(September 12, 2022, New York) — Steptoe & Johnson LLP is pleased to announce that Julia L. Gatto, former federal defender for the Southern District of New York, has joined the firm’s Investigations and White-Collar Defense Group as a partner in the New York office. The addition follows another high-profile hire—former Assistant US Attorney Dwight J. Draughon, Jr.—who joined the group in July.
As a federal defender, Gatto has represented nearly 1,000 individuals in a wide variety of criminal cases including securities fraud, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), public corruption, and healthcare. She secured acquittals in half the criminal cases she tried to verdict in federal court. Prior to her 14 years as a federal defender, Gatto was an associate at two prominent law firms (Kramer, Levin, Naftalis & Frankel, and Sercarz & Riopelle) in the New York area, where she focused on white-collar litigation and securities arbitrations.
At Steptoe, Gatto will continue to defend individuals facing government investigations in federal and state courts, as well as counsel public and private companies through internal investigations, Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) investigations and enforcement matters, and crisis management issues.
Steptoe Chair Gwen Renigar commented: "Julia knows white-collar defense, and has proven herself time and time again to be a standout trial lawyer. Her experience fits perfectly in our market-leading Investigations and White-Collar practice, and will allow us to continue meeting growing client needs. Her tenure at the Federal Defender's office, thoughtful client counsel and effective courtroom advocacy are significant assets."
Gatto added: "I'm thrilled to be joining Steptoe as a first-chair trial lawyer to work alongside such a high-profile and outstanding team of white-collar lawyers including career defense attorneys, former US prosecutors, and senior DOJ officials. This is an exciting next step in my career, and I look forward to drawing on all the resources and insights the firm has to offer to deliver quality results for Steptoe clients."
Steptoe's Investigations and White-Collar Defense practice has represented some of the largest public and private companies in the world in major government and internal investigations. Regarded as one of the best white-collar practices in the United States, the team has garnered many accolades, including recognition by both Chambers USA and The Legal 500 as a top-ranked practice in this field. The group was also named The National Law Journal's "Washington Litigation Department of the Year in White Collar Crime" in 2014, 2017, and 2018, and has received Law360's "Practice Group of the Year in White Collar" award three times. Global Investigations Review has named Steptoe to its GIR 30, an independent guide to the world's best firms for international investigations, every year since 2015.
Gatto earned her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and her B.A. from the University of Michigan.
In more than 100 years of practice, Steptoe has earned an international reputation for vigorous representation of clients before governmental agencies, successful advocacy in litigation and arbitration, and creative and practical advice in structuring business transactions. Steptoe has more than 500 lawyers and other professional staff across offices in Beijing, Brussels, Chicago, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington. For more information, visit www.steptoe.com.
The diversity of the firm is a critical factor in its success. The firm’s Chair is a woman; the majority of Steptoe's nine offices are managed by women; the majority of Steptoe’s practice groups have women as leaders; and the firm’s twelve-person elected compensation committee is headed by a woman and includes five women as members. The firm's eight-person professional business services leadership is equally diverse, with half the c-suite made up of women, including three women of color, and other leaders who openly identify as LGBTQ+.