White-Collar Attorney Job Description

by | Nov 11, 2021

White-Collar Lawyer Job Description

What is a white-collar, aka FCPA (“Federal Corrupt Practices Act”), lawyer? White-collar law is a very precise area of practice. The “day-to-day” practice is like civil litigation with a lot of research, drafting, factual development, and argument, but with more significant client contact, including with government investigators and lawyers. 

An FCPA lawyer will almost certainly be counseling their client on internal controls and other compliance issues (and probably doing some training as well). There is also a high chance of being called upon to conduct an internal investigation.

A white-collar attorney does legal work for businesses or individuals. For example, they may represent people or institutions that are involved in complex financial transactions, like mergers and acquisitions, or they may work with companies that need help complying with government regulations. The cases can be complex and time-consuming, involving lots of paperwork; the office culture is usually quiet and professional.

White-collar attorneys can work in a variety of practice areas for law firms or companies. For instance, they may represent individuals being investigated by the government for tax evasion, fraud, insider trading, or other violations. Or they may work at corporate law firms where their job is to help businesses stay within the law—by giving them legal advice on how to proceed with projects, deal with problems, and so on.

White-collar attorneys have a wide range of responsibilities and tasks they perform daily. Their primary responsibility is to serve their clients with competent legal advice and representation in the courtroom. In addition, they are sometimes expected to draft legal documents, do research on relevant cases, and participate in negotiations. They are also responsible for keeping up with new developments within their field through continuing education courses.

What is a White-Collar Defendant?

The primary responsibilities are providing legal advice to management, counseling on internal controls and compliance issues, conducting an internal investigation when required by company policy or external pressures, avoiding criminal liability for clients, negotiating with regulators when an investigation is concluded, and conducting negotiations in the case of civil litigation.

These attorneys build strong relationships with accountants at the client’s company so that they will take advice on compliance issues seriously. Additionally, they must be careful to not let them “take over” when it comes time to do the investigation.  

You also need to build strong relationships with your client’s compliance officers (if they have them) and be able to work closely with the corporate compliance officer, internal investigators, and other lawyers on the team to ensure that the investigation is carried out correctly and completed in a timely manner.

What are white-collar crimes examples?

Examples of white-collar crimes include:

  • Securities fraud 
  • Embezzlement 
  • Corporate fraud 
  • Money laundering 

In addition to the FBI, entities that investigate white-collar crime include:

  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), 
  • National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD)
  • State Authorities