FacultyFaculty/Author Profile

William F. Sullivan

Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP

Los Angeles, CA, USA

William Sullivan is a litigation partner who concentrates in corporate internal investigations, trial practice, and white-collar criminal defense, as well as complex civil litigation and securities enforcement and other regulatory actions.

Mr. Sullivan has substantial experience representing both companies and individuals in government and corporate investigations; in SEC enforcement actions; in grand jury, congressional, and independent counsel inquiries; in parallel proceedings and in courtroom jury trials; and in fraud, public corruption, criminal antitrust, and money laundering cases. His internal investigations work has involved the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, USA PATRIOT Act compliance strategy, accounting improprieties and misleading financial disclosures, arms export control, and both civil and criminal antitrust issues.

Mr. Sullivan also has handled a variety of civil litigation matters, including antitrust, class action, securities regulation, environmental torts, intellectual property, broker-dealer regulation, product liability defense, arbitration, insurance defense, and a wide range of commercial contract disputes. In addition, he has advised on government contracts, federal tort claims, fraud, civil RICO, claims of privilege, false claims, and whistleblower litigation.

Examples of Mr. Sullivan’s recent and successful representations include officers of an international parcel tanker shipping enterprise in a criminal antitrust investigation involving allegations of price fixing, customer allocation, and continued criminal conduct following disclosure under the Department of Justice’s amnesty program; an international telecommunications company in a U.S. criminal antitrust investigation; a former vice chairman of Enron Corporation in parallel proceedings; a bank vice president in connection with the Allied Irish/Allfirst Financial foreign exchange trading scandal; the Special Committee on Accounting Matters of the Board of Directors of Global Crossing, Ltd. for the purpose of an internal investigation; several officers of Freddie Mac concerning allegations of accounting irregularities; a multinational pharmaceutical company regarding alleged violations of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations; a prominent private equity firm concerning an SEC/DOJ parallel probe; the former comptroller of U.S. Foods in the Royal Ahold accounting fraud case; the CEO of the Middle East’s largest Internet service provider involving a criminal investigation; a federal prosecutor accused of jury tampering; a pump manufacturing company in an arms export control case; several officers and directors of the former Riggs Bank regarding allegations of BSA violations and money laundering; and a petroleum and natural gas engineering company in a parallel DOJ/SEC FCPA investigation, in which he successfully persuaded both agencies to decline criminal and civil enforcement actions.

Because of the nature of Mr. Sullivan’s representations, a large number of his most successful matters have not resulted in public charges and remain confidential. Most recently, Mr. Sullivan obtained, after a month-long jury trial, an acquittal of all counts against Richard Convertino, the former federal prosecutor who obtained a criminal conviction in 2003 of a domestic Al Qaeda terrorist sleeper cell, but who himself was later charged with obstruction of justice, false statements, and conspiracy.

Mr. Sullivan previously served for more than 10 years as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. During his service, he tried high-profile cases involving first-degree murder, perjury, fraud, obstruction of justice, money laundering, conspiracy, narcotics, and criminal RICO charges. Mr. Sullivan was lead prosecutor in the first federal death penalty case to be tried in almost 50 years in the District of Columbia. He has won over 70 federal criminal jury cases, and has argued and prevailed in over 20 appeals in both New York and the District of Columbia.

Before becoming a federal prosecutor, Mr. Sullivan engaged in private practice as a litigator in New York City, and served in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Honors and Awards

Mr. Sullivan was named a Washington, D.C. Super Lawyer in criminal defense for 2007, 2009, and 2010. He is profiled in Marquis’ Who’s Who in American Law, and has been named leading lawyer in white collar and corporate criminal defense by Chambers USA. Mr. Sullivan has also received numerous Department of Justice awards and commendations, as well as honors from local and federal law enforcement agencies. 


Mr. Sullivan is a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the American Bar Association, the District of Columbia Bar, the Bar Association of the District of Columbia, and the Edward Bennett Williams Inn of Court. He currently serves on the ABA White Collar Crime Committee’s Upjohn Warnings Task Force.

He is regularly featured as a legal commentator on national television regarding trial advocacy and strategy, as well as complex, high-profile criminal and terrorism cases, and has appeared on Fox, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and Court TV. He also has been the subject of articles in Washington Lawyer and other publications, including, most recently, The Legal Times and The National Law Journal regarding his representation of former Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Convertino.


Mr. Sullivan received a B.A. in English, magna cum laude, in 1980 and an M.A. in English from Tufts University in 1981. He received a J.D. from Cornell University in 1985. 


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