Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Unlike many other UK firms, Freshfields has succeeded in breaking into the US market in a big way. Rather than making the leap across the Atlantic with a merger or acquisition – as Clifford Chance did in 2000 in a merger with Roger & Wells – the firm has focused on growing organically.

Freshfields began by adding a litigation group in New York in January 2009. The firm poached Benito Romano, a former acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), from Willkie Farr & Gallagher, as well as two former prosecutors from Covington & Burling.

In Washington, DC, the firm added Timothy Coleman, a former SDNY prosecutor who passed away in November 2013, and, Matt Friedrich, a former acting head of the DOJ’s criminal division. In 2014, Friedrich departed the firm for an in-house position at Chevron, and Romano – whose wife Virginia Romano serves in the office of Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates  – moved to Washington.

The firm’s approach to global integration gives it an edge in the world of cross-border criminal investigations. FCPA investigations are rarely worked exclusively out of the DC office. The firm was involved in Bristol-Myers Squibbs's recent settlement with the SEC. The pharmaceutical company in October 2015 agreed to pay more than US$14 million to settle charges that its joint venture in China bribed health care providers at state-owned hospitals in exchange for prescription sales. 

The firm has also conducted internal investigations for a pharmaceutical company in China and a global beverage company, and advised a defence company in connection with an internal review initiated by the company's compliance department. In the last year, it has advised companies on dozens of transactions and acquisitions with regards to the FCPA.

Given the large influx of investigations-related work, Freshfields is on the lookout for fresh talent. The firm in April scored a high-profile new partner with the addition Daniel Braun, a former veteran of the DOJ criminal division’s fraud section. Braun, who served as a deputy chief in the section, was heavily involved in the Justice Department’s investigation into Libor and forex benchmark manipulation, which involved coordination with law enforcement agencies around the world. The Justice Department and other agencies secured billions of dollars in fines from banks in connection with the collusion, and, in November, the department secured the conviction of two former traders at Netherlands-based Rabobank for Libor manipulation.

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