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Jennifer S. Freel

Jennifer S. Freel Counsel, Government Investigations & White Collar Criminal Defense

Jennifer handles pre-trial, trial, and appellate matters. For more than nine years, Jennifer served as Assistant United States Attorney in the Austin Division of the Western District of Texas. As a result, she has extensive trial experience involving narcotics conspiracies, gun smuggling, and white collar crime. She has also defended convictions from across the district as an appellate specialist. Jennifer has argued more than twenty times before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Before becoming a prosecutor, Jennifer clerked for Judge Fortunato Benavides on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. She is board certified in Criminal Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, an elected Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, and a barrister in the Robert W. Calvert American Inn of Court. She also serves on the executive board of the Austin Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and teaches as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law.​​​​

Experience Highlights

Cases Handled as a Federal Prosecutor

  • (W.D. Tex.) — Represented the United States in prosecution of a sophisticated money laundering scheme whereby the defendants cleaned drug money by buying, breeding, training, and racing quarter horses; handled forfeiture matters, including the interlocutory sale of 452 quarter horses for approximately $8.9 million; worked with the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to freeze more than $20 million in assets; received the I.R.S. Excellence Award
  • (W.D. Tex.) — Served as trial counsel in the prosecution of a defendant accused of running a Ponzi scheme that targeted NFL players and members of the Mormon Church; the defendant was found guilty of wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering; received the DeAtley Award for Complex or Significant Trial by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas
  • (W.D. Tex.) — Served as trial counsel in case involving a firearms smuggling ring and a money laundering conspiracy; obtained guilty verdicts on 47 separate counts
  • (W.D. Tex.) — Served as lead prosecutor in case involving a scheme to defraud the federal government of financial aid funds; coordinated the pre-indictment investigation; indicted the case and negotiated a guilty plea
  • (5th Cir.) — Represented the United States on appeal, after a jury convicted a licensed pharmacist of health care fraud; the defendant alleged a Speedy Trial Act violation and challenged the sufficiency of the evidence, certain evidentiary rulings, the restitution order, and the forfeiture of specific assets; the Fifth Circuit affirmed the conviction
  • (5th Cir.) — Represented the United States on appeal of conviction for mail fraud; the Fifth Circuit affirmed the defendant’s conviction, sentence, and a $10 million restitution order
  • (5th Cir.) — Represented the United States on appeal of a district court’s refusal to modify a protective order; prior to this case, the Fifth Circuit had never articulated a test for determining when courts should modify criminal protective orders; the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling
  • (5th Cir.) — Represented the United States on two appeals concerning $2 million money judgments entered after the defendants pled guilty to participating in drug and money laundering conspiracies; prevailed in both cases

Cases Handled in Private Practice

  • (Tex. App. – Austin) — Obtained denial of petition for writ of mandamus, when petitioner challenged district court’s refusal to stay the case pending resolution of similar litigation outside the State of Texas
  • Counseled company after third party accused it of violating federal criminal law during certain activities with the United States Army Corps of Engineers
  • Represented individual under criminal investigation by the Department of Homeland Security in a matter concerning allegations of procurement fraud

Contact Details


T +1.512.542.8538
F +1.512.236.3200
2801 Via Fortuna
Suite 100
Austin, TX 78746
Local time: 10:56 PM
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Jennifer's Practices

  • George Washington University, J.D. with high honors (Editor-in-Chief, The George Washington Law Review, Order of the Coif), 2005
  • University of Missouri, B.J. with high honors, 1999
  • Admitted to practice: Texas; U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; Northern District of Texas; Eastern District of Texas; Western District of Texas; Southern District of Texas​​​
  • Other languages: Spanish  
  • Counsel, Ewell, Brown, Blanke & Knight LLP, 2017-2018
  • Assistant United States Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas – Austin Division, 2008-2017
  • Associate, Vinson & Elkins LLP, 2006-2008
  • Judicial clerk to The Honorable Fortunato P. Benavides, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 2005-2006
  • Legal 500 U.S., Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2019
  • President: Federal Bar Association, Austin Chapter
  • Treasurer: Criminal Law Section, Federal Bar Association
  • Barrister: Robert Calvert Inn of Court
  • Fellow: The Texas Bar Foundation
  • Adjunct Professor: The University of Texas School of Law (Advanced Legal Writing – Litigation)
  • Member: Planning Committee, State and Federal Appeals CLE Conference, The University of Texas School of Law
  • Member: Federalist Society​​
  • Member: Austin Bar Association
  • Member: Travis County Women Lawyer’s Association
  • Candidate: Place 6, Texas Third Court of Appeals (2017-2018)