FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
Karen A. Popp

Karen A. Popp

Sidley Austin LLP
Partner/Government Litigation & Investigations Practice Leader
Washington, DC, USA


KAREN A. POPP, is the Global Co-Leader of the Sidley Austin’s White Collar: Government Litigation & Investigations group. Karen has an expansive practice representing companies and individuals in high-profile matters with legal, political and public relations components, such as corporate criminal defense, internal investigations, SEC Enforcement, Congressional investigations, OIG and State Attorney General actions, corporate compliance, and litigation. Chambers Global and Chambers USA recognize her as a leader in the fields of White Collar and FCPA. Her practice is informed by a wealth of government and private sector experience, including service as a federal prosecutor in New York, a lawyer in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice, and Associate White House Counsel to President Clinton.

Karen represents Sidley clients across a host of industries in a wide range of matters involving allegations of criminal, civil and ethical wrongdoing. Her clients range from major corporations to prominent business and political figures, including a U.S. Presidential Cabinet Member. She has been retained to lead dozens of confidential worldwide internal investigations and defend corporations and individuals in government investigations relating to alleged FCPA and OFAC violations, securities and financial fraud, accounting irregularities, environmental crimes, kickbacks, tax fraud, qui tams, misuse of corporate assets, false claims, antitrust and other bribery, corruption and fraud.

Karen also assists clients in designing and enhancing corporate compliance and ethics programs, and currently serves as outside counsel to several corporate compliance departments. She has conducted global compliance and risk assessments for numerous U.S. and non-U.S. companies. Karen helps companies to respond to internal allegations of wrongdoing, conducts training for Boards of Directors, management, compliance departments and other company personnel, and conducts compliance due diligence regarding corporate acquisitions and joint ventures.

Repeatedly recognized for her work, the Legal 500 US notes that, “The ‘highly experienced and knowledgeable’ Karen Popp provides ‘expert and practical advice.’” Benchmark Litigation names Karen a Litigation Star (both nationally and in Washington, D.C.) for her White Collar practice. Global Investigation Review named Karen as one of the Top 100 Women in Investigations in the world. Washingtonian magazine has included Karen in its current roster of “Top Lawyers in Washington,” and she has been recognized yearly by The Best Lawyers in America in Criminal Defense: White-Collar and Commercial Litigation and has been named by Super Lawyers magazine as one of the Top 100 lawyers in Washington, a recognition based on a vote of peers. Karen has also been recognized by the International Who's Who of Business Crime Defence Lawyers and International Who's Who of Investigations. Karen was selected in 2015 as one of the Ethisphere Attorneys Who Matter for making a significant difference in the ethics and compliance fields through the private practice of law. She has been named for several years to the Top 250 Women in Litigation, a publication honoring the achievements of female lawyers in litigation practices in the United States. Super Lawyers magazine has named her one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Washington, D.C. The recipient of the “First Annual Transformative Leadership Award” given by InsideCounsel Magazine in 2010, Karen also was the 2006 recipient of the “Star of the Bar” award by the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia. She received the Thurgood Marshall Award given by the New York City Bar Association.

Before joining Sidley, Karen served as Associate Counsel to the President of the United States, where she advised President Clinton and the White House staff on Congressional and grand jury investigations and domestic policy issues. She worked with Senior Administration officials at various federal agencies and Congressional members and staffs on the Administration’s policy initiatives.

Prior to joining the White House, Karen served in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice where she advised Attorney General Janet Reno and the Department, the White House and other agencies of the Executive Branch on a wide range of legal matters. Before moving to Washington, D.C., Karen was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, where she prosecuted RICO and other charges involving fraud, bribery, extortion, tax evasion, money laundering, obstruction of justice, witness tampering and perjury.

Karen was a commercial litigator at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York City for five years before joining the government. While on Wall Street, she represented corporations and investment banking firms in a wide range of litigation matters, including securities fraud and hostile corporate takeovers.

Karen is the Chair of the Chief Compliance Officers’ Forum. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the ABA Judicial Division (Lawyers Conference) and is the Chair of its Committee on the Relationship of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches. Karen is the Co-Founder and Chair of the Women’s White Collar Defense Association and served as a member of the Planning Committee for the inaugural ABA Criminal Justice Section for the Global White Collar Crime Institute, which was held in Shanghai, China in 2015.

Karen graduated cum laude from the University of North Carolina School of Law, where she served as an editor on the North Carolina Law Review and was a member of the Order of the Coif. Upon graduation from law school, Karen clerked for the Honorable Sam J. Ervin III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she graduated cum laude, and thereafter studied law at Oxford University before attending UNC School of Law.

Karen A. Popp is associated with the following items:
Treatise Chapters  Treatise Chapters Cybersecurity in Regulated Sectors - Cybersecurity: A Practical Guide to the Law of Cyber Risk, Wednesday, October 19, 2016
CHB Chapters  CHB Chapters Sidley Austin LLP, Anti-Corruption Issues Facing Financial Institutions (February 10, 2017) - The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and International Anti-Corruption Developments 2017, Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Web Segment  Web Segment Anti-Corruption Issues Facing Financial Institutions - The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and International Anti-Corruption Developments 2017, Friday, April 28, 2017
MP3 Audio  MP3 Audio Anti-Corruption Issues Facing Financial Institutions - Anti-Corruption Issues Facing Financial Institutions, Friday, April 28, 2017
Transcripts  Transcripts Anti-Corruption Issues Facing Financial Institutions - Anti-Corruption Issues Facing Financial Institutions, Friday, April 28, 2017
MP4 - Mobile Video Seg  MP4 - Mobile Video Seg Anti-Corruption Issues Facing Financial Institutions - Anti-Corruption Issues Facing Financial Institutions, Friday, April 28, 2017
On-Demand Web Programs  On-Demand Web Programs The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and International Anti-Corruption Developments 2017, Monday, May 01, 2017, New York, NY
Live Seminar  Live Seminar The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and International Anti-Corruption Developments 2018, Monday, April 23, 2018, New York, NY
Live Webcast  Live Webcast The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and International Anti-Corruption Developments 2018, Monday, April 23, 2018, New York, NY
PLI Grpcast-Live Web  PLI Grpcast-Live Web The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and International Anti-Corruption Developments 2018, Monday, April 23, 2018, Boston, MA
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and International Anti-Corruption Developments 2018, Monday, April 23, 2018, Cleveland, OH
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and International Anti-Corruption Developments 2018, Monday, April 23, 2018, New Brunswick , NJ
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and International Anti-Corruption Developments 2018, Monday, April 23, 2018, Atlanta, GA
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