on diversity initiatives, both within Gibson Dunn and externally. I strongly believe that women bring a valuable perspective to the work place and the boardroom.

    Be open to a wide range of experiences. If you had asked me when I graduated from law school where I would be in 20 years, I never would have said leading an investigations practice in Asia. I’ve had a series of experiences – a broad-based US litigation practice, a stint managing a children’s literacy non-profit, a role leading compliance and litigation for General Electric in Asia – that I believe combine to make me a better lawyer.

    My family has a home in New Zealand. Spending time there is the perfect antidote to life in Hong Kong.

  • Kimberly Parker



    Washington, DC


    I started out thinking I wanted to be an appellate litigation specialist, but once I started doing investigations, I got hooked on the process of piecing together a story. I was a journalist at university and I have always liked looking for clues in documents and drawing out the details of the story from witnesses, some of whom may even have different recollections of the same events. 

    What I like most about my role: getting out of my office and spending time with people at the client, learning about the challenges of doing business in different parts of the world.

    The main challenge of this role is balancing the need to be thorough, with the necessity to be cost-efficient. This involves making smart, strategic choices in an investigation and knowing that you can’t do everything, and that in most investigations you don’t need to. 

    Negotiating with the US government to resolve a sensitive FCPA investigation for one of my clients was a career highlight. It was a case where we did not expect the positive result we were able to get.

    The impact of whistleblowers on investigations is a big talking point. There are more whistleblowers than ever thanks to the Dodd-Frank legislation, and the enforcement agencies seem more reluctant to close a case when there is a whistleblower even if the company has spent a lot of time investigating the issues.

    I had the great fortune to work with one of the pioneers of the FCPA bar, Roger Witten, from the early days of my career. He is not only one of the wisest lawyers out there, but he pushed clients to accept me in a first-chair role, which helped me enormously in my career. And he set an amazing example as someone who balanced a demanding career with a commitment to family.

    Law firms have made great strides on gender equality, but there is still more work to do.  Firms have to make conscious decisions to put women in leadership roles and to promote promising women to their important institutional clients. I’ve been fortunate that my firm has done this for me and for others.

    Mentors can come in unlikely places. It isn’t always the lawyer that is most like you that will be your best mentor.

    My favourite food is sushi and I collect sushi-themed toys, which I use to decorate my office.

  • Kristine Robidoux QC

    Gowling Lafleur Henderson



    Upon completing law school, I practised exclusively in the area of criminal defence for seven years, before I went in-house as a general counsel, and later as a compliance and ethics officer. The criminal background lends itself very well to an investigations practice since the principles of project scope, methodology, collection of evidence and witness interviews are vital to both types of practice. When you see how frequently evidence is excluded by the criminal courts due to improper investigative procedures, you really learn how to ensure robust and credible methodologies in an internal investigation.

    I am a “hybrid” lawyer – both litigator and business lawyer in equal parts. I enjoy drawing on the skills from both facets, and in particular, using ethics and compliance as an effective means for avoiding litigation. It means that I tend to bring a very practical approach to compliance, which ensures more seamless integration and acceptance by the business.

    Often, where there’s smoke there’s fire, and therefore the main challenge remains one whereby we conduct investigations that lead to a need to deliver bad news of compliance weaknesses or failures. The upside of this challenge is that corporations can and should see the identification of such failures as opportunities to remediate them and ensure compliant behaviour going forward.

    The highlight has been working with the special committee and board of directors of Griffiths Energy International (now Glencore) in connection with that company’s internal investigation and resolution of criminal corruption charges in 2013. That case represented the first-ever voluntary disclosure and negotiated resolution of foreign corruption charges in Canada. The courage and diligence of that board in confronting head-on the serious issues it was facing has in my view set the bar very high for Canadian companies in similar difficulties, and I was proud to have been able to accompany them on every step of that precedent-setting journey. 

    In Canada, the topic that I am discussing with clients most frequently is in relation to the value proposition for conducting internal investigations promptly and effectively when allegations of corporate wrongdoing are raised. Corporate directors in Canada are realising that good, bad or ugly, they cannot afford not to know what is going on in the field, and we are being asked more and more to conduct investigations as important fact-finding or insurance missions against future enforcement action.

    My daughter Wesley, 13, is an inspiration to me. She challenges me every day to be better at what I do. She has made me “to-do” lists on the white board in my office, reminding me to clean my office, finish my work and “be awesome”. I try to achieve that every day!

    In terms of gender equality, law firms need to do a better job of helping women develop and improve business development skills, and should ensure that client and industry teams are as diverse as possible.

    I would advise women that are just starting out to join networks – both internal and external, as well as formal and informal. Learn how to self-promote and do it fearlessly. Take on projects that require you to stretch. Write papers and get on the speaking circuit.

    I spend a lot of time pouring through publicly available corporate information to know and understand as much as I possibly can about my clients even before I start working for them, and this continues throughout and after the engagement. I have several dozen active “Google-Alerts” to identify any media attention on any of my clients, even those for whom I stopped working years ago!

  • Laura Marshall

    Hunton & Williams


    Washington, DC


    My focus in investigations started with the reason I went to law school. My goal was to become a prosecutor and I spent 15 years as a line assistant United States attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia. I enjoyed being part of the case at the outset and working with investigators to develop the evidence and strategy for prosecution. I left public service ready for a new challenge and came to Hunton & Williams to enhance the firm’s white-collar and internal investigations practice.

    I enjoy the window into the inner workings of the company that my investigations work provides. When asked to conduct an internal investigation, you inevitably gain insight into a corporation’s culture, strategic goals and business model. This allows me to provide well-informed advice to the client long after the initial crisis has passed.

    The main challenge is making sure that the investigation you conduct is not attached to any one outcome. At times, the results of an internal investigation lead to a voluntary disclosure to a government agency. It is critical for the client that the investigation be handled with a high level of credibility attached to the results. This allows you to make the disclosure relying on the results of your internal investigation. The worst thing you can do as counsel is present an incomplete or predisposed investigation to the government and expect a good outcome. The goal should always be to develop the facts as accurately as possible, and then look for compelling ways to mitigate or avoid repercussions for your client.

    The highlight of my career so far was receiving a Director’s Award from the United Secret Service upon leaving the US Attorney’s Office in 2013. This award comes at the request of federal agents and is typically given based on a specific case. I come from a family with a tradition in law enforcement. As a result, I always made it a priority to maintain strong relationships with case agents and respect their mission and sacrifice. The Director’s Award was not for one specific case, but based on years of working with the Secret Service to reduce fraud and identity theft in the community, so it was particularly meaningful to me.

    The biggest issue in investigations right now is the need for clients to be mindful of the importance of attorney–client privilege. I encourage my clients to be proactive about rooting out internal problems and deficiencies in their operations and procedures. However, this needs to be done thoughtfully and at the direction of counsel. I recently came across a civil enforcement action where excerpts from a report prepared by an outside consultant were quoted in a civil action against a company executive. Companies should seek confidential advice from their counsel about particularly sensitive matters that could lead to enforcement actions and litigation.

    My law partner, Lisa Sotto, is a renowned privacy expert and also the managing partner of our New York office. She had the foresight many years ago to identify an emerging area of law and then made it her mission to become an expert in the field. As the head of the firm’s Global Privacy practice, she is a sharp businesswoman and tireless in her dedication to her clients. Joining a law firm from the government is essentially like starting a new business, granted, with the safety net of a firm behind you. Lisa has inspired me to approach business development with tenacity and the adage that top-quality work for value will beget new clients.

    The best way to promote gender equality in the workplace – especially in a law firm setting – is through commercial success. Many industries have an ingrained and often unintentional bias that results in women being paid less than men with the same metrics. Having women in leadership roles is the best way to bring these sensitive issues to the forefront. I am very fortunate to be at a firm where women are managing offices and playing critical roles in the management structure.

    I would give women at the start of their careers the advice that was most helpful to me – steer your own ship. You have to create your own opportunities and seek out mentors and advocates. I have seen women struggle with waiting to be recognised for their hard work or hoping to be tapped for more responsibility. My advice is to know your worth and not be afraid to toot your own horn if an opportunity presents itself. I would also encourage women to take more risks, especially at the early stages of your career. The best decisions are often ones that come from a healthy touch of audacity.

    I was a walk-on athlete on the track team at University of Virginia and ran competitively for the team in my last three years in college. Looking back, I am not sure what possessed me to think I was Division I material based on the modest success I had in high school. Once I made the team, however, I didn’t know any better than to just go with the pack and keep up. That experience taught me a lesson that has stayed with me since. You never know what can be achieved until you put it all on the line.

  • Leila Babaeva

    Miller & Chevalier

    Senior associate

    Washington, DC


    I have always been interested in anti-corruption work, and a critical component of this work deals with investigations. As a result, I’ve devoted a lot of time to honing my fact-finding and investigative skills.

    I find the work to be exciting and challenging – it draws on a variety of disciplines outside law, including forensic accounting, anthropology and psychology. It requires me to both focus and maintain a broad perspective. I also get to travel widely and learn about different industries and cultures; boring days are rare.

    One challenge is satisfying the various stakeholders in an investigation. There is a delicate balance between following up on worthwhile leads and being thorough, but doing so in a way that is considerate of the client's business operations and in line with local law. A specific example of this difficult balance is the pressure to extract and transfer company data pursuant to a US government investigation while complying with data privacy and national security laws. While US authorities generally understand the local law restrictions on data collection, they are wary of companies using such restrictions as an excuse not to share information. It is important to tread carefully to satisfy the expectations of US regulators without putting the client in legal or political jeopardy abroad.

    Being able to leverage my background, including my language skills, for client investigations has been a source of great enjoyment and pride; on a recent work trip, almost none of the client's employees were comfortable being interviewed in English, and it was gratifying to be able to lead interviews in their native language, without losing the time or resources for a translator.

    The complexity of investigations today and the pressure to be seen to “cooperate” is a big talking point. Companies who are under investigation by the US government or who are contemplating the disclosure of issues to US authorities increasingly have to consider the prospect of parallel enforcement by other countries. The success of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention has created a multi-jurisdictional enforcement environment. Also, the US government has put a premium on the prosecution of individual defendants of late, which has led enforcement officials to demand that companies turn over evidence on culpable employees to receive cooperation credit.

    I am always inspired by those who are at the peak of their professions and yet continue to approach each new project with energy and enthusiasm. My parents have this mindset, and I'm lucky to work with many such individuals at Miller & Chevalier. This kind of work ethic produces creativity and ingenuity and it motivates me to avoid complacency as I hone my own skills.

    I am a big believer in the value of training on both the obvious and the subtle forms of discrimination that can occur in the course of business. If we are mindful of our own implicit biases and aware of the differences in communication and work styles that can exist between genders, we are better able to prevent discrimination based on these differences.

    If it's not clear, ask questions and seek to understand why you have been assigned a particular task; it will help you do your job better, and it's a lot easier to ask for this type of input when you're new than when you're five years in and should already know. If an assignment seems beyond your level of expertise, don't shy away; chart out what you need to do to gain the necessary skills and invest in training and the like.

    I can perform the folk dances of over a dozen countries, from the Georgian lezginka to Greek sirtaki.

  • Lisa Tenorio-Kutzkey

    Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe


    San Francisco


    I started my career with the US Department of Justice where my first assignment was to investigate potential criminal violations of US antitrust laws. I have conducted investigations for my clients ever since.

    I’m interested in facts. They are critical to understanding the conduct and defending clients.

    One challenge is that you can only defend what you know. It is challenging to explain to clients that we need to know all of the facts – the good, the bad and the ugly – before we can mount an effective and successful defence.

    One personal highlight has been persuading US, European and Canadian competition authorities to close their criminal investigations of my client within four months’ time.

    One big discussion point here is whether clients should be penalised for extraterritorial conduct that does not directly affect the United States.

    Promoting gender equality in the workplace is very difficult. Firms must work harder to encourage women – particularly working mothers – to stay in the workforce and to fairly compensate them.

    I would advise women to figure out what they like to do and what they are good at.

    My first boss described me as an iron fist in a velvet glove.

  • Lista Cannon

    Norton Rose Fulbright

    Partner, global co-head of regulation and investigations


    Having been trained as a litigator, the increasing level of regulatory scrutiny made the transition into specialist investigation and enforcement work obvious and an important part of supporting clients in what are often the most difficult problems they have faced.

    Managing multi-jurisdictional investigations involving multiple regulators is probably one of the greatest challenges that global businesses face. However, senior executives are now also in the spotlight, and governments and regulatory agencies will bring individuals to account for their conduct in the context of regulatory failures by corporates that were under their control. The changing political and regulatory dynamics in different jurisdictions requires a much more integrated and consistent approach to regulatory compliance. The tension between the corporate narrative after the event and the allocation of responsibility to individuals often creates conflict. Resolving those conflicts fairly is among the hardest challenges I have faced. 

    An inclusive and collegial working environment is fundamental and critical to our business success.

    Lista Cannon is on Global Investigations Review’s editorial board. 

  • Lori Lightfoot

    Mayer Brown




    I became an investigator because it suited my personality: I have a real passion for fact development, whether in criminal, quasi-criminal or civil matters.

    Training young lawyers and watching them mature into more senior and responsible roles is very rewarding. Teaching them how to evaluate situations and people and creating an environment where they can grow and experiment, all while making positive contributions to the matter, is a great reward.

    The challenges are going to be dictated by the circumstances of a particular matter. In the context of a government investigation, for example, as outside counsel, you are usually brought in after the government has been investigating and likely already has a point of view about the facts. The hope is that the government’s point of view is not entrenched before you have an ability to understand the nuances and the grey areas concerning the facts of a particular matter. Trying to convince the government that the facts are more nuanced than they think or that they have the facts totally wrong is always a challenge, but is part of what makes this work so interesting.

    I have been very fortunate to conduct investigations in a number of different roles, each of which has been incredibly rewarding. I served as an assistant US attorney in Chicago and worked on a number of interesting investigations, from violent crimes to public corruption and all manner of alleged fraud. In private practice, I have led a number of investigations in matters involving civil, criminal, quasi-criminal or sometimes the intersection of several of these areas and those have all been very interesting. But probably the most challenging environment in which I have conducted investigations is when I worked for the Chicago Police Department and led a group of civilian investigators. We had primary jurisdiction over police shootings, such as the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as the allegations of excessive force, such as in the Eric Garner case in New York City. In those matters, we were often called upon to conduct investigations at a time of literal physical unrest in the streets. Trying to stay focused, remember your training, and not be influenced by political, media or other external forces that are irrelevant to the fact investigation takes a lot of courage and determination. I was extremely proud of the work that my team and I accomplished during my tenure because “just doing your job” while in the hot glare of public scrutiny and unending criticism is never easy.

    Among my female colleagues the conversation continues to be about getting in front of clients and demonstrating our leadership and abilities.

    I draw my inspiration from people who look like me, but have not been afforded the same kind of opportunities – good fortune, mentorship and doors cracked open – that I have been blessed with. I think of those people, who are all around me, and it makes me count my blessings and work harder.

    Diversity and inclusion, including gender equality, are essential elements of any healthy and vibrant business that wants to be relevant today and tomorrow.

    My advice to other women would be to recognise and master the nuances of the work environment, understand that unfortunately you will be evaluated by different standards, but always work hard, do your very best on every assignment and view other women as colleagues and not competitors.

    I am a huge fan of early Todd Rundgren. “We need just one victory and we’re on our way.”


  • Louise Hodges

    Kingsley Napley




    My main practice area is white-collar crime and financial regulatory enforcement work, including dealing with overseas companies and regulators. Kingsley Napley also handles a large amount of fraud-related work arising out of employment issues or civil claims. This has meant that throughout my career I have dealt with cases that have had an investigation element.

    Working with other lawyers and professionals both within my firm and externally is what I like most about my role. I usually work with our employment and civil fraud teams, in-house counsel and overseas lawyers. Each case is unique and each client has a different set of priorities that require a lot of strategic thought and judgement calls, which make my role very dynamic and interesting.

    Challenges include understanding the objectives and motivations of all the parties to the investigation, not just your own clients. This is often very challenging as you rarely have insight into the entire picture. The landscape can change very rapidly and you need to make sure that you revisit and adapt your strategy as the landscape unfolds.

    As for career highlights, there have been so many and most are not in the public domain so it is impossible to choose.

    In the UK the status of legal professional privilege in investigations is under scrutiny – there are moves to try to force companies and individuals to waive privilege in order to demonstrate cooperation. This is an attempt to undermine a fundamental legal right and should be approached with extreme caution.

    Stephen Pollard at WilmerHale in London has been an inspiration to me. He was previously at Kingsley Napley and I worked with him for about 15 years on a number of matters – I learned a lot from him, most importantly to be confident in my own ability. We are still good friends. Often when I have a tricky problem or have to deal with a difficult meeting I think about how Stephen would approach it and that usually helps me find the solution.

    Gender equality is important and should be promoted, although not at the expense of quality and fairness. In my firm, our managing partner, senior partner and the majority of our management team are female so there is already a strong presence of female leadership roles. As well as gender equality we should also be working on social mobility and diversity in the workplace.

    You are as good as anyone else – take the opportunities that life gives you and learn from your mistakes.  

    What people may not know about me is that a car crashed into me during my first driving lesson. 

  • Lucinda Low

    Steptoe & Johnson


    Washington, DC


    Investigations, both corporate internal investigations, and government investigations, are a significant component of our worldwide anti-corruption practice. Multinational companies regularly receive allegations that their personnel have engaged in bribery or corruption. To determine the facts, you have to carry out an investigation. Although I do not do only investigations, but also preventive and defence work, I enjoy investigations very much and they represent a significant part of my practice.

    I love puzzles, and investigations are a kind of puzzle. Taking the pieces of information that come from documents and witnesses, and trying to put them together to form a picture that is coherent and accurate, is always an engaging challenge. The fact that investigations in the anti-corruption area require consideration not just of the law, but of cross-jurisdictional economic, political, social and cultural issues, adds to the challenge.

    There are many challenges. The complexities of cross-border corruption investigations are noted above. There is often a lot at stake in these investigations. Investigations can be politically motivated. Careers can be at risk from the findings of an investigation. Occasionally someone in a client organisation will seek to use the investigation for a personal agenda. Other times people may push back on your findings or process. Finding the right balance in how far and wide you need to look is also an art and a challenge. So is dealing with the increasing number of stakeholders in a high-stakes investigation.

    I have had many career highlights, and some of my biggest successes are things I am not able to discuss publicly, for example, when we have prevented a problem or a prosecution. Overall, I would say the highlight has been to be on the leading edge of an emerging area of legal practice that really did not exist when I went to law school. As an internationalist, it has been of particular interest following the emergence of international standards in the area of anti-corruption. For example, seeing the World Bank and other international financial institutions shift from a posture of ignoring corruption in the projects they finance to actively investigating and prosecuting them has been fascinating. I had the good fortune to have been involved in some of the earliest contested cases involving major companies almost 20 years ago, and have been involved in defending companies ever since. As a result, I have seen the World Bank grapple with how to establish the institutional mechanisms for dealing with these issues, including how much due process should be given, how much transparency there should be, and the purpose of sanctions (punishment versus more forward looking).

    A major talking point here is dealing with whistleblowers and potential whistleblowers in the wake of the Dodd-Frank legislation of 2010. Dealing with all of the stakeholders as well, including boards, shareholders, auditors and others.

    My paternal grandmother was an inspiration. She was a remarkable woman, who dealt with life with intelligence, grace and humour, and navigated the transitions of life better than anyone I have known. At age 20, after graduating from college, she left her fiancé in Nebraska and travelled to Japan, where she ended up staying for several years, working as a teacher. My interest in the world stems in no small part from her influence. She was also a leader and a founder of institutions, and creative, learned and wise.

    We have much more work to do on gender equality. While overt discrimination may have diminished, there are still many barriers to equality. In law in the United States, the number of women who graduate from law school is very significant. But that number does not translate into as much success in law firms. Institutions and their leaders have to continue to work on eliminating barriers and encouraging approaches that will foster equal opportunity.

    Find a professional style that suits you; work with a number of different people and observe how they approach things and test out what works for you; look for work that excites you and don’t be afraid to go after those opportunities that are important. Find a spouse who supports you.


    I have many nicknames, many of them quite silly. My children call me “The Enforcer”. They loved it when I was named a “Top Gun” by Ethisphere, since they thought it fit perfectly with their nickname. 

  • Mara Senn

    Arnold & Porter


    Washington, DC


    I am passionate about making sense of complex situations. Investigations allow me to really get to know both the company and the people, to figure out the best way to defend them by finding out the facts, understanding the power and personality structures involved and (if necessary) negotiating with the government.

    I enjoy guiding leaders as they navigate high-stakes situations that can be very stressful. By calling on my significant experience, I help them understand the risks of the actions they are going to take or have taken. Then I help them create and implement a plan, all while providing counsel and advice along the way.

    One big challenge is that I can’t change events that occurred in the past. Sometimes I wish I had been there advising at the time that someone wrote an unfortunate e-mail or made a decision that in hindsight does not look good. So the challenge, for me, or any attorney, is to take the facts that we have and build a story around them to put them into the best possible context.

    The most gratifying moment was the first time I took the lead role running a major investigation. Knowing I could think strategically in a way that really benefited my client – that was career-defining for me.

    In my view, the hottest current topic is the pendulum swing towards not self-disclosing most potential corruption violations to the US government – an opinion I have held for some time. My perspective was validated further in early February 2015, when a government official I spoke with admitted that he did not see a significant difference in government response to self-disclosing on the one hand, and waiting until the government comes knocking on the door, and then fully cooperating. This important disclosure decision, if not handled well, could cost companies millions, plus the loss of time and energy spent on problems that could have been avoided.

    My mentor and former partner, Brooksley Born, spent her entire career knocking down barriers for women in the legal profession. Any time I wonder whether I can accomplish something, I think about Brooksley, and how she did great things in so many ways.

    It is essential for women to help each other advance their careers, and for men to recognise the benefit of having female colleagues as equals. Arnold & Porter has been a great model for this type of equality, which is one of the reasons I have been pleased to be here for almost 14 years. Throughout my career, I have worked tirelessly to promote women, both in my workplace and through organisations. For example, I am currently the president of the Leadership Advisory Committee of the National Women’s Law Center, which for 40 years has worked to expand, protect and promote opportunity and advancement for women and girls at every stage of their lives.

    I’d recommend women who are starting out to: work hard, do what you love, be yourself and develop mentors (both men and women) who are ready and willing to have open and honest conversations with you.

    Few people are aware that I have a strong international family background. My mother was born and raised in Kenya, I was born in Switzerland, and my grandparents were from Hungary and (what was at the time) Czechoslovakia. As a result, I was constantly exposed to different cultures and I feel comfortable in most places around the world. That has given me an edge in international investigations because I learned early to adapt quickly to cultures outside the US, and to relate to people wherever they are in the world. 

  • Marelise Van Der Westhuizen

    Norton Rose Fulbright

    Head of regulation and investigations


    I was involved early on in my career in the Counter-Money Laundering Advisory Council as a representative of the legal profession. This was at a time when anti-money laundering regulation was in its nascent phase in South Africa. Becoming involved in investigations, particularly in the regulatory context, was a natural extension of my practice.

    Making submissions in parliament on the constitutionality of the South African anti-money laundering legislation on behalf of the Law Society of South Africa has been a highlight of my career so far.

    Businesses are expanding rapidly into and across Africa and will face intensified regulation, particularly in sectors of energy and power, infrastructure, mining and commodities. Regulatory authorities are increasingly active in prosecuting cartels and enforcing anti-corruption and anti-money laundering legislation on the content. This is particularly so for global corporates seeking to do business in Africa. Given the relative lack of global and local enforcement action in South Africa historically, this is an area of law where many general counsel based in South Africa feel exposed - regulation and regulatory investigations are what keep most of our clients awake at night.    

    Malala Yousafzai, for her incredible courage, has been an inspiration to me.

    Many more women than men enter the legal profession but this is not reflected at senior levels. A focus on advancing and retaining women in the workplace is an essential part of any diversity and inclusion programme to ensure women have equal opportunity to realise their full potential and career ambitions on the basis of their individual merit and skill. An inclusive culture is key to progressing gender equality. When people can be themselves at work, employers are able to unlock the benefit of their different perspectives, skills and opinions and provide better solutions for their clients. It just makes good business sense.

    I would tell women to avoid wasting time over-compensating for their gender. It is not necessary. As a woman you bring unique strengths and attributes to the workplace – hone these instead.  

  • Maria Barton

    Latham & Watkins


    New York


    I became an investigations lawyer for the traditional reasons; I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of figuring out what happened and why, as well as the intellectual analysis of whether the conduct did in fact violate any laws.

    The ever-changing landscape of my work is what I enjoy most about this role. To thoroughly enjoy investigations, it is important to have an avid curiosity about other professions and organisations. It is a privilege to learn about someone’s life, profession or industry, and to have the opportunity to examine a problem in depth while appreciating the nuances and uniqueness of someone else’s world. It is also particularly rewarding when you are able to help guide a person or an organisation through a crisis.

    One challenge in this role is the increasingly non-judicial precedent that companies face when negotiating resolutions in criminal investigations with the government.

    I have been lucky to have a few career highlights so far: being a federal prosecutor in Manhattan; working on independent, international committees led by Paul Volcker; and now working with high-quality lawyers at Latham.

    After the financial crisis, the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York made it a point to crack down on insider trading and successfully prosecuted a number of high-profile cases. In light of the US Court of Appeals decision, which narrowed the definition of what actions constitute insider trading, there is a scramble among lawyers and courts to understand the impact of this ruling.

    The women who served as federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York while raising young families have inspired me. It proved the point that a critical mass of working mothers in an office can influence the retention of those women.

    During my career, I have not seen a great deal of progress on the issue of gender equality, but the discourse has increased by volumes, which is a good start. I believe that we are finally gaining momentum and need to be persistent about exploring solutions. That the problem exists has been run to the ground. Each profession and industry needs to analyse the internal metrics of success to pinpoint the hurdles that keep women from progressing.

    I would advise other women to actively manage their careers – especially if they hope to have a family – from the get-go because it may become harder to do for a few years when the children are young. No one is going to manage your career for you, or even give you as much thought as you would expect. To the extent that you can, try to set annual goals for yourself that include networking in your field, staying abreast of developments and planning your progression. Those goals can be as important as the quality of your work. 

    What people may not know about me is that I became a naturalised US citizen when I was 10 years old.

  • Maria Beguiristain

    White & Case




    After five years at the United States Attorney’s Office in Miami and an intense organised-crime prosecution, I decided to take a break from criminal work. My hiatus was short-lived because of the demand for Spanish-speaking investigators. Not long after my arrival at White & Case, I was asked to join a team conducting FCPA due diligence in Latin America. I immediately took to the private-practice investigative work.

    What I like most about my role is a combination of things. I enjoy immersing myself in the culture, industry or company at issue. You become somewhat of a specialist in all three during an investigation. And then you get to do it again in another setting. Given the international scope of my work and focus on Latin America, I also like practising in different languages on a daily basis while expanding my vocabulary with local terms relevant to a particular investigation.

    The biggest challenge comes when trying to explain to some clients why a United States law – the FCPA – should matter to them overseas. Although I have encountered this less in the past year or two, some very sophisticated businesspeople are in disbelief when you explain the statute’s reach.

    One of the highlights of my career includes standing in front of a United States Court of Appeals shortly after the September 11 attacks and introducing myself “on behalf of the United States of America” for the first time – it was very moving. I felt that I was serving my country in a time of crisis, if only from a courtroom.    

    The recent cases in Brazil are the hot topic right now in South Florida.

    The Honourable Lenore Carrero Nesbitt, the first female United States district court judge for the Southern District of Florida, was an inspiration from the moment I met her during a federal clerkship interview. She was one of our toughest judges but extremely feminine too. She taught me that personality and femininity need not be compromised to achieve professional excellence.

    I am all for gender equality, and I believe that standing up for yourself is the first step to helping others.  

    I would tell other women to try to work for the government early in their careers. You will be assigned to do things that you would not do for years in private practice. It is a great equaliser, both because of the self-confidence it will give you and because of the way others in the market will perceive you.

    What people may not know about me is that I am slowly – very slowly – trying to acquire enough credits to sit for a first-level sommelier certification. At the current rate, I should be ready by 2035!

  • Maria Lorena Schiariti

    Marval O’Farrell & Mairal


    Buenos Aires


    Starting work in this field was not a career choice I made for myself while studying at university, but rather one I came across during my practice in the administrative law field while representing international companies (subject to the FCPA and the UK Bribery Act) in their interaction with public officers. I found that issues of compliance and public ethics exalt the legal profession and allowed me to specialise in an area that fosters development and commerce, while at the same time promoting public interest. In addition, the Argentine environment pushes one to have strong opinions regarding corruption and public ethics. These matters are part of a daily debate and arguing about them has almost become a national hot topic, especially in the legal sector.

    The current day-to-day practice of the law profession in Argentina encourages me not to settle for the status quo, and not to accept existing practices as natural and unquestionable. Although in the domestic legal sector it is very easy to fall into passivity and to justify problems and mediocre solutions because that is how things are done, a desire for self-improvement has moved me to search for a different approach and to constantly question: why is this so and how can it be improved to make it more consistent with our country’s legal system? This “digging” is vital and affects the way I tackle all my cases at work.

    A big challenge of the role is that, with regard to the law, much of the research and proposals carried out abroad are difficult to apply in the local scenario. Deeply rooted cultural and institutional differences require a thorough analysis of global formulas and much time devoted to teaching and training.

    Being named partner of a key department at the biggest law firm in Argentina at quite a young age was a proud moment for me. It has been a privilege for me to be able to achieve this without compromising the opportunity of raising a family.

    In Argentina, there is a deep concern regarding the independence and impartiality of the judicial branch. Many important complex economic investigations are undermined by constant delays in the judiciary. Argentina still has no law punishing companies for foreign bribery, or laws permitting prosecution of Argentine citizens who engage in bribery abroad. These issues are currently the subject matter of much debate and investigation.

    My parents influenced me greatly every day for years. They taught me to be patient, kind, driven, to ask questions and not to compromise on essential values. In my professional environment, former female partners of Marval, O’Farrell & Mairal were great models.

    I strongly believe that both men and women, and companies themselves, benefit from a gender-balanced work environment. Men and women in positions of power have an important responsibility to lead both by example and by proactive decisions in this regard.

    In spite of all the gender equality policies in place, women will still have to overcome greater obstacles than men for some years until the general culture is changed. It’s the task of every woman to stand up for herself.

    Being outdoors provides me with the best way to relax. Every weekend I try to devote part of my time to outdoor sports. My favourite sport is trekking. Whenever I have the time I travel to Patagonia with my family to have a short trekking adventure. 

  • Maria Tereza Grassi Novaes

    Siqueira Castro Advogados


    São Paulo


    It alI started due to the amount of tasks on clients’ internal investigations I was selected to perform as I am a criminal lawyer with a master’s degree in financial crime. Over the years the importance of international legal instruments such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the UK Bribery Act and the Brazilian anti-corruption law, etc, grew tremendously, which led compliance departments from different companies to seek our office for investigations more often.

    Before I was chosen to lead the investigations team at the office I spent a couple of years studying and working on international and national compliance rules. Now I am an investigations specialist, working under the direction of the criminal partner in São Paulo João Daniel Rassi.

    I have always been a very curious person and that is an attribute of my personality that I am allowed to use in my investigator role. Also, I enjoy the fact that all investigations are different from each other, with their own challenges. There is no mechanical routine, which I have always avoided in my career.

    This specialist role requires me to be very patient and detail-oriented as the responses to the questions made by clients are usually found in small details in e-mails, documents, interviews, etc.  It is also important to establish a strategy at the start of every project in order to organise all tasks (eg, day 1 – reviewing and preserving documents related to the matter; day 2 – interviewing appropriate individuals, day 3 – reviewing policies and procedures applicable to the matter, etc) and to set a deadline for when the client expects the final report.

    One career highlight is an investigation that seemed to be very ordinary and turned out to be the biggest one the office has worked on so far. It started with an anonymous complaint made by a whistleblower regarding compliance violations but nothing really concrete had been presented. Through effective research we were able to verify a significant number of compliance and anti-corruption violations by important managers and employees of a company and, by the end, we concluded through the analysis of company e-mails and documents that pre-set agreements had been established between managers and companies regarding prices in exchange for money. All those involved were dismissed by the company and millions of reais were saved. The authorities were also informed of the corruption acts in which the people were involved.

    The current talking point in Brazil is the tension between internal investigations and privacy. Evidence collected from company e-mails, for example, can afterwards be used in criminal, civil or labor litigation against the former employee. There is a very fine line between company e-mails – that can be used – and personal e-mails stored on the company’s computers. Lawyers must be aware of the evidence that can be presented in court so the proceeding is not jeopardised by alleged unconstitutionality of proof.

    Among my inspirations are all working women who, despite all the challenges they have at home with their kids, husband, parents, home cleaning, etc, still have the strength to deal with problems at their jobs – and do it very well. All of them inspire me every day to face my own job and difficulties in life.

    Women are unfortunately still discriminated against in the workplace, regarding their remuneration, how seriously they are taken and how their capacity to face and overcome challenges in their profession is perceived. That is something that affects every layer of society due to veiled sexism and an old-fashioned idea that women are prepared to serve only in secondary roles to their male colleagues. As the only female criminal lawyer in the office I do think women have to gain more space in society and get more recognition for their work. And we have to do it together, showing our capacity for problem solving.

    My peers respect me for who I am and I never had problems with gender inequality in my workplace, therefore I am very optimistic about our future global scenario, even though there are still obstacles to be overcome, such as religious fanaticism, etc.

    I would tell other women to not be afraid to ask because asking questions does not mean that you are weak or that you’re not ready for your job. Instead, it’s something that makes you grow as a professional and it is essential to discuss relevant issues. Accepting criticism with maturity is also important.

    Early in my career as a criminal lawyer I was discriminated against for being a woman. Actually this was one of the reasons I decided to quit that job. For many men, advocating in the criminal area is seen as being a job “only for men” due to the police station work required.
    Today, fortunately, I am very happy in my workplace. There is no gender discrimination, including in respect to salary. Rather, they see me as an organised and hardworking person.

  • Maria Yaremenko

    Hogan Lovells (CIS)

    Senior associate



    Even as a child, I was always interested in solving puzzles and getting to the bottom of things. An investigation is always fascinating in that way; there is always a certain puzzle that can be solved by determining the facts and putting the pieces together in a logical way in order to arrive at the correct solution.

    I like the complexity and unpredictability of the cases, which are never simple or identical. It is a pleasure to work with so many talented people right across the globe and I am fortunate enough to be a part of the Moscow team led by Alexei Dudko (who was featured in GIR’s “40 Under 40” in 2014).

    It is often a challenge to ensure people speak freely during interviews, which are the most important and critical part of most investigations.

    The multi-jurisdictional US$6 billion fraud case of BTA Bank against Mukhtar Ablyazov is a personal career highlight. This is one of the biggest fraud cases to have ever come before the English courts. We have been acting for BTA Bank, one of the largest banks in Kazakhstan, since May 2009 and have been at the centre of a significant asset recovery exercise. The main team, working for BTA, is primarily based in London but our Moscow office also works on a large proportion of the case. We have achieved a number of successful legal milestones on behalf of BTA Bank on this case, and it is a pleasure to be a part of such a great success.

    In Russia, everybody’s talking about the interplay of FCPA and UK Bribery Act with Russian anti-corruption regulation.

    "Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work." This is a Stephen King quote about Russian ballet dancer and choreographer Anna Pavlova. I think, whoever you are, as long as you work hard you will be able to achieve your goal no matter how hard and painful the journey might be.

    As long as gender does not get in the way of the ability to take responsibility and leadership, then it is the workplace to be in.

    Do not be intimidated or shy about your goals but be ready to accept that you may not get where you are aiming for immediately. Be patient.

    What others may not know about me is that I have a birth mark on my back which looks like a belly button. Ever since I was a little girl I have always wondered whether it is actually a secret sign or a button, which opens a door to a new dimension. I like to think that it is the latter and I am still waiting for that door to be opened.

  • Mariana Tavares de Araujo

    Levy & Salomão Advogados


    Rio de Janeiro


    I worked for the Brazilian federal administration for nine years during which I oversaw government investigations and coordinated enforcement actions with criminal authorities in Brazil and in other countries. It was a challenging but very interesting job. After I left government, I realised this expertise could be helpful (and my job would remain equally interesting) in private practice as well.

    I appreciate the fact that my role is very diverse. What you learn in one case can be helpful to overcoming obstacles in future ones. It is very international, and that gives me the opportunity to interact with people from different industries and government agencies. It is also rewarding to help our clients identify potential exposures and develop the best legal and business strategy going forward.

    Making sure you leave no stone unturned in every case is the key challenge when conducting investigations. Since I joined private practice, I have represented several large international and domestic companies in administrative and criminal investigations of allegedly corrupt and anti-competitive practices in Brazil.

    After the Clean Company Act took effect in January 2014 the demand for internal investigations and compliance-related services has consistently increased due to the expected escalation of investigations that may result in significant fines against companies, but also in prison sentences against individuals. At the same time, the fact that regulation of specific statutory rules is still pending creates uncertainty for clients.

    Successful women and men that take time out of their hectic schedule to do volunteer work for people in need are an inspiration to me. They show that they can be generous with their own time, which is challenging, and still be good at what they do.

    Promoting gender equality and diversity in general is key to ensuring that organisations will optimise the contribution that can be gained from their talented people. I would tell other female lawyers to continue to study and develop new professional skills throughout their careers.

    During my LLM at Georgetown several years ago, I picked up running. Since then, everywhere I go I bring a pair of running shoes with me. I am lucky to travel a lot to different places around the world, and it is great for sightseeing, on top of helping to keep a sharp mind and controlling stress.

  • Marianne Djupesland

    Head of the Anti-Corruption Team at ØKOKRIM

    The National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime



    Becoming an investigations specialist was not part of a defined plan, but I am very glad I joined ØKOKRIM. I enjoy trying to solve mysteries, which is basically what we are doing.

    At ØKOKRIM we work in multi-disciplinary teams: lawyers, police investigators, economists, accountancy specialists all work closely together on a day-to day-basis. As a prosecutor at ØKOKRIM I am in charge of the investigation as well as bringing the cases before the courts. The job is very varied and interesting.

    There are many challenges. First of all because the ways bribes are hidden are becoming more and more sophisticated. Usually the evidence is to be found in a number of different foreign countries. That makes the investigations difficult and time-consuming. It requires patience and endurance.

    I have enjoyed all my jobs, but I was proud when I was nominated to become senior public prosecutor at ØKOKRIM in 2008.

    In Norway, the topic of the lawyer-client privilege is currently under debate; how this privilege is to be balanced against the need to look into the role of lawyers in corruption schemes and other types of economic crime. Also corporate responsibility and the possibility of plea bargaining is an issue that is currently being looked into, because as of today plea bargaining is not enshrined in the criminal procedural law in Norway.

    I get inspired by many people – for instance, by my dedicated and competent colleagues at ØKOKRIM. Also, it has been very inspiring to get to know prosecutors and investigators in other countries working on these types of cases. I learn from them, and get inspired when I experience that international police cooperation does work.

    In terms of gender equality, I am privileged compared to many women in the world, simply because of the fact that I am working in Norway. Here gender equality has come a long way, although in leading positions women still form the minority, also within the public prosecution services.

    My advice to women at the start of their careers would be to choose the right man to become the father of their children.

    I cannot think of anything about me that not many people know. But if not many people know, there’s probably a good reason for it.

  • Martina de Lind van Wijngaarden

    Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer




    My background is in litigation, and what appeals about investigations is that I’ve always particularly enjoyed digging out the facts in really complex cases and developing an overall strategy.

    I’ve previously worked in New York for two years, at Freshfields’ office in Midtown.  

    What I like most about my role is that I get to work in multi-jurisdictional and cross-practice teams with international clients.

    In the end, all the challenges boil down to the same thing – I have to constantly anticipate and manage risks.

    I’ll never forget how it felt when we successfully concluded a very complex cross-border investigation that involved a large number of regulators, for one of my firm’s major financial institution clients.

    In Germany, the head of banking supervision at the financial services regulator (BaFin) made a statement recently that in the future BaFin would rely more strongly on internal investigations. It would urge the respective bank’s management to set up a comprehensive internal investigation instead of BaFin performing a forensic review. BaFin would now only do its own review if it considers the bank’s investigation inadequate.

    So many people have been inspirations to me, because throughout my career I have been working with some of the very best lawyers in their respective fields.

    I believe that diversity enriches the workplace so everyone should be promoting gender equality actively.

    I would tell female lawyers to be aware of self-limiting beliefs and to not let these hold them back when they’re pursuing their ambitions.

  • Meegan Hollywood

    Robins Kaplan


    New York


    After law school, I chose to enter the litigation field because I wanted the opportunity to explore a multitude of different subject areas, and to discover novel areas of law. There’s also a very real, human element to litigation, as opposed to pure transactional work, which makes what I do that much more compelling. While I wasn’t on a particular path toward plaintiffs’ class action work, I somehow ended up where I belonged.

    What I like most about my role is the feeling that I’m helping someone. We work on very complex issues in high-stakes litigation, but our clients are mostly smaller businesses or individuals who are often dismayed at the mere thought of illegal collusion taking place in the world. There’s something very humbling about my work – it’s personal to our clients because they are victims. It puts what we’re doing into perspective when, at the heart of it, you are helping someone to find justice.  

    Generally, our cases involve numerous defendants worldwide, so navigating complex international laws is one of the most challenging aspects of what we do. Obtaining documents and depositions can be challenging, often requiring us to invoke Hague Convention procedures. This is especially challenging in jurisdictions that are unreceptive to American discovery.

    My work on In re Air Cargo Shipping Services Antitrust Litigation has been a career highlight so far. There we represent victims of a global conspiracy to fix prices of airfreight shipping services. I’ve spent close to 5,000 hours on this case over the past four years, and I’m deeply invested in its outcome. The magistrate judge’s recent recommendation of class certification of a direct purchaser class was a huge accomplishment for our entire team, and I was so proud to be a part of it.

    There is a lot of buzz right now on international private enforcement efforts. There has been a recent surge of private enforcement regimes around the world. It’s exciting to see civil redress opportunities open up for private claimants in other countries.    

    Hollis Salzman, co-chair of the antitrust and trade regulation group at my firm, Robins Kaplan has been an inspiration to me. I distinctly remember when I first started working with Hollis. We had an organisational meeting on a new case with lawyers from other firms. She and I were among three women out of close to 40 lawyers in the room. Yet, Hollis sat at the head of the table and it was very clear that she was running that meeting. I’ve subsequently seen her operate in many other situations where she is the only female attorney, and she’s undeniably valued and respected. It’s incredibly inspiring.

    Promoting gender equality in the workplace is extraordinarily important. I always find it interesting when I’m in a room and see overwhelmingly more male partners than female partners, yet the number of female associates is equal to, if not greater than, male associates. What happens? When firms don’t promote gender equality or the advancement of female attorneys, they risk losing not just talent and institutional knowledge, but also their investment in those lawyers, and any potential revenue they would generate if they remained at the firm. I’m fortunate to be part of a firm that truly promotes gender equality.

    I’d tell other female lawyers to value themselves and be confident in their skills. I once heard that doubt is good – it means you’re actually thinking things through. The key is not to let doubt hold you back. When you’re confident enough to trust yourself, you will be recognised as a valuable and respected member of your team.

    What people may not know about me is that I won the gym award at my high school graduation. Not because I was particularly athletic, but because they gave us written tests, which I actually studied for! 

  • Megan Dixon

    Hogan Lovells


    San Francisco and London


    Investigations are interesting and challenging. Investigations lawyers attempt to determine what really happened in circumstances where there are typically numerous forces working against our doing so; therefore, this work requires persistence, attention to detail, a keen eye for obfuscation, and insight into what motivates people to act in the ways they do – all things I enjoy. The ultimate fun in an investigation is piecing together as much of the story as you can, then weaving everything you have found into a consistent narrative so that you can effectively advise your client on legal and strategic options and, if necessary, engage with regulators armed with a compelling story about the activities at issue. In a mostly international practice like mine, this already complex process is often further complicated by differences in business practice, language and culture.

    It is rarely boring. Because my practice tends to be more about a skillset than a specific industry, client, product or legal subject matter, generally each investigation on which I work differs from the last in more than one significant way so there is always something new for me to learn.  

    Geographic challenges can be daunting at times – travel and participating in international team and client communications can become somewhat overwhelming when I have investigations in Asia, Europe and the US all at once.

    A career highlight includes finding in Hogan Lovells a well-managed firm where I get to do the work I enjoy for first-rate clients and with people I respect and also genuinely like.

    To me the most interesting hot topic right now is the various ways in which questions of extraterritorial enforcement are playing out in the international arena: who has the authority to pursue what types of wrongs in which jurisdictions and where there is arguably overlap, how do the agencies involved decide who has priority and why? I find the process of sorting out the legal and political nuances of cross-border enforcement fascinating.

    My parents were teachers and civil servants their entire careers – they remind me that doing good is more important than doing well.

    Obviously I support gender equality in the workplace, the real question is how to do it effectively? One thing about which I find myself preaching quite frequently is the need to recognise and properly value different types of contributions on our teams, as often – for a variety of reasons – women serve in extremely important but traditionally undervalued roles.

    I would advise women to find a mentor who will really commit to helping you grow and finding your niche. And don’t undervalue yourself. Sometimes as women we feel uncomfortable doing things that feel self-promotional, but if you don’t let people know your worth they may not take the time or make the effort to see it for themselves.

    What people may not know about me is that I’m an introvert … a social and boisterous one, perhaps, but I recharge and do my best thinking when I am alone on my boat with my dog.

  • Michelle de Kluyver

    Allen & Overy LLP



    I became an investigations specialist because I love the legal and forensic challenges of investigations work and the subject matter is typically very interesting. I also enjoy working with multidisciplinary, multi-jurisdictional teams.

    What I enjoy most is helping my clients. It’s so satisfying to solve a problem for them or to find the best way through something.

    The main challenges lie in the many crisis events in investigations – you have to be pretty resilient.

    One highlight in my career was a particular investigation I worked on for many years that threw up every conceivable challenge. The team was amazing and we achieved a fantastic result for the client.

    Hot discussion topics in the UK investigations community include legal privilege in investigations, deferred prosecution agreements and the potential expansion of corporate criminal liability.

    In my professional life I have been inspired by many of my colleagues – both senior and junior to me – and also by a number of star in-house lawyers and barristers. The common thread is that they are people who are committed to excellence, have strategic vision, are insightful, motivated and energetic and have integrity and warmth.

    Gender equality in the workplace is deeply important.

    In addition to the usual things (like identifying and playing to their strengths), I would advise other women to speak to the people they admire to understand how they have achieved their goals and to ask for help in building their practices and personal brands – and to say yes to opportunities that come their way.

    I have a twin sister. When she is in London she spends a lot of time waving to strangers who think she’s me.

  • Mimi Yang

    Ropes & Gray LLP




    One of my first projects as a young attorney was an investigation based in Asia. I was flying to different countries, opening safes and using my language skills in interviews. I found the entire process both exhausting and fascinating. I have been hooked ever since.

    The best part of my role is my clients. They are almost universally appreciative of the help we provide, and I have met some of the smartest and loveliest people over the years. I will never forget the giant bear hug I received from one of my clients’ head of security after we had completed a particularly gruelling interview schedule. Their gratitude really validates the work that I do.

    The biggest challenge for me is straddling the cultural divide, particularly since I work in Asia. There is a fine line between being respectful of the culture and trying to find out the truth. I don’t want to alienate the entire workforce based in the country of investigation. After all, most companies still expect to have a presence in the country after the investigation has concluded.

    There have been many highlights, but I don’t want to commit this to paper since I hope that my biggest highlight will be yet to come!

    China’s recent anti-corruption drive has been on a lot of radars right now. The current administration in China has made anti-corruption a focus of their enforcement, and that has a number of implications for multinational and foreign companies operating in China.

    My husband has been my biggest inspiration. His unwavering support of my career and his choice in a non-traditional role inspires me to work hard every day.

    Gender equality in the work place is a no-brainer and I hope that it’s not considered controversial. Both men and women benefit when gender equality is practised in the workplace.

    I would tell junior female lawyers to not be afraid to take risks and actively seek out mentorship. It’s a luxury and privilege to have options, so if you feel that your career is stagnant, don’t be afraid to explore another option: take on a role outside your comfort zone, move to a different office, or move to a different country! You will be surprised at the doors that open up. Also, reach out to people whose work you admire and don’t limit yourself to just women mentors. My first mentor was a male partner at my law firm at the time.

    What people may not know about me is that I applied to art school in addition to the traditional four-year colleges out of high school. I quickly realised that there were a lot of talented artists out there! But sometimes I still wonder what my life would be like if I had attended art school instead.

  • Mini vandePol

    Baker & McKenzie

    Partner and head of the global compliance group

    Hong Kong


    I have been a commercial litigator and dispute resolution lawyer for almost 25 years. The investigative side of litigation has always attracted me as it uses both legal analysis and human psychology to understand both what and why things happen. The move into compliance investigations occurred about seven years ago when it became a global risk that clients were increasingly concerned about and it was an opportunity to use my legal skills in a constructive manner where our investigation findings were utilised to build stronger and more ethical companies.

    With 77 offices in 47 countries, I love that the gender and cultural diversity of my team is unparalleled and that this area of work uses that diversity to the greatest advantage by providing our clients with a genuine and deep understanding of local people and issues with a global business context. For example when I am leading an investigation for a company with duel listings in Hong Kong and New York with alleged bribery of foreign government officials in Russia, I am able to utilise team members that include experienced Russian lawyers on the ground, ex-US SEC prosecutors in North America and HK and US securities experts to ensure that we have an efficient and cost-effective team to conduct the investigation and prepare the client for the consequences of any adverse findings.

    To instil a culture of compliance in clients, whereby clients are proactive as opposed to reactive, and where compliance is not imposed from above but forms the cornerstone of how employees conduct their business is one of the biggest challenges. Convincing clients that the cost of non-compliance far outweighs the cost of investment to become compliant is a constant challenge, particularly when clients do not see compliance going beyond glossy policy documents.

    Being appointed as the first female chair of the global compliance and investigations group at Baker & McKenzie is a definite highlight in my career.

    In Asia, a major talking point is the increased enforcement by local governments, such as in China where we are seeing unprecedented regulator activity, including dawn raids, public “confessions” and multimillion dollar penalties, and in India, where the new Modi government is under increased pressure to combat corruption for the country’s economic survival. We are also aware of increased US enforcement focus on Asia, particularly by the FBI, which is dissatisfied with settlements and deferred prosecution agreements, and are looking to secure individual sanctions. In addition to increased activity in antitrust, cybersecurity, privacy and trade sanctions, I am seeing a marked decrease in the tolerance of corruption, which has hitherto been a hallmark of many Asian countries.

    Christine Lagarde was the chair of Baker & McKenzie when I joined the firm and when I was elected to partner. I had the opportunity to have many one-on-one discussions with her and she inspired me with the way she had seized opportunities within the firm, the way she valued people, both clients and her team members, no matter how junior they were, and how she designed the chair role to best utilise her own personal strengths and that of our firm. As she also had two sons to raise while progressing her career, this was an additional factor that I can relate to! Obviously her ongoing success as the French Finance Minister and now the Managing Director of the IMF continues to inspire me.

    It is not enough to ascribe to the principle that if you hire the best, regardless of gender, equality will naturally follow. This principle is supported and often exceeded at the graduate and junior lawyer levels, but is then significantly challenged when faced with life hurdles such as child bearing, primary parental responsibilities, inadequate or costly childcare and work cultures that are increasingly 24/7. The risk to our firm and others in our industry is that unless we encourage our high-performing women to continue to contribute even on a part-time basis during the short term, we will not have the right mix of talent and leadership for the long term. My strategy in this area has been to build a team approach to client work where possible. This has proven to be particularly successful when building and leading high-performing compliance investigative teams. It also involves a change of approach such as encouraging clients to develop relationships with the broader team and not just the lead partner, and measuring and rewarding individuals for supporting each other and enhancing the work product and not just their own billable hours or collections.

    At the start of your career, do your very best, stretch yourselves and seize opportunities. Don’t be scared to ask for advice and seek to develop relationships with both men and women who you identify as role models in and outside your organisation.

    I am Indian born, raised in Australia, married to a Dutchman and now living in Hong Kong – it doesn’t get more Baker & McKenzie than that!

  • Mythili Raman

    Covington & Burling 



    Washington, DC

    As a prosecutor with the US Department of Justice for 18 years, and now as a partner in the white-collar and investigations practice at Covington, I have spent my entire career conducting and supervising investigations. In my various roles at the Justice Department, and now in private practice, I have found it fascinating to be able to unearth facts – often in unexpected places and unexpected ways – and put them together to figure out what happened, how it happened and why it happened. 

    I enjoy making hard judgment calls based on complicated facts. In our line of work, sometimes a problem can present a black-or-white solution, but far more often, there is a great deal of grey. Making decisions in the grey areas is challenging, rewarding and fun. 

    The main challenges in the role are identical to what I like most about my role: making hard decisions and judgment calls when the facts and law are not black-and-white, but instead squarely in the grey area, is the biggest challenge. Both at the Justice Department, and now in private practice, those judgment calls are also extraordinarily weighty ones. At the Justice Department, the decision about whether to charge an individual meant that an individual might have lost his or her liberty for many years or that a particular victim of a crime might (or might not) have felt that justice had been done. Now in private practice, these weighty decisions for our clients can be make-or-break ones for a business and its employees.

    Leading the criminal division of the US Justice Department was the privilege of my professional life. I will always be grateful for that opportunity.

    In the current enforcement climate, there is nothing more important than being able to coordinate and navigate investigations that are being conducted simultaneously around the world by different enforcers and regulators who operate under a variety of different rules and have sometimes very different enforcement priorities and cultures.  

    Which individuals have inspired me is a question I have never been able to answer, because I have been inspired by so many people during my career – from line prosecutors who have put together cases based on sheer tenacity, to leaders in our field who have shown the courage to make difficult decisions even in the face of public pressure. They have all inspired me in different ways.

    My first supervisors at the Justice Department were strong, smart, tenacious and hard-working women prosecutors. So, as a young prosecutor, I worked in an environment where it never occurred to me that my gender could ever affect the trajectory of my career. My attitude about that issue has continued throughout my career. Having plenty of strong role models, in my view, is the best way to promote gender equality.

    I would tell other women at the start of their careers to pick a job that they love.

    I have twins – one boy and one girl – who have no interest at all in ever becoming lawyers.

  • Nancy Kestenbaum

    Covington & Burling

    Partner & co-chair of Covington’s white collar defense and investigations practice group

    New York


    As a former federal prosecutor, the transition to being an investigations specialist was a natural one. I understand what prosecutors and enforcement officials do and how they think. I draw upon those insights every day to help my clients – whether companies, individuals or boards of directors – and use those insights to help them navigate difficult investigations.

    There are a number of things I enjoy about my position. I love delving into different subject matters across an array of industries – from finance to consumer products – to become expert in my clients’ businesses so that I can advocate effectively on their behalf. One of the most rewarding aspects of my work, however, is knowing that I am helping my clients during some of their toughest times. They trust me with both the legal and personal challenges that come with investigations – investigations work is truly crisis management on all levels.

    The aspects that I enjoy the most are also often some of the more challenging aspects of the role. For many clients, an investigation is not only the toughest professional challenge they have faced, it is often the toughest personal challenge they have faced. I work with clients to make the best of those difficult situations.

    Although my career highlight is not limited to one defining moment, I’m grateful to be where I am professionally. Had you told me while I was in law school that I would have had the opportunities to work with some of the people I’ve worked with and would become a partner and co-chair of a practice group at Covington, I wouldn’t have believed you. I consider myself to be extraordinarily fortunate to be in this position – one that I truly enjoy.

    Throughout my career, I’ve worked for powerhouse women including Judge Kimba Wood in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York; Sara Moss, current Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Estée Lauder; Mary Jo White, current Chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission when she was United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; and Karen Patton Seymour during her tenure as the chief of the criminal division for the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

    They are all fantastic lawyers and have each achieved great success at the highest levels, but with very differing professional styles. I was able to learn so much from each of them.

    We’ve made great strides, but obstacles to gender equality remain. Firms and businesses need to continue to make conscious, deliberate choices to provide great opportunities for women.

    My advice to women is twofold. First, you can do it. And second, don’t underestimate the value of your personal relationships. Invest in your peers and classmates and build relationships that will endure. This is at least as important as developing your substantive legal skills. Your relationships will pay dividends.

    My high school guidance counsellor suggested that I go to secretarial school instead of to college. I’m glad that I didn’t follow that advice.

    © 2015 Covington & Burling LLP.  All rights reserved.

  • Natalie Caton

    King & Wood Mallesons

    Special counsel 



    Having started my career in a litigation and dispute resolution team in New Zealand, I was initially involved in a large, high-profile tax avoidance investigation, which piqued my interest. From there, I moved to Hong Kong and worked on a variety of matters involving fraud, insider dealing and anti-bribery and corruption issues, often across multiple jurisdictions. My move to King & Wood Mallesons in Australia has allowed me to position myself within the firm’s investigations team which comprises lawyers from across King & Wood Mallesons’ global network and draws expertise from our litigation, competition and securitisation (as well as a number of other) practice groups. Since arriving, I have been involved in regulatory investigations and ensuing litigation, as well as proactively working with a number of clients in advance of issues arising to assist with the development and implementation of policies and procedures to prevent incidents occurring and to optimise outcomes for clients.

    The work has always interested me. I enjoy the variety in terms of subject matter and also that the work has proactive and reactive aspects to it. The topical nature of the work ensures that I am constantly challenged and I enjoy that my work can have broader positive implications for the community as a whole. That these investigations often have a global focus and stakeholder liaison across jurisdictions increases the interest factor (and the complexities).

    The best thing about my career to date is the opportunities it has given me to live and work internationally.

    Australia is currently in the spotlight for a hacking scandal that has involved several of the larger banks in the Australian financial industry. It has brought the need to consider cybercrime issues as they become increasingly prevalent to the forefront of many clients’ minds.

    Australia has been heavily criticised by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for a lack of enforcement of its foreign bribery provisions, and it is expected to release its report on Australia’s implementation of the recommendations that arose out of the last review of Australia’s implementation of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials. It will be interesting to see whether the OECD is more favourable in its next report.

    I’m inspired by my parents, who have always supported me in my career decisions and who instilled in me a strong work ethic and a belief that with hard work a lot can be accomplished.

    Gender equality is a key aspect of a successful workplace and should be considered one of its the defining aspects. However, it is only one aspect of workplace diversity and other diversity issues such as race and sexual orientation are also important in ensuring that a company is able to draw on a full and truly diverse range of talent.

    While it is critical for women to have goals and a vision as to what they want to achieve in their careers, it is important to be flexible and open to new opportunities as they arise. Don’t limit yourself unnecessarily, and above all have confidence in your ability. Also, be sure to surround yourself with people who believe in you and support you. In my case, it is my husband (who gave up his career to look after our two small children so that I could continue to do what I love) who provides me with constant support and encouragement to be the best that I can be.

    I spent the first four years of my life living in Fiji and spoke Fijian before I could speak English.


  • Nimisha Agarwal

    Taylor Wessing LLP




    Investigations work perfectly combines my academic and professional background with personal passions. I'm an economics graduate, now employed in the disputes and investigations team at Taylor Wessing and have also taken time out of private practice to work on human rights assignments with the UN. Investigations work involves commercial analysis, international law and human rights.

    What I like most about my role is definitely building the relationship of trust with my clients. I act for large corporates, banks and senior directors who need assistance navigating the law around corporate crime. Criminal penalties are scary – clients know that getting it wrong can have catastrophic consequences – so obtaining advice from a lawyer they trust is critical to compliance and crises management.

    Among the main challenges of my role are helping businesses realign corporate culture with a rapidly changing landscape – helping corporates and their directors understand that certain business conduct, which may historically have been tolerated or accepted as industry practice, is now legislated against as criminal behaviour. I've had to work with companies to change working practices to ensure compliance with new laws, and I've seen this particularly in the context of the UK Bribery Act and sanctions legislation.   

    I’ve got many career highlights, but most of them are confidential! One matter I particularly enjoyed was a consulting assignment for the Council of Europe on the accession of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union. My role involved the harmonisation of Serbia's laws on mutual legal assistance with the EU standard. It has been very satisfying to see the progress of the accession process – membership negotiations have now begun, as of January this year.

    The protection of whistleblowers is a hot topic in the UK. Since the financial crisis, the financial industry has come under increasing pressure to stamp out irresponsible behaviour and whistleblowers are central to uncovering wrongdoing and encouraging financial organisations to self-police and improve culture from the inside out. Therefore, it is recognised that whistleblowers need to be protected. The current debate centres on whether the UK regulator should incentivise and protect whistleblowers in the same way as its American counterpart, by offering bounties and bringing anti-retaliation cases on behalf of the whistleblower.

    My current bosses, David De Ferrars and Tim Strong are a big inspiration to me. It sounds a bit cheesy, I know, but I've learnt so much from them: to think like a civil and criminal lawyer in parallel and to see an investigation like a game of chess – thinking holistically, observing all players, anticipating developments and staying one step ahead. I admire the passionate and visionary way in which they have built the investigations and corporate crime unit here at Taylor Wessing.

    I'd like to think that gender equality is second nature in happy and successful firms – at least it has been in every firm I've worked at. Promotion of gender equality is crucial, as the two genders offer different ways of thinking and a variety of soft skills. I've found mixed teams tend to be innovative and more intuitive than single-sex teams. 

    Don’t believe that gender is an obstacle and follow the three golden rules for any ambitious investigations professional. These are, in my opinion, to master your field; spot trends and operate at the cutting edge; and invest in your network.

    What people may not know about me is that I prefer to travel to work on roller skates, which are particularly fun to wear with my suit. Now everybody knows.

  • Olga Vorozhbyt

    CMS Cameron McKenna




    I started my career as a litigator and still represent my clients in court proceedings, so I often witness the consequences of corruption and violation of companies’ internal policies. Any act of corruption, aside from being ugly itself, has far-reaching destructive effects, and does not end with avoiding liability or obtaining illegal benefits. It is like a huge snowball – you never know how far it may go and what it will be like when it finally stops.

    Investigations allow me to stop this snowball, at least in certain cases. A successful investigation acts like a vaccine for a business, ensuring the business will develop in a more compliant way in the future. Investigations can also reveal the truth that might be hidden. Sometimes on the surface everything might look fine; however, a timely internal review can save a company lots of money and its reputation, if properly initiated and conducted.

    My practice area allows me to change things for the better. This relates equally to particular individuals, companies and the whole country. I have seen how a corruption-addicted country has started to improve as a result of adopting international business practices, conducting investigations, public hearings and discussions on changing the law.

    The mentality of the people in this part of the world presents real challenges. Ten years ago, being compliant in Ukraine was rather unusual or even odd. This situation has changed significantly over the past decade, to a large extent thanks to international anti-corruption legislation and the tendency of international companies that do business in Ukraine to comply with the law and their codes of conduct.

    I started my career in investigations with the first ever full-scale FCPA-driven investigations in Ukraine, conducted back in 2007. I have done a lot of important work since then, but this experience is still the most remarkable for me.

    Anti-corruption reform is of significant importance for Ukraine nowadays. Earlier this year two new state bodies were established to fight corruption. In addition, a lot of new rules and procedures have been introduced to bring existing business practices to a higher level. This gives us a unique opportunity to implement all these innovative requirements in Ukraine.

    My father has inspired me throughout my life. Having been a senior governmental official and a top manager in a private business he always says that an honest name and a good reputation are most important in life. I was also very lucky with my mentors, who were my main motivation, and have inspired me to grow as a professional over the years. It is a great honour for me to name Olexander Martinenko (senior partner at CMS Cameron McKenna in Ukraine) and Svitlana Romanova (chief legal officer at Ukrainian steel and mining group Metinvest) as my greatest inspirations in my career.

    Personally I have never seen any gender inequality in my entire career. Maybe this is because I believe that your gender does not make any difference when it comes to being professional. At the same time women clearly require much more support during their careers, and promoting gender equality can be a great source of support for many bright female professionals.

    My advice would be to believe in yourself and keep on trying, the greatest breakthroughs are done with small steps. I would also recommend not sacrificing a family for the sake of your profession. Instead I would suggest making every effort to keep a balance. It is quite a challenge, but it is achievable.

  • Pamela Kiesselbach

    Herbert Smith Freehills

    Senior consultant



    I have always enjoyed large cross-border cases that required me to get stuck into the detail of a complex matter and to problem solve. When I transferred from London to our Hong Kong office I met Kyle Wombolt, the global head of the firm’s corporate crime and investigations practice. I was intrigued by the passion with which he described the work. What he described appealed to my interest in working with our multinational clients on difficult cross-border issues in extremely fascinating emerging markets. I agreed to help out on a particularly large and complex investigation and found that I was hooked. 

    The work is extremely varied, allowing me to work with inspirational and interesting people across a variety of fascinating jurisdictions that are developing at incredible speed. Investigations and compliance work allow me to work together with clients in a partnership aimed at keeping them out of trouble. I often get the chance of entering a new market with the client. I enjoy learning about the client’s business, the risks they face and thinking about risk management. It feels a bit like being a pioneer. I never know what the next day will bring or where I may need to travel too.

    Investigations can very quickly become a hydra. Good project management skills are essential, as is a robust sense of humour and strong nerves. The work can be stressful and you have to be able to “turn off” (occasionally).

    One personal highlight includes my move to Singapore at the end of last year to lead the South East Asia corporate crime and investigations practice.

    Here, everybody’s talking about the exponential increase in the number, and complexity, of multi-jurisdictional investigations involving local enforcement agencies. I think this will be one of the key challenges over the next couple of years.  

    I have had the privilege of working with some pretty inspirational people. There is not enough space. Four come to mind: Sonya Leydecker, our new joint-CEO, and the first woman at the helm of the firm, for always putting the firm first and working tirelessly at transforming it into a truly international outfit and skilfully smoothing ruffled feathers. Robert Neil, who used to be the head of my group in London for his integrity and passion for excellence and the way he looked after and took an interest in his team. Kyle Wombolt, the head of our global practice for his boundless energy and ability to bring commercial common sense to the table. Justin D'Agostino, our global disputes head, for his incredible ability to motivate and keep his sense of humour and fun no matter how much work is thrown at him.  

    Promoting gender equality is an absolute must! Getting more women into the workplace, and in particular into law firms, which tend to lag behind, will improve the service that we can offer to clients and improve the working environment.

    You do not need to be like men to succeed. Women should stop underselling themselves and embrace the unique skills and qualities that they can bring to the table.

    At school in Hamburg I played (and sang!) the role of Mrs Peachum in Brecht’s Threepenny Opera – badly but with passion. 

  • Pamela R Davis

    Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe


    San Francisco


    My first job out of law school was as a state level prosecutor from 1994 to 1999. But, once I left the government, my role as a private defence counsel investigation specialist really started in 2002, when I did my first internal investigation related to a potential corruption issue in Russia – I was officially hooked.

    Though at times the job can be challenging, I think what I love most is travelling the world and seeing places many will never be able to see, and will often have never heard of. With well over 100 international trips at this point, there are too many cities to name them all.

    I think the main challenge is striking a balance between international travel and finding time to enjoy my home life in San Francisco. It is difficult to be away from home so often.

    To date, I think the highlight of my career is being selected as an FCPA Monitor – twice. I love the role as it incorporates my investigative and compliance hats all into one. It gives me the opportunity to not only ferret out potential issues, but to also assist a company in remediating those with practices and policies that will survive long after my role is over.

    My mentor, Edward P Davis, was the first defence counsel to introduce me to the world of international investigators in 2002. Ed understood that often those that were trained to investigate on behalf of the government were best suited to investigate and give honest assessments to private or public entities. Ed passed away about a year and a half ago, but not before he passed his love for investigations along. I will forever be grateful to him.

    I think that international investigations are sometimes hardest on women given the many demands that are specific to women in their home lives. I want to think that I have a unique perspective and appreciation for this and find ways to promote gender equality, whether that is revising travel schedules, providing opportunities to do “desk review” type investigations and allowing women to take lead roles in setting out work plans that can fit around the demands on their time.

    I would tell other women at the start of their careers: “Brace yourselves; it is a marathon not a sprint.” I remind young women that we need them to stay in the profession for decades and not burn themselves out in the first five years and then just opt out of the profession. To encourage them to stay for the long haul, I try to help them find a path that not only makes them happy, but also allows them the time to focus on their careers and their home lives and to not have to choose between the two. I remind them, focus on what you truly love and you will be fortunate to find a path that inspires you and makes you happy to go to work.

    Only those closest to me know I grew up on a ranch in rural northern California with eight sisters and three brothers. My current life is about 180 degrees from that of my youth. I travel home frequently and am constantly reminded that there are two “Pams” – the hometown girl and the city girl globetrotter. I wouldn’t give up either part of me. It is a reminder that we can be what we want in life – it is a choice. I’m fortunate to have found a career that inspires me and makes we want to get up and head to the airport, and to know that I live in a world with all the love and support a small-town girl from a family of 12 could ever want.

  • Polly Sprenger


    Of counsel



    I’m naturally nosy, and naturally hungry for detail. I have never believed something until I could demonstrate it to be true. In financial investigations in particular, I relish the challenge of drawing together a narrative from a combination of human, documentary and data sources. It’s a skill one can improve continuously: in investigations you never know it all, and every new case brings a new challenge.

    The part I like most in my role is starting a fresh case. Taking instructions from a client, and trying to find a path to a successful resolution in what is often a complicated mass of information and competing objectives. I also enjoy working with an enthusiastic, multi-disciplinary team in which each person brings a particular value to the investigation.

    The hardest part is not following every lead, and knowing when to rein in natural curiosity because the investigative objectives dictate that a different approach should be taken. One of the most important things I have learned with experience: just because I want to know something doesn’t mean I need to know something. I have to relearn this rule regularly.

    One personal highlight has been my involvement in high-profile matters. They are obviously exhilarating, and I enjoyed the particular challenges brought by being a member of the prosecution team for the eight-month-long phone-hacking trial. However, sometimes it’s the lower-profile work where the most satisfying results are achieved, particularly where there are victims of financial crime who have suffered. Being able to return assets that have been defrauded is possibly the most rewarding part of the work I do, both when I was a purely criminal investigator working in law enforcement and today, working to uncover wrongdoing and recover assets on behalf of defrauded clients.

    My corporate clients are increasingly finding that they need to take control of their own investigations, and engage more productively with regulators and law enforcement. Proposed changes to corporate crime legislation, including a new “failure to prevent corporate economic crime” offence mooted by legislators, increasingly imposes an obligation on companies to investigate wrongdoing within their own operations. Of course, criminal investigations are not part of their core business, and understanding how to achieve commercial objectives while resolving what may be a criminal matter poses huge challenges.

    When working in Iceland after the crash of the Icelandic banks in 2009 alongside prosecutors and financial investigators from a number of countries, I was very inspired by the grass-roots investigation efforts from members of the Icelandic public to understand what had gone wrong in the country’s banking system. Increasingly, these “open source investigators” are proving a driving force in a number of jurisdictions where the population at large feels a wrong has been suffered that public officials are not adequately addressing. While I preach robust investigative methodology, there is no more powerful motivator to find out the truth than a sense of injustice.

    I agree that gender equality should be promoted in the workplace. There are many men who have not been able to develop their skills alongside such a strong panel of able women, like those represented in this special, who have come to dominate the industry. I feel for those men, and believe they should also be given a chance to shine.

    My advice to women would be to never accede to perceptions or indications of how you ought to behave: it might cause some bumps in the road, but at least you will not set a precedent for those that come after you. Celebrate the particular skills womanhood affords us – multi-tasking, emotional intelligence, attention to detail. These are invaluable professional skills, particularly in an investigator.

    Although most people know me as a transplant brash American, happily stomping around London excusing any errors of etiquette by my American upbringing, I was in fact born in Lancashire to an English father and half-English mother. I guess that makes me more English than American. I don’t want people to know this because then I will never get away with anything anymore.

  • Polyanna Ferreira Silva Vilanova

    Siqueira Castro Advogados




    By the time I received my graduate diploma in law and political sciences, the investigations field seemed to be a great opportunity, and a way to align the best of my specific background – besides the scarcity value proposition (from a market point of view) and my personal interest in the topic itself.

    I enjoy the constant high-level adrenaline activity as well as the continuously changing dynamic of the field, given the economic, social and political conjuncture in Brazil.

    To remain impartial, resilient and discreet – all of these factors are fundamental to doing well in a client’s case, in addition to being passionate about the results.

    A personal highlight has been the work on cases that involved politicians as well as big corporations, and bidding processes. The work is done in a very quiet and discreet way, and involves the complex relationships and different interests among the executive power, big mixed conglomerates (which have publicly and privately owned stakes) and private companies.

    I have always had the opportunity to work with excellent teachers and professionals during my career, specially Carlos Roberto Siqueira Castro, Paulo Roberto Kramer and Estefânia Viveiros.

    The need for gender equality is a hot and contemporary topic, mainly in my area. I had the chance to work with fantastic people that won their reputation and space in the market in a very natural way, always distinguishing themselves by their high level of professionalism.

    I would advise other women to continuously focus on discretion, knowledge and discipline, as all are very important aspects to becoming successful.

    I am a dreamer and always believe in the good side of the human being. I learnt from my parents that we have to look for the good part in every moment. This is my daily goal. 

  • Rachel G Skaistis

    Cravath, Swaine & Moore


    New York


    I spent most of my early career practising traditional litigation. At Cravath, litigators are trained to be generalists, meaning that we do not focus on any particular factual or legal subject matter; instead, we work hard to develop tools – brief writing, oral advocacy, deposition taking – that can be applied in any setting. That said, about 10 years ago, I became involved in my first matter before the SEC. It was an investigation by the agency into a client’s accounting practices. I found the work different and challenging. I was using all the litigation skills I had worked hard to develop, but in a new way. Since that first matter, my practice has shifted to primarily investigations work, including government, board and internal investigations, although I always try to keep some traditional litigation work on hand. Because any investigation can end up in a litigation posture, I think it is really important to make sure those more traditional skills are as sharp as they can be.

    I really enjoy that a lot of what I do is counsel and give practical advice. It is exciting, and occasionally scary, to step away from legal precedent (because often there is none) and to come up with pragmatic solutions – solutions that will address the concerns raised by regulators, board members or other stakeholders, while not needlessly disrupting or hampering the business.

    There is often little guidance – legal or otherwise – so there is a lot of uncertainty when figuring out the best approach to take in terms of conducting an investigation and dealing with a regulator. You are balancing a lot of things: for example, doing enough work to satisfy yourself and others that you have identified all the relevant facts, while at the same time not spending too many of your client’s resources (both in terms of money and people) on a matter that may not warrant those costs, or figuring when it makes sense to cooperate with the regulators in their efforts, and when it makes sense to push back because the regulator is overreaching. There are consequences to every decision you make, so you need always to be vigilantly thoughtful.

    I am not sure it is a matter of opinion; there simply must be gender equality in the workplace and in any area where that has not happened yet, we need to work harder to make it happen – all of us, both men and women.

  • Rani John

    DLA Piper



    My investigations practice developed in parallel with the corporate litigation work that I do, and also grew as the regulatory activity faced by my clients increased over the last decade, particularly in the financial services sector.

    I enjoy the multi-faceted nature of investigations work – the forensic analysis required; looking for solutions for clients that address the often complex issues thrown up by the investigation; and helping to navigate the interaction between clients and regulators, often in high-stakes settings.

    In large-scale regulatory investigations, it is a perennial challenge to meet regulators’ requests for documents and information while also trying to conduct the response in a cost-effective and efficient way. That challenge has only increased with the enormous and ever-increasing volume of electronic documents and data that companies generate and hold.

    A highlight in the investigations arena so far: having insider trading convictions of a former senior executive of a multinational company quashed on appeal. The appeal court handed down its decision minutes after closing argument concluded, with my client released from prison the same day, and proceeds of crime penalties against him reversed. That followed a two-year investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, criminal charges of insider trading, a four-week jury trial, sentencing, as well as parallel proceeds of crime litigation by the Australian Federal Police.

    The main talking point in this jurisdiction is the increasingly globalised nature of regulatory investigations. We now have multiple regulators in different jurisdictions, as well as multiple domestic regulators (with different regulatory remits), examining aspects of the same subject matter simultaneously. This can impose a considerable regulatory burden on companies. Managing that sort of cluster of investigations requires a strong understanding of the various (and sometimes differing) agendas of the different regulators and an insight into the extent they themselves have taken into account the areas of overlap between them.

    I’ve been fortunate to have been mentored by some exceptional practitioners throughout my career, and have learnt enormously from working with each of them.

    While there has been important progress made, gender equality in the workplace is still an issue that needs attention from employers. There is a strong business case for gender equality – research supports the view that organisations that value diversity are better able to attract and retain high achievers and improve performance.

    Seek out a range of experiences – it will help you make choices later about what interests you and what you’re best at. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback or advice from those around you, and think about how you can apply that advice to progress your career.

    I’m a sci-fi tragic. Watching classic sci-fi movies or television shows has long been one of my favourite ways to relax.

  • Rebecca Brodey

    Cozen O’Connor


    Washington, DC


    I worked in investigations even before I applied to law school. My interest in the law began when I was just a child and would ask my father, a criminal defence attorney, to take me with him to the office, to the courthouse, to interview witnesses and even to the jail!  When I moved to Washington after college, I took a position as a paralegal in Cozen’s investigations group and found the work to be a natural fit. It calls upon a similar skillset to traditional criminal defence – advising clients, total command of the facts, truth seeking, etc – but also includes a lot more negotiating and collaboration, which I really enjoy.

    Negotiating with the government is what I enjoy most about the role. Although there is an inherent power imbalance that makes these negotiations challenging, the process of making a deal with an adversary is also exciting and incredibly rewarding. There is nothing more satisfying than securing a favourable resolution for a client, whether it be immunity for witnesses, no charging decisions by the government, or any agreement in which both the corporation and the corporate employees are protected.

    The main challenge of the role is always working with the government to reach a win-win resolution.

    I am currently in the highlight of my career – a point in which I have developed enough expertise to handle my own matters and am called upon by my colleagues for advice related to my investigations work.

    “Investigations” encompasses so many different practices. In the auto parts antitrust investigation, for instance, a big talking point is the US government’s ability to extradite Japanese citizens from Japan and force them to face US criminal charges. While the government keeps threatening extradition, the trend has shifted in the last few years away from individuals remaining abroad as fugitives rather than facing charges in the US. Now, increasing numbers of individuals are voluntarily returning to the United States to plead guilty and serve sentences in US prisons. Therefore, the US government has not yet needed to extradite any of these Japanese individuals. A talking point right now is whether, if they tried, the US government could successfully extradite a Japanese citizen from Japan for antitrust violations.

    There are two major inspirations in my life. One is Barry Boss, my mentor and the partner for whom I work at Cozen. He is my role model because of his extraordinary work ethic, commitment to client service, and, most importantly, how to be successful with integrity and kindness. He treats the mailroom employees with as much respect as the CEO of the firm and manages always to see the good in people and in difficult situations. Working for someone of such great integrity is both humbling and highly motivating. The other person is, of course, my father. He has provided me with a lifetime example of hard work, generosity and a passion for helping people.

    Many law firms profess their support for women in the workplace but, when it comes to introducing adequate parental leave and part-time policies, they fall short. A true commitment to retaining women at the partner level requires more than women’s lunches. It also requires policies that facilitate women being able to have families and generate business.

    I would tell women to jump in headfirst and to go above and beyond what is required of them. Take the time to do extra reading in the law that you are researching, know the facts of your cases better than the partners, and review work product by senior attorneys and partners so that you have good models for your own work. The more valuable you make yourself, the more support you will get from partners and other attorneys in furthering your career.

    I work on a treadmill desk. I do not like to sit still. Thus, if I am in the office, I am usually standing or walking!

  • Robin M Bergen

    Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton


    Washington, DC


    Investigations offer me opportunities to work on high-profile matters with significant, often precedent-setting consequences for clients that are of particular interest to senior management and other key stakeholders. For example, I have advised major investment banks, including Bank of America and Goldman Sachs, as well as prominent asset managers, in matters before the SEC, FINRA, DoJ, state attorneys general and the UK FSA concerning complex financial products. 

    I enjoy advising our clients’ senior management, boards of directors and in-house lawyers. Earning their trust and helping them manage difficult investigations are incredibly rewarding experiences.

    The dramatic increase in matters where multiple regulators investigate the same conduct is a challenge. Each regulator makes different and often competing demands, and seeks to act more quickly and take a tougher stance than the others. The environment poses a host of challenges but keeps my job dynamic and engaging. 

    Successfully convincing the SEC not to bring charges against my clients on numerous occasions based on sound evidence and convincing legal and factual arguments is one highlight. It is satisfying to work with my clients to protect their interests and achieve the right outcome. 

    Key aspects of SEC settlements are changing and lead to uncertainty: Companies must make legal and factual admissions, and the standards being applied by the SEC are not clear. Another talking point in the US is the increasing difficulty and time spent negotiating waivers from the SEC that are necessary to avoid collateral consequences of settlements. Recently the SEC has declined to issue waivers in some settlements, and statements by the Commissioners indicate that there is a divide internally on the appropriateness of issuing them. 

    I am inspired by the general counsel and senior lawyers at my clients because they must navigate a climate of increased regulatory scrutiny while balancing the demands of their business and internal clients.

    On a personal level, I have been inspired by David Becker, my former partner at Cleary Gottlieb. David twice served as general counsel for the SEC and recently joined Och-Ziff as its chief legal and compliance officer. He led our efforts to build and grow the investigations practice in the firm’s Washington, DC office, and his judgement and sterling achievements in the area of securities has been an inspiration.

    It is critical to support gender equality and the promotion and retention of women to bring their talents, value and perspectives to all aspects of our work. Having served on Cleary Gottlieb’s Global Committee on Women’s Issues for more than a decade, I have seen first-hand the progress that can be achieved by remaining committed to gender equality.

    Avoid setting limits on what you think you can accomplish or on what opportunities you pursue.  Focus on being the very best lawyer and the best adviser to your clients. If you work to achieve these goals, other opportunities will follow.

    I began my career as a corporate transactional lawyer and changed practices (after being elected to partner) when the opportunity to focus on investigations presented itself. The opportunity to build a new practice in the office that had the characteristics I noted above was something that appealed to me, and the firm was very supportive.





  • Sandrine Giroud





    I have always been interested in getting to the bottom of things and passionate about international justice and solving crime. After university, I joined several NGOs to do pro bono work alongside my job of working on international justice issues. My focus turned to asset tracing and recovery of international criminals such as Duvalier and Mobutu. This was the start of my investigations work as a lawyer, which then evolved in other fields such as civil and commercial fraud.

    I like the strategic planning involved in leading investigations that are often multi-jurisdictional, and coordinating and leading efficient teamwork.

    Ethics and reactivity are among the biggest challenges in this role. Investigations often lead you to grey areas and it is important to always keep in mind that certain lines must not be crossed so as to preserve the integrity of your work and your reputation. Reactivity is also key to allowing you to preserve precious evidence or data, and rapidly anticipate and take into consideration the multiple parameters of the situations that call for an investigation.

    I have been privileged to work on several interesting cases and investigations over the years, but one outstanding experience is my work on the Duvalier case where I tried to investigate his blood crimes and link them to the money looted from Haiti.

    In recent years, Switzerland has witnessed a dramatic change in the banking landscape in particular regarding banking secrecy and data protection. Data leaks and international pressure in relation to tax evasion and tax fraud have led to a drastic change of position for the Swiss government, with new legislation coming into force. This context has raised numerous issues in terms of investigations, in particular regarding the legality of the data obtained and whether the data can be used in proceedings or not.

    I have been blessed to have several inspirational figures in my life starting with my hardworking parents, my former boss at the Swiss Federal Office of Justice who gave me the opportunity to participate in international negotiations, and the lawyer with whom I trained who taught us confidence and discipline. I also deeply admired Professor Lalive, founder of the firm, for his brilliant intelligence, which was only equalled by his wit and charm, who taught me that there was more to a being lawyer than simply being a law technician.

    Gender equality is key to the successful development of any enterprise. The legal industry comprises an increasing number of women and it is important to adjust to this development. I am very appreciative of the fact that our firm has been able to create a very positive environment where gender is a non-issue and where a new parent, be it mother or father, is encouraged to pursue his or her career and grow within the firm.

    To use Sheryl Sandberg’s words, “lean in”. Don’t be afraid to get involved, take the initiative and seize opportunities. I think it is also important to diversify one’s background and be curious about different fields of law.

    I love testing macrobiotic recipes on my husband and I enjoy a glass of Swiss red wine. 

  • Sara Putnam



    San Francisco


    I'm a bit of an accounting nerd and love solving complex accounting problems. Investigations are a fascinating combination of legal, accounting, compliance and regulatory issues and I have found that I both enjoy and am good at collaborating with key stakeholders to navigate these situations.

    Investigations can be extremely disruptive and costly for an organisation and can be the cause of much anxiety for the individuals involved. A well-executed and defensible investigation is critical to a company faced with a potentially significant issue. I can reduce the fear and anxiety by helping clients navigate the process, address the underlying causes, and move past the issue, which is an extremely rewarding role.

    The primary challenge for me is a personal one and that is balancing the unpredictable nature of the profession with the needs of my family and three small children. I have been able to manage this challenge through a combination of an amazingly supportive team and a focus on working with local clients to minimise travel.

    One of my career highlights was the two years I lived in London and worked as part of the UK PwC forensic team. I had the opportunity to work on a number of global investigations involving allegations across Europe and the Middle East.

    As companies continue to expand internationally, navigating the data privacy and data access (eg, state secret) laws of multiple jurisdictions to gain access to evidence necessary to conduct a thorough investigation has become increasingly complicated. Missteps in this area can significantly complicate an investigation and cause a company to run afoul of local laws.

    I am surrounded by inspirational leaders at PwC and am fortunate enough to struggle to select any one person. Two in particular stand out as having impacted my career and as individuals who embody the traits that I aspire to have as a leader: Donald J Kintzer and David L Marston. While each has his own leadership style, they both successfully built high-performing teams through trust, respect, dedication, and identifying and rewarding talent and hard work.

    The conversation should be about promoting diversity of thought, opinion and approach as opposed to gender equality. As leaders, we need to make a conscious effort to understand and embrace individual differences to enable us to recognise and promote all talent. One way this manifests itself for women is that women traditionally are not as skilled at self-promotion as men, and as a result their contributions may be unintentionally overlooked or undervalued. Understanding this gender difference presents each of us with the opportunity to assess our own biases and perceptions to ensure we are rewarding the underlying work and talent. The more we can openly discuss these differences in the workplace, the better we will be at embracing diversity of thought, opinion and approach.

    Mentors, both male and female, have played a huge part in my success, and I would encourage all women staring their career to seek out managers that they respect to ask for guidance and mentorship. I have found that people are not only willing, but eager to invest in your success if given the opportunity.

    I had a forklift licence in high school. I worked at a hardware store throughout high school and college, and when the men in receiving were offered the opportunity to get their forklift licences, I demanded that I should also be able to get one.

  • Sarah Hitchins

    Allen & Overy




    As a trainee, I sat with a partner who specialised in regulatory investigations. I thoroughly enjoyed the work I experienced as a trainee during that seat and subsequently undertook a secondment to the Financial Services Authority (as it then was). I then qualified into the department I sat in as a trainee and continued to focus on regulatory investigations.

    No two regulatory investigations are “the same” – each one is different and presents new and interesting challenges that I enjoy dealing with. As a regulatory investigations lawyer, I also am asked to advise on a range of areas, including internal investigations, reporting obligations and the implementation of new regulatory developments, all of which keeps me on my toes.

    The downside of no two regulatory investigations being the same is that they are often unpredictable and can sometimes require work to be completed or advice provided in a very short period of time. Although sometimes a challenge, this is also one of the things that I enjoy most about my practice area.

    Identifying the highlight of my career is difficult given that most of the matters I have worked on are confidential. However, the time when one of my first regulatory investigations settled and was widely reported in the press is a memory that will stay with me for the rest of my career.

    A lot of practitioners and financial institutions are currently very focused on the new Senior Managers and Certification Regime that is due to be introduced by the FCA and the PRA later this year. When implemented, this new regime will overhaul the way in which individuals working in financial institutions in the UK are regulated. As a result, there are a lot of discussions going on at the moment in the industry about what the new regime will look like once implemented and the additional risks this will give rise to for financial institutions.  

    I have been very fortunate and have worked for and with a number of very talented lawyers from the outset of my career – it is difficult to point to one of them as being an inspiration as collectively they have all had a great impact on my career, as well as the type of lawyer that I aim to be.

    I think that promoting gender equality in the workplace can only be a positive thing and I am lucky that Allen & Overy has a number of projects that actively consider and promote this topic. These projects are mainly led by female partners from around the firm and provide a forum for women (and men!) to openly discuss issues about gender equality in the workplace.  

    I would advise women starting their legal careers to remain open-minded as to which practice area they want to specialise in. Prior to starting my career, I had never experienced regulatory investigations or studied the topic at university. However, I kept an open mind throughout my training contract as to where I wanted to qualify, which I think allowed me to make a balanced and informed decision about what type of law I wanted to specialise in.

    I am an avid tennis fan!

  • Shari Brandt

    Richards Kibbe & Orbe


    New York


    I work in the investigations field because I enjoy the detective work and interactions that come with helping clients determine if they have a problem, how to solve the problem and how to prevent the problem from occurring again in the future. 

    In the cases I work on the stakes are often very high and very personal. I find it rewarding helping clients successfully navigate those challenges. 

    When you work with people who are in the midst of a challenging situation, they are by definition under severe duress. Helping them stay calm and keep perspective is a critical skill. 

    I have had several career highlights. I was very honoured to clerk for the Hon. Judge Robert Sack on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. At my firm, my highlights include making partner several years ago and the continued faith and trust my clients have placed in me as they ask me to work on bigger and more complex assignments. 

    One of the biggest talking points in the investigations field I have been seeing is the desire of many different regulators – including at the state and federal level, and outside of the US – to each seek charges and extract fines for the same conduct. It is very difficult to know when a client has truly put their risk behind them. 

    My former RK&O partner Patricia O’Prey is a great friend who inspires me every day with her ability to balance her impressive career while raising two daughters. My client, Stuart Wexler, continually shows me that you can handle the most complicated and stressful of situations while maintaining a calm demeanor and inspiring trust and confidence in those around you.

    Gender equality is a very important issue. My vantage point is from the legal industry where we have close to a 50/50 split of women and men graduating from law school, yet a study reported last year that at the 200 largest US law firms, only 17 per cent of equity partners are women. Women bring great skills and different styles to the table, and it is such a shame for our industry to lose out on all of that talent. We need to find more ways to encourage women to stay in the legal industry and flourish.

    My advice would be to learn as much as you can, find one or more great role models, don’t be afraid to speak up, and stay in touch with all of the friends you made in school and on your cases as you progress along your career. 

    After I turned 40, I realised that while I had established myself at work and had three wonderful children, I also wanted more. I printed out a couch-to-5K plan and started running literally for the first time in my life. Since then, I have built up my endurance and I have completed several races including a half marathon and sprint triathlon. I now exercise almost every day and I am very proud to report that late last year my entire family (including my then seven-year-old daughter) ran a 5K race together. 

  • Sonja Maeder Morvant





    I started my career in traditional criminal law. When I then went on working at the Swiss federal prosecution service in the field of state protection we largely delegated investigations to the federal police but still closely followed their work, which I found very interesting. When I came back to private practice, I endeavoured to become more active in this field.

    The thrill of searching and finding elements that will help the client’s case is what I like best about my job.

    Cross-border investigations provide the biggest challenges. They are very interesting but can be very challenging in terms of not only gathering evidence but gathering it in a way that will enable it to be used later.

    A career highlight so far is having become a mother and managed – I believe rather successfully – my career as a lawyer at the same time.

    There are several big talking points in the Swiss investigations field though one I believe to be important is the following: Under Swiss law, the gathering of evidence on Swiss territory in the interest of a foreign state is a criminal offence. It is a real issue to know what can be done in terms of investigation on Swiss territory when that evidence is gathered for the use of a case pending before a foreign court.

    Mr François Canonica, who is a lawyer admitted to the bar and who was my boss while I was a trainee lawyer has been an inspiration to me. To me, he is certainly one of the most brilliant criminal lawyers in Geneva, he has an excellent sense of strategy and it is breathtaking to hear him plead. He taught me the basics of being a good criminal lawyer.

    I am very thankful to the women thanks to whom I can work in an environment where I am considered equal to a man. I think gender equality in the workplace should be a must and not a real issue anymore. I do think, however, that women shouldn’t be chosen for a job or pushed up in the name of gender equality or to fill the gender quota of a particular position. It then gives the impression that women are in certain positions due to their gender rather than thanks to their skills.

    I would tell other female practitioners to trust themselves and their skills. It’s sometimes hard when you are young and at a first meeting a client looks at you with mistrust, but persevere: it’s up to you to show them that you are just as good or even better than male colleagues. It works.

    The first time I thought I wanted to become a lawyer was when I was a little girl watching the soap opera Santa Barbara because a woman was playing a lawyer in the show. I know, this sounds really bad, but again, I was just a little girl!

  • Stephanie Pagni

    Barclays Bank PLC Legal Department

    Global head of litigation



    Being an investigations specialist appeals to anyone who has a natural affinity for problem solving but also justice. It requires intellectual skill as well as strong interpersonal engagement and a desire to see a fair outcome based upon the weighing of all the evidence. The lessons learned through investigations management can also act as a catalyst for positive change.

    The people leadership aspects are what I like most about my role.

    The main challenges in my role include adapting to the dynamic regulatory environment while continually seeking to raise the bar.

    My career highlights include being asked to build an industry-leading global team, joining the Barclays Legal Executive Committee and Antony Jenkins’ Senior Leaders Group (SLG).

    The biggest talking point in my jurisdiction is the interplay between the conduct of investigations and the importance of preserving the fundamental protections afforded by legal advice privilege. Establishing the facts in any investigation is essential, as is the full and transparent reporting of those facts. However, establishing and reporting facts and ensuring the right of an individual or an entity to take legal advice in confidence should not be mutually exclusive. In the long-term interests of transparency and justice, parties need to continue to have confidence in their ability to seek unfettered legal advice on their rights and obligations.

    I’ve been inspired by a number of different people throughout my career at all levels of seniority – often inspiration is found in the less likely places – seemingly small gestures in the workplace, such as a thank you, that can have a big impact.

    Promoting equality, whether gender-focused or otherwise, is essential to a thriving workplace.

    I would tell other women to have confidence in their abilities to succeed. Take each step at a time and remember that a career is a long time. Do not feel pressure to achieve everything on day one and ensure you take steps to balance your life at given points in time. That may mean making adjustments for a temporary reordering of priorities. Most importantly, take ownership of your career progression and enjoy what you do.

    What many people may not know about me is that I swam competitively when I was younger.

  • Tara K Giunta

    Paul Hastings


    Washington, DC


    Investigations work is intellectually challenging; each case is different, depending upon the industry, country or countries involved, and issues. I find that I am constantly learning with each client and case, which means I continue to grow as an attorney and adviser to my clients.

    I like learning about the industry, the various ways that businesses structure their go-to-market strategies, and also the ways that certain people can use their creativity to circumvent controls. I find it very gratifying to help clients ferret out the people and business partners that are exposing them to risk, defrauding the company or exposing the company (including its officers and boards) to liability. I also like crafting remedial measures that are targeted, strategic, that can be implemented by the business and that facilitate the company’s ability to audit the enhanced controls for effectiveness.

    One of the main challenges is ensuring that each investigation includes all jurisdictions potentially involved. Not too long ago, we really needed only to be concerned about the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. That was expanded to include the UK Serious Fraud Office. Over the last several years, other countries have started to enforce their local anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws. Therefore, we are conducting more parallel investigations with each case, and then advising boards of parent companies as well as their subsidiaries, and managing disclosure obligations in multiple markets. There is also the challenge of being a woman conducting investigations in markets where, often, women are not viewed as equals and, in a number of jurisdictions, I am stepping out of the cultural gender role by questioning men. This is particularly true in the Middle East. I like the challenge of demonstrating my skills, co-opting the witness, and demonstrating why I earn (and, in certain cases, demand) their respect.

    One personal highlight was conducting an investigation on behalf of a major US defence company regarding an issue in Saudi Arabia. There were many issues, sub-issues and challenges in conducting the investigation, particularly as a Western woman in Saudi Arabia. The result was a declination to prosecute by the DoJ and SEC.

    I am consistently following up on whistleblower complaints that arise in a host of markets around the world. The SEC whistleblower program (which included the $30 million award in 2014 to a whistleblower who was critical in a non-FCPA enforcement action) creates additional risk that such complaints have already been brought to the attention of US regulators. The fact that the complaints often arise in markets such as China and India, which historically have not been active in enforcing their anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws but where we see an increasing number of parallel prosecutions, also creates risk that the whistleblower has already contacted regulators in those markets. This uncertainty of when or how complaints may be brought to the attention of regulators adds a significant layer of complexity to investigations.

    My senior partner, Tim Dickinson, has been working in the anti-bribery and anti-corruption field for over 30 years and well before it was one of the “hottest” legal areas. He brings a perspective and experience that is unparalleled, and is always willing to talk through the issues and mentor others. He also is a great supporter of women in the practice and has supported me in my career as an investigator.

    I am a big proponent of gender equality in the workplace. It is my personal passion. I am one of the leaders of the firm’s Women’s Initiative and am a mentor to other women attorneys in the firm. Additionally, I am the founder and editor of our report, Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Women in the Boardroom. I speak and write on the topic often. In fact, in February, I organised and moderated a panel of five leading women professionals on the topic of women in the boardroom at the forum for corporate directors in California. I also try to be a role model for other women in the firm. I am vice chair of the Washington Office, vice chair of attorney development in the office, and am vice chair of the firm’s investigations and white-collar practice.

    I recommend that women be assertive in advocating for themselves and that they don’t hesitate to raise their hands for stretch assignments. Work hard to prove yourself and make sure that you have a seat at the table – understanding that the “table” changes over the course of your career.

    I am keeping a journal of ideas for the great American novel I plan to write… as soon as I find the time!

  • Tianjing (“Tiana”) Zhang

    Kirkland & Ellis




    In 2011, after earning a Chinese law degree and admission, attending law school at the University of Texas and practising commercial litigation in San Francisco, I had to return to China for family reasons. I wanted an opportunity to combine my US litigation skills and familiarity with Chinese law and culture to help clients with some of their most difficult and sensitive problems. Kirkland’s litigation and investigation team in Shanghai offered me all that and more. 

    Many of my clients have spent sleepless nights thinking about the complicated compliance and enforcement issues their companies face in China and around Asia. We see US companies receive dawn raids from the Chinese Administration of Industry and Commerce or Chinese companies listed on a US exchange face an SEC/DoJ investigation. Our clients look for our help to deal with a foreign government. With my knowledge of both the US and China, I enjoy helping clients understand the implications of the compliance challenges they face and providing practical and commercially relevant advice on internal risk management and communications with government investigators.  

    Serving clients around the globe often means being available around the clock. It makes balancing work and family life, especially the time I can spend with my three-year old son, a challenge.

    I love helping multinational clients resolve complicated factual inquiries and minimise compliance risks in a world that is facing both increased competition and more rigorous government oversight. I have come to call many of the in-house lawyers I work with friends, and it is gratifying to help them solve their problems.

    Three years ago, enforcement by the Chinese government was a far smaller concern than the US government’s investigations. Now, as the Chinese government has become increasingly aggressive, companies operating in China are equally concerned about local oversight as they are about what US agencies are doing.

    My mother has inspired me since childhood. She was one of a few female officials in the north China city where I grew up. After a successful career, she resigned from her prestigious government position to attend law school. At the time, resigning from a well-respected public official position to embark on a speculative career was unthinkable to most people. After law school, she became a public prosecutor in Shenyang. I’ve always admired her willingness to take that chance, and her effort in achieving her goals. The former prosecutors at Kirkland have also inspired me. China does not have the same tradition as the US of former government lawyers entering private practice. Working with my partners like Mark Filip (a former federal district judge and Deputy Attorney General of the United States) and Sam Williamson (the only Chinese-speaking former federal prosecutor working for an international firm in mainland China) has been inspiring in providing practical and commercially sensitive compliance advice to clients. 

    The focus now should be on practical approaches to provide women attorneys with networking, mentoring and coaching opportunities to build confidence and develop careers. 

    I would advise other female lawyers to find something they love and work on it passionately. You’ll be more diligent, more creative and happier. 

  • Wendy Huang Waszmer

    King & Spalding

    Litigation and antitrust partner

    New York and Washington, DC


    My clerkship with a federal judge triggered my interest in government investigations. I had a front-row seat at hearings and trials every day. Sometimes the best investigators were the prosecutor and agents, and other times the defence team had figured it out first. In one case the facts would come across so clearly to the jury, and in the next, seem so murky. From there, I joined the US Attorney’s Office and later the US Department of Justice’s antitrust division, and learned to run investigations myself.

    What I like most about my role are the people. This profession favours those who are curious, creative and persistent. And you need a sense of humour. I work with some really hilarious people.

    There is no one roadmap to follow for every new investigation and we need to pivot quickly at key stages if our approach could be improved. I can tend to be very intense and directed, so I need to remind myself in tough cases to come up for air, reassess where we are, and consider if we should re-route to get to the best outcome.

    I thought it nearly impossible to top the experience and privilege of serving in the US Department of Justice, but a recent matter may come close. Since leaving the government, I have had the opportunity to defend a client in a series of high-profile investigations with an incredible team of former prosecutors. The talent level is so high that I feel constantly challenged to be better.

    The biggest investigations talking point in the US is to prepare and assess as a strategic matter how you will handle multi-agency inquiries that occur simultaneously, not sequentially.

    People who march to the beat of their own drum inspire me. Growing up, I was the youngest in a family made up of a chemistry professor, a marketing executive and a wildlife biologist, who rarely had the same opinion about anything and were all independent thinkers.

    In terms of gender equality, I feel “equal” because both men and women helped me find opportunities to learn, try cases and prove myself. They gave me frank feedback when I needed to be better. It was good, tough training to work in a field where there should be manymore women at the senior levels. They invested in me. That kind of investment in individuals is really important in promoting gender equality.

    There are two things I still tell myself: 1) Don’t let fear of failure drive your decisions, in particular in making tough calls on cases or contemplating a job move. 2) Be a cheerleader — for yourself and for a select group of deserving others. Practising law is hard and you’ll always need the support and guidance offriends with good judgement.

    In my first job out of law school, I told my supervising partner I wasn’t interested in doing any litigation. If she remembers that at all now, she would probably laugh out loud.

  • Wendy Wysong

    Clifford Chance

    Partner and head of the Asia Pacific anti-corruption team

    Hong Kong & Washington, DC


    Before joining Clifford Chance, I was a federal prosecutor with the DC US Attorney’s Office, leading criminal investigations involving corruption, export controls and sanctions, and terrorism. I enjoyed searching for the truth, so it was natural that I continued in that pursuit at Clifford Chance, handling cross-border investigations across the Asia Pacific region and the United States.  

    I like interacting with my clients and their employees at every level, discussing how they manage their jobs, how they make decisions, and how they view particular situations they face. I also like interacting with the various international government authorities both on behalf of my clients and on general policy issues, presenting the real-life effect of their decisions.  

    I am challenged by my inability to tele-transport to wherever I am needed at a moment’s notice by my clients, colleagues and family. I currently split my time about one-third in Hong Kong, one-third in other Asian Pacific countries, and one-third in the US, although I also spend a good portion of my life in the air.  

    As for career highlights – it would be difficult to isolate one time or place. I’ve been very fortunate to have had so many incredible opportunities, from conducting public corruption investigations on Capitol Hill to tracking down terrorists in Rwandan jungles and now, living in Hong Kong and travelling throughout Asia, to help clients understand and comply with US laws.

    In Asia, the talking point I hear repeatedly is third-party risk management. Clients want us to find out what is really happening in their operations in Asia, recognising that while their own employees may understand their expectations, the agents and representatives with whom they work may not fully appreciate the importance of compliance with US laws.

    I am inspired by Janet Reno, who attended public schools, worked her way through college, graduated at the forefront of women at Harvard Law School, navigated her way through several law firms, and became the first female US Attorney General. I spoke with her several times: when I presented for her approval a very sensitive prosecution of a powerful US congressman, when my Girl Scouts participated in the annual Women in Justice programme, and at the memorial service for Dean Anthony Sutin [GIR: Sutin was murdered by a student in a school shooting at the Appalachian School of Law, in Grundy, Virginia, in January 2002] at the Great Hall of Justice. In every conversation, she was unfailingly sensitive, intelligent and encouraging. And she was the judge in a Simpsons episode, Dark Knight Court, demonstrating her great sense of humour.

    Young women need to see that firms walk the walk in actually promoting female lawyers to partnership and leadership positions. Those clients who demonstrate they care about the diversity of their external legal teams have been helpful allies. 

    My advice to women would be to take charge of your career, volunteer for opportunities, take on pro bono work that will give you relevant skills, and always take the long view.  

    A new elementary school in my hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska will be named after my mother, Sally Wysong, an early childhood educator, of whom I am most proud.

  • An introduction to Women in Investigations 2015

    Every March, the world observes International Women’s Day to highlight women’s equality and empowerment. Here at Global Investigations Review, we thought it presented the perfect occasion to put the spotlight on women in the field of investigations.

    When thinking about high-powered women in investigations, several names immediately spring to mind. In the United State, Leslie Caldwell leads the Department of Justice’s criminal division, while Mary Jo White is the chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission. President Obama recently nominated Loretta Lynch to become the next US attorney general.

    In other countries, too, we find women occupying senior positions in public service. In France, Éliane Houlette was recently appointed the country’s new special financial prosecutor, nicknamed the “super-prosecutor”. In the United Kingdom, the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) former head of enforcement and financial crime, Tracey McDermott, is now the director of supervision and authorisations, and also sits on the organisation’s board.

    Of course, there are far more examples out there of hard-working women in the field of investigations, which is why GIR is pleased to acknowledge them in our first ‘Women in Investigations’ special. Here GIR profiles lawyers, government prosecutors, barristers, forensic accountants and various in-house counsel, all of whom can serve as inspirations to current and future generations of investigations professionals.

    We’ve searched near and far, from São Paulo to Shanghai, Oslo to Johannesburg, Washington, DC to Sydney, to find the 100 individuals that have come to be included in this list, drawn up to demonstrate the wide variety of talented women that form part of the worldwide investigations community.

    In this special, readers can get to know the FCA’s current acting head of enforcement and market oversight, Georgiana Philippou; Marianne Djupesland, head of the anticorruption team at Økokrim, Norway’s national authority for investigation and prosecution of economic and environmental crime, and Daniëlle Goudriaan, the new national coordinating prosecutor for corruption in the Netherlands. We speak to established private practitioners, including former prosecutor Nancy Kestenbaum at Covington & Burling, and Mini Vandepol, who heads Baker & McKenzie’s global compliance group. Among the emerging women in investigations GIR chose to profile we find Leila Babaeva at Miller & Chevalier, Erica Sellin Sarubbi of Brazil’s Trench Rossi e Watanabe Advogados, and Tiana Zhang of Kirkland & Ellis. We also highlight in-house lawyers from global financial institutions such as Barclays and Nomura, and get the forensic accountant perspective from individuals at EY and PwC.

    GIR set out to discover what it is that makes these individuals tick, what achievements they are most proud of, and what keeps them busy in their respective jurisdictions. They tell us how they got into this area of law: for many, a combination of their curious nature and a particular knack for solving complex puzzles put them on the investigations track. Others told us of how proud they have been to have represented their countries in public service, and of the personal fulfilment it brought to be part of investigations into misconduct that was at the heart of the 2008 financial crisis.

    But we also discussed what affects individuals’ practices the most: the continuing development of the international investigations landscape. They tell us why evidence gathering by foreign lawyers in Switzerland can be problematic; we find out that practitioners in New York and Australia face similar burdens in dealing with a hotchpotch of domestic regulators all looking into similar conduct; and how Brazilian lawyers, in the midst of a snowballing corruption investigation, face “a bumpy road ahead” in attempting to change locals’ mindsets for the better.

    Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, lawyers speak of their concerns regarding future enforcement by the Serious Fraud Office following its tough talk on cooperation in deferred prosecution agreements and legal privilege in investigations.

    We also looked into the question of gender and what it means to be a woman in the investigations field. Lawyers speak of the importance of getting enough support from partners at work and partners at home, to successfully balance the often hectic lifestyle as an investigations professional with a fulfilling family life. We hear encouraging examples of offices where there are many women in leadership positions, and of the many female and male role models that have helped shape these professionals’ careers.

    Individuals GIR spoke to mentioned that while progress is being made, unconscious bias persists in seemingly innocent decisions: in partnerships dominated by men, who  unconsciously champion and promote individuals in their image, or when working parents’ professional progress stalls, simply because fewer working hours are spent in the office in full view of senior management. Some mentioned statistics that show women tend to leave Big Law after having their second child, and talked of potential flexible policies that might help prevent the outflow of such talented professionals in the future. We discuss how the issue should be tackled: for example, among the 100 individuals, we find those people in favour, and others against quotas in the workplace, and we hear about individual experiences with such policies so far. We’re told employers need to be “creative” about gender equality, and that the abolition of double standards – for example allowing both male and female parents leave to spend time with their families – will go a long way towards creating a more equal workplace. However, if there’s one common thread, it is that on top of gender equality, overall diversity should be embraced and promoted further.

    Lastly, we also set out to discover more about the women outside of their profession, and can happily report that among our 100, we have a former prosecutor with a penchant for figure skating, one whose children call her “The Enforcer”, an individual who is fascinated by lighthouses, and a lawyer who can perform the folk dances of over a dozen countries.

    * Those marked with an asterisk are members of the Global Investigations Review editorial board.