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Leading FCPA Attorney Palmina Fava Joins V&E’s Government Investigations Practice in New York


Vinson & Elkins continues to expand its nationally recognized Government Investigations and White Collar Criminal Defense practice with the addition of New York-based partner Palmina M. Fava, who brings to the firm more than two decades of experience handling a wide range of internal and government investigations and compliance matters.

Fava joins V&E from Paul Hastings LLP, where she previously served as co-chair of the firm’s Global Compliance and Disputes Department. Her practice focuses on drafting and implementing compliance programs and defending corporations and individuals in government investigations and litigation, with an emphasis on representing corporate clients in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) investigations before the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Palmina’s experience and reputation as a leading government and internal investigations attorney make her a natural fit for V&E, as we continue to grow in those practice areas across the country,” said V&E Chairman Mark Kelly. “Her addition underscores the firm’s commitment to maintaining a top global investigations and white collar defense practice.”

Fava 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. Her colleagues include partners Fry Wernick, who joined the firm in June 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.

“The Department of Justice and SEC continue to actively investigate potential violations of the FCPA both in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and across the country,” said Cliff Thau, co-managing partner of V&E’s New York office. “Palmina’s addition bolsters the firm’s national and international capabilities and reputation as a destination practice for government investigations.”

Fava represents clients in the energy, technology, financial services, and pharmaceutical industries. In addition to her investigations and compliance work, Fava represents companies in a variety of other white collar areas, including cases involving accounting irregularities, bid-rigging and unfair trade practices, off-label pharmaceutical marketing, and misappropriation of trade secrets.

Fava also performs due diligence for financial services firms in connection with their potential international investments and has significant experience representing clients in commercial litigation. In New York, Fava is reunited with international arbitration partner Camilo Cardozo and counsel Jose Sanchez, both of whom recently joined V&E from Paul Hastings and with whom Fava works closely on disputes centered in Latin America.

Some of Fava’s notable representations include:

  • Representing a state-owned energy company in South America in an internal and government investigation of a multi-hundred million dollar alternative energy project;
  • Representing a California-based technology company in internal and government investigations in Latin America, Europe, and Africa;
  • Representing a technology conglomerate in enhancing its compliance program and conducting risk-based diligence;
  • Representing a private equity fund in anti-corruption due diligence for a $1 billion acquisition in Western Europe;
  • Representing companies based in Korea in developing and implementing global compliance programs;
  • Representing a pharmaceutical company in investigations and risk assessments in Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and China;
  • Representing several large financial institutions and private equity funds in transactional due diligence for deals in the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America; and
  • Representing an energy company in Brazil in a risk assessment of its business practices and in developing a comprehensive anti-corruption compliance program.

“Palmina’s decision to join V&E represents just the latest piece of a much larger strategic initiative for the firm, which is to have one of the premier government and internal investigations practices in the country to better serve our clients,” said Matt Jacobs, co-chair of V&E’s Government Investigations and White Collar Criminal Defense practice. “Her reputation as a great lawyer and forceful advocate is unparalleled in the Silicon Valley tech sector and in other industries.”

Before joining V&E, Fava was a partner with Paul Hastings from 2010 to 2019. Prior to that, she was with DLA Piper, where she started her career as an associate and rose to partner. Fava earned her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in 1994 and her law degree from Fordham University School of Law in 1997.

“I am excited to be joining V&E’s government investigations and white collar practice, which is among the best in the United States,” said Fava.

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 (2018). 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.

About Vinson & Elkins
For more than a century, Vinson & Elkins has provided outstanding client service across important industries that drive the global economy. Built on a strong culture of collaboration across 11 offices worldwide, V&E lawyers are committed to excellence, offering clients decades of legal experience in handling transactions, investments, projects and disputes across the globe. Learn more by visiting or connect with us on LinkedIn.

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