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Burck, William

William A. Burck

Direct Tel: +1 202-538-8120
Washington, D.C.
Tel: +1 202 538 8000 Fax: +1 202 538 8100
New York
Tel: +1 212 849 7000 Fax: +1 212 849 7100

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 Crisis Law and Strategy Group, the Government and Regulatory Litigation Group, and the Investigations, Government Enforcement and White Collar Criminal Defense Group.  Mr. Burck, who is a member of the Washington, D.C. and New York Bars, is also resident in the New York office.  The New York Times has declared him the modern day “Washington superlawyer” in the model of Edward Bennett Williams, famously known as “the counsel to the situation.”  He is widely recognized as one of the country’s top lawyers and has been named the “D.C. White Collar Crime & Government Investigations Lawyer of the Year” by Chambers USA, the world leader in lawyer rankings, which annually includes Mr. Burck in its #1 tier of white collar lawyers in Washington, D.C.  He has been named for four consecutive years as a top five white collar defense lawyer in the U.S. by Law360Benchmark Litigation has named Mr. Burck the “White Collar/Investigations/ Enforcement Lawyer of the Year,” noting he is lauded by peers as “the best of the best” and one of the top trial lawyers in the United States.  Mr. Burck is co-leader of the practice that has been named, amongst other accolades, “Transatlantic Investigations Team of the Year” by The American Lawyer, “White Collar Practice of the Year” four years in a row by Law360, and “Most Impressive Investigations Practice of the Year” by Global Investigations Review.

The international media has called Mr. Burck an expert in cross-border cases, and he is described by leading legal periodicals as a “very charismatic trial lawyer,” a “great strategist in adversarial proceedings,” and a “Trailblazer” in white collar defense and corporate investigations. Additionally, Chambers USA notes that Mr. Burck is described as “masterful, passionate and articulate” in the courtroom and is praised for his “appropriate sensitivity to client needs and objectives.”  Chambers USA further states Mr. Burck is an “extraordinary advocate” who “has a fantastic reputation and he's involved in virtually every large white-collar case that comes out,” adding that "he's always up to speed, tactical and is a very impressive guy."  The national press has further described his advocacy for clients as “brilliant, asymmetrical defense.”

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), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 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.

Selected Recent Public Matters:

  • Boeing 737 MAX — Lead counsel to Boeing employees in connection with the investigation of the accident by U.S. authorities.
  • Robert K. Kraft — Lead counsel to Mr. Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, in persuading a Florida court to throw out unconstitutionally obtained evidence in a case in Palm Beach, FL.
  • Mueller Investigation — Referred to in the press as “the Russia Probe’s most popular lawyer”, Mr. Burck serves as lead counsel to several key witnesses, including former White House Counsel Donald McGahn, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and former White House Strategist Stephen Bannon. 
  • “Varsity Blues” Cases — Co-counsel to Bruce Isackson, a parent charged in the investigation who has accepted responsibility for his actions and is cooperating with U.S. law enforcement authorities.
  • “Panama Papers” Case — Lead counsel to Johan Von der Goltz who is charged in the first indictment brought by DOJ in connection with its “Panama Papers” investigation.  Mr. Von der Goltz has pleaded not guilty and will be going to trial in the Fall 2019.
  • George W. Bush — Lead counsel to the former President of the United States in connection with matters arising under the Presidential Records Act.
  • Mubadala Investment Co. — Lead counsel to the Abu Dhabi-owned investment company in connection with various matters, including: civil forfeiture claims brought by the U.S. government in the 1MDB controversy against assets controlled by other parties in which Mubadala was a third party co-investor; and a civil lawsuit against Goldman Sachs and other defendants brought by IPIC and Aabar, two affiliated entities.
  • Trafigura — Lead counsel to one of the world’s largest oil trading companies in various matters, including: obtaining dismissal of an antitrust action against the company by a trust purporting to represent the interests of Venezuelan government entities including PDVSA; a class action litigation alleging a scheme to improperly raise prices of fuel oil to residents of Puerto Rico; and a pending class action litigation alleging manipulation of crude prices by a group of large oil companies in which we obtained dismissal of the case by the district court.
  • J&F Investimentos — Lead counsel to the Brazilian conglomerate which owns, among other assets, the world’s largest meat packing company, JBS, in connection with investigations growing out of the Lava Jato controversy in Brazil.
  • Odebrecht Group — Lead U.S. counsel to Latin America’s largest construction conglomerate in its historic global settlement with the United States, Brazil, and Switzerland resolving allegations of corruption in a dozen countries.  The global settlement was unique in both its speed and comprehensiveness, and it introduced the concept of measuring a company’s monetary penalty in the FCPA context by its financial condition and ability to pay.
  • 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.
  • 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. Post trial and on appeal, the First Lady’s conviction for obstruction was dismissed with prejudice by the trial judge and her other convictions, along with the former Governor’s, were thrown out by the Supreme Court of the United States.  The Department of Justice subsequently dismissed with prejudice all charges against the Governor and Mrs. McDonnell.
  • Banco BTG Pactual — Lead counsel to the Special Committee of the Board of Directors, which investigated allegations of corruption and misconduct against the Bank, Brazil’s leading investment bank, and its former CEO in connection with Operation Car Wash (Lava Jato). After conducting an exhaustive investigation of the facts, we concluded there was no basis to conclude the allegations against the Bank were accurate or credible.
  • AIG — Lead counsel to AIG in False Claims Act litigation in which AIG is alleged to have misled the U.S. federal government about aspects of the business operations of a former life insurance subsidiary called ALICO in connection with obtaining financing from the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve during the financial crisis of 2008. Obtained a declination from the Department of Justice and won dismissal with prejudice of the lawsuit against AIG in federal court.  Represent AIG in related litigation and investigations involving the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) and other state and federal regulators.
  • EFG Bank — Lead counsel to one of Switzerland’s largest private banks in DOJ’s investigation of tax evasion by U.S. taxpayers using the Swiss banking industry.  EFG was one of over 100 Swiss banks that participated in the DOJ-Swiss program for resolving disputes with DOJ, and the bank obtained a non-prosecution agreement and one of the most favorable settlements in the program.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • PPG Industries v. Jiangsu Tie Mao Glass Co. Ltd. — Lead counsel to PPG Industries, a leading U.S. 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 U.S. Department of Justice in United States v. Rukavina.
  • 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

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 U.S. hedge fund in connection with an SEC investigation of alleged fraud by the fund against certain investors.
  • Representation of a large U.S. multinational industrial products company in FCPA investigations regarding operations in Mainland 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 U.S. trade sanctions on doing business in Iran, Sudan and Cuba.
  • Defense of a former CEO of a major U.S. healthcare company in connection with an investigation by the U.S. Federal Elections Commission of alleged campaign finance violations.
  • 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 U.S. law firm in a Congressional investigation of its representation of a class of Native American plaintiffs suing the U.S. 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.
  • 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
    • Eleventh Circuit
  • United States District Courts:
    • Eastern District of New York
    • Southern District of New York
    • DC District Court
  • 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
  • Listed as one of The Best Lawyers in America for Criminal Defense: White-Collar, 2019-2022
  • Named a "Top FCPA Practitioner" by Global Investigations Review, 2021
  • Ranked in Band 1 in Washington, D.C. for White Collar and Government Investigations, Chambers USA, 2019-2021 and quoted as a "very smart and strategic lawyer and has a lot of experience negotiating settlements" and a "brilliant advocate and is highly respected by the authorities."
  • Ranked in Washington, D.C. for White Collar Crime and Government Investigations, Chambers USA2014-2021.
  • Ranked in Nationwide for FCPA, Chambers USA2018-2021.
  • Ranked in Latin America-wide for Corporate Crime & Investigations, Chambers Latin America, 2016-2021.
  • Washington, D.C. White Collar Crime & Government Investigations Lawyer of the Year, Chambers USA, 2019.  
  • Ranked by Who’s Who Legal for Business Crime Defence, 2019.
  • Recognized in Who’s Who Legal: Investigations, 2019.
  • Named to the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” list for the United States by Benchmark Litigation, 2016-2022.
  • Named a “National Practice Area Star” for White-Collar Crime in the U.S. by Benchmark Litigation, 2010-2020.
  • Named a “Local Litigation Star” for White-Collar Crime Litigation in Washington, D.C. by Benchmark Litigation, 2011-2022.
  • Named a “White Collar MVP” by Law360, 2015-2018.
  • Named a “Thought Leader” for Business Crime Defense: Corporates, and Investigations by Who's Who Legal, 2018.
  • Named the “White Collar/Investigations/Enforcement Lawyer of the Year” by Benchmark Litigation, 2017.
  • Ranked as a “Top Ten White Collar/Investigations Practitioner” in the United States by Benchmark Litigation, 2017.
  • Named a “Trailblazer” in White Collar by The National Law Journal, 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.
  • Firm Memorandum: DOJ Announces Change to Guidelines Regarding Corporate Cooperation, (December 2018).
  • "Representing Individuals in Interviews: the U.S. Perspective,” January 12, 2017, Featured in: The Practitioner’s Guide to Global Investigations (William Burck, Ben O’Neil and Daniel Koffmann).
  • “White Collar Crime 2016: Prosecutors and Regulators Speak,” September 30, 2016 in New York, NY, FCPA Investigations and Enforcement: Developments and Updates.
  • “Internal Investigations and Criminal Discovery After the Yates Memo,” April 5, 2016, The FCPA Report, Vol. 5, No. 7.
  • "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.
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • 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, The Economic Club of Washington, D.C.
  • Member, Governing Board of Beauvoir, The National Cathedral Elementary School