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Abbe David Lowell

Co-head of Regulations, Investigations, Securities and Compliance, United States

Abbe David Lowell

Washington, DC

T:+1 202 974 5605

New York

T:+1 212 408 1170

Abbe David Lowell is one of the nation's leading white-collar defense and trial lawyers. His practice focuses on litigation, special investigations and regulatory enforcement. In his extensive career, Mr. Lowell has represented numerous high-profile clients and provided counsel in matters of national and international importance. He has successfully tried numerous complex civil and criminal cases throughout the United States, and has briefed and argued dozens of appeals before federal and state appeals courts and before the Supreme Court of the United States.

In addition to trying cases and arguing appeals, Mr. Lowell advises clients in their dealings with US Congress and its committees, other legislative bodies and numerous federal and state regulatory agencies. He also works with clients on internal investigations, voluntary disclosure decisions and developing compliance programs to prevent issues from arising with law enforcement agencies.

In criminal matters, Mr. Lowell has successfully avoided charges or defended clients against a wide array of charges, including conspiracy, election law violations, bank fraud, insurance fraud, bankruptcy fraud, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations, mail and wire fraud, securities fraud, money laundering, public corruption, honest services fraud, false claims act, obstruction of justice and false information charges and violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). In civil cases, he has helped clients win in cases of breach of contract and fiduciary duty, FCPA violations, civil rights violations, conspiracy, employment discrimination, negligence, RICO violations, securities fraud, tortious interference with business and unfair trade practices. He has conducted internal investigations responding to government, whistleblower or other allegations of FCPA, money laundering, securities and other law violations.

Mr. Lowell has been counsel to the US House of Representatives twice, most recently when he was Chief Minority Counsel during impeachment proceedings against President Clinton and before that as special ethics counsel to the House Committee of Standards of Official Conduct (Ethics Committee).

From 1994 to 1996, he was appointed as Special Counselor to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the investigation and prosecution of human rights violations, war crimes and other human rights projects in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. Mr. Lowell has also served at the US Department of Justice from 1977 to 1981 as a Special Assistant US Attorney, Special Assistant to the Deputy Attorney General and Special Assistant to the Attorney General.

His high-profile clients have included national and international companies (Goldman Sachs, Intuit, Star Scientific, Bank Hapoalim), public officials (Governors Jim Gibbons and George Pataki, Senators Robert Torricelli, John Ensign, John Edwards, and Robert Menendez; Reps. Gary Condit, Charlie Wilson, Walter Fauntroy, Harold Ford, Bill Boner, Jim Weaver, Austin Murphy and Joe McDade, NY Majority Leader Joe Bruno and Puerto Rico Senator Hector Martinez), international organizations (U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights), state and local governments (City of Alexandria, Virginia), government lobbyists (Jack Abramoff; former AIPAC official Steve Rosen), businessmen (Victor Restis, Gene Phillips and Sam Waksal), actors (Steven Seagal, Sean Combs) and others.

Mr. Lowell has been recognized by various publications ranging from The National Law Journal to Chambers, as one of the most influential and most successful attorneys in the United States. Mr. Lowell writings on legal issues and current political events have been widely published. He has written op-ed pieces for newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today and Roll Call, as well as articles for legal publications and websites, such as Business Crimes Bulletin, American Criminal Law Review, Law.com, The National Law Journal and Legal Times. He also wrote the chapter, “The Penal System Is Broken” for Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, a book edited by Larry King.

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  • Education

    1977 - J.D., Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, Editor, Columbia Law Review, Columbia Law School
    1974 - B.A., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Columbia College

  • Representative experience

    Criminal trials

    • United States v. John Edwards (former Presidential candidate on election law charges)
    • United States v. Hector Martinez (Puerto Rico Senator charged with bribery)
    • United States v. Joseph Bruno (former New York Senate leader charged with honest services violations)
    • United States v. Paul Minor, et al. (trial attorney charged by Justice Department and US Attorney in Mississippi federal court with bribery and racketeering)
    • United States v. Gene Phillips (real estate developer/stock investor indicted by New York US Attorney)
    • United States v. Henry Espy (Mississippi public official indicted by Independent Counsel)
    • United States v. Loren Mintz (bank president indicted by Florida US Attorney)
    • United States v. Jack Harvard (bank president/local mayor charged with fraud)
    • United States v. Phil Palmer (prominent bankruptcy attorney indicted by Texas US Attorney)
    • United States v. Thomas Gaubert (real estate developer indicted by Special US Department of Justice Task Force)
    • United States v. Erwin Friedman (real estate developer indicted by South Carolina US Attorney)
    • United States v. Peter Gill (bank CEO indicted by Texas US Attorney)
    • United States v. Sam McKerall (real estate developer indicted by Alabama US Attorney)
    • State of Maryland v. Stephen Edwards (16 year old charged with murder)


    Criminal indicted cases won prior to trial

    • United States v. Steven Rosen (AIPAC lobbyist charged with espionage)
    • United States v. Henry Cisneros and Sylvia Arce-Garcia (public officials indicted by Office of Independent Counsel for perjury and obstruction)
    • United States v. Behzad Cohen (chemical company indicted by California US Attorney for violation of drug distribution laws)
    • United States v. Roya Rahmani (political asylum grantee indicted by California US Attorney for illegally providing aid to foreign groups – case later reinstated)
    • United States v. Toussie (real estate developer indicted by New York US Attorney for tax violations)


    Civil cases

    • Bailey, et al. v. George Pataki, et al. (former New York Governor case involving Federal civil rights claims)
    • Gaubert v. United States (Supreme Court of the United States, US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and US District Court for the Northern District of Texas case involving claims of US violations of civil rights and tort claims)
    • Toussie v. Suffolk County (Federal civil rights claims)
    • Abramson v. JCC (Maryland highest court case establishing charitable immunity)
    • Lawrence v. A.S. Abell Co. (Maryland highest court case defending newspaper from invasion of privacy)
    • SCAD v. SVA (Georgia highest court case affirming client’s claims of civil liability for co-conspirators)
    • McCarthy v. City of Alexandria (federal civil rights defense)
    • G-I Holdings v. Baron & Budd (federal civil RICO and fraud case)


    Representative administrative / Congressional proceedings

    • In re: Impeachment Proceedings of President William Jefferson Clinton (Chief Minority Investigative Counsel)
    • In re: Rep. Charles Wilson (Congressman’s ethics counsel)
    • In re: Rep. Mario Biaggi (Congressman’s ethics counsel)
    • In re: Rep. Austin J. Murphy (Congressman’s ethics counsel)
    • In re: Rep. William H. Boner (Congressman’s ethics counsel)
    • In re: Rep. Walter Fauntroy (Congressman’s ethics counsel)
    • In re: Rep. Roy Dyson (Congressman’s ethics counsel)
    • In re: Rep. Dan Daniels (Congressman’s ethics counsel)
    • In re: Rep. James Weaver (Congressman’s ethics counsel)
    • In re: Rep. Charles G. Rose III (Congressman’s ethics counsel)
    • In re: Lincoln Savings and Loan Association (OTS cease and desist proceeding)
  • Admissions
    • District of Columbia State Bar
    • Maryland State Bar License
    • New York State Bar License
  • Rankings and recognitions

    During his career, Mr. Lowell has received numerous accolades from his peers and prominent legal publications, and he is consistently ranked among top Washington, DC, and national lawyers. Publications in which he has been recognized include:

    • Chambers USA - leading White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations lawyer in Washington, DC, Chambers & Partners, 2013 to 2016
    • One of the top 30 Leading White Collar Crime Lawyers, Expert Guide's Best of the Best USA, 2015
    • One of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America, Benchmark Litigation, 2015
    • The Legal 500 United States - Leading Trial Lawyer, The Legal 500, 2012 to 2015
    • One of the Top 38 Criminal Defense Attorneys in America, LawNewz.com, 2016
    • Law 360 - White Collar MVP, Law 360, 2013
    • Most Influential Lawyer in America, The National Law Journal, 2013
    • White Collar Criminal Defense Attorney of the Year Award, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 2013
    • Benchmark Litigation: The Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys, 2008 to 2016
    • Recommended Attorney, Global Law Experts, 2012
    • "Top 30 Lawyers" in Washington, DC, eWashingtonian Magazine, 2011
    • Most Influential Lawyers in America, The National Law Journal, 2011
    • Washington, DC Super Lawyers, white collar criminal defense, Thomson Reuters, 2007- 2017
    • Who’s Who Legal: The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers, 2000 to 2012
    • Who’s Who Legal: The International Who’s Who of Business Crime Defence Lawyers, 2012
    • Appellate Hot List, The National Law Journal, 2010
    • The Best Lawyers in America, 2005 to 2012, 2018
    • Lawdragon 500, 2006 to 2009
    • 100 Most Influential Attorneys in America, The National Law Journal, 2006
    • Marquis Who’s Who in America, 2006 to 2009
    • Marquis Who’s Who in American Law, 2005 to 2009
    • Top 10 Leading White-Collar Criminal Defense Lawyers in Washington, DC, Legal Times, 2006
    • Top Attorney, Washingtonian magazine, in every survey conducted since 1986
    • Top 10 Trial Lawyers in America, National Law Journal, July 2002
    •  Appellate Hot List, National Law Journal, 2010
    • Top Lawyers in Washington and the Washington Universe, Vanity Fair, October 1997
    • DC Lawyers To Call List, Roll Call, 1993
    • Washington Power 100, Regardie’s magazine, November 1991
  • Publications
    • "The Broken System of Classifying Government Documents," New York Times, February 29, 2016
    • "The US SEC Settles Claims Against Hitachi for Alleged Corrupt Payments to Obtain Contracts to Build South African Powers Stations," Client alert, October 8, 2015
    • "When Companies Report Criminal Wringdoing by Employees, Risk of Defamation Suits Remain," Client alert, June 4, 2015
    • "US-Cuba Reset?," Client alert, December 23, 2014
    • "US Supreme Court Further Restricts Jurisdiction Over Multinational Companies Where Claims Arise Outside the US," Client alert, January 28, 2014
    • "Devil's Advocate: Defending Angelo in Measure for Measure," Asides, September 4, 2013
    • "Liberty Reserve Charged in One of the Largest Money Laundering Cases in History," Client alert, June 5, 2013
    • "US Supreme Court Significantly Narrows Applicability of Alien Tort Statute to Claims of Human Rights Abuse Committed Abroad," Client alert, April 19, 2013
    • "Abbe Lowell: Prosecutors' bad decisions should have real costs," The Washington Post, June 21, 2012
    • Co-author, "Federalizing Corporate Internal Investigations And The Erosion Of Employees' Fifth Amendment Rights," Georgetown Law Journal – 40 Geo. L.J. Ann. Rev. Crim. Proc., June 2011
    • Co-author, "Knock, Knock, Who's There? The Government," American Bar Association, April 2011
    • "Not Every Wrong is a Crime: The Legal and Practical Problems with the Federal Honest Services Statute," Rev. En Benc. 11, 2010
    • "Don’t Overstate Crimes," The National Law Journal, October 27, 2008
    • "Crossing Borders," National Law Journal, June 2008
    • "Supreme Sentence Snafu," Legal Times, August 2007
    • "The Right Way to Manage U.S. Attorneys," The Washington Post, March 10, 2007
    • "Ironies Of The U.S. Attorney Firings," The Washington Post, March 2007
    • "Is the DOJ's New Policy of Prosecuting Corporations Real Reform or Business as Usual?," Law.com, January 31, 2007
    • "The Penal System Is Broken, Beyond A Reasonable Doubt," Phoenix Books, December 2006
    • "Overseeing Oversight," National Law Journal (reprinted in the New Jersey Law Journal), November 2006
    • "Independent Positions: Joe Stands On Principles," The Hartford Courant, October 29, 2006
    • "The Presumption of Innocence Should Not Be Taken Lightly," Roll Call, July 19, 2006
    • "Real Reform Must Scrutinize Lobbying and Lawmakers," USA Today, June 21, 2006
    • Co-author, "Whose Truth Is It, Anyway? Commentary: A Case for Judicial Grants of Defense Witness Immunity," Law.com, April 19, 2006
    • "Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendants Steven J. Rosen's and Keith Weissman's Motion to Dismiss the Superseding Indictment," February 2006
    • "Don’t Scapegoat My Client," USA Today, May 23, 2005
    • "Don’t Release [Rwandan] Killers," National Law Journal, April 12, 2004
    • "Corporate Crime After 2000: A New Law Enforcement Challenge or Déjà Vu?," American Criminal Law Review, April 2003
    • "Conscious Avoidance: A Head in the Sand Puts a Target on Your Back," Business Crimes Bulletin, October 2002
    • "Impeachment Was Never The Objective," National Law Journal, January 17, 2000
    • "A Permanent Special Prosecutor," Legal Times, February 23, 1998
    • "The First Lady's Privilege," National Law Journal, May 19, 1997
    • "Starr Flap Shows Need for Reform," National Law Journal, May 13, 1996
    • "The O.J. Case – Post Verdict Lessons," Legal Times, October 16, 1995
    • "Congress Robs Its Own Of Due Process," National Law Journal, October 9, 1995
    • "UN Human Rights Getting Lost In Peacekeeping Debate," June 6, 1995
    • "International War Crimes Tribunals: A Good Start, But Not Enough," Legal Times, April 3, 1995
    • "Presumption of Innocence [More Than a Catchy Phrase]," Legal Times, February 21, 1994
    • "Bush's Violent Crime Policy is Soft on Sense," The Wall Street Journal, October 1, 1992
    • "When Barks Exceeds Bites [Prosecutors Seeking Publicity]," National Law Journal, September 16, 1991
    • "The Sting That Got Away [Entrapment]," The Washington Post, August 24, 199
    • "The Barry Jury [Mayor Barry's Trial]," The Washington Post, June 29, 1990
    • "Setting The Trap [Mayor Barry's Arrest]," National Law Journal, February 26, 1990
    • "Ed Meese's Revenge [Special Prosecutors For Congress]," National Law Journal, April 3, 1989
    • "Choosing the Next Attorney General," National Law Journal, July 11, 1988
    • "Prosecutors Targeting Black Officials," The Sun and other newspapers including Legal Times, March 28, 1988
    • "Politicians' Ethics No Worse Than Before," Legal Times, July 27, 1987
    • "The FHLBB's Smokescreen Of Congressional Interference," National Thrift News, July 13, 1987
    • "Money Laundering Legislation," American Bannker, October 6, 1986
    • "Privacy, Tough Money Laws Do Mix," National Law Journal, September 15, 1986
    • "The Administration That Cried Wolf [Executive Privilege]," Legal Times, August 11, 1986
    • "Real Story: Oversight By Congress [of FHLBB] Works," Dallas Times Herald, August 5, 1986
    • "Bhopal Tragedy Breeds Legal Disaster, [Legal Ethics]," Legal Times, December 24, 1984
    • "Safeguards Offered For Officials Under Probe," New York Law Journal, September 8, 1983
    • "The Birth of Electronic Publishing," Chapters on First Amendment and Defamation, (Knowledge Ind. 1982)
    • "The Mandate," The New York Times, September 25, 1981
  • Speaking engagements
    • "Navigating the Storm- Crisis Management Techniques for In-House and Outside Counsel," The Voice of the Defense Bar Conference, Washington, DC, June 27-28, 2013
    • "War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and The National Security State," Newseum, Washington, DC, April 16, 2013
    •  "Recent Trials," The 27th Annual National Institute on White Collar Crime, Las Vegas, NV, March 7, 2013
    • Abbe Lowell Speaks at 2012 NACD Board Leadership Conference, National Harbor, MD, October 14-16, 2012
    • 13th Annual Freedom of Information Day, Washington, DC, March 16, 2011
    • "WikiLeaks, The Espionage Act, and the First Amendment: The Law, Politics, and Policy of Prosecuting Julian Assange," American University Washington College of Law, Washington, DC, January 11, 2011
    • House Judiciary Testimony, Washington, DC, December 16, 2010
    • Criminal Law, National Security and the First Amendment, Washington, DC, October 29, 2010
    • "Assessing the Impact and Outcomes of Recent Insurance Investigations," 19th International Reinsurance Congress, Bermuda, October 19-21, 2005
  • Memberships and activities
    • Member, American Bar Association (ABA) (prior chair of the ABA Committee on Rules, White Collar Crime Section)
    • Member, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    • Member, International Academy of Trial Lawyers
    • Adjunct professor, Georgetown Law Center in Washington, DC, teaching trial practice, evidence and advanced criminal procedure, 1984 - present
    • Adjunct professor, Columbia Law School in New York, teaching trial practice, evidence and advanced criminal procedure, 1984 - present
    • Trustee, The Shakespeare Theatre Company (Chair of Development, Chair of the lawyers' Bard Association)
    • Vice president and general counsel, Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington