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DOJ Official Avi Gesser Returns to White Collar Criminal Defense Practice at Davis Polk

09/09/2013 | 10:05am EDT

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP today announced that Avi Gesser, an official with the U.S. Department of Justice, will rejoin the firm's Litigation Department as a partner. He will work with the firm's top-ranked White Collar Criminal Defense Group and will represent clients in a wide range of white collar criminal defense matters and investigations as well as complex commercial litigation.

From mid-2010 to December 2012, Mr. Gesser was the Counsel to the Chief of the Justice Department, Criminal Division's Fraud Section, where he assisted the Chief in overseeing more than 100 federal prosecutors who work on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, securities, health care, and other fraud investigations and cases.

From early 2011 through August 2013, Mr. Gesser was the Deputy Director of the Justice Department, Criminal Division's Deepwater Horizon Task Force. In that role, he was responsible for operation of the Task Force, which included 12 prosecutors and dozens of agents. He was also jointly responsible for investigating and prosecuting BP, Transocean and Halliburton for their conduct in connection with the Macondo oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2013, BP, Transocean and Halliburton all pled guilty to criminal conduct in connection with the oil spill, the largest criminal resolution in U.S. history. Mr. Gesser was also part of the team that prosecuted individuals for obstruction and manslaughter relating to the disaster.

In recognition of his work on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill matter, last month Mr. Gesser was honored with the Attorney General's Award for Exceptional Service, which is the highest award given by the Justice Department. He also received the FBI Director's Award for Excellence in the category of Outstanding Criminal Investigation. This award is conferred annually to a group of criminal investigators who have demonstrated extraordinary ingenuity, initiative, and competence in overcoming serious obstacles, and have achieved significant results in a complex criminal investigation of major importance.

Mr. Gesser practiced in Davis Polk's Litigation Department from 1998 to 2010, as partner from 2007 to 2010, representing clients in a wide range of securities enforcement and white collar criminal defense matters, class actions and complex commercial cases. He clerked for the Honorable I. Leo Glasser, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, from 1999 to 2000. Mr. Gesser graduated with highest honors from the University of Manitoba. He also received an LL.M. from Cambridge University and an LL.M. from New York University School of Law.

"We are delighted to welcome back Avi, whose invaluable government experience will be a great asset to our world-class white collar criminal defense team assisting our clients on their most sensitive investigations and trials," said Thomas J. Reid, Davis Polk's Managing Partner. "Avi joins a long list of Davis Polk lawyers who have returned to the firm after government service, such as a number of our current litigators who have held senior positions with the DOJ, the SEC, the White House and the CIA."

Mr. Gesser said, "I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve the public in my roles at the Department of Justice in Washington. I have greatly enjoyed my time in the government, and am pleased to rejoin the talented litigation team at Davis Polk and work on white collar and investigative matters with my friends and colleagues."

About Davis Polk's White Collar Criminal Defense and Government Investigations Practices.

Davis Polk is widely recognized as having one of the most distinguished white collar criminal defense and investigations practices in the United States and internationally. The firm represents corporations and executives from around the world in high-profile and complex white collar criminal defense matters, regulatory enforcement matters, and government and internal investigations. Davis Polk litigators include some of the most highly respected criminal defense lawyers in the country, many of whom served with distinction as federal and state prosecutors or senior officials at the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm's criminal defense and investigation lawyers currently play leading roles in major enforcement and regulatory proceedings in areas that include the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA); the subprime and financial markets crisis; anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance; health care fraud; insider trading and market manipulation; and criminal tax investigations. A large part of the practice involves representing corporations, individuals, financial institutions, professional firms, audit committees and advisory boards in nonpublic criminal and regulatory investigations, and proceedings conducted by the U.S. Congress, the DOJ, the SEC, the New York Attorney General's Office, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, the NYSE Euronext, FINRA, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Reserve Bank, and numerous other U.S., state and foreign law enforcement and regulatory agencies.

About Davis Polk's Trial Practice.

Davis Polk has one of the world's premier trial practices. With more than 200 litigators, including 37 partners, the firm handles trials in federal, state and non-U.S. jurisdictions in a wide range of matters across many industries. In both 2010 and 2011, Davis Polk's Litigation Department was ranked among the top three firms in the Financial Times' "U.S. Innovative Lawyers" special report - the only law firm to earn such a distinction. Davis Polk's approach has created a long track record of success for clients, at both trial and on appeal. First and foremost, Davis Polk litigators are courtroom lawyers, who have earned the respect of judges, prosecutors, regulators and the bar across the nation. Current and former partners have served in a wide range of senior government positions, including U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Chief of the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division of the DOJ; and Independent Counsel in both the Whitewater/Madison Guaranty and Iran-Contra investigations. In addition, approximately two-thirds of the firm's litigators have clerked for federal or state judges, including Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.

About Davis Polk.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is a global law firm. For over 160 years, its lawyers have advised industry-leading companies and global financial institutions on their most challenging legal and business matters. Davis Polk ranks among the world's preeminent law firms across the entire range of its practice, which spans such areas as capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, credit, litigation, private equity, tax, financial regulation, investment management, insolvency and restructuring, executive compensation, intellectual property, real estate, and trusts and estates. Davis Polk (including its associated entities) has more than 750 lawyers in offices in New York, Menlo Park, CA, Washington DC, São Paulo, London, Paris, Madrid, Hong Kong, Beijing and Tokyo. For more information, please visit: http://www.davispolk.com.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Susan Peters, 212-450-4159
Senior Public Relations Manager
susan.peters@davispolk.com


© Business Wire 2013
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