GIR 100 2022

Boies Schiller Flexner

Boies Schiller Flexner

Professional notice

High-profile work is the order of the day for Boies Schiller Flexner’s investigations lawyers, who have recently been representing victims of sex trafficking by Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.

The firm

Boies Schiller Flexner has been one of the biggest names in US litigation over the past 20 years and the firm’s chair, David Boies, remains among the most high-profile lawyers out there.

The firm’s global investigations and white-collar defence practice includes a dozen professionals with significant government experience, including former prosecutors and former SEC and FTC officials.

BSF’s New York office features managing partner and head of the global investigations and white-collar defence and crisis management practices Matthew Schwartz, who served as a member of the Southern District of New York’s securities and commodities fraud task force; former Manhattan federal prosecutor John Zach; and Jesse Panuccio, who, from 2017 to 2019 served in the leadership of the DOJ as acting Associate Attorney General. The firm has experienced significant personnel changes in recent years, including in its investigations practice. London partners Tracey Dovaston and Matt joined the firm’s former co-managing partner Natasha Richardson to launch Pallas Partners. In the US, Lauren Bell joined Munger Tolles & Olson in March 2022, while Peter Skinner made his way to Morrison & Foerster in May.

Notable arrivals include Kenya Davis, a highly experienced former federal prosecutor who has served as lead counsel in 35 jury trials, handled over 100 grand jury investigations and co-chaired the DC Human Trafficking Task Force. Blake Goebel, a former Fraud Section trial lawyer, joined in January.

Partners Alison Anderson and the Honourable Ursula Ungaro bring further experience to the firm’s investigations team. Andersonworked in the Fraud Section for 10 years while Ungaro served as a US District Judge in the Southern District of Florida for 29 years.

Recent events

Recent high-profile engagements for the team include representing as lead counsel more than 10 victims of sex trafficking by Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in the criminal prosecution of the latter, who was convicted in December 2021. The firm is also representing the victims in connection with the former criminal prosecution of Epstein, in civil litigation against Maxwell and Epstein’s estate, and in claims made to the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Program. In February 2022, the firm negotiated a settlement between Virginia Giuffre and Prince Andrew, Duke of York.

GIR has previously reported that the firm led the international team overseeing the defence of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak in US and Malaysian cases linked to the alleged embezzlement of billions of dollars from development fund 1MDB. In 2020, Najib was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined US$50 million in a Malaysian case linked to the matter. He has consistently denied wrongdoing.


The firm’s core investigations practice is made up of partners in DC, New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Outside of the US, the firm has a presence in London.


The company has acted for a diverse group of clients from US sportswear brand Nike and Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank.

In terms of individuals, the firm has acted for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Track record

The firm has represented UK-headquartered bank HSBC on US state and federal investigations into the issuance of subprime residential mortgage-backed securities.

In 2015, BSF obtained dismissal of the first-ever anti-money laundering action in the virtual currency industry, against client Ripple Labs and its wholly owned subsidiary XRP II, securing a purely civil settlement.

The firm guided Hollywood production company Red Granite Pictures – co-founded by Najib Razak’s stepson – to a US$60 million settlement with DOJ in 2018 over allegations the company funded several films with money embezzled from 1MDB.

BSF advised Nike over the course of federal investigations into celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti who threatened to reveal harmful information over the sportswear company’s purported role in a college football corruption investigation; the firm conducted a separate internal investigation of the allegations and represented the company in an investigation by the Manhattan US attorney’s office into the same issue. A court sentenced Avenatti to 30 months’ imprisonment in July 2021 after convicting him of extortion the previous year.

The firm served as lead counsel for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in a US government investigation into the National Enquirer’s parent company, AMI, which had threatened to publish nude selfies of the businessman. A report commissioned by Bezos and conducted by a pair of UN officials determined last year that individuals linked to Saudi Arabia, whose crown prince Bezos has criticised, had compromised his phone.

It represented UK geosciences company Bridgeporth and its onetime owner Erik Prince in a UN Security Council investigation into alleged violations of Libya sanctions. While the investigation has determined there were violations in a report released in February 2021, it has not taken action against the firm’s clients.

Boies Schiller Flexner is a firm of internationally recognized trial lawyers, crisis managers, and strategic advisers known for our creative, aggressive, and efficient pursuit of successful outcomes for our clients.

Because we are, first and foremost, trial lawyers, we consider how each engagement would play out in a courtroom. This approach enables us to negotiate favorable outcomes on behalf of our clients, most often without a trial; however, when the government decides to initiate civil or criminal proceedings, we are deeply experienced, highly effective advocates at the pre-trial, trial, and appellate stages.

Our team regularly conducts independent internal investigations and whistle-blowing investigations on behalf of corporations and their boards, providing presentations and recommendations that are credible, thorough, and minimally disruptive to their businesses. We also work closely with clients to establish and maintain effective compliance programs, including corporate reform and remedial compliance programs. We regularly provide counsel on appropriate responsive actions, including compliance or governance reforms, personnel action, and, when necessary, referral to regulators, law enforcement or public disclosure. 

Lawyers in the Global Investigations and White Collar Defense group include former federal prosecutors and DOJ trial lawyers, former federal regulators, state and local prosecutors, and former in-house counsel in leadership positions. We use our experience running investigations and prosecuting matters globally, both to strategize on behalf of our clients and to credibly negotiate with our former government peers. We also leverage this experience when called upon to negotiate with federal prosecutors and regulators, including DOJ, SEC, CFTC, IRS, FTC, FinCEN, and OFAC, state Attorneys General, Congress, U.K. prosecutors and regulators, including the FCA, PRA, SFO, OFSI and FRC, and many other global regulatory agencies.

We help clients caught up in government investigations, often leading to discontinuances, and we also frequently assist clients that have been victims of crime to seek justice—whether by presenting their cases to law enforcement or regulators, bringing civil claims in court, or both. Based on our meticulous presentations of law and evidence, and our credibility before government officials, our team has had notable success in convincing authorities to bring charges where our clients have been harmed.

Our clients range from global financial institutions and multinational corporations to well-capitalized startups and high-net-worth individuals. We regularly represent clients in matters regarding securities and commodities law, including insider trading and market manipulation; anti-corruption laws, including the FCPA and U.K. Bribery Act; criminal antitrust violations; theft of trade secrets; Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering violations; FIRREA; export control and sanctions violations; data privacy and cybersecurity; accounting fraud; criminal tax offenses; False Claims Act; asset freezing and forfeiture; national security issues; and health care fraud and POCA.

Our attorneys also help clients address the crisis management issues that may arise in conjunction with an investigation or prosecution. We work seamlessly across the firm’s broad international network, often in collaboration with our Crisis Management and Government Response group, to provide clients with comprehensive guidance wherever their legal issues arise.

With offices located throughout the United States and in London, we operate as one firm with a seamless approach to building the most skillful and cost-effective team possible for every matter.


Unlock unlimited access to all Global Investigations Review content