A partner in the Litigation Department, Walt Brown has been on the front lines of many of the most significant government investigations, prosecutions and litigations for 25 years. He represents companies and individuals in connection with criminal and regulatory investigations, parallel civil and administrative litigation and proceedings, and complex business litigation, as well as in crisis management matters. The American Lawyer recognized Walt in 2021 among the inaugural “West Trailblazers” for his achievements as a white collar defense attorney. The Daily Journal named Walt to its 2021 list of Top White Collar Lawyers in California and to its 2020 list of Top Trade Secrets Lawyers in California, while Benchmark Litigation recognized Walt as its “White-Collar Litigator of the Year - California” in 2021; as a California Litigation Star in 2018; and as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in the United States in 2017.
Earlier in his career, Walt served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, where he tried 20 felony cases to verdict and handled numerous appeals before the Ninth Circuit.
Walt’s cases have spanned securities fraud, antitrust offenses, the FCPA, health care fraud, trade secret misappropriation and government fraud. He is frequently engaged by public and private companies and audit and special committees to conduct internal investigations. He has successfully represented clients in trial and appellate courts throughout the United States, most notably obtaining the recent complete acquittal of a former tech executive at FitBit in a high-profile criminal trade secrets jury trial in the Northern District of California.
In the securities fraud area, Walt won the acquittal, on all counts, of the former CFO of McKesson Corporation in connection with criminal securities fraud charges arising out of $9 billion market cap loss following an earnings restatement. He also has represented a national broker-dealer in connection with an investigation by the SEC concerning the firm’s AML program; the director of research of institutional money manager AXA Rosenberg in connection with an SEC investigation of nondisclosure of errors in quantitative investment process, resulting in the first-ever individual cooperation agreement under the SEC’s cooperation policy; the former president of Countrywide Financial Corporation in connection with investigations by and litigation with the SEC, the Department of Justice and the California Attorney General, and related class action and derivative litigation; senior executives of a national bank in connection with SEC, DOJ, OCC and Congressional investigations and class action litigation arising out of sales practices misconduct; and a Big Four accounting firm in connection with an SEC investigation of whistleblower allegations; and various other matters.
In the health care area, Walt represented the chief regulatory officer of Olympus Corporation in connection with DOJ and FDA investigations of alleged violations of adverse incident reporting and 510K regulations concerning medical devices; a university health system in connection with an internal investigation involving reimbursement issues; executives and employees of InterMune in connection with investigation and prosecution by the San Francisco U.S. Attorney's Office concerning off-label marketing of a pulmonary drug; a home oxygen and sleep therapy company in connection with a Medicare fraud investigation; a durable medical equipment company in connection with a California Attorney General probe concerning billing practices; and various other matters.
In the antitrust area, Walt has represented numerous parties in DOJ price-fixing and/or bid-rigging investigations, including an international bridge construction company, executives of a Korean DRAM manufacturer, a Taiwanese automobile lighting manufacturer, a former executive of a Japanese LCD manufacturer, and multiple executives of a Japanese auto parts manufacturer, among others.
Among his many other significant matters, Walt represented the CEO and other senior corporate officers of Solyndra in connection with investigations by the DOJ and the U.S. Congress, and a Fortune 500 energy company in connection with investigations by the DOJ’s Enron Task Force, the SEC, the CFTC and FERC arising out of California's energy crisis. He also has represented the audit committee of a telecommunications company, the controller of a pharmaceutical company, and the chief compliance officer of a global medical device company, among others, in DOJ FCPA investigations.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
Walt has been recognized by numerous legal industry publications and directories. Chambers USA has recognized him as a leading lawyer in the white collar and government investigations area since 2005, recently noting that he is “a widely respected white collar practitioner,” with interviewees calling him “a real star.” Walt is also Recommended by The Legal 500 US in the “Corporate Investigations and White Collar Criminal Defense” and “Securities Litigation: Defense” categories, among other recognitions.
Walt currently serves on the Board of Governors for the Association of Business Trial Lawyers – Northern California Chapter, the Board of Directors of the Notre Dame Law Association, and the Notre Dame Law School Advisory Council. He is a member of the ABA Litigation, Antitrust and Criminal Justice sections, and was previously the co-chair of the ABA White Collar Crime Northern California Regional Subcommittee. He previously served on the Executive Board of the Bar Association of San Francisco Criminal Justice Section.