Burck, William

William A. Burck



William “Bill” Burck is Co-Managing Partner of the Washington, D.C. office of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP and Co-Chair of the firm’s D.C. White Collar and Corporate Investigations Group.  Mr. Burck is described by leading legal periodicals as a “very charismatic trial lawyer” and a “great strategist in adversarial proceedings.”  The national press has described his advocacy for clients as “brilliant, asymmetrical defense.” He was named a "White Collar MVP" by Law360 and has been repeatedly recognized by other top legal periodicals such as Chambers USA and Chambers Latin America, the Legal 500 and Benchmark Litigation as one of the best white collar litigators in the United States.

Mr. Burck is a trial lawyer who represents companies, boards of directors and senior executives in investigations, sensitive matters, corporate crises, litigation and other disputes involving the federal and state governments of the United States (including the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), District Attorney's Offices, State Attorneys General, other law enforcement and regulatory agencies, and the United States Congress) and governments of Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.  

Mr. Burck's practice focuses on solving clients' most difficult legal and regulatory challenges, whether in the context of civil, criminal, congressional or parallel probes. He advises clients on a host of white collar matters, including: financial crimes; the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA); Congressional investigations; political issues; antitrust and market manipulation matters; the securities laws; whistleblower cases; the False Claims Act; government contracting; Dodd-Frank regulatory issues; transnational tax investigations; export controls; and national security and defense. Mr. Burck has considerable experience defending clients in multi-jurisdictional investigations and litigation conducted cooperatively by United States, European, Middle Eastern, Asian and African government authorities.

Mr. Burck is former Special Counsel and Deputy Counsel to President George W. Bush in Washington, D.C., and a former federal prosecutor in New York City. In his role as a senior official at the White House, Mr. Burck provided legal advice to the President and senior White House officials on a wide range of issues, including congressional and other government investigations, national security and foreign affairs, the financial crisis of 2008, and complex constitutional questions. During his time as a senior official in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice and as an Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, Mr. Burck investigated and prosecuted a variety of white collar and other criminal cases. He was a member of the trial team in United States v. Martha Stewart, and was lead prosecutor in a number of jury trials.

  Notable Representations

Selected Recent Public Criminal & Civil Matters:

  • United States v. Joseph Sigelman – Lead counsel to Joseph Sigelman, a successful American entrepreneur who founded and served as co-CEO of an oil services company called PetroTiger, in the highest profile Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) trial of recent years.  In what was described by the national media as a “striking victory for the defense,” the U.S. Department of Justice agreed in the middle of trial to drop all of the most serious charges against Mr. Sigelman, including those relating to substantive bribery, kickbacks, defrauding investors and money laundering and wire fraud, permitting Mr. Sigelman to receive no jail time and avoid the 20 years in prison prosecutors had sought.
  • FIFA – Lead counsel to the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) in connection with investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice and Swiss law enforcement authorities of alleged bribery and corruption in international football world.
  • FBME v. U.S. Treasury Department – Counsel to FBME Bank in litigation challenging on statutory, Administrative Procedure Act and U.S. Constitutional grounds the U.S. Treasury Department’s designation of FBME as a “financial institution of primary money laundering concern” under Section 311 of the USA Patriot Act. We obtained the first-ever preliminary injunction against the U.S. Treasury Department in this type of proceeding.
  • IRS Political Targeting Scandal – Counsel to Steven Miller, former Acting Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in investigations by the Department of Justice and Congress of alleged political targeting by the IRS.  The Justice Department closed their investigation without bringing charges against our client.
  • United States v. Ram Kamath –  Counsel to Ram Kamath, accused of participating in a conspiracy to import non-FDA approved prescription pharmaceutical products into the US.  We obtained a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) from the Department of Justice, dismissing all charges against our client prior to trial.  DOJ rarely agrees to a DPA for an individual defendant, particularly after the defendant has already been indicted, as was the case here.
  • United States v. Andreas Bachmann –  Lead counsel for Andreas Bachmann, a Swiss banker charged with assisting U.S. taxpayers evade taxes while working at a Credit Suisse subsidiary.  Obtained from the U.S. Department of Justice an agreement to permit Mr. Bachmann, a Swiss citizen, to return home to Switzerland immediately after plea and sentencing without serving a single day in prison.
  • Rio Tinto v. Vale & BSGR – Counsel to Rio Tinto, the world’s third largest mining company, in litigation against Vale (the largest mining company in the world) and BSGR, seeking damages for an alleged RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) conspiracy between Vale, BSGR and others to bribe officials in Guinea to steal Rio Tinto’s mining concession worth billions of dollars.
  • United States ex rel Grabcheski v. AIG – Lead counsel to AIG in False Claims Act litigation in which AIG is alleged to have misled the US federal government about aspects of the business operations of a former life insurance subsidiary called ALICO in connection with obtaining financing from the US Treasury and Federal Reserve during the financial crisis of 2008.
  • AIG v. Lawsky – Counsel to AIG in litigation against the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) alleging that DFS’s enforcement action against AIG in connection with activities of former life insurance subsidiaries ALICO and AIA violates the U.S. Constitution.
  • SEC Investigation of Net1 – Lead counsel to Brian Mosehla, a member of the board of directors of Net1, a South African company listed in the United States, in an FCPA investigation of Net1 and the board.  The SEC formally dropped its investigation, bringing no charges against Mr. Mosehla or Net1.
  • PPG Industries v. Jiangsu Tie Mao Glass Co. Ltd. – Lead counsel to PPG Industries, a leading US industrial paint and coatings company, in trade secret litigation against a Chinese company that is alleged to have conspired with a former PPG employee to steal PPG’s intellectual property.  This civil litigation parallels a federal criminal case brought by the US Department of Justice in United States v. Rukavina.
  • In re: North Sea Brent Crude Oil Futures Litigation – Lead counsel to Trafigura, a global oil trading company, in class action litigation alleging manipulation of crude prices by a group of large oil companies.
  • Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority Litigation – Lead counsel to Trafigura, a global oil trading company, in class action litigation alleging a scheme to improperly raise prices of fuel oil to residents of Puerto Rico.
  • Americans for Prosperity v. Kamala Harris – Counsel to Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a non-profit issue advocacy organization, in litigation against the State of California alleging that California’s requirement that non-profits disclose membership lists violates the U.S. Constitution.
  • United States v. Kim Dotcom et al. -- Lead counsel to Kim Dotcom and Megaupload Limited, one of the world’s largest online cloud storage services, in the U.S. Department of Justice’s largest prosecution of alleged criminal copyright infringement.
  • United States v. Robert McDonnell & Maureen McDonnell -- Lead counsel to Maureen McDonnell, former First Lady of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in a federal criminal case charging Mrs. McDonnell and her husband, former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell, with political corruption, extortion, obstruction of justice, and bank fraud.

Selected Recent Non-Public Criminal Investigations:

  • Representation of several major Swiss Private Banks and individual bankers in the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigations of their cross-border banking activities, including allegedly facilitating tax evasion by U.S. taxpayers.
  • Representation of several large Brazilian multinationals in connection with the multi-jurisdictional investigation of alleged bribery involving the Brazilian oil giant, Petrobras.
  • Defense of a multi-billion dollar US hedge fund in connection with an SEC investigation of alleged fraud by the fund against certain investors.
  • Representation of a large US multinational industrial products company in FCPA investigations regarding operations in China, Taiwan, Mexico, and Turkey.
  • Defense of a multinational commodities trading company in investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office of alleged violations of US trade sanctions on doing business in Iran, Sudan and Cuba.
  • Defense of a former CEO of a major US healthcare company in connection with an investigation by the US Federal Elections Commission of alleged campaign finance violations.
  • Defense of a multinational mining conglomerate and its senior executives in parallel investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice and the UK Serious Fraud Office of alleged FCPA and UK Bribery Act violations in Central Asia and Africa.
  • Representation of a multinational logistics and transportation company based in Switzerland in an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice of alleged violations of the FCPA.
  • Representation of a multinational technology and manufacturing company before the SEC and the U.S. Department of Justice in an investigation of alleged FCPA violations in its operations in India, China and Southeast Asia.
  • Defense of one of the world’s largest insurance companies in a criminal investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for allegedly making false submissions to regulators. 
  • Defense of a former senior campaign official in an investigation of political corruption in New York City by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY).
  • Representation of a multinational pharmaceutical company based in Europe in an investigation of alleged FCPA violations in its operations in Southeast Asia.
  • Defense of a senior executive of a large European bank in connection with a tax fraud prosecution brought by the Department of Justice.
  • Defense of a multinational airline services company based in Europe in an investigation of alleged kickbacks and fraud in Asia and Europe by the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Representation of a bulge-bracket investment bank in an investigation of alleged tax and wire fraud by the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Representation of a major US/European telecommunications company with extensive operations in Africa in claims for fraud against contractors in South Africa, Nigeria, and the US.
  • Representation of a major financial firm in an investigation by the SEC of alleged securities fraud.
  • Defense of a multinational commodities trading company in CFTC and FSA investigations of alleged market manipulation in the energy market.

Selected Recent U.S. Congressional Investigations:

  • Representation of Steven Miller, former Acting Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, in connection with Congressional investigations of alleged targeting of conservative groups by the IRS.
  • Representation of a senior executive of CGI, the company contracted to build the ObamaCare website, in Congressional investigations of the website’s roll-out problems.
  • Defense of the U.S. military's largest suppliers of jet fuel to troops in Afghanistan in a Congressional investigation of alleged corruption in Central Asia and follow-on investigations conducted by foreign authorities.
  • Defense of a leading US law firm in a Congressional investigation of its representation of a class of Native American plaintiffs suing the US government for billions of dollars.
  • Representation of AIG in Congressional investigations of executive compensation and bonuses at its subsidiary AIGFP in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008.
  • Representation of a large U.S. oil-spill cleanup company in connection with Congressional and other government investigations of the Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Representation of a senior Obama Administration official in Congressional investigations arising from the Department of Energy’s funding of Solyndra and the company’s subsequent bankruptcy.

  Practice Areas

  • White Collar & Corporate Investigations
  • Transnational Litigation
  • Securities Litigation


  • Yale Law School
    (J.D., 1998)
    • Yale Law Journal:
      • Editor-in-Chief
  • Yale University
    (B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude, 1993)


The District of Columbia Bar; The State Bar of New York; United States Supreme Court; United States Courts of Appeals: Second Circuit; Fourth Circuit; United States District Courts: Southern District of New York

  Prior Associations

  • Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP:
    • Partner, 2009-2012

  • Special Counsel and Deputy Counsel to President George W. Bush:
    • 2007-2009

  • Department of Justice:
    • Senior Official, Criminal Division, 2007

  • United States Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York:
    • Assistant United States Attorney, 2003-2005

  • Law Clerk to the Hon. Anthony M. Kennedy:
    • United States Supreme Court, 1999-2000

  • Law Clerk to the Hon. Alex Kozinski:
    • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 1998-1999


  • Named a "White Collar MVP" for 2015 by Law360
  • Ranked in Washington D.C. White Collar Crime and Government Investigations, Chambers USA, 2014-2015.
  • Ranked in Chambers Latin America 2016.
  • Named a "National Litigation Star" for White-Collar Crime in the U.S. by Benchmark Litigation, 2010-2016.
  • Named a "Local Litigation Star" for White-Collar Crime Litigation in Washington, D.C. by Benchmark Litigation, 2011-2016.
  • Named by Legal 500 as a top practitioner in White Collar Defense, 2015.
  • Named as a Washington, D.C. Super Lawyer, White Collar Criminal Defense, 2015.
  • Named a "Rising Star" for White Collar Law by Law360, 2011.

Publications and Lectures

  • "Financial Regulatory Reform: An Overview of The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act," July 15, 2010, Financial Regulatory Reform Center.
  • "Advice for Corporations and Their Counsel in Dealing with the Government," Fall 2009, In-House Litigator, Vol. 24, No. 1.

Professional Activities

  • Conciliator, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (Appointed by the President of the United States)
  • Member, Public Interest Declassification Board (Appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate)
  • Member, Bar of the City of New York
  • Member, New York State Bar Association
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Federal Bar Council
  • Member, International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA)
  • Member, Board of Trustees, The River School, Washington, D.C.