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Potter, John
Direct Tel: +1 415-875-6352
San Francisco
Tel: +1 415 875 6600 Fax: +1 415 875 6700

John Potter is a nationally renowned trial lawyer with a practice focused on civil litigation and white collar criminal defense.  Mr. Potter has been repeatedly recognized as one of the best lawyers in the United States by Chambers, USA, The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers, Who's Who Legal Investigations, The Legal 500, The Expert's Guide to the World's Leading Lawyers, and The Best Lawyers in America.  The authoritative professional resource, Chambers, USA, has given Mr. Potter its highest ranking and described him as “extraordinarily talented,” a "great strategic thinker,” and “an outstanding trial lawyer."  Other peer-reviewed, legal publications have characterized Mr. Potter as a "high powered trial lawyer," an "A-List" defense counsel, and “the best in the business.” Mr. Potter is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, an honor attainable by no more than 1% of the attorneys practicing in each state.

Mr. Potter serves as the Co-Chair of the Firm's White Collar and Corporate Investigations Practice Group and Chair of the Antitrust Investigations and Government Enforcement Practice Group. He previously served as Co-Chair of the American Bar Association's White Collar Committee for the Northern District of California and as the National Co-Chair of the ABA's Criminal Antitrust Committee. A former federal prosecutor, Mr. Potter has conducted numerous internal investigations at the request of corporations, boards of directors, audit committees and special committees. 

Mr. Potter has also represented corporations, directors and officers in a wide array of civil matters including healthcare litigation, derivative suits, securities litigation, 17200/17500 claims and false claims actions, as well as unfair competition, libel, breach of contract and employment cases.  An experienced trial lawyer, Mr. Potter has tried over 40 cases.  Mr. Potter taught trial advocacy to federal prosecutors as part of the Attorney General's Trial Institute Program.

Mr. Potter has delivered lectures and provided training throughout the world to the American Bar Association, the California State Bar and various international organizations, on a variety of topics including internal investigations, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Health Care Fraud, the False Claims Act, Securities Fraud and the Economic Espionage Act.

Mr. Potter previously held a number of high-ranking positions within the United States Attorney's Office, where he received professional commendations from the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Defense and the United States Customs Service.  The Attorney General of the United States personally presented Mr. Potter with a Director's Award for his successful prosecution of a United States Congressman.  Mr. Potter also received a Department of Justice commendation for the successful civil rights prosecution of the Los Angeles Police Officers involved in the Rodney King beating.

  • Selected by former Vice President Al Gore to represent the Special Committee of Apple, Inc. in an internal investigation and ensuing litigation related to Steve Job’s alleged receipt of backdated stock options.
  • Defended the founder and former CEO of Broadcom Corporation, in a federal criminal prosecution; obtained dismissal of all charges.
  • Won jury trial on behalf of C3.
  • Won jury trial on behalf of former Broadcom founder and CEO.
  • Won bench trial on behalf of billionaire tech company founder.
  • Won arbitration on behalf of public figure in defamation action.
  • Represented Actelion Pharmaceuticals in a three-year Department of Justice investigation into marketing activities; obtained declination and dismissal of qui tam action.
  • Represented telecommunications company in an investigation conducted by Washington State Attorney General’s Office; obtained declination of action.
  • Represented the Founder and CEO of a Fortune 100 company who had been designated as a target of  a federal grand jury investigation; obtained declination of prosecution.
  • Represented Johnson & Johnson in a criminal investigation and civil litigation involving the alleged off-label promotion of the drug Natrecor through successful resolution
  • Obtained dismissal of shareholder derivative action on behalf of directors and officers of Public Storage, Inc. and successfully defended the ruling on appeal, resulting in a published 9th Circuit opinion.
  • Represented the president of a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company in DOJ off label investigation; obtained declination of prosecution.
  • Successfully represented CEO of Marvell Technology Group in class action and related shareholder derivative lawsuit.
  • Obtained dismissal of Securities Exchange Act claim on behalf of corporate president and successfully defended the ruling on appeal, resulting in a published 9th Circuit opinion.
  • Successfully represented the directors and officers of Maxim Integrated Products in shareholder derivative actions.
  • Obtained dismissal of Special Litigation Committee’s claims pending against Brocade's former President and CFO.
  • Represented technology company that had been designated as a target of a criminal antitrust investigation; obtained declination of prosecution.
  • Represented publicly traded company in SEC investigation involving five year fraudulent conduct resulting in $800 million restatement; obtained declination of enforcement action.
  • Represented Kaiser Permanente in an internal investigation into fraud allegations.
  • Won defense verdict after bench trial for employer accused of wrongfully denying employee overtime pay.
  • Successfully represented Beverly Enterprises in false claims action.
  • Successfully represented Fortune 500 health care company in connection with the alleged submission of false 510(K) applications to FDA; obtained declination of prosecution.
  • Represented the president of a French bank in a criminal investigation related to the takeover of MGM/United Artist by Giancarlo Paretti.
  • Represented numerous companies, directors and officers in SEC proceedings,  FCPA investigations and antitrust proceedings.
  • Represented elected officials in various government investigations.
  • Georgetown University Law Center
    (J.D., cum laude, 1986)
  • Georgetown University
    (B.A., 1983)
  • The State Bar of California
  • United States Attorney's Office, Los Angeles:
    • Assistant United States Attorney, 1989-1997

The Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch, Criminal Defense: General Practice, Criminal Defense: White-Collar, Litigation - Antitrust, 2007

  • Chair, CLE Seminar on Internal Investigations
  • Chair, ABA White Collar Committee for the Northern District of California