GIR 100 2022

Cravath Swaine & Moore

Cravath Swaine & Moore

Professional notice

Cravath’s investigations and enforcement experts are in hot demand among leading companies, financial institutions, their boards and senior executives, for first-class support in all white-collar criminal defence, regulatory enforcement and corporate crisis scenarios.

The firm

The firm has an impressive number of prominent investigations lawyers and high-profile white-collar matters under its belt. Although the firm has a relatively small and mainly US-based investigations practice compared to many other firms in the GIR 100, it can rely on top-tier lawyers including Rachel Skaistis, John Buretta, Benjamin Gruenstein, David Stuart and Evan Norris.

Skaistis has had a long career in private practice and has previously advised telecommunications company Telia on foreign bribery investigations.

Before joining Cravath, Buretta served for over a decade in the DOJ, rising to the rank of principal deputy assistant attorney general and chief of staff in the department's criminal division. He directed the department's Deepwater Horizon Task Force. Buretta is also a Who’s Who Legal: Investigations nominee.

Former Brooklyn federal prosecutor Evan Norris, now at Cravath, was the lead prosecutor on the Fifa corruption case.

Other prominent partners in the practice are Evan Chesler, Peter Barbur and John White.

Former US District Judge for the Southern District of New York Katherine Forrest rejoined Cravath in 2018 following her time on the bench. Before joining Cravath, Forrest presided over the high-profile bribery case of former Hong Kong home affairs minister Patrick Ho.

Given the firm's New York roots, it's unsurprising that Cravath has a number of lawyers who previously worked in the two most prestigious US attorneys' offices in the country. Gruenstein is a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan, while Buretta is a former federal prosecutor in Brooklyn.

Cravath's practice also has significant SEC expertise with Stuart and White. Stuart worked in the agency's enforcement division in the early 2000s, serving as branch chief for the SEC's financial fraud task force. White was a director of the SEC's division of corporation finance between 2006 and 2008. In June 2022, the firm announced it hired two other former SEC officials, Elad Roisman and Jennifer Leete, who are based in Washington, DC.

Recent events

The firm recently conducted an internal investigation on behalf of WarnerMedia into allegations that former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo engaged in journalistic misconduct related to the sexual harassment scandal involving his brother and former New York governor Andrew Cuomo. The investigation concluded that the news anchor had lied in statements made to CNN executives regarding his involvement in the scandal; Cuomo was fired by CNN in December 2021. Forrest and Gruenstein led the matter.

Cravath is also acting for utility company PG&E in litigation relating to several major wildfires in 2019, 2020 and 2021. In March 2021, the firm secured the dismissal of a US$2.5 billion putative class action filed against its client by plaintiffs who sought damages for business interruption among other things after PG&E shut off power to approximately 800,000 Northern California residents to reduce the risk of wildfires. Appeals are ongoing.

Gruenstein, in his capacity as a fellow of The International Academy of Financial Crime Litigators, helped prepare an amicus brief in support of arguments raised by former Swiss asset manager Daisy Teresa Rafoi-Bleuler in a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and money laundering case currently pending before the Fifth Circuit after a Houston judge dismissed the case.

The firm has continued over the past 18 months to help large foreign companies handle investigations by US authorities.

GIR reported that Gruenstein guided Rahn+Bodmer, Zurich’s oldest private bank, to a $22 million deferred prosecution agreement for allegedly helping US clients evade tax between 2004 and 2012. The Manhattan attorney’s office said Rahn+Bodmer helped customers evade a total of $16.4 million in tax by opening accounts for them under false names, transferring assets to ‘sham’ foundations in Liechtenstein, and refusing to send bank statements to US authorities, among other allegations. US authorities cut the tax evasion penalty by over half as a result of the bank’s rigorous internal investigation into the misconduct.

Network

The firm is based in New York with additional offices in London and Washington, DC.

Clients

The firm’s clients include Alphabet, Biogen, British American Tobacco, Crown Castle International, General Electric, Novartis, PG&E, Qualcomm, SBM Offshore, Telia Company and WarnerMedia.

Track record

The firm has a long history of guiding large companies through foreign bribery investigations, including Dutch oil services company SBM Offshore, which agreed to pay US$238 million in 2018 to settle potential FCPA violations in Brazil, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan and Iraq.

GIR reported that the firm advised Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis as it resolved a civil fraud case in July 2020. The firm entered a $678 million settlement with the DOJ in a lawsuit over allegations that the company induced doctors with millions of dollars to get them to prescribe its drugs. The firm has represented Novartis before; in 2016 it guided the company to a $25 million settlement with the SEC over violations of the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions.

Cravath lawyers helped Singapore oil rig builder Keppel Offshore & Marine defeat a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) lawsuit in May 2020. Keppel investors EIG Energy Fund sued the Singapore company in February 2018 seeking $663 million in damages resulting from the oil rig builder's role in a Brazilian bribery scheme. A Manhattan federal judge ruled that the investors can't sue Keppel under RICO. Keppel had admitted the conduct in a $422 million foreign bribery settlement with authorities in the US, Brazil and Singapore. The DPA was completed in June 2021.

The firm also has experience with monitorships. Buretta was appointed by the DOJ to serve as a compliance monitor to Japanese auto parts company Takata Corporation in April 2017 in connection with a $1 billion DOJ settlement over criminal charges stemming from the company's sale of defective airbag inflators.

Stuart and Skaistis helped Swedish telecoms company Telia see an end to its three-year foreign bribery DPA in April 2021. The company entered into a first-of-its-kind settlement in September 2017 with US, Dutch and Swedish authorities to resolve allegations of bribery in Uzbekistan.

Cravath is a trusted adviser to the world’s leading companies, their boards of directors and senior executives in the full range of corporate crises, regulatory enforcement proceedings and white collar criminal defense matters.  Our reach in the white collar arena is global, extending to cross‑border issues involving Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas for clients in diverse industries. 

We regularly lead complex internal investigations, based on company initiative and in response to whistleblower claims and shareholder demands, and guide companies through sensitive government investigations.  Known as trial-ready attorneys, we also defend our clients in parallel or related regulatory or civil proceedings that can arise from investigations.  Boards of directors and their executives turn to us for advice on corporate governance, corporate transaction risks, potential areas of exposure and preventive measures to help deter regulatory intervention and lawsuits.  We also perform compliance risk assessments and design compliance programs that meet DOJ and SEC standards. Our practice extends to defending board members, senior executives and other individuals in investigations and related litigation.

Our experience runs the gamut.  Our team has handled three of the most complex multi-agency, multi‑country investigations on the public record, two of which involved alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  Domestic and international clients rely on our prompt and practical counsel on trade and economic sanctions and export controls to run their businesses.  We also investigate and advise clients on the FCPA, accounting and disclosure issues, environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters, insider trading, tax evasion, potential executive misconduct, securities fraud, money laundering and anti-money laundering controls, healthcare fraud and criminal antitrust matters.  In addition, as the legal landscape undergoes rapid change in the wake of increasingly complex cybersecurity technology, our newly assembled team of Data Security and Privacy attorneys are poised to address the full range of our clients’ cyber‑related concerns.

The hallmark of our Investigations and Regulatory Enforcement Practice is our interdisciplinary approach to solving our clients’ problems.  Our team of seasoned litigators and corporate advisory attorneys includes a former federal judge from the Southern District of New York, senior U.S. Department of Justice officials, senior SEC lawyers and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.  We bring that experience to bear when advising clients in the boardroom and defending them before domestic and foreign government agencies and in courtrooms nationwide.

Since its inception, Cravath’s Investigations and Regulatory Enforcement practice has been ranked among the top in the nation, with The Legal 500 US calling us a “go‑to firm for handling government and internal investigations, regulatory compliance and white‑collar defense.”  Cravath is recognized as a leading firm for its Investigations and Regulatory Enforcement practice by Benchmark Litigation, Chambers Global, Chambers USA, Global Investigations Review, The Legal 500 US and U.S. News “Best Law Firms.”  We have also been named a Law360 “Practice Group of the Year” in Compliance and received the Gold Award for Best U.S. Law Firm for Investigations & White Collar by the International Legal Alliance Summit & Awards.  Our “strong bench of criminal defense attorneys” and “strength in handling investigations and litigation involving securities fraud and anti‑corruption matters” set us apart.  (Chambers USA

Website: www.cravath.com

Unlock unlimited access to all Global Investigations Review content