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Sam Williamson is a partner resident in Kirkland's Shanghai office, where he leads the firm's Asia-based government enforcement and investigations practices. He is a former federal prosecutor, having served as a white collar supervisor at the U.S. Department of Justice, and has extensive experience living and working in Asia, having lived in China on multiple occasions, as well as in Japan and Singapore. Sam speaks Mandarin Chinese and Japanese and is the only Chinese-speaking former federal prosecutor resident in China. He regularly counsels both corporations and individuals on sensitive enforcement matters involving securities law, accounting and book-keeping standards and other internal financial controls, the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA"), the U.K. Bribery Act, other corruption enforcement regimes, the Economic Espionage Act ("EEA"), antitrust and competition issues, health care programs, government sanctions and trade policies, and other financial transactions, among others.
According to Chambers Asia-Pacific, Sam is "the kind of lawyer you can put in front of your business people - an engaging, credible speaker with a sense of humour" with "ability to synthesise and clarify inherently ambiguous circumstances" and "formidable US Department of Justice experience". In 2013, Main Justice recognized Sam with a Distinguished Service Award in the FCPA category.
Advising numerous publicly-traded companies' boards of directors, audit committees, and special committees of the board, with regard to the conduct of internal reviews of securities disclosure and accounting concerns and or other compliance, enforcement or regulatory matters
Advising numerous companies of varying size, both publicly traded and privately held, in connection with FCPA related internal investigations and government enforcement actions involving the U.S. Department of Justice, the SEC, and multiple foreign enforcement agencies. These matters have involved issues in a variety of countries in Asia, West Africa, South and Central America, and Europe
Representing senior executives of financial institutions with regard to investigations by the U.S. SEC and DOJ, with particular focus on issues concerning compliance with accounting and disclosure obligations under the U.S. securities laws
Leading an internal investigation into allegations of bribery regarding a U.S. company's operations in West Africa; following the investigation, the allegations were retracted by the parties who had initially raised them
Advising numerous senior executives and independent directors in connection with U.S. and foreign corruption inquiries and corporate internal investigations
Representing multiple executives in connection with DOJ criminal price-fixing inquiries
Representing companies and individuals in connection with internal investigations and U.S. government criminal and civil procurement fraud enforcement actions
Representing senior executives in connection with civil and criminal health care fraud investigations
Leading an internal investigation and providing advice in connection with criminal trade secrets and economic espionage issues.
Advising other senior executives or officials in connection with sensitive issues involving government investigations or enforcement actions.
In connection with handling of matters of the type described above, Sam currently holds a Top Secret/ Sensitive Compartmented Information security clearance.
Sam joined the Firm after spending nearly six years with the U.S. Department of Justice. His work as a federal prosecutor was split nearly equally between service in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan) and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Tennessee (Nashville).
In New York, Sam was a member of the International Narcotics Trafficking Unit, where he prosecuted large international money-laundering and narcotics organizations. In the course of this work, Sam worked with law enforcement agencies from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Canada, Colombia and the Dominican Republic, among others. In addition, Sam prosecuted a wide variety of other types of crimes including bank, wire, mail, and tax fraud.
In Nashville, Sam was the deputy chief of the office's Criminal Division, where he supervised a team of as many as ten attorneys. This group was responsible for the prosecution of the majority of federal white collar criminal cases occurring in the district, including securities, bank, mail, wire, health care, environmental, and bankruptcy fraud. The team's other matters included complicated computer intrusion cases and public corruption matters.
In both offices, Sam tried a number of federal jury trials and has addressed federal juries on dozens of occasions. The subject matters involved in these trials included many complex "white collar" matters, including criminal violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, environmental fraud, health care fraud, obstruction of justice, computer-related crimes, fraud in government subsidy programs, and public corruption. He also appeared in numerous legal and evidentiary hearings and represented the United States as lead counsel before the United States Courts of Appeals for the Second, Fifth and Sixth Circuits.
While working in Tennessee, Sam was a repeat guest lecturer at Vanderbilt Law School on issues involving corporate compliance and criminal obstruction of justice. He has also been a guest lecturer at George Washington University Law School on criminal procedure and sentencing.
In 2010, at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice, Sam traveled to Serbia, where he spoke to judges and prosecutors about corporate criminal liability as part of DOJ-sponsored training on these issues.
Prior to attending law school, Sam was an active duty infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps, where he attained the rank of Captain and served as an infantry company commander. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps Reserve after being promoted to the rank of Major, and deployed to Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Mali in the course of his reserve activities. During his time in the military, Sam achieved the second-highest possible score in oral Chinese on the Defense Language Proficiency Test.
Following graduation from college, Sam spent a year at the National University of Singapore as a Fulbright Scholar in Military History. He was also a foreign student at Nanjing University, in Nanjing, China and Ryukoku University in Kyoto, Japan.
L. Urgenson, S. Williamson and A. Harris, Feds to Corporate America: 'The Cops are Coming', Business Crimes Bulletin, Vol. 17, No. 7, March 2010.
L. Urgenson, C. Colbridge, A. Harris, and S. Williamson, New Bumps and Tolls Along the Road to FCPA Settlements, Business Crimes Bulletin, Vol. 17, No. 3, November 2009.
United States Attorney's Office, Middle District of Tennessee
United States Attorney's Office, Southern District of New YorkUnited States Marine Corps
United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
United States District Court for the District of Columbia