Joe Whitley chairs the Firm’s Government Enforcement and Investigations Group. Mr. Whitley represents clients nationally and internationally in white collar criminal matters and regulatory enforcement, corporate internal investigations, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and U.S. export controls and compliance. He also advises clients on corporate compliance, health care fraud and FDA-related matters.
Mr. Whitley has had a wide-ranging career in the Department of Justice (DOJ). During the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, he served as Acting Associate Attorney General, the third-ranking position at Main Justice. He was appointed by Presidents Reagan and Bush, respectively, to serve as the U.S. Attorney in the Middle and Northern Federal Districts of Georgia.
Throughout his career, Mr. Whitley served under five U.S. Attorneys General and four Presidents in a number of key operational and policy positions. Earlier in his career, Mr. Whitley served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit in Columbus, Georgia. Mr. Whitley maintains strong professional relationships with the state and federal law enforcement community.
In 2003, Mr. Whitley was appointed by President George W. Bush as the first General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the highest ranking legal official at DHS. He held that position for two years working for DHS Secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, before returning to private practice.
Mr. Whitley leads a team of lawyers in the Firm’s Government Enforcement and Investigations practice group who conduct sensitive high level investigations for both public and private sector institutions.
Mr. Whitley’s practice focuses on corporate defense and representation of clients in complex civil and criminal enforcement matters brought by the DOJ, other federal agencies, State Attorneys General and local prosecutors.
He has represented numerous individuals and corporations in major government investigations throughout the United States and internationally. Mr. Whitley is a frequent speaker on white collar, compliance and corporate governance issues.
- University of Georgia School of Law, J.D.
- University of Georgia, B.A.
- District of Columbia
- U.S. District Court for the Middle and Northern Districts of Georgia
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
- District of Columbia Court of Appeals
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Court of Appeals
- Supreme Court of the United States
- White Collar Defense
- Represented numerous clients regarding bid rigging and kickback investigation by the Department of Justice.
- Representation of health care providers, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies/labs, etc. in qui tam Civil False Claims Act (FCA) investigations.
- Represented a public school system in an internal investigation of land purchase practices.
- Defended a municipal waste water utility in a Clean Water Act (CWA) investigation.
- Represented a corporate employee in a criminal antitrust market allocation conspiracy investigation.
- Represented several individuals in Presidential pardon matters.
- Represented a major insurance carrier in a criminal grand jury investigation of commissions reporting practices and disclosure to customers.
- Represented the City of Boulder, Colorado – Wolf v. Ramsey
Professional Honors & Activities:
- Member, American Bar Association
- After tenure at the Department of Homeland Security, founded and co-chaired the annual Homeland Security Law Institute, sponsored by the ABA Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section; Currently serves as chair of the Institute
- Adjunct Professor, George Washington University Law School (GW), Homeland Security Law (2006)
- Board Member, Federal Bar Association, Atlanta Chapter, Advisory Board
- Member, District of Columbia Bar Association
- Member, National Association of Former U.S. Attorneys (NAFUSA)
- Board Member, Atlanta Police Foundation (APF), Board of Directors
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