When facing criminal enforcement actions, a rapid and strategic response can make the difference.
Our team, comprised of former senior enforcement attorneys and sophisticated environmental subject matter experts, provides comprehensive criminal and civil enforcement defense, internal investigation management, and proactive compliance counseling to address the immediate and long-term impacts of environmental enforcement.
Many businesses first become aware of allegations of violations of environmental, health, and safety (EHS) laws by receiving a tip on a hotline, hearing that agents are approaching employees, receiving a subpoena, search warrant, notice of violation, or even armed agents knocking on the door. Answers may be hard to find, and the story may evolve from moment to moment, but it likely includes large amounts of highly technical information. You need to master the information and situation in the moment, while protecting your interests for the long term. You need counsel – skilled not only in crisis response and criminal law but also in the underlying environmental subject matter – who can immediately and capably advise your legal, compliance, operations, and senior executive teams. Counsel who can manage interactions with internal and external stakeholders including top leadership, plant personnel, prosecutors, agents and other government officials.
We counsel clients on high-stakes EHS enforcement and compliance matters, particularly in complex or large-scale white-collar internal investigations and litigation. We conduct internal investigations into alleged or potential EHS-related misconduct, analyze risk of criminal liability, advise on ways to mitigate that risk, respond to the execution of search warrants, navigate grand jury subpoena responses, and negotiate with federal and state criminal counsel and agents to facilitate communication and, when possible, quickly resolve criminal inquiries. View a list of our representative matters.
When responding to a criminal inquiry, the swift initiation of an internal investigation is critical. We respond immediately and dispatch a qualified team. When requested, we present a well-orchestrated strategy to gather relevant information, including where appropriate, statements from essential witnesses. Our goal is always to stay ahead of the government investigators.
Our counsel reduces risks and adds value—while preserving resources and reputation. We know how prosecutors and agents think—the perception of chronic non-compliance at the civil level can be cause for a criminal referral. Our Environmental Crimes/White Collar team includes former top federal prosecutors. When facing potential criminal repercussions, we help clients demonstrate that escalation is unnecessary and improve their compliance programs, and have extensive experience leading two of the largest environmental criminal court-appointed monitorships and company-wide compliance system overhauls in history - Volkswagen “Dieselgate” and the Duke Energy coal ash remediation.
Barring a declination or other early resolution in a criminal prosecution, we offer a trial-ready team that is comfortable in the courtroom. Our environmental defense lawyers synthesize complex facts and data to craft straightforward, understandable, and compelling narratives that persuade judges and juries to rule our way.
We represent corporations, executives, board members, in-house counsel, and other individuals in federal and state government investigations and prosecutions involving environmental crimes and related process crimes. We also have experience defending against allegations concerning securities, financial, and tax crimes; as well as drug conspiracy, antitrust, and other serious white collar charges.
Our deep bench of regulatory lawyers offers scientific, industrial, and operational knowledge and experience to compliment our white collar team and deliver wins for our clients. Our professionals also maintain an invaluable network of technical and forensic experts and consulting firms available to our clients on demand, whether in the U.S. or abroad.
B&D’s focus on environmental issues—including air and climate change, endangered species act (ESA)/wildlife protection, water quality, and waste management—enables us to offer clients the comprehensive expertise necessary to effectively address environmental crimes and white collar claims. Our initial role is to help clients interpret possible outcomes of investigations or alleged violations. Secondly, we look to review compliance programs and oversight to ensure such programs are effective, up-to-date, and align with evolving government priorities. We work with companies of all sizes and industries to document prior investments, structural adequacy, and compliance history; assess systems and risks; and, if necessary, to course correct to mitigate exposure.
If a criminal investigation is opened, we immediately focus on marshaling the facts and developing a strategy to minimize exposure and persuade the prosecutor not to bring charges. If an investigation leads to an indictment, our focus shifts to pre-trial strategy implementation, to design and build a winnable case.
Whether in a board room, a settlement conference room, or in a courtroom, our compliance counselors, regulatory litigators, and trial-tested lawyers provide calm, clear-eyed perspectives for the demanding defense of business crimes.
Our investigatory and defense services for companies and individuals include but are not limited to:
- Preparing for and responding to search warrants.
- Conducting internal investigations, scaled to your company's needs.
- Responding to grand jury and regulatory subpoenas.
- Collecting and processing technical information to build defenses.
- Collaborating with your company on any needed corrective action.
- Negotiating plea agreements.
- Defending complex indictments at trial.
Our risk mitigation services for regulated companies and individuals include:
- Developing and performing environmental corporate compliance assessments.
- Designing and conducting audits on regulatory issues.
- Preparing voluntary self-disclosures under federal and state statutory schemes.
- Developing training programs for corporate boards, executives, and employees.