Kirkland & Ellis LLP announced today that partner Sam Williamson, a former U.S. federal prosecutor and Mandarin speaker who focuses on FCPA, securities enforcement and other white-collar litigation, will relocate to Kirkland's Shanghai office from the Firm's Washington, D.C., office.
"Companies doing business in emerging markets face substantial compliance risks, including corruption," said Jeffrey C. Hammes, Chairman of Kirkland's Global Management Executive Committee. "As the only former U.S. federal prosecutor on the ground in China who is a Mandarin speaker, Sam has unique insights and will add tremendous value for our clients, who will now have the option of a specialist in Asia to provide advice on some of their most sensitive legal issues."
Mr. Williamson focuses on white collar criminal matters and other government enforcement proceedings. He regularly counsels corporations and individuals on sensitive enforcement matters involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), federal securities laws, antitrust issues, health care programs, accounting rules, the Economic Espionage Act (EEA) and the UK Bribery Act, among other enforcement regimes. Mr. Williamson has played a lead role in representing clients in the finance, pharmaceutical, medical device, information technology, energy, chemicals, food production, mining, construction, commodities, metals, engineering, consulting and automotive industries in connection with their response to investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC), U.S. Department of the Treasury, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and Financial Services Authority (FSA). Among the publicly reported enforcement matters in which Mr. Williamson played a leading role are Innospec's groundbreaking settlements with the DOJ, SEC, OFAC and the UK SFO, and Tyson Foods' FCPA settlements with the DOJ and SEC.
"Sam Williamson is truly a unique asset—a former federal prosecutor who speaks Mandarin and Japanese and has represented numerous clients as lead counsel before a variety of U.S. and UK enforcement authorities. Sam has the full support of the Firm and access to our global resources for clients, including our experience with enforcement authorities around the world," said Mark Filip, a senior white collar attorney who joined Kirkland in 2009 after serving as the Deputy Attorney General of the United States and as a U.S. district court judge. "Sam's presence in Asia reflects Kirkland's deep commitment to these markets. We've done a lot of FCPA and related enforcement work in Asia, but Sam's full-time presence means we can now be even more responsive in delivering first-class advice on these issues in the same locales in which clients are encountering them."
David Patrick Eich, a private equity partner in Kirkland's Hong Kong office, also noted Mr. Williamson's ability and experience providing due diligence support on commercial transactions.
"Sam has deep experience with UK Bribery Act and U.S. FCPA enforcement, material risks faced by all U.S. publicly listed companies, as well as private equity firms and their portfolio companies in China and the rest of developing Asia. Sam gives practical, cost-effective counsel to companies on how to operate successfully in this difficult environment while still remaining in compliance with U.S. law and their own internal ethical standards," said Mr. Eich.
Mr. Williamson, 40, has held numerous high-profile positions in his career. He joined Kirkland after spending nearly six years with the U.S. DOJ, including in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan). During his time with the DOJ, he tried many federal jury trials involving complex white collar issues, including bank, wire, mail and tax fraud, money laundering, criminal violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, health care fraud, computer-related crimes, fraud in government programs, environmental crimes and public corruption. Mr. Williamson was also a member of the International Narcotics Trafficking Unit, where he prosecuted large international money-laundering and narcotics organizations. In the course of this work, Mr. Williamson worked with law enforcement agencies around the world.
Prior to attending law school, Mr. Williamson was an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, and he achieved the second-highest possible rating on the oral portion of the Defense Language Proficiency Test for Mandarin Chinese. During his military service, Mr. Williamson deployed to Thailand, Singapore, Japan, the Philippines and Korea, among other countries. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps Reserve as a Major.
In connection with his academic training, Mr. Williamson was a Fulbright Scholar at the National University of Singapore and studied at Nanjing University in China and Ryukoku University in Kyoto, Japan. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School, cum laude, and Duke University, magna cum laude, where he majored in history and minored in Chinese.
Regarding his move to Asia, Mr. Williamson stated, "I've been fortunate enough to have been in and out of China specifically and Asia more generally for more than 25 years, and have the greatest respect and affection for China and the Chinese people. I've also been fortunate enough to live, work and study in Japan and Singapore and to serve as a federal prosecutor. I'm thrilled to be returning to this region and greatly look forward to working with our diverse client base on resolving the various enforcement and litigation risk issues that arise in connection with their work overseas."
About Kirkland & Ellis
Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a 1,500-attorney law firm representing clients in complex corporate and tax, restructuring, litigation and dispute resolution/arbitration, and intellectual property and technology matters. The Firm levers its offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Munich, New York, Palo Alto, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., to deliver seamless advice around the world.
Kirkland's government enforcement and internal investigations practice currently advises many of the world's leading publicly traded and privately held companies, as well as numerous senior executives, on issues involving enforcement of the FCPA and other corruption laws, U.S. securities laws, environmental standards, healthcare regulations, trade secrets issues, trade restrictions, and many other sensitive and complex enforcement matters.