GIR 100 2021

K&L Gates

K&L Gates

Professional notice

Whether it's accounting fraud, bribery or antitrust, K&L Gates, with its strong roster of lawyers, has a track record of securing favourable outcomes for clients.

The Firm

K&L Gates's investigations practice has lawyers in offices on five continents. The group includes former senior US government officials from the Department of Justice (DOJ), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).  The practice is coordinated by Brian Saulnier and Steve Topetzes.  Saulnier has been recognized in Who's Who Legal: Investigations for each of the last five years.

The firm’s investigations practice covers a broad range of areas, including anti-bribery and anti-corruption, accounting fraud, anti-money laundering, healthcare fraud, Congressional investigations, and securities enforcement.

In 2021, K&L Gates’s investigations practice welcomed Bobby Higdon, Jr. to its ranks.  Most recently, Bobby served as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.  During his tenure as US Attorney, Bobby’s office handled numerous high-profile matters involving national security, cybercrime, public corruption, and financial fraud, among other matters.  Bobby, a partner in the firm’s RTP office, brings nearly three decades of experience in government and in private practice, to guide clients facing regulatory proceedings, enforcement actions, grand jury investigations, white-collar criminal prosecution, and related civil litigation.

Also in 2021, K&L Gates’s capabilities grew in London with the addition of partner Michael Ruck.  Michael previously worked in the FCA’s Enforcement Division.  Michael’s experience spans a wide variety of regulatory issues and representations include asset and fund managers, insurance businesses and banks.

Andrew Wright re-joined the firm in 2021, after serving as Director of Legal Policy for the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition.  In that capacity, Andrew handled the congressional oversight and litigation portfolios, and advised on the Presidential Transition Act and classified information access issues. Previously, Andrew served as Associate Counsel to President Barack Obama and Assistant Counsel to Vice President Al Gore. Andrew guides clients through Congressional oversight- and investigations-related matters, executive branch compliance, and government enforcement actions.

Recent Events

The firm represents Westinghouse Electric (WEC) in ongoing federal and state criminal investigation in South Carolina, following recognition of multi-billion dollar cost overruns and a March 2017 bankruptcy.  The representation is an extension of a 2017 cross-border internal investigation conducted of behalf of WEC, in coordination with the audit committee of its Japanese parent company, Toshiba Corp.

The firm also represents multiple defendants implicated in a massive healthcare fraud scheme being investigated by a handful of US authorities, including the FBI. The investigation is dubbed “Operation Brace Yourself.”  The scheme involved alleged kickbacks paid by medical equipment companies to marketing companies and physicians across the globe in exchange for patient referrals.


K&L Gates works with a broad spectrum of clients, including Westinghouse Electric, the Catholic Diocese of Erie, PA, Wells Fargo, Aria Partners, Gate Gourmet, and Sembcorp Marine, as well as high-profile individuals, such as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, George Kent.


The firm spans five continents, with more than 40 offices located in key capital cities and world commercial and financial centers.

Track Record

After conducting a multi-jurisdiction, cross-border investigation, K&L Gates guided Japanese electronics manufacturer Nichicon Corporation to a plea agreement with US federal prosecutors over allegations that it participated in a price-fixing scheme.

K&L Gates represented financial services giant Western Union and conducted an internal investigation across ten jurisdictions. The company entered a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department.

A cross-office, cross-discipline team of K&L Gates investigations lawyers conducted an internal investigation into alleged FCPA violations at a Chinese subsidiary of Nortek, Inc.  Following the investigation, K&L Gates guided Nortek through the process of self-reporting to the SEC and the DOJ, representing the company in the ensuing discussions regarding resolution.  Nortek entered into a rare SEC Non-Prosecution Agreement and DOJ declined to prosecute.

K&L Gates is a fully integrated global law firm with lawyers located across five continents. The firm represents leading multinational corporations, growth and middle-market companies, capital markets participants and entrepreneurs in every major industry group as well as public sector entities, educational institutions, philanthropic organizations and individuals. K&L Gates has one of the largest, most comprehensive, and most geographically diverse investigations, enforcement, and white collar practices of any law firm.

Whether a matter involves the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Trade Commission, Financial Services Authority (FSA), BaFin, the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong, state Attorney Generals, or another law enforcement agency, our lawyers located across Asia, Australia, Europe, and the United States have substantial experience in addressing matters early and proactively.

Our team includes a former state attorney general, former DOJ prosecutors, former SEC staff, former heads of state securities regulators, and staff lawyers from FINRA, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, bank regulatory agencies, the FTC, the Department of Justice in Hong Kong, and numerous other law enforcement agencies.


Our lawyers have handled hundreds of government and internal investigations relating to a full spectrum of substantive matters on behalf of corporations and individuals. These matters have included everything from routine inquiries, to high-visibility state and federal investigations, to grand jury proceedings and criminal trials, to congressional investigations. Investigations are oftentimes complex, with intersecting and conflicting laws, regulations, and policies, while also posing difficult questions of individual rights and public policy. This broad range of experience allows us to navigate clients through these challenges.

We have been involved in nearly every significant enforcement initiative during the past 40 years. Examples include Enron and WorldCom, high-profile anti-bribery and anti-corruption investigations across industries and jurisdictions, insider trading, public corruption matters in Washington, D.C., mutual fund market timing or late trading, the “junk bond” crisis, analyst research conflicts, options backdating, auction rate securities, conflicts of interests, subprime lending, corporate reporting, mortgage foreclosures, and Madoff-related matters. Our work has also included investigations concerning municipal finance and the marketing or trading of municipal securities and other public debt, among other issues. 

Moreover, our experienced congressional investigations team stands ready to assist clients faced with a House or Senate investigation. This team knows the unique process and understands how investigative committees and subcommittees operate. This knowledge and understanding, including familiarity with members and staff, provides us with the tools clients need to respond to document requests, witness invitations, and subpoenas, as well as to prepare witnesses for congressional testimony—which often unfolds in front of television cameras rather than a courtroom.

Enforcement and White Collar

Our enforcement and white collar lawyers defend corporations and individuals in a wide range of investigations and enforcement matters. These lawyers, many of whom are former prosecutors, are located across our offices in the United States and abroad, and use their firsthand experience and knowledge of how the government conducts investigations and prosecutions to assist clients in achieving successful outcomes.

Some matters are made even more complex because they involve parallel criminal, civil, and regulatory proceedings arising out of the same set of facts and circumstances. We have a breadth of experience representing corporations and individuals in these types of matters, drawing on the firm’s full spectrum of skills and resources, including collaboration with colleagues from other practice groups when appropriate. Parallel proceedings present unique problems, such as whether a corporate officer should invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege due to a pending criminal investigation during civil depositions, thereby permitting an adverse inference to attaches in a civil proceeding. Our lawyers have been successful in convincing federal judges to stay the civil proceeding pending the resolution of the criminal investigation, thereby presenting the corporation with the ability to defend itself in the civil matter.


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