White-Collar Criminal Defense

Steptoe’s white-collar criminal defense practice is among the most well-respected and preeminent in the United States.  The group built this reputation by defending some of the nation’s highest profile senior executives, public officials, and corporations in complex white-collar criminal litigation, corporate investigations, and related administrative enforcement and civil litigation matters. 

Our firm has garnered several accolades, including recognition by both Chambers USA and The Legal 500 as a top-ranked practice in this field.  We were named The National Law Journal's Washington Litigation Department of the Year in White-Collar Crime in 2014 and 2017, and a Law360 White-Collar "Group of the Year" in 2016.  Steptoe’s team includes Reid Weingarten, called the “star of the criminal defense bar” by Chambers, and widely recognized as one of the premier white-collar defense lawyers in the country.  In addition, many of our litigators served in government with distinction before joining the firm, including several former US federal prosecutors with extensive trial experience, and a former prosecutor with the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO).  Our lawyers are consistently ranked as top criminal defense attorneys by Chambers, Best Lawyers in America, Euromoney’s Expert Guides, and Super Lawyers.  We provide cutting-edge advocacy and advice, responsively and efficiently.  In many of our cases, our lawyers are hired to replace prior counsel when their efforts at settlement fail and aggressive trial counsel is needed.

Steptoe represents individuals in all aspects of criminal investigations and prosecutions, especially those that generate considerable public attention.  In the past, the firm has defended senior executives from companies such as Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, Rite Aid, ADM, and GSK, and we have represented former cabinet-level US government officials, Members of Congress, the former president of a leading trade union, and the president of a foreign government.  Steptoe successfully defended a former BP executive in a criminal case arising out of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and we are conducting an independent investigation for a Special Committee of the Board of Directors of Pilot Flying J regarding allegations that the country’s largest travel center chain and diesel fuel provider defrauded some of its trucking company customers.  

Steptoe represents clients in a wide range of matters including:

In short, when the future of a company hangs in the balance, many of the nation's highest profile senior executives and corporations choose Steptoe to represent them.

Representative Matters

  • Secured a rare Rule 29 acquittal for a businessman accused of bribing a former Pennsylvania Treasurer with campaign contributions, in a 79-count honest services bribery and money laundering case tried in federal court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

  • United States v. David Rainey, Crim. No. 12-291-N (E.D. La.): Steptoe lawyers secured an acquittal for David Rainey, the highest ranking BP executive charged in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, on a false statements charge tried in New Orleans, Louisiana.  After the jury returned its not guilty verdict following two hours of deliberations, US District Judge Kurt Engelhardt stated on the public record that he “agreed with the verdict” and believed it was “a correct verdict based on the evidence.”  The acquittal followed the district court’s dismissal, on the first day of trial, of a related obstruction of Congress charge, after extensive pre-trial litigation in which the Steptoe defense team successfully argued that selective invocation of the Speech or Debate Clause privilege by congressional witnesses interfered with Mr. Rainey’s right to present a defense.
  • United States v. Stevens, 8:10-CR-00694 (D. Md.): Steptoe lawyers successfully represented Lauren Stevens, former general counsel of GlaxoSmithKline, who was indicted on six criminal counts that she obstructed a federal inquiry and made false statements to investigators related to an FDA investigation of the drug Wellbutrin SR.  Steptoe obtained a judgment of acquittal on all charges at the close of the government’s case, with US  District Judge Roger Titus finding that it would have been a “miscarriage of justice” to permit the case against Stevens to go to the jury.
  • United States v. Ofer Paz, et al., Case No. 09-cr-335 (D.D.C.): Steptoe represented Ofer Paz, the president and CEO of an Israeli company that acted as sales agent for companies in the law enforcement and military products industries, and was indicted following the “Shot Show” sting operation for allegedly conspiring to violate the FCPA, engaging in money laundering, and committing substantive violations of the FCPA.  Steptoe lawyers obtained a dismissal of the case on the eve of trial.
  • Steptoe defended a DOJ trial attorney in the Public Integrity Section, one of six federal prosecutors involved in the prosecution of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens on corruption charges.  Following a three-year investigation by a Special Prosecutor appointed to investigate potential obstruction of justice, and a parallel ethics investigation by the Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, our client was cleared of any wrongdoing.
  • Steptoe is representing Autonomy’s former CEO, Dr. Mike Lynch, in an investigation regarding alleged accounting irregularities discovered following the acquisition of Autonomy by Hewlett-Packard. HP booked an $8.8 billion write-down related to Autonomy in November 2012, claiming that certain revenue had been recorded prematurely or improperly. Based on a disclosure to law enforcement authorities by HP, there are parallel investigations underway by the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, the US Securities & Exchange Commission, and the UK Serious Fraud Office.


  • Global Investigations Review (GIR) 30, Top 30 Firms for Investigations Worldwide, 2015-2017
  • Ranked in Chambers USA 2014 - 2017; Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (DC)
  • Legal 500 US, Dispute Resolution: Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2012-2017
  • Selected as the Washington Litigation Department of the Year in White-Collar Crime by the National Law Journal, 2014 and 2017
  • Named a Law360 "White-Collar Group of the Year" for 2011, 2012, and 2016

Select News & Events

More News »

More Seminars & Events »


More Publications »