Cleary Gottlieb Strengthens FCPA Capabilities With Senior DOJ Official David Last

July 10, 2023

David Last, most recently the Chief of the United States Department of Justice’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Unit, has joined Cleary Gottlieb as a partner in the Washington, D.C. office.

As part of our white-collar and enforcement practice, David will focus on criminal and civil FCPA matters, internal investigations, and defending companies and individuals in high-stakes enforcement actions.

As Chief of the FCPA Unit, David was responsible for managing all criminal FCPA matters brought in the United States, including supervising all FCPA-related investigations, prosecutions, corporate resolutions, trials, and corporate compliance monitorships. He oversaw the investigation and prosecution of more than two hundred matters involving the FCPA, money laundering, wire fraud, and other corruption-related offenses. These matters encompassed every significant industry sector and geographic region and involved conduct by corporate board members, high-level executives, and foreign officials at the highest levels of government.

David also routinely coordinated and interacted with his counterparts at other U.S. authorities, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and various foreign law enforcement authorities, including the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office, Brazil’s Ministério Público Federal and Office of the Comptroller General, Switzerland’s Office of the Attorney General, and France’s Parquet National Financier, among others.

In 2021 and 2022, David served as a member of the Deputy Attorney General’s Corporate Crime Advisory Group (CCAG), which was tasked with reviewing DOJ’s policies related to prosecuting corporate crime.

“We are thrilled to welcome David to our firm,” said Cleary Managing Partner Michael Gerstenzang. “Global enforcement of anti-corruption laws like the FCPA has grown exponentially over the last decade. Cleary has extensive experience advising clients in these matters, and we look forward to David joining our deep bench, which includes former federal prosecutors, former senior officials of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.”

Prior to being named Chief of the FCPA Unit, David was the Principal Assistant Chief from 2019 to 2021, Assistant Chief from 2017 to 2019, and Trial Attorney from 2016 to 2017 for the Unit.

Before joining the FCPA Unit, David spent ten years as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, where he investigated and prosecuted a wide variety of white-collar criminal cases, including financial fraud, public corruption, and money laundering, among other criminal cases. During his seventeen-year tenure as a federal prosecutor at the DOJ and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, David personally tried more than forty cases to verdict and supervised some of the most complex white-collar and foreign bribery related trials in the country.

“We advise and defend the world’s leading multinational corporations and financial institutions, as well as boards of directors and senior executives, in a broad range of significant criminal and regulatory matters,” said white-collar and enforcement partner Matt Solomon. “David is going to continue to showcase Cleary’s breadth of subject-matter experience in the white-collar and enforcement space.”

“Cleary’s enforcement practice prides itself in being trusted by our clients to handle their most significant and sensitive investigations,” said white-collar and enforcement partner Joon Kim. “David’s arrival from his important position at the Department of Justice adds even greater strength and breadth to our leading white-collar practice.”

“Cleary’s reputation for legal excellence and its global footprint uniquely position the firm to provide clients with the most comprehensive legal representation to overcome complex challenges across multiple jurisdictions,” said David. “I look forward to joining a firm of such tremendous caliber, where I can contribute to their deep experience and work with the firm’s exceptional white-collar team to help clients navigate complex criminal and regulatory issues.”

David’s arrival, along with the recent additions of Ryan Shores, James Burns, and Brant Brown, continues our expansion in Washington, D.C., as we support our clients in a rapidly evolving regulatory and enforcement environment. Over the past 18 months, we have strengthened a number of key practices in the U.S., London, and elsewhere, as we continue to focus on helping clients navigate opportunities and challenges in M&A, finance, antitrust, restructuring, and litigation matters around the globe.