With more than 25 years’ experience, Pillsbury Litigation partner and trial lawyer Maria Galeno handles white collar criminal and regulatory enforcement matters and conducts internal investigations.

A former prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, Maria is Pillsbury’s Corporate Investigations & White Collar Defense practice deputy chair and a member of the firm’s National Trials team. Her international clientele includes banks, investment firms, technology companies, hospitals and executives. Experienced in internal investigations; securities, mail and tax fraud; and commercial contract and professional liability disputes, Maria represents clients in federal and state courts and arbitral forums. Global Investigations Review has chosen Maria as one of the 100 most remarkable women in the investigations field.

Representative Experience

  • Representing a prestigious university in the “Operation Varsity Blues” college admissions federal investigation.
  • Represented multiple Swiss banks before the DOJ in Swiss/U.S. Program for Non-Prosecution Agreements resulting from DOJ probes into U.S. depositors’ offshore accounts, and conducted internal investigations at the banks.
  • Served as lead trial counsel, obtaining a favorable judgment in a closely watched software licensing trial in Delaware Chancery Court arising from the divestiture of software assets; successfully defended the judgment before the Delaware Supreme Court.

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  • Represented a non-U.S. bank in an internal investigation of foreign exchange benchmark rate manipulation allegations.

  • Served as co-lead trial counsel in New York City’s landmark litigation against 27 out-of-state gun dealers.
  • Representation of research analyst at major international investment firm in insider trading investigation.
  • Representation of registered persons at major financial institutions in proceedings before FINRA.
  • Defense of a U.S. subsidiary of a major Japanese company against multi-party claims of discrimination based on race and nationality, and claims for multi-million dollar bonuses.
  • Defend CFO of medical services company in US Attorney's Office and S.E.C. investigation for accounting irregularities.
  • Defense of hospital and doctors in False Claims Act case alleging medicare fraud.
  • Participate in defense of investment advisor in mutual fund investigation by the New York State Attorney General's Office.
  • Defend employees of large international food retailer in securities fraud investigation by the US Attorney's office, the S.E.C. and Dutch authorities.
  • Defend Fortune 100 company in claims for foreign death benefits.
  • Conducted internal investigations involving employee dishonesty, insider trading and gender discrimination.
  • As a federal prosecutor, tried criminal jury cases including violations of the RICO and narcotics “kingpin” statutes, public corruption and securities fraud.

Professional Highlights

  • Recognized by Chambers USA, The Legal 500 (2016-2019) and Best Lawyers (published by BL Rankings LLC) (2013—2020) for her white collar criminal defense work, and winner of the BTI “Client Service All-Star” award.
  • Identified in Global Investigations Review’s Women in Investigations 2018 special report as one of the most remarkable women in the field worldwide.
  • Serves as executive partner and vice chair of Pillsbury’s Partner Hiring and Integration committee; served on the firm’s Compensation committee.

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  • Serves on the board of the Office of the Appellate Defender, a not-for-profit providing appellate and post-conviction representation for indigents in New York state courts.
  • Served on the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary by appointment of New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.
  • Taught trial advocacy for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.
  • Appeared on Court TV as a criminal defense authority.


  • J.D., Harvard Law School
    cum laude

    B.S., St. John's University
    summa cum laude


  • New York


  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

    U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

    U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York