Views on White Collar Practice

April 4, 2016
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Views on White Collar Practice

In the recent past, Sean Hecker, a partner in Debevoise & Plimpton LLP based in New York discussed his view on white-collar practice by answering different questions. On the most challenging case he has handled, Hecker pointed out the internal corruption investigation done on behalf of the Siemens AG Compliance Committee. The challenges included visiting different countries to conduct investigations, completing a massive investigation in two years and staying away from his family because of the travels.
On the aspects of white-collar law that needs reforms, Hecker highlights the area of sentencing reform. According to him, the justice system has too much discretion when it comes to prosecutorial charging decisions. Additionally, it relies heavily on long periods of incarceration as punishment for crimes including nonviolent ones. As a result, the incarceration rates in the United States surpass those of other developed nations.
According to Hecker, within the FCDA area, the expansive view of jurisdiction progressed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) along with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is an important area. The DOJ and SEC have jurisdiction under the FCPA over several classes of U.S., foreign entities and individuals. Subject to jurisdiction are individuals and foreign entities that corruptly use any means of interstate commerce. In addition, those that commits any act of aiding a corrupt payment while in the United States territory fall under the same category.
In several cases, the DOJ and SEC have taken the stand that even minimal contacts with the United States are enough for territorial Jurisdiction to apply. This includes transmitting and storing emails on U.S. servers. In his view, the involved foreign parties seldom challenge this wide assertion of jurisdiction. This is because many of these enforcement actions are determined by settlements. It is likely to continue being an area of interest to those that practice in the sphere of FCPA. That is because the DOJ as well as SEC holds firm to their aggressive views about FCPA jurisdiction.
Andy Schapiro, a partner at Quinn Emanuel, stands out as the attorney that has impressed Hecker the most outside of his firm. He was impressed by Andy’s ability to know which argument to put forward. In addition, how he used his credibility and persuasiveness to boost the outcome of his client impressed him. When it comes to the mistake he made early on in his career, Hecker remembers his first trial where he was defending a man that had been accused of a Hobbs Act robbery. He chipped in when things were going his way and that saw the trial take longer.