Particular praise is leveled at William Sullivan… for his ‘strong advocacy skills’ as well as his ‘credibility and experience,’ which carry ‘tremendous weight when dealing with government regulators and enforcement attorneys.’

The Legal 500 U.S.

Bill Sullivan concentrates on corporate internal investigations, trial practice and white-collar criminal defense, as well as complex civil litigation, securities enforcement, antitrust cartel investigations and litigation, export control and other regulatory actions.

Bill, the co-leader of the firm’s Corporate Investigations and White Collar Defense team, has substantial experience in the courtroom, the boardroom and in between, representing public and private companies as well as key executives and public officials in global corporate regulatory and internal investigations, parallel proceedings, trial and grand jury matters, congressional and independent counsel inquiries, public corruption matters and white collar criminal defense, with a particular emphasis on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), antitrust and securities matters, international trade and export control, as well as the Foreign Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

Bill has been uniquely successful on behalf of both companies and individuals in persuading government regulatory authorities to decline to pursue criminal prosecution or other enforcement actions involving a diverse array of matters. In 2018, the National Law Journal recognized Bill as a White Collar, Regulatory & Compliance Trailblazer.

Bill honed his courtroom skills while serving for more than 10 years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. During his service, he tried several high-profile cases involving first-degree murder, perjury, fraud, obstruction of justice, money laundering, conspiracy, narcotics and criminal RICO charges. He was the lead prosecutor in the first federal death penalty case to be tried in almost 50 years in the District of Columbia. He has won over 70 federal criminal jury cases and has argued, and prevailed, in over 20 appeals in both New York and the District of Columbia. He won numerous Department of Justice awards and commendations.

Bill frequently prepares and advises on compliance and business strategy programs for companies engaged in industries as diverse as manufacturing, defense, telecommunications, finance, energy, pharmaceuticals and aerospace.  Bill’s legal opinions and analysis are often sought by the national media regarding high-profile or sensational cases, and he has been consistently ranked as a superior practitioner by legal publications.

Representative Experience

After an eight-day bench trial, successfully defended a Virginia non-profit devoted to environmental conservation and a related entity in a $67 million adversarial proceeding related to our clients’ acquisition of certain assets and liabilities from Patriot Coal Corporation.

Represented a former Central American FIFA soccer officer in a widely publicized DOJ investigation involving allegations of money laundering and fraud related to the sale of TV and other media rights for World Cup soccer matches in Central America.

Represent the President of a uranium transport company in a FCPA criminal indictment concerning the company’s contracts to transport uranium from Russia to the United States under the Megatons to Megawatts Program.

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Due to the nature of Bill’s practice, a large number of his most successful matters have resulted in public charges not being filed, and therefore remain confidential.

  • Criminal Antitrust Cartel Investigations and Litigation
    • Representing a Japanese auto parts manufacturer in various probes by regulators in both the United States and Europe into allegations of anti-competitive practices in the auto parts industry which became the single largest criminal cartel investigation ever conducted by the DOJ. After a two-year investigation and several declination presentations, convinced DOJ to cease its inquiry into Pillsbury's client. Currently represents this manufacturer in related civil class action litigation.
    • Represented officers and directors of a Japanese electronics manufacturer in grand jury proceeding regarding allegations of price fixing of liquid crystal display applications. The investigation was concluded without any charges brought against our clients or the company.
    • Defended officers of an international parcel tanker shipping enterprise in a criminal cartel investigation involving allegations of price-fixing, customer allocation and continued criminal conduct following disclosure under the Department of Justice's amnesty program. The indictment of the company was dismissed.
    • Represented a key international sales executive of a foreign company in a U.S. criminal cartel investigation of the undersea cable industry.
    • Represented a number of officers of a Scandinavian mining company in a criminal price fixing investigation into the rock crushing and screening equipment industry. The DOJ closed the investigation without any further action brought against our clients.
    • Represented a former senior executive of an international airline in a criminal cartel investigation into alleged cartel activities with respect to air cargo rates charged to customers for international air shipments.
    • Represented a former senior executive of a U.S. company in a DOJ criminal cartel investigation of the home building products industry.

    • Represented the president of an international freight forwarding company in a DOJ industry sweep concerning alleged price fixing and bid rigging among numerous forwarders. The investigation was concluded without any charges brought against the executive.

  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Investigations and Litigation
    • Represented a former executive of a Hungarian telecommunications company in a parallel SEC/DOJ investigation involving allegations of bribery of government officials in Macedonia and Montenegro. Obtained declination from DOJ in connection with criminal investigation.
    • Represented a petroleum and natural gas engineering company in the high-profile Halliburton consortium investigation involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act; successfully persuaded both SEC and DOJ to decline criminal and civil enforcement actions.
    • Represented principals in an FCPA investigation regarding the privatization of a manufacturing facility in a former Soviet bloc country; no charges were brought.
    • Represented the former General Counsel in a high profile investigation into allegations of widespread bribery in a Latin American country; no charges were pursued against our client.
    • Represented a senior executive of an international pharmaceutical company in an FCPA investigation; no charges were filed.
    • Represented clients before the World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency Unit, as well as its Suspension and Debarment Office, regarding World Bank sanctionable practices, including fraud, corruption, collusion, coercion and obstruction.
    • Represented an international consulting and engineering firm in connection with a joint DOJ/World Bank FCA/FCPA investigation; resolved both regulatory investigations without a debarment or criminal charge.
    • Represented a company and an employee of a publicly traded U.S. manufacturer of military equipment in the so-called SHOT Show sting case. Described as the single largest investigation and prosecution of individuals in the history of the FCPA, it also marked the first time the U.S. government used informants, wiretaps and other “sting” enforcement technologies in an FCPA investigation. Obtained declination from government agencies in connection with subsequent SEC administrative and DOJ criminal inquiries.
    • Representation of an individual involved in a criminal FCPA investigation in connection with the privatization of state-owned enterprises in Azerbaijan.
    • Representation of a major U.S. aerospace company in connection with internal investigations of possible FCPA violations in China, Greece, Spain, Argentina, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.
    • Successfully represented former senior executive of a Fortune 50 company in connection with an internal investigation of potential FCPA issues; obtained declination from government agencies in relation to subsequent SEC administrative and DOJ criminal inquiries.
    • Successfully represented a former senior vice president of a division of a leading international provider of intercontinental air and ocean freight forwarding and logistics services in a DOJ investigation of that company’s customs clearance practices in Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and other countries and whether such practices resulted in violations of the FCPA.
    • Preparation and implementation of corporate FCPA compliance programs for companies engaged in various industries, including telecommunications, energy, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals and aerospace.
  • Corporate Investigations, Compliance, Criminal Defense and Other Matters
    • Represent an NCAA Division 1 top ten men’s college basketball program in connection with the ongoing college basketball bribery investigation.
    • Represented several Swiss banks in DOJ and IRS probes into offshore accounts held by American depositors; negotiated the second smallest fine out of all the substantially capitalized banks participating in DOJ's FATCA Program.
    • Represented officers of a health care company in a Federal Election Commission investigation involving allegations of election campaign law violations.
    • Represented a national construction company in an improper False Claims Act bidding/kickback investigation; no charges were brought against our client.
    • Represented a publicly traded manufacturing company and its CEO in an insider trading investigation; matter was closed without any charges.
    • Represented a multinational nuclear engineering and consulting firm in connection with a criminal investigation of the alleged transfer of controlled US origin software and Chinese espionage; no charges were ever filed.
    • Represented a sovereign nation in connection with asset recovery and evaluation of international criminal violations as well as related interactions with U.S. law enforcement representatives.
    • Represented Gibson Guitar in a high-profile investigation by the DOJ and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service alleging violations of the Lacey Act pertaining to the importation of exotic hardwoods. After a controversial three-year criminal investigation which included government search warrants and asset seizures, the parties agreed to a comprehensive resolution of all potential civil and criminal liabilities, including all potential charges against Gibson’s officers, directors and employees.
    • Represented several officers of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (Freddie Mac) in an SEC enforcement investigation as well as in securities class action litigation regarding allegations that Freddie Mac failed to disclose its substantial involvement in the subprime mortgage market and that it allegedly misrepresented its financial condition.
    • Represented a private equity firm in DOJ investigation of securities disclosure issues and PIPE transactions; persuaded DOJ to cease its inquiry of Pillsbury’s client.
    • Represented the special committee of a Japanese manufacturer of optical imaging devices organized to investigate allegations of accounting irregularities before U.S. regulators.
    • Represented primary athletic sponsor in connection with Lance Armstrong criminal investigation.
    • Represented a prominent Bush administration official in a DOJ investigation regarding a Congressional appearance.
    • Represented a former vice chairman of Enron Corp. in parallel proceedings before Congress, the SEC, and the DOJ. No criminal or civil litigation ensued.
    • Represented the special committee on accounting matters of the board of directors of Global Crossing Ltd. in an internal investigation culminating in a published report of findings.
    • Represented a prominent businessman in a DOJ public corruption investigation and two jury trials involving former New York State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.
    • Represented the former controller of U.S. Foodservice Inc. a subsidiary of Royal Ahold N.V., in connection with parallel federal investigations of alleged questionable accounting practices by Royal Ahold and its subsidiaries. No criminal prosecution resulted.
    • Represented the CEO of the Middle East’s largest Internet service provider involving a criminal investigation of a USAID contract.
    • Represented over a dozen current and former officers and employees of a publicly traded investment firm under investigation by both the SEC and DOJ regarding purported securities and portfolio valuation fraud. No criminal or civil litigation ensued.
    • Represented several officers and directors of a national financial institution regarding allegations of Bank Secrecy Act violations and money laundering.
  • Office of Foreign Assets Control Investigations
    • Represented a U.S.-based telecommunications company in connection with an FBI investigation having national security implications and involving alleged violations of U.S. export control laws, OFAC regulations and the FCPA.
    • Represented a pharmaceutical company in criminal proceedings brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida relating to alleged violations of U.S. export control laws, mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy. The representation resulted in a highly favorable settlement arrangement under which the client agreed to plead guilty to a single point of failing to certify a shipment of hazardous material. Subsequent representation of the same company in civil administrative enforcement proceedings before the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Defense Trade Controls for alleged violations of International Trafficking in Arms Regulations, resulting in a declination of any enforcement action or financial penalty.
    • Representation of a company that was the target of a criminal export control investigation pursued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. Persuaded the U.S. Attorney’s Office to forgo criminal prosecution, ending a two-year criminal investigation that included the execution of a search warrant on the client’s facility by 50 federal agents.
    • Representation of a U.S. manufacturer of construction equipment in an enforcement action brought by OFAC. Secured a favorable settlement without enforcement action.
    • Representation of a U.S. company operating in Russia in a comprehensive audit of its five businesses to evaluate possible violations of U.S. law. This work included coordinating all aspects of the investigations, supervising accountants, reporting to the audit committee, and implementing a new compliance policy for the company.
    • Representation of several U.S. and multi-national companies under criminal investigation for violations of U.S. export and customs laws, including on-site defense and counseling on defense strategies.
    • Advice to a major U.S. aerospace company in connection with payments made under contracts with a Russian-based service provider.
    • Preparation and implementation of export trade corporate compliance programs (covering U.S. export controls, OFAC sanctions and embargoes, the FCPA, and U.S. anti-boycott regulations) for companies engaged in a wide array of industries, including telecommunications, space launch services, and satellite processing.
  • Notable Criminal Jury Trials
    • U.S. v. Richard Convertino and Harry Smith, (E.D. Mich.)—Successfully defended former Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Convertino, who obtained the first and only conviction of a domestic Al Qaeda terrorist sleeper cell after the September 11, 2001 attacks, but who was himself later indicted on conspiracy, obstruction of justice and false statement charges. After a month long trial in Detroit, the jury acquitted Mr. Convertino of all charges in only three hours.
    • Commonwealth v. Mariello, (Virginia State Court)—Successfully defended the dining services purchasing officer of a prominent southern university accused of embezzling funds to be credited to the school as rebates for purchases. Obtained an acquittal on all counts despite a pre-trial confession and the adverse testimony of an alleged accomplice.
    • U.S. v. Edelin, et al. (D.D.C.)—Prosecuted a federal narcotics racketeering (RICO) conspiracy and continuing criminal enterprise case in which the Attorney General of the United States authorized seeking the death penalty against the lead defendant in the event of an conviction, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 848. The 100-count indictment upon which the trial proceeded was the result of a two-year investigation and charged a 15-year narcotics and racketeering conspiracy. The government called over 100 witnesses, including 30 accomplices, and presented over 1,000 evidentiary exhibits. The defendants were each convicted of multiple counts and are serving life sentences.
    • U.S. v. Hammond, et al. (D.D.C.)—Personally selected by then-U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to prosecute a high-profile, multi-count co-defendant case involving the murder for hire of a law enforcement officer while on his way to court to testify as a government witness. Obtained first-degree murder and obstruction of justice convictions.
    • U.S. v. Atkins, Taylor, et al. (District of Columbia Superior Court)—Obtained felony murder convictions as the prosecutor in a matter involving multiple defendants and where the medical examiner listed the cause of death as “undetermined.”
    • U.S. v. Fields (District of Columbia Superior Court)—Obtained a murder conviction as the prosecutor in a high-profile trial in which the defendant testified before the jury to an alibi defense, only to admit to having committed the crime under cross-examination.

Professional Highlights

Honors & Awards

  • The Legal 500 U.S., White-Collar Criminal Defense (2013 – 2018), Antitrust – Civil Litigation/Class Actions: Defense (2018), Antitrust (2012 – 2014)
  • National Law JournalWhite Collar, Regulatory & Compliance Trailblazers (2018)
  • Chambers USA, White Collar Crime & Government Investigations—DC (2008 – 2009)

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  • Washington Post, Top Attorneys in Washington, DC (2015)
  • Who’s Who Legal, International Business Crime Defence – Individuals (2016 – 2017); Who’s Who Legal, International Business Crime Defence – Corporates (2017 – 2018); Who's Who Legal, International Business Crime Defence (2014 – 2015); Who's Who in American Law (2007 – 2008)
  • Super Lawyers (2007, 2009, 2015)
  • Won numerous Department of Justice awards and commendations.
  • Associations
    • American Bar Association and the ABA’s White Collar Crime Committee’s Upjohn Warnings Task Force and Parallel Proceedings Task Force
    • Association of the Bar of the City of New York
    • Bar Association of the District of Columbia
    • Edward Bennett Williams Inn of Court
    • Chairman Emeritus of the Steering Committee, Forum on Corporate Enforcement
    • Faculty Member, University of Virginia’s Trial Advocacy Institute
  • Presentations/Speaking Engagements
    • Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, Fall 2017, “Tax Fraud and Tax Crimes”

    • Pillsbury’s 2016 CLE Marathon – Virginia, September 27, 2016, “Follow the Money: The Evolution of the Panama Papers”
    • American Conference Institute’s 32nd International Conference on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, November 18, 2015, “How to Resolve Ethical Dilemmas and Constraints on Whistleblower and Corruption Investigations”
    • Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, New York, New York, October 22, 2015, “Brazil and the United States: Anti-Bribery and Anti-Money Laundering Enforcement Developments”
    • American Conference Institute’s 7th Annual Chicago FCPA Boot Camp, Chicago, Illinois, June 17, 2015, “Senior Executives Under the Microscope: How to Protect and Defend Yourself During an FCPA Investigation”
    • Pillsbury Roundtable, Los Angeles, California, November 6, 2014, “Cyber Security: Managing Open-Ended Liability & the Trends in SEC Enforcement”
    • Ernst & Young India Webinar, August 7, 2014, “Navigating India – U.S. Cross-Border Bribery and Corruption Risks”
    • Pillsbury Roundtable, New York, New York, July 16, 2014, “Insider Trading Enforcement – Responding to SEC Examinations and Practical Guidance to Survive the New Regulatory Environment”
    • California Hedge Fund Association, San Francisco, California, April 22, 2014, “Insider Trading Enforcement, Responding to SEC Examinations and Practical Guidance to Survive the New Regulatory Environment”
    • American Conference Institute’s 8th Annual Houston FCPA Boot Camp, Houston, Texas, January 23, 2014, “Considerations of Making Voluntary Disclosures to the Government – Whether, When and How”
    • Forum on Corporate Enforcement, Boca Raton, Florida, May 30, 2013, “Discovery & Brady Recommendations”
    • Compliance Week’s World Tour Webcast Series, April 26, 2013,
    • “Compliance and Regulatory Risks: China”
    • The American Chamber of Commerce of Finland, Helsinki, Finland, March 12, 2013, “Combatting Corruption: Compliance with the FCPA”
    • Sixth Advanced European Forum on Anti-Corruption, Frankfurt, Germany, January 30, 2013, “Building the Defence: Contrasting Multi-Jurisdictional Defence Strategies Against Bribery and Corruption Allegations”
    • American Conference Institute’s Advanced Summit on White Collar Litigation, New York, NY, January 23, 2013, “Developing Successful Strategies for Securing Exculpatory Evidence and Crafting Successful Brady Requests”
    • Corporate Counsel Webinar, December 17, 2012, “In-depth View of New FCPA Guidance and a Study on Risk”
    • Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman Annual MCLE Marathon, McLean, Virginia, October 3, 2012, “Anti-Corruption Due Diligence in Cross-Border M&A Transactions”
    • American Lawyer Magazine General Counsel Conference, New York City, June 11 – 12, 2011, “Best Practices in Corporate Internal Investigations”
    • Forum on Corporate Enforcement, Hillsboro Beach, Florida, May 31, 2012, “Stretching the Fair Boundaries of Laws”
    • American Conference Institute’s 15th National Forum on Global Export Controls Compliance: How to Update Compliance and IT Strategies to Respond to Heightened BIS, DDTC and OFAC Enforcement, Washington DC, May 23, 2012, “Rising Enforcement Against Individuals: The Latest on Prosecutions, Penalties and Sentencing, and Increased Liability Risks Going Forward”
    • Forum on Corporate Enforcement, Keswick Hall, Charlottesville, VA, May 5, 2011, “Pervasive Theme: The Criminalization of Corporate Conduct” and “An Individual Justice & Meeting the Needs of Foreign Sovereigns: The DOJ in the Age of Multinational Crime”
    • International Association of Defense Counsel’s Corporate Counsel College, Chicago, April 22, 2010, “Attorney General Generated Litigation and Litigation Arising out of Government Regulation”
    • American Lawyer General Counsel Conference, New York City, June 9 – 10, 2009, “Navigating the Likely Criminal and Civil Fallout from Recent Investment and Securities Fiascoes like the Madoff Affair”
    • Stafford Publications Teleconference, December 23, 2008, “DOJ Cooperation Standards Revised: Attorney-Client Privilege Remains at Risk”
    • Association of Corporate Counsel, McLean, Virginia, September 23, 2008, “Trends in Whistleblower Litigation – What You Need to Know About Investigating and Handling Whistleblower Complaints”
    • “The McNulty Memorandum’s Effect on the Right to Counsel in Corporate Investigations,” testimony before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, Washington, DC, March 8, 2007
    • American Conference Institute Program, New York City, December 5, 2006, “Export Controls and Enforcement” and “Conducting Forensic Investigations”
    • The Committee on the Judiciary, United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, March 7, 2006, Mr. Sullivan testified on “White Collar Enforcement: Attorney-Client Privilege and Corporate Waivers”
  • Press Mentions
    • Mr. Sullivan’s opinions are sought by the national media and he is featured as a legal commentator on national television regarding trial advocacy and strategy, as well as complex, high-profile criminal and terrorism cases, and has appeared on Fox, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and Court TV. He has been interviewed by Metropolitan Corporate Counsel Magazine and has also been the subject of articles in Washington Lawyer and other publications, including, The Legal Times and The National Law Journal regarding his representation of former Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Convertino.


  • J.D., Cornell Law School, 1985

    M.A., Tufts University, 1981

    B.A., Tufts University
    magna cum laude


  • District of Columbia


    New York


  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Second and Fourth Circuits

    U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York, the Eastern District of Michigan, District of Connecticut, the District Court for the District of Columbia, and the Middle District of Florida