Kenneth L. Wainstein 

Partner – Washington
T.+1 202 862 2474
700 Sixth Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001 V-CARD

Kenneth Wainstein completes independent investigation into academic irregularities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Media inquiries related to Ken’s investigation at UNC Chapel Hill should be directed to Kara Fitzsimmons at / +1 212 504 6708.

Kenneth Wainstein is Chair of the firm's White Collar Defense and Investigations Group. He focuses his practice on corporate internal investigations and civil and criminal enforcement proceedings. With experience in significant positions in the U.S. government in the areas of criminal enforcement and national security, he brings clients a deep understanding of the substantive and procedural issues involved in white collar defense. His 20 years of public service have garnered him an intimate knowledge of Justice Department policy, extensive crisis management skills, credibility among prosecutors and regulators, and strong relationships with Congress, the District of Columbia bench and bar and U.S. Attorneys around the country.

In 2008, after 19 years at the Justice Department, Ken was named Homeland Security Advisor by President George W. Bush. In this capacity, he coordinated the nation's counterterrorism, homeland security, infrastructure protection, and disaster response and recovery efforts. He advised the President, convened and chaired meetings of the Cabinet Officers on the Homeland Security Council, and oversaw the inter-agency coordination process for homeland security and counterterrorism programs.

Prior to his White House service, Ken was twice nominated and confirmed for leadership positions in the Justice Department. In 2006, the U.S. Senate confirmed Ken as the first Assistant Attorney General for National Security. In that position, Ken established and led the new National Security Division, which consolidated DOJ's law enforcement and intelligence activities on counterterrorism and counterintelligence matters, and also oversaw the Department's role in regulatory mechanisms such as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS). Ken led several national security initiatives, including the launch of the national, inter-agency Export Control Enforcement Initiative targeting illegal exports of sensitive technology and weapons components.

In 2004, he was appointed, and later confirmed as, the United States Attorney in Washington, DC, where he managed the largest U.S. Attorney's Office in the country and oversaw a number of high-profile white-collar and public corruption cases.  Prior to that, Ken served as General Counsel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and then as Chief of Staff to Director Robert Mueller. At the FBI, Ken was involved in myriad sensitive national security and criminal enforcement matters, as well as a variety of civil litigation, managerial, and Congressional oversight issues. In 2001, Ken was appointed Director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, where he provided oversight and support to the 94 U.S. Attorneys' Offices.

From 1989 to 2001, Ken served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in both the Southern District of New York and the District of Columbia, where he handled numerous criminal trials and appellate arguments.

Ken's work has been recognized with the Edmund J. Randolph Award for Outstanding Service to the Department of Justice, the Department of Justice Director's Award for Superior Performance, and the Lawyer of the Year Award from the Bar Association of the District of Columbia, and he was recently named as a top national security lawyer by Washingtonian magazine. Ken has served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center since 2009, teaching National Security Investigations and Litigation. He is a Panel Member of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense; a member of the Director’s Advisory Board of the National Counterterrorism Center; a member of the Public Interest Declassification Board; a member of the CIA General Counsel's External Advisory Board; chairman of the Legal Panel of the National Security Agency Advisory Board; a member of the Webster Commission on the FBI, Counterterrorism Intelligence, and the Fort Hood Shootings; co-chair of the Committee on National Security Law, Policy & Practice of the District of Columbia Bar Association; a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; serves on the Board of Directors for the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at the George Washington University; and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Former United States Attorneys. Ken is ranked as a Washington, D.C., Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation.

Ken earned his B.A. from the University of Virginia, with high distinction and Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, where he was a moot court board member and the Note and Comment Editor of the California Law Review. Following law school, Ken served as law clerk to the Honorable Thomas Penfield Jackson of the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.

Representative matters:

  • Conducted the independent investigation into allegations of academic irregularities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • Conducted the investigation into allegations of improper conduct by investigators in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Enforcement Staff and a broader review and assessment of the environment, policies and procedures of the NCAA's Enforcement Staff operations.
  • Counsel overseeing comprehensive FCPA compliance review for an international real estate company.
  • Representation of a financial institution in a FINRA investigation involving alleged violations concerning the client's prime brokerage operation.
  • Representation of a defense contractor in a federal export control and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) investigation.
  • Counsel advising a corporation regarding its response to a major cyber intrusion.
  • Representation of a bank in a Justice Department investigation into allegations of energy trading manipulation.
  • Counsel overseeing internal investigations for two corporations regarding their compliance with municipal, state, and federal laws and regulations governing campaign finance restrictions, lobbying registration requirements, and pay-to-play limitations.
  • Representation of a government contractor in a Department of Justice antitrust bid-rigging investigation.
  • Counsel conducting internal investigation of alleged violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute by employees of a health insurance company.
  • Representation of a professional basketball player charged with firearms offenses.
  • Representation of a dealer in law enforcement equipment who was indicted for FCPA violations.
  • Representation of an executive in an SEC investigation into insider trading.
  • Representation of an Assistant United States Attorney in connection with the special prosecutor's investigation of potential contempt of court charges arising out of the Justice Department's prosecution of Senator Ted Stevens.
  • Counsel for an individual in connection with a Department of Justice criminal investigation into the alleged violation of federal campaign finance laws.
  • Representation of a senior executive of a construction company in an FCPA investigation by the SEC and the Department of Justice.
  • Counsel for a Swiss bank official charged with conspiring to help U.S. taxpayers hide their assets from the I.R.S. Counsel overseeing compliance reviews of two major mortgage processing companies.
  • Representation of a bank in litigation over its role in the securitization of mortgages.
  • Representation of a foreign bank official in a Justice Department investigation into alleged sanctions violations.
  • Representation of the CEO of a manufacturing company in an honest services fraud prosecution by the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department.
  • Representation of a senior executive of a pharmaceutical company in a Justice Department investigation into alleged sanctions violations.


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