Alexander H. Southwell is a partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s New York office. His practice focuses in two main areas: first, white-collar criminal and regulatory enforcement defense, internal investigations, compliance monitoring, and complex civil litigation; and, second, information technology and data privacy-related investigations, counseling, and litigation. Mr. Southwell is Co-Chair of the Firm’s Information Technology and Data Privacy practice group and is also a member of the White Collar Defense and Investigations, Crisis Management, Securities Enforcement, and Litigation practice groups. Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. Southwell served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
Mr. Southwell is an experienced trial and appellate attorney and regularly represents corporate executives and individuals in connection with white-collar criminal investigations and prosecutions by federal and state prosecutors as well as related civil investigations by a wide range of regulators. Mr. Southwell also regularly represents companies and boards in these types of matters and has significant experience in conducting internal corporate investigations and compliance monitoring. Substantively, his areas of expertise include securities and accounting fraud, economic sanctions violations, money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act violations, tax fraud, the False Claims Act and contracting fraud, healthcare fraud and compliance, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Economic Espionage Act, and public corruption, among others. Additionally, Mr. Southwell counsels a variety of clients on privacy, information technology, data breach, theft of trade secrets and intellectual property, computer fraud, national security, and network and data security issues, including handling investigations, enforcement defense, and litigation.
Recent significant engagements include:
- Represents Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg in a high-profile breach of contract action brought by Paul Ceglia in Federal Court in Buffalo, New York alleging an ownership interest in Facebook. Successfully obtained expedited discovery against Plaintiff, developing evidence of spoliation of evidence and fraud concerning Plaintiff’s lawsuit, which was used to move to dismiss the case.
- Represents a leading financial institution in a significant internal investigation and defense of civil fraud investigation under the False Claims Act and FIREAA related to mortgage-related government insurance program.
- Represents the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in litigation in the Southern District of New York brought by two local Automobile Associations challenging recent Port Authority toll increases on statutory and constitutional grounds.
- Represented a business executive facing criminal securities fraud charges brought by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York related to executive’s alleged role in a microcap pump-and-dump scheme.
- Represents a leading global financial institution in investigation by New York Department of Financial Services related to economic sanctions requirements and state banking laws.
- Represented Chevron Corporation defending against environmental claims emanating from Ecuador, in which the plaintiffs allege billions of dollars in damages, including in civil RICO proceedings in the Southern District of New York and related matters.
- Represented a major retailer in an internal investigation and defense of grand jury investigation and OSHA investigation related to workplace fatality.
- Represents an executive search firm in response to sophisticated cyber-attack including Advanced Persistent Threat intrusion and extensive exfiltration of sensitive databases. Counseled client on investigation of intrusion, including supervising digital forensics investigation and data security improvements, handled referral of incident to law enforcement and coordinated breach notification compliance, as well as public relations and SEC disclosure strategy.
- Represents international bank in Department of Justice investigation of foreign corrupt practices related to Middle Eastern activities by bank client.
- Represents a public reinsurance company in an internal investigation related to allegations of collusion and price-fixing.
- Represented a private equity principal and fund in the public corruption “pay to play” investigation being conducted by the New York Attorney General's Office and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
- Represents a major educational non-profit institution in a significant investigation by the New York Attorney General’s Office concerning the institution’s governance.
- Represented Board Audit Committee of health insurance provider in internal investigation related to allegations of poor internal and audit controls.
- Represents one of the nation’s largest secular healthcare systems in response to data breach involving lost laptop with extensive database of research participants. Counseled client on investigation of incident, including supervising digital forensics investigation and data security improvements, coordinated breach notification compliance under HIPPA and state law, public relations strategy, and law enforcement interaction.
- Represented Moneygram in proceedings seeking to recover losses from funds forfeited in related criminal bank fraud prosecution. Successfully obtained substantial recovery through forfeiture litigation.
- Assisted Gibson Dunn partner who served as Independent Monitor for a medical device company pursuant to a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the United States Attorney's Office in New Jersey, including revising healthcare compliance policies and training and ensuring compliance with the Anti-Kickback Statute and other relevant healthcare laws, regulations, and corporate policies.
- Represented a bank in a securities fraud investigation by the New York Attorney General’s Office, the Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice, and achieved a declination of prosecution.
- Represented a dermatologist who is the target of a criminal healthcare fraud investigation being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Southern District of New York United States Attorney's Office.
- Represented a former executive at an accounting firm in connection with a tax shelter-related investigation by the Southern District of New York United States Attorney's Office.
- Represented a home health aide provider who was under criminal Indictment on healthcare-related larceny charges brought by the New York Attorney General's Office.
- Represented Facebook in an investigation into its privacy and safety policies and procedures by the New York Attorney General’s Office, which resulted in a groundbreaking settlement that has been hailed as a model of compliance.
Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. Southwell served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York from 2001 through 2007. As a member of that office's Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force for three years, Mr. Southwell investigated and prosecuted a wide range of cases under the federal securities laws, including accounting fraud, insider trading, fraudulent offering of securities, market manipulation, and hedge fund improprieties. Mr. Southwell also focused on investigating and prosecuting computer hacking and intrusion cases and intellectual property offenses, as well as other high-technology offenses. Additionally, Mr. Southwell prosecuted a range of cases including wire and mail frauds, insurance fraud, public corruption, Foreign Corrupt Practice Act violations, bank secrecy act violations, identity theft, firearms crimes, tax offenses, child exploitation, and immigration crimes. As a federal prosecutor, Mr. Southwell tried a dozen felony cases and handled over a dozen appeals before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
Mr. Southwell is honored in the 2014 editions of Benchmark Litigation as a future star and The Best Lawyers in America as a leading lawyer in the area of Criminal Defense: White-Collar.
Mr. Southwell is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law where he teaches a seminar on cyber-crimes, covering computer misuse crimes, intellectual property offenses, the Fourth Amendment in cyber-space, computer evidence at trial, data breach and privacy issues, and information security, among other areas.
Mr. Southwell earned his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Princeton University and his Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from New York University School of Law. Following law school, Mr. Southwell was a Law Clerk for the Honorable Naomi Reice Buchwald of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Mr. Southwell also serves on the Firmwide Diversity Committee and is active with the Federal Bar Council and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, serving on the Association’s Professional Responsibility Committee and previously serving on the Committee on Information Technology Law and the Government Ethics Committee.
Please click below for detailed profiles on specific areas of Mr. Southwell’s practice.
White Collar and Securities Fraud Profile