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William E. Lawler, III

William E. Lawler, III Partner, Government Investigations & White Collar Criminal Defense

Bill is the co-head of Vinson & Elkins Government Investigations and White Collar Practice Group. Bill represents corporations, organizations, government entities, and individuals in a wide variety of difficult and sensitive matters. He represents clients in federal and state courts, as well as before regulatory agencies and Congress.

Bill's experience includes Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, criminal antitrust, health care fraud, public corruption, campaign finance, and other white collar crime issues. He frequently advises corporate boards, audit committees, and management on compliance, risk mitigation, and investigative matters. Many of Bill’s matters are high profile ones, subject to public and media security.

Bill has handled matters in 35 U.S. states and more than 30 countries. He has tried more than 70 jury cases to verdict, has had 15 appellate arguments, and has conducted hundreds of grand jury and motions proceedings. Bill writes and speaks frequently on white collar, government investigations, compliance, and corporate governance issues. Bill has been recognized by Chambers USA and a number of other “best lawyer” ranking publications. While a prosecutor, he received the Department of Justice’s Attorney General’s Award, as well as the United States Attorney’s Award.

Experience Highlights

  • Represented two U.S. companies in a coordinated DOJ and SEC FCPA investigation of the energy industry in West Africa and succeeded in having cases closed without the government taking any action against the clients
  • Represented an international freight forwarding company in an antitrust investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice and foreign authorities, involving allegations of price-fixing and market manipulation among freight forwarders in connection with surcharges levied on customers for international ocean and air freight services; assisted client in negotiating a favorable resolution
  • Represented a Congressman in a criminal investigation of federal lobbying practices and allegations of corruption, bribery, and improper influence
  • Represent an European energy services company in FCPA/UKBA/anticorruption investigation involving Italy, Canada, Mexico, and the United States
  • Represented a foreign corporation in a U.S. Department of Justice investigation of criminal international antitrust violations, including price-fixing and global market allocation in the maritime construction industry. Client was not charged and ancillary civil litigation was resolved favorably

Representative Experience

  • Represent executives of a multibillion dollar Mexican development company in FCPA/anti-corruption investigation
  • Represent an individual in a federal corruption investigation of the District of Columbia 2010 Mayoral election
  • Trial representation of individual against the SEC in case of first impression regarding application of the Antibribery Provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act  
  • Represented a defendant in the largest federal campaign finance fraud case ever brought against an individual
  • Represented a New Jersey governor in an investigation of political corruption and a threatened civil lawsuit
  • Represented a former head of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team in litigation, and congressional and special counsel investigations, relating to Waco/Branch Davidian and Ruby Ridge/Randy Weaver matters

Contact Details

Washington

T +1.202.639.6676
F +1.202.879.8876
wlawler@velaw.com
2200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 500 West
Washington, DC 20037-1701
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William's Practices

  • Georgetown Law, J.D. cum laude, 1985
  • University of Notre Dame, B.A., English and Government cum laude, 1982
  • Admitted to practice: Maryland; District of Columbia; U.S. District Courts for District of Columbia, Maryland, Southern District of Texas, Eastern District of New York; U.S. Court of Appeals for District of Columbia, Second and Fifth Circuits
    • Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, 1989–1996

      • Chambers Global, FCPA (USA), 2016−2018
      • Chambers USA, Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations (District of Columbia), 2014–2017; FCPA (Nationwide), 2015−2017
      • Legal 500 U.S., White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2015−2017
      • The Best Lawyers in America® (Woodward/White, Inc.), White-Collar Criminal Defense Law, 2008–2017
      • Euromoney’s Benchmark Litigation, "Local Litigation Star" in District of Columbia, 2012–2013, 2016–2018
      • Selected to the Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers list, Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters), 2007–2017
      • Who's Who Legal (Law Business Research Ltd.), Business Crime Defence, 2016 and 2017; Investigations, 2016 and 2017
      • American Lawyer Media, Washington DC & Baltimore’s Top Rated Lawyers, 2012
      • International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers (Law Business Research Ltd), Business Crime, 2009
      • Recipient of the Vinson & Elkins “Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year,” 1999
        • President: Bar Association of the District of Columbia, 2002–2003; Chair: Young Lawyers Section, 1994– 1995; Board of Directors: 1993–present
        • Member: American Bar Association House of Delegates, 1992­1993, 2001–2004
        • Vice Chair: White Collar Committee, International Association of Defense Counsel, 2011 to present