Chris Niewoehner is an esteemed trial lawyer who defends prominent individuals and corporations in all phases of government investigations and prosecutions, and handles matters related to complex civil litigation. Chris has 12 years of experience as a federal prosecutor, during which time he handled some of the most notorious political corruption investigations ever brought in the Northern District of Illinois – most notably, the conviction of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. As a result of his trial successes, he was asked to become a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers – a distinction reserved for the top one percent of trial lawyers in the United States.
Now co-chair of Steptoe's White-Collar and Securities Enforcement Group, clients turn to Chris with their most significant white-collar matters and investigations. Chris has led domestic and foreign internal investigations across a wide range of industries around the globe. He regularly interacts with the US Department of Justice (DOJ), Securities and Exchange Commission, and other regulatory bodies in enforcement actions and investigations. As a current example, Chris plays a leading role in managing worldwide issues involving one of the largest DOJ criminal settlements of all time (see United States v. Volkswagen). Clients have also sought his assistance in investigating and addressing Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and money laundering issues, antitrust concerns, environmental problems, healthcare fraud, financial market manipulation, and cyber intrusions, among other issues.
Chris' extensive trial experience includes a variety of complicated commercial litigation matters, often focused on fraud. His recent cases encompassed securities fraud, banking practices, financial and estate planning, civil racketeering, and contract disputes, among other areas.
- US District Court, Northern District of Illinois
- US Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
- Hon. Milton I. Shadur, US District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1997-1998
- J.D., Harvard Law School, 1997, magna cum laude
- Jawaharlal Nehru University, 1994, International Studies, New Delhi, India
- A.B., Harvard College, 1992, magna cum laude
Areas of Practice
Representing COO in joint criminal and civil investigations involving allegations of manufacturing fraud.
Representing CEO in criminal healthcare investigation.
Representing Fortune 50 senior executives in criminal investigation involving alleged misrepresentations to the government.
Advising Fortune 200 company on strategies to investigate and use plaintiff’s fraud against company to resolve numerous international law suits worth hundreds of millions.
Representing dietary supplement company indicted for violations of fraud and FDA statutes.
Representing board members and executives in investigations and criminal proceedings involving the SEC, IRS, Department of Labor, and state attorney generals.
Led defense team in six-week trial of former US Congressman Rick Renzi on public corruption, racketeering and fraud charges, and obtained acquittal or dismissal of 32 counts against Mr. Renzi.
Led internal investigation at financial institution in response to government investigation of mortgage origination practices.
"Investigations: A Four-Ring Circus," Association of Corporate Counsel - Chicago Chapter, July 18, 2018
"What's Missing in Your Internal Investigations Program? The Top 10 Most Critical Decisions When Managing Cross-Border Investigations," ACI's 9th Midwest Anti-Corruption Compliance Forum, Chicago, IL, June 27, 2018
"The New Normal in Government Investigations? Lessons Learned from United States v. Volkswagen and Other Recent Enforcement Actions," Forum on Corporate Enforcement, Boulder, CO, May 24, 2018
"The New Normal in Government Investigations? Lessons Learned from United States v. Volkswagen and Other Recent Enforcement Actions," Association of Corporate Counsel, July 26, 2017
2016 Chicago White-Collar Crime Conference, Law Bulliten, Chicago, IL, April 13, 2016
News & Publications
April 29, 2019
January 28, 2019
August 15, 2018
May 30, 2018
May 3, 2018
May 1, 2018
January 25, 2018
August 15, 2017
June 2, 2017
January 13, 2017
- Best Lawyers in America, Criminal Defense: White-Collar (2016-2019)
- National Law Journal, "Trailblazers in White-Collar" (2018)
- Chambers USA, Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations, Illinois (2018-2019)
- Legal 500 US, Dispute Resolution: Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense (2013, 2016-2018)
- Super Lawyers, Illinois, Criminal Defense: White-Collar (2015-2019)
- Recipient, Director’s Annual Award for Excellence, the FBI’s highest award for criminal investigations (2012)
- Recipient, US Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award (2012)
- US Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois, Deputy Chief, Financial Crimes and Special Prosecution Section (2000-2012)
- Lead prosecutor in: US v. Antoin "Tony" Rezko, US v. William Cellini, and US v. Edward Vrdolyak
- Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers