Brian Benczkowski is a partner in Kirkland’s Washington, D.C., office. He is a member of the Firm’s Government, Regulatory & Internal Investigations Practice Group. Brian has deep and diverse government enforcement and investigations experience, bolstered by his service in multiple leadership positions at the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and on Capitol Hill. He recently returned to the firm after serving for two years as the Senate-confirmed Assistant Attorney General for DOJ’s Criminal Division, his sixth senior management position at the Justice Department.
During his time as Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, Brian oversaw more than 600 attorneys and 1,000 total staff responsible for prosecuting many of the most wide-ranging and complex criminal cases at the Department, including securities, commodities, health care, government contracting and program fraud, as well as Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), money laundering, public corruption, computer crime, intellectual property, Bank Secrecy Act, and opioid-related matters.
As head of the Criminal Division, Brian worked extensively with counterparts around the world in multi-national and cross-border investigations, often in high-stakes corporate matters. These counterparts included senior law enforcement, regulatory, and policy leaders throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. Brian also oversaw the formulation and implementation of the Department’s criminal enforcement policy, managed the Division’s relationship with the 93 United States Attorney’s Offices around the country, and directed the Department’s international mutual legal assistance program and its foreign law enforcement, prosecutorial and judicial training efforts.
During his tenure as Assistant Attorney General, Benczkowski also implemented several policy changes related to how the Department of Justice prosecutes corporations. These policies included enhanced criteria for how the Criminal Division selects corporate monitors, as well as changes to the way the Division evaluates corporate compliance programs and claims of inability to pay criminal fines and penalties, revisions to the FCPA Resource Guide, amendments to the FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy (CEP), and the FCPA Unit's publication of declination letters online.
Earlier in his career, Brian also served in the halls of Congress, including as the Republican Staff Director for the Senate Judiciary Committee, and as a senior attorney for the House Judiciary Committee. Brian began his career in Washington as Counsel to a senior United States Senator, where he advised the Senator on all matters before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) and during the investigation of campaign finance abuses in the 1996 elections.
During his time in private practice, Benczkowski has represented corporations in government enforcement matters before DOJ, other federal entities, and state attorneys general. He also has conducted internal investigations on behalf of companies and boards of directors in the energy, environmental, telecommunications, entertainment, pharmaceutical, and life sciences industries. He also has represented companies and individuals in congressional investigations, managing requests for documents and information, and preparing senior executives for testimony at committee hearings.
Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs, 2020
A Resource Guide to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Second Edition, 2020
Evaluating a Business Organization’s Inability to Pay a Criminal Fine or Criminal Monetary Penalty, 2019
Selection of Monitors in Criminal Division Matters, 2018
Justice in Cyberspace, Washington College of Law, American University, 2020
ACI’s 36th International Conference on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, 2019
20th Annual Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Compliance Congress, 2019
33rd Annual American Bar Association’s National Institute on White Collar Crime, 2019
Criminal Division’s 100th Anniversary Celebration, 2019
NYU School of Law, Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement, 2018
The Best Lawyers in America, Criminal Defense: White Collar, 2023
Chambers USA, Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (District of Columbia), 2022
The Legal 500 United States, Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2021
Kirkland & Ellis Pro Bono Public Service Award, 2011–2013, 2015–2017
Legal Times, Champion of the Washington DC Legal Community Award, 2009
Attorney General’s Medal for Exemplary Service, United States Department of Justice, 2008
John Marshall Award, United States Department of Justice, 2008
Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service, 2003
Admissions & Qualifications
- 2005District of Columbia
- Washington University in St. Louis, School of LawJ.D.1994Associate Editor, Washington University Law Journal (formerly Journal of Urban and Contemporary Law)
- University of VirginiaB.A.1991