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Former Compliance Officer and Federal Prosecutor Michael Ward Joins V&E as Partner

Former Compliance Officer and Federal Prosecutor Michael Ward Joins V&E as Partner Background Decorative Image

Vinson & Elkins has bolstered its white collar and government investigations practice with the addition of experienced in-house counsel, chief compliance officer and former federal prosecutor Michael Ward as partner in its San Francisco office.

“Mike is a highly-regarded attorney in the white collar and government investigations communities,” said V&E Litigation & Regulatory Department Co-Chair and investigations partner John Wander. “He has an incredibly rare background as both an experienced in-house compliance officer and a former prosecutor with deep trial experience. His perspective will be an invaluable asset to our clients as we continue to expand our reputation as one of the leading white-collar criminal defense firms in the nation.”

Before joining V&E, Ward had a distinguished career building enterprise-wide compliance programs at top companies including Target, Adobe, Cisco, McKesson and most recently Juniper Networks, where he served as Chief Risk & Compliance Officer, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel. His career began in private practice as an associate at Shearman & Sterling, followed by serving nearly 16 years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice in Minneapolis. In this role, he led numerous federal criminal investigations, tried over 50 federal criminal jury trials and assessed the effectiveness of corporate compliance programs. In recognition of his contributions, Ward was honored with the National Director’s Award for Outstanding Performance.

“Having someone with Mike’s unique experience adds depth to our White Collar bench,” said Matt Jacobs, co-chair of V&E’s Government Investigations and White Collar Criminal Defense practice and managing partner of the San Francisco office. “New enforcement policies and actions make clear that sophisticated compliance program knowledge is now essential to any company defense. Mike’s background combines that unequalled skill with that of an experienced prosecutor and trial lawyer. We are pleased to have him join our team and look forward to building on the deep relationships he has garnered with compliance professionals throughout California and beyond.”

While at Juniper, Ward worked with V&E when he oversaw a six-year Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation spanning multiple countries, including Russia and China. V&E acted as outside counsel on the matter. These efforts led to a declination from the U.S. Department of Justice and a non-bribery civil resolution with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

“Working with V&E over the years, I witnessed a level of client service that was second to none,” Ward said. “I am thrilled to begin the next chapter of my career with the firm and join its stellar bench of government investigations attorneys.”

Ward is the latest of several key hires to join V&E’s Government Investigations and White Collar Criminal Defense practice, which includes attorneys in New York, Washington, D.C., California and Texas. His colleagues include partners Palmina Fava, former co-chair of Paul Hastings LLP’s Global Compliance and Disputes Department; Fry Wernick, who joined the firm after stepping down as Assistant Chief of the DOJ’s FCPA Unit; Ron Tenpas, who served as Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois; and Mike Dry, the former Deputy Chief of the Eastern District of Virginia’s Criminal Division.

“With the addition of Mike Ward, Vinson & Elkins adds a leading authority on compliance and investigations who is uniquely capable to offer the insights and practical solutions sought by boards, general counsel and executives,” said Brian Martin, General Counsel of Juniper.

V&E’s Government Investigations and White Collar Criminal Defense practice has received recognition nationally and internationally in Chambers USA (2019), Legal 500 U.S. (2019) and as a member of the Global Investigations Review 100 (2019). The firm represents corporations, audit committees, boards and executives in high stakes investigations and litigation, including matters involving criminal and civil antitrust investigations, the FCPA, the False Claims Act, securities, health care and criminal and civil theft of trade secrets.

This testimonial or endorsement does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

About Vinson & Elkins
For more than 100 years, Vinson & Elkins has provided deep experience in handling transactions, investments, projects, and disputes worldwide. The firm is a trusted adviser to clients in the most important industrial and digital industries. Learn more by visiting or follow us on Twitter @VinsonandElkins or connect with us on LinkedIn.

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