Matthew J. Jacobs

Matthew J. Jacobs Partner, Government Investigations & White Collar Criminal Defense

A former federal prosecutor in the Northern District of California with more than 20 years of experience, Matt is widely recognized as a leading trial lawyer. He has particular experience in government investigations and complex commercial litigation.

Matt has a national and international practice representing companies and executives in high stakes matters involving antitrust, trade secrets, health care, and commercial disputes including IP litigation and consumer class actions. Matt is a seasoned trial lawyer who has tried more than a dozen criminal and civil cases to verdict. As a federal prosecutor in San Francisco, Matt prosecuted many high profile cases involving securities, health care and energy. As a defense attorney, Matt has gained a track record of persuading prosecutors to limit or abandon cases before charges are filed, or fighting hard for his clients where no appropriate resolution can be found. Matt is particularly experienced in “bet-the-company” and high profile matters. He has extensive experience dealing with the press, first as an award winning journalist in Louisiana, and later as the federal prosecutor responsible for handling all media inquiries on behalf of U.S. Attorney (and former FBI Director) Robert S. Mueller III. As a prosecutor, Matt was the recipient of the Justice Department’s Director’s Award and the FBI’s Director’s Award.

Matt is co-head of the firm’s Government Investigations and White Collar Criminal Defense Practice Group, and is the founding partner and head of the firm’s San Francisco office.

Experience Highlights

  • Representing the Audit Committee of a public technology company regarding alleged bribery and possible violations of the FCPA in Russia, China and India
  • Represented a major Japanese corporation in one of the largest criminal antitrust investigations ever conducted concerning allegations of price-fixing and market allocation in the manufacturing of auto parts
  • Representing a major Chinese solar company indicted in a high profile and cutting edge criminal case for alleged theft of trade secrets 
  • Currently representing a Silicon Valley technology company in a commercial dispute over rights to software
  • Currently representing a real estate investor and related entities in a criminal antitrust investigation

Investigations (Criminal, Government, Internal)

  • Currently representing a Japanese corporation in connection with a U.S. Department of Justice investigation based on alleged cartel activity concerning a consumer product
  • Conducted an internal investigation of sales practices in the Middle East, involving cultural and regional legal sensitivities; conducted a forensic analysis of data, and interviews of regional employees, supervisors, channel partners, and vendors; analyzed sales and marketing practices, and scope of internal and external FCPA compliance; worked closely with Internal Audit, making frequent reports to management and the company’s outside auditors
  • Currently representing a major Chinese corporation in connection with a U.S. Department of Justice criminal investigation into the alleged theft of manufacturing processes
  • Currently representing several senior executives of different major pharmaceutical companies in connection with alleged off-label marketing and False Claims Act violations
  • Currently representing a senior executive of a dialysis corporation in connection with alleged False Claims Act violations
  • Currently advising the former CEO of a technology company in connection with antitrust implications of an acquisition and a Department of Justice merger review
  • Represented several major international corporations in significant criminal investigations by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Justice Department involving the consumer electronics business, which were resolved without criminal charges being filed against clients
  • Represented a senior executive of a pharmaceutical company who was the target of a federal criminal investigation for five years, and successfully persuaded the Department of Justice to close the case without taking action against the client
  • Represented a Special Committee of the Board of Directors of a publicly traded corporation in connection with a criminal investigation, and derivative and class action lawsuits stemming from the company’s stock options practices
  • Represented accountants from a Big Four accounting firm in connection with an international money laundering investigation
  • Represented the former partner of a major New York law firm in connection with a tax investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice
  • Represented various officers and directors of publicly traded companies in connection with investigations and derivative lawsuits of the stock options practices of those companies
  • Represented a major metals company in connection with a criminal environmental investigation under the Clean Air Act
  • Represented a former senior executive of an educational software company in connection with a federal bribery investigation regarding the supply of products to a public school district; the investigation was resolved without charges being brought against the client
  • Represented a publicly traded company in negotiating privilege issues in connection with the criminal trial of a former Chief Executive Officer
  • Conducted an internal investigation of alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by a Chinese subsidiary of a U.S. company

Commercial Litigation

  • Currently representing a Japanese supplier in class action multidistrict litigation concerning alleged cartel activities in the optical disk drive market
  • Currently representing a Japanese corporation in class action lawsuits consolidated in multidistrict litigation involving cellphone and laptop batteries
  • Currently representing a technology company in a lawsuit concerning the use of health care data
  • Represented officers and directors in several derivative and class actions regarding the handling of compensation issues
  • Represented major consumer electronic companies in class actions by direct and indirect purchases, where the class members alleged that they paid higher prices due to internal cartel activity
  • Represented a pharmaceutical company in connection with class action lawsuits based on alleged securities fraud
  • Represented a former officer of a health care company in the successful dismissal of a securities fraud lawsuit
  • Represented a cloud computing company in litigation with a competitor and customer in a copyright infringement lawsuit
  • Advised a Chinese company in connection with product liability cases alleging the misuse of their products resulted in deaths and injuries


Contact Details

San Francisco

T +1.415.979.6990
F +1.415.651.8786
525 Market Street
Suite 2750
San Francisco, CA 94105
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Matt's Practices

  • Stanford Law School, J.D. 1992 (Order of the Coif; Associate Editor, Stanford Law Review)
  • Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, M.S., with honors, 1985
  • The American University, B.A., cum laude, 1983
  • Judicial clerk to The Honorable Walter J. Cummings, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Chicago
  • Admitted to practice: California, 1994; Illinois, 1993; Supreme Court of the United States, The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Seventh and Ninth Circuits
  • Appointed to federal Criminal Justice Act panel for the Northern District of California
  • Appointed by Chief U.S. District Judge to serve on selection committee for bankruptcy judge
  • Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of California, 1998-2004
  • Chambers USA, White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (California), 2015
  • Legal 500 U.S., Antitrust, 2012−2015; White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2015
  • Selected to the Northern California Super Lawyers list, Super Lawyers® (Thomson Reuters), 2006−2015
  • Finalist for appointment as U.S. Attorney, 2008
  • Former Adjunct Professor: University of California at Berkeley (Boalt Hall) (Prosecution and Defense of White Collar Crime)
  • Member and Former Chairman: Steering Committee of the Criminal Justice Panel, San Francisco Bar Association
  • Vice President: San Jose Steering Committee of Federal Bar Association
  • Barrister of McFettridge Inn of Court
  • Appointed to federal Criminal Justice Act panel for the Northern District of California
  • Appointed by Chief U.S. District Judge to serve on selection committee for bankruptcy judge
  • Former chair of Communications Committee and member of Standards Committee of Olympic Club, nation’s oldest athletic club