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 well recognized for his experience in internal investigations, government investigations, and white collar matters of all kinds, as well as complex commercial litigation.

Matt frequently advises Boards of Directors, Audit Committees, and General Counsels on critical issues. Matt is Co-Chair of the firm’s Government Investigations & White Collar Criminal Defense practice, and is the Managing Partner of the San Francisco office of V&E. He is Chambers-rated, ranked by the Legal 500, and has been recognized as one of the leading lawyers in San Francisco by San Francisco Magazine.

Matt has a national and international practice representing  U.S. and foreign-located companies and executives in high stakes matters involving FCPA, 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 has tremendous skill in conducting internal investigations and providing business-focused advice to companies, audit committees, and boards of directors regarding appropriate company practice in the midst of alleged misconduct. Matt’s background with the government, coupled with his depth of experience in both criminal and civil defense matters, enables him to deliver a unique, well-rounded approach to clients in need of innovative, yet practical and effective solutions.

Experience Highlights

  • Represents the Audit Committee of a public technology company in connection with criminal and civil investigations being conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) 
  • Represents a major Japanese manufacturer in an internal investigation and government investigation regarding an alleged cartel to fix the prices of certain parts
  • Represents a major Chinese wind power company in criminal charges brought by the Department of Justice for the alleged theft of trade secrets
  • Represents a Silicon Valley company in a commercial dispute with a major drug wholesaler
  • Represents a real estate developer in connection with bid rigging and mail fraud charges stemming from the purchase of properties through foreclosure auctions

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
  • Has conducted internal investigations of potential Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations around the world, including Russia, China, India, Angola, Nigeria, UAE, Hungary and Saudi Arabia
  • Represents various entities in a nationwide class action alleging collusion in the pricing of various auto parts stemming from one of the largest federal criminal antitrust investigations ever conducted by the DOJ
  • Leads an internal investigation into alleged bribery allegations regarding drilling technology in Africa
  • Currently representing a major Chinese corporation in connection with a U.S. Department of Justice criminal investigation into the alleged theft of manufacturing processes
  • Represents senior executives of pharmaceutical companies alleged to have engaged in improper off-label promotion of drugs
  • Conducted an investigation on behalf of a Board of Directors for financial manipulation of the company’s SEC filings which led to the forced resignation of the CEO of a public Silicon Valley company
  • Represents an executive of a generic pharmaceutical company in connection with a federal price fixing investigation
  • 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

  • Represents a major foreign manufacturer in a major class action that alleges collusion in direct and indirect sales of optical disk drives
  • Represents a Japanese corporation in a major class action that alleges price fixing in cellphone 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
  • 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
  • Judicial clerk to The Honorable Walter J. Cummings, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Chicago
  • 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