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Bill Leone

Co-Head of Disputes, New York

Bill Leone

New York

T:+1 212 318 3324


T:+1 303 801 2750

Bill Leone is a litigation partner and is the co-head of our litigation practice in New York.

Mr. Leone is a former federal prosecutor and served in the United States Department of Justice from 2001 to 2006. He served as United States Attorney for the District of Colorado from 2004 to 2006. Prior to serving in the United States Department of Justice, Mr. Leone was an experienced civil trial attorney and tried over 50 cases to verdict before judges, juries and arbitration panels. He served on the Attorney General's Advisory Committees for white collar crime and environmental enforcement and on the National Securities Fraud Task Force with representatives from the CFTC, IRS, SEC, FBI, United States Postal Service, EPA, FINRA and numerous other agencies. He also served on the Colorado Securities Fraud Task Force with representatives from the Colorado Attorney General's Office and Colorado Securities Commission. During his tenure as United States Attorney, Mr. Leone worked closely with case agents and agencies throughout the United States including offices in New York, California, Texas, Utah and Wyoming and with litigating units at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. He has taught courses at the National Advocacy Center in South Carolina to federal prosecutors from throughout the United States on numerous topics relating to investigations, corporate and securities fraud and accounting fraud.

During his tenure as a defense lawyer and prosecutor, Mr. Leone has handled high stakes, high profile cases and investigations involving numerous industries and subjects, particularly those involving the interrelationship between the government and a regulated industry and which may involve parallel civil, criminal, and administrative exposure. Some of these include securities fraud, insider trading, financial institutions, FDIC claims against directors of failed banks, complex merger and acquisition disputes, complex commercial contract disputes, health care fraud, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations, anti-trust, energy price manipulation, intellectual property, merger and acquisition, corporate governance, telecommunications, mass media, environmental, Stark Act and anti-kickback, nationwide immigration enforcement, and other matters. In addition, as an experienced trial lawyer, he has represented clients of all types in complex commercial litigation matters including product defect, complex contract, trade secret, unfair competition, merger indemnification disputes and civil securities matters of all types. He has represented issuers, underwriters, attorneys, accountants, officers and directors in various types of securities and related litigation including securities class action, derivative suits and other matters. His work includes conducting investigations relating to operations in foreign countries including China and the Pacific Rim. 

Most recently, Mr. Leone has served as an advisor to clients facing complex civil, criminal and administrative exposure from various sources including whistleblowers, government subpoenas and internal reports from ethics and compliance programs. In those cases, he plans, manages and executes internal investigations and helps clients develop a strategy for evaluating and mitigating these exposures.

As a result of Mr. Leone's wide range of experience, he has been a guest commentator on CNBC, CNN and Fox News and has been featured in publications including the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Denver Post and other publications.

He was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court to, and currently serves on the Chief Justice's Commission on the Legal Profession.  In 2013 he was appointed by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to serve as a member of the Independent Ethics Commission for the State of Colorado.  In addition, he has handled matters in numerous jurisdictions throughout the United States including California, Wyoming, New Mexico, Texas, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, New York and Delaware.

Bill continues to maintain an active presence and practice in Colorado as well as New York and represents global, national and local clients in the Colorado courts.

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  • Education

    1981 - J.D., University of Colorado, Order of the Coif
    1978 - B.S., Colorado State University, Phi Beta Kappa

    Bill is admitted to practice law in Colorado and has been admitted pro hac vice in state and federal courts numerous jurisdictions including California, Wyoming, New Mexico, Texas, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia, New York, Delaware and Minnesota.

  • Representative experience

    His representative matters include:

    • Representing three of the four largest accounting firms in matters involving alleged securities fraud, accounting malpractice, unfair competition, government subpoenas and taxation
    • Representing a Fortune 100 media company in a multi-billion dollar merger dispute
    • Representing officers and directors from numerous financial institutions involving claims by the FDIC and other agencies of negligence and misconduct
    • Representing officers, directors, issuers, underwriters, attorneys and accountants in all aspects of corporate and securities matters including failed IPOs, securities class actions and alleged insider trading
    • While with the Department of Justice, he led the investigation and prosecution of Qwest's $1 billion restatement, leading to multiple prosecutions of executives for securities fraud and insider trading. He also led, and eventually concluded, a lengthy investigation into IPO practices in the telecommunications industry and false reporting in the natural gas arena. He worked with and taught courses on accounting and corporate fraud to federal prosecutors from throughout the United States.
    • Representing a large multinational manufacturing concern in over 70 matters including merger and acquisition disputes, internal investigations, commercial contract disputes, employment cases and other disputes
    • Representing several medical device manufacturers in connection with OIG investigations, disputes with physicians and consultants, unfair competition claims, and internal investigations for Stark, Sarbanes-Oxley and other related issues
    • Representing professionals, executives and companies facing grand jury subpoenas, white collar investigations and indictment
    • Criminal trials of executives charged with insider trading, accounting fraud, securities fraud, wire and mail fraud, environmental violations and export violations, among other offenses
  • Admissions
    • Colorado State Bar License
    • New York State Bar License
  • Rankings and recognitions
    • Legal 500 USA, recommended lawyer, International litigation, The Legal 500, 2016
    • The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers, 2013 - 2018
    • Colorado Super Lawyers, business litigation, Thomson Reuters, 2012 - 2017
    • Superior Achievement Awards, Department of Justice, 2001 - 2006
    • Power Book, Denver Business Journal, 2005
  • Publications
    • Co-author, "New Considerations From COSO For Internal Controls," Law360, Oct. 18, 2016
    • Co-author, "Anti-Corruption Regulation in 2013 and a Review of 2012 Major Developments," The International Law Firm of Fulbright & Jaworski - Securities, March 4, 2013
  • Speaking engagements
    • Ethical Pitfalls in Conducting Internal Investigations, October 11, 2014, National Association of Former United States Attorneys National Conference, Boston MA
    • Ethics in Fracking, CLE Colorado, September 29, 2014
    • Managing Corporate Cooperation in Internal Investigations, Global Investigations Review US Conference, New York , NY, September 17, 2014
    • ACI FCPA New York Conference, May 20, 2014, Best Practices in Coordinating Risk Assessments, Investigations and Compliance Programs
    • RIMS 2014 National Conference, April 27, 2014, "Managing the Scope and Cost of Internal Investigations"
    • Norton Rose Fulbright Global Regulatory and Investigations Fora, Singapore and Hong Kong, February 2014 "Effective Response to Government Investigations"
    • "The Influence of Politics and Media on Judicial Decision Making," Colorado State University RAMS JD Panel Discussion, 2011
    • "Trends and Developments in Director and Officer Liability and Dodd-Frank Exposures," CEO Roundtable Briefing, 2011
    • Keynote Speaker, "Law Day 2011: The Legacy of John Adams from Boston to Guantanamo," Adams-Broomfield Bar Association Law Day, 2011
    • "Criminalizing Corporate America and Other Enforcement Trends," CEO Roundtable, 2010
    • "Business Divorce: When Partnerships Fail," Colorado CLE in partnership with Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants, 2010
    • "Impact of New DOJ Guidance on Criminal Discovery," ABA Fifth Annual Securities Fraud National Institute, 2010
    • "Keeping out of the Crosshairs of the SEC," CEO and General Counsel Briefing sponsored by Wells Fargo NA, 2010
    • Faculty Member, "Federal Advocates Trial Training Program," 2010
    • "The Patriot Act," University of Denver Community Enrichment Series, 2010
    • "The Growing Problem of Street Gangs: Why are they Proliferating and What Can be Done to Stem the Tide," The City Club of Denver, Denver, Colorado, February 13, 2007
    • "Preserving the Attorney Client Privilege During Internal Investigations," West Legalworks National Webcast, January 10, 2007
    • "Stock Options Backdating: Minimizing The Regulatory, Civil and Criminal Risks," West Legalworks National Webcast, December 27, 2006
    • "Stock Options Backdating: Perspectives For All Public Companies," National Web Cast sponsored by NASDAQ, November 28, 2006
    • "Stock Options Backdating: Minimizing the Regulatory, Civil and Criminal Risks," West Legalworks National Web Cast, November 8, 2006
    • "Preserving the Attorney Client Privilege During Internal Investigations," Department of Energy Contractors Association
    • "The Patriot Act, Money Laundering and Federal Criminal Law Enforcement," Independent Bankers of Colorado
    • "Corporate Governance and Principals of Director Liability," Fulbright Scholars Lecture Series, 2005
    • "Introduction to Money Laundering," Colorado Bankers and Financial Intermediaries Conference
    • "Criminal Enforcement of the Securities Laws," Rocky Mountain Securities Conference sponsored by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, 2004
    • "The Effectiveness of S.A.S. 99 in Preventing Fraud: Observations of a Defense Lawyer Turned Prosecutor," AICPA Forensic and Litigation Services Committee and Fraud Task Force
    • "Loss Calculations and Damage Theories in Securities Fraud Cases," National Advocacy Center, Columbia, South Carolina
    • "Principles of Accounting Fraud," National Advocacy Center, Columbia, South Carolina
    • "Federal Enforcement Efforts in the Energy Industry and Managing Corporate Cooperation," Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. Energy Client Roundtable
    • "A Debate on the Patriot Act," Arthur Miller Presents, Denver, Colorado, 2003
    • "The Patriot Act and the War on Terror," League of Women Voters Televised Panel
    • Key Note Speaker, "Street Gangs, Rotary Clubs and Other Commonalities," Law Enforcement Coordinating Conference, 2006
    • "A National Gang Initiative," Project Safe Neighborhood Conference, 2006
    • "Immigration Update," Mountain States Employers Council
    • "Managing Exposure to Securities Fraud Claims," Cooley Godward L.L.P. Securities Update
    • "Regulation FD," Cooley Godward L.L.P. Securities Conference 
    • "Federal Sentencing Guidelines and Equal Protection," El Paso County NAACP 
    • "Corporate Fraud Update," United States Department of Justice Securities Fraud Working Group 
    • "Trade Secret Protection, Employee Raiding and Non-Competes," Cooley Godward L.L.P. Client Roundtable
  • Memberships and activities
    • Commissioner, (Governor's Appointment), Colorado Independent Ethics Commission, 2013-2017
    • Member, Attorney General's Advisory Sub-committee on White Collar Crime (2004-2006)
    • Member, Attorney General's Advisory Sub-committee on Environmental Enforcement (2004-2006)
    • Member, Attorney General's Advisory Sub-committee on Cyber Crime Enforcement (2004-2006)
    • 17th Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission
    • 17th Judicial District Judicial Performance Commission
    • First Assistant United States Attorney, District of Colorado (2001 - 2004)
    • United States Attorney, District of Colorado (2004 - 2006)
    • Member, Chief Justices Commission on the Legal Profession (2001 - present)