Jim Walden is a litigation partner in the New York office. He is a Co-Chair of the Firm’s White Collar Defense & Investigations Practice Group. Mr. Walden is also a member of the Firm’s Crisis Management and Antitrust Practice Groups, as well as the firm-wide Pro Bono Committee, and is the New York Chair for pro bono legal services.
Mr. Walden defends corporate and individual clients in high-stakes governmental investigations, regulatory actions, and civil disputes.
Mr. Walden has conducted many corporate internal investigations, including matters involving allegations of securities and other financial frauds, antitrust activity, insider trading, computer crimes, money laundering, medical-device fraud, tax violations, and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the False Claims Act.
Mr. Walden has achieved important results for clients in many cases:
- His work on behalf of a multinational chemical manufacturer in response to a DOJ antitrust investigation earned the company a $70,000,000 discount from its corporate fine and garnered public praise from the Deputy Assistant Attorney General: “the bar was set very high in [this] case. Any company that hopes to match or even approach [this] discount will have to earn it.”
- His work for a hedge fund, which was the subject of an intensive SEC investigation, ultimately vindicated the founder and principal partner of wrongdoing, convincing the SEC to close the investigation without filing civil charges.
- His work for a public healthcare company resulted in a deferred prosecution for the parent corporation, a guilty plea for a defunct subsidiary, and a significant reduction in fines and criminal penalties for violations of the False Claims Act.
- His work for a managed care company, which was the target of a criminal antitrust investigation, resulted in a prosecution declination with no imposition of monetary penalties.
- His work on behalf of a global financial services firm, in response to an investigation by the Division of Enforcement of the New York Stock Exchange, resulted in no penalties, financial or otherwise.
- His work for an energy company, which was the target of a criminal investigation concerning insider trading, resulted in a prosecution declination with no imposition of monetary penalties.
- His work on behalf of a retail bank, which was the target of a criminal probe related to student-loan marketing, resulted in a prosecution declination with no imposition of monetary penalties.
- His work for a major retailer resulted in a deferred prosecution agreement with a modest civil penalty.
- His work on behalf of a computer-software-programming company convinced a state Supreme Court justice to quash three subpoenas, effectively limiting the scope of an agency’s investigation over the client.
In addition to his work for corporate clients, Mr. Walden has represented dozens of individuals in various high-profile criminal cases and investigations, and not one of his clients has served a prison sentence. Despite the populist outrage that played out in the media, Mr. Walden safely guided Mr. Cassano through a two-year DOJ/SEC investigation, which was closed without the filing of any criminal or civil charges.
Mr. Walden’s individual clients also have included a wide array of executives and individuals who were targets or subjects of governmental investigations, including:
- Another CEO of a global financial-services firm,
- The Founder and CEO of an investment bank.
- The Founder and Managing Partner of a NYC-based hedge fund.
- The CFO of an energy-trading company.
- The COO of an online-payment company.
- The COO of a private healthcare company.
- The General Counsel of a global technology company.
- The General Counsel of an energy-trading company.
- An Executive VP of a global financial-services firm.
- The Senior VP of Finance of a multinational computer-software company.
- The Global Head of Compliance and Regulatory Risk of a U.K.-based bank.
- The Managing Directors at two global financial-services firms.
- The Manager of the Industrial Products Division of a multinational corporation; and
- The owners of two construction companies.
Most of these clients were never charged with criminal offenses. Those charged ultimately received probationary sentences.
Before joining Gibson Dunn, Mr. Walden served as a federal prosecutor for almost nine years. During his service with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, he led an extensive number of cases and established himself as one of its most experienced litigators.
- Mr. Walden held various supervisory positions and served on the U.S. Attorney’s Committee to oversee the fair administration of the death penalty.
- He coordinated an enforcement program with authorities from Hong Kong and Thailand, which resulted in, among many other convictions, the arrest, extradition, and conviction of the mastermind behind one of the largest heroin seizures in U.S. history (Hayward, California, 1991). Mr. Walden’s work resulted in the extradition and conviction of dozens of other international heroin traffickers from Southeast Asia.
- He handled one of the few extradition trials for the government, which successfully returned the convicted murderer of a police officer to South Africa to face justice.
- His work against the five families of the New York mafia led to convictions against the former boss of the Bonanno family, the arrest and conviction of an FBI Top-10 fugitive, and a successful undercover operation against the leadership of the Genovese family. He convicted more than one hundred members and associates for, among other crimes, murder, racketeering, bank robbery, and arson.
- He convicted the operator of a multimillion-dollar Pakistani hawallah (underground bank) for currency violations.
- He led one of the first Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property programs in the country and prosecuted the then-largest attempted identity fraud case in U.S. history.
- His work earned him many awards, including the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation’s “Prosecutor of the Year,” and was profiled in the New York Times and Daily News.
Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Mr. Walden clerked for the Honorable Anthony J. Scirica on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Mr. Walden is a 1991 graduate of Temple University School of Law. He received the Packel Memorial Award for holding the highest Grade Point Average in his graduating class and the Barenkopf Award for holding the highest G.P.A. after his second year. He was also the recipient of the Zaslow Memorial Award for Academic Excellence and Citizenship, and the Shull Memorial Award for Excellence in Legal Writing and Research. Mr. Walden graduated with Honors from Hamilton College in 1988, with a major in history and a minor in computer science.
Mr. Walden continues his commitment to public service through various activities. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the City Bar Fund, the Fund for Modern Courts, the Board of Visitors of Temple University Beasley School of Law, and the Eastern District Association. He is a member of the Criminal Justice Council of the New York City Bar. He serves on the Public Service Committee of the Federal Bar Council and on the Criminal Justice Advisory Board for the NYCDL.
As a member of Gibson Dunn’s firm-wide pro bono committee and the New York Chair for pro bono legal services, Mr. Walden has led an extensive array of pro bono cases. In the immigration area, Mr. Walden has represented individuals and advocacy groups to fight against deportation of legal aliens for minor drug offenses, culminating in United States v. Carachuri-Rosendo, in which the Supreme Court recognized strict limits on the government’s ability to deport for such offenses.
Mr. Walden also participates in a wide array of pro bono cases against various federal, state, and city agencies for legal and regulatory violations. Representing private plaintiffs, elected officials, community groups, and advocacy organizations, Mr. Walden’s cases sought to force governmental agencies to:
- Restore food stamp benefits to more than 11,000 disabled New Yorkers;
- Disqualify biased Administrative Law Judges who wrongfully denied Social Security disability benefits to thousands of needy New Yorkers;
- Pay property-tax rebates to New York City homeowners;
- Abide publicly approved term limits for certain elected offices (including the Mayor);
- Rehire a transsexual worker who had been wrongfully fired from his position in a state-funded drug-treatment center because of illegal discrimination;
- Scrap plans to double the size of a prison in a residential neighborhood;
- Ensure the quality of homeless services by filing housing contracts with the Comptroller’s Office;
- Allow an in-home synagogue to conduct religious services without onerous zoning restrictions;
- Remove an experimental and dangerous bike lane from a residential street; and
- Preserve a historic landmark instead of turning it over for private development.
Mr. Walden has also represented several law enforcement officers, including a senior FBI official in a civil proceeding challenging the rendition of terrorism suspects to foreign countries, an FBI agent accused of disclosing sensitive information to a confidential source, and a retired NYPD detective accused of killing an attacker.
Mr. Walden has been named in The Best Lawyers in America® as a leading Criminal Defense: White Collar lawyer; and awarded the Firm’s prestigious Frank Wheat Award for his work in the Food Stamps case, which had resulted in retroactive benefits being awarded in excess of $14,000,000 to Mr. Walden’s clients.
- “Things Are Not What They Seem: A Simple Statute and an Affirmative Defense Lead to Another Dismissed Indictment,” Business Crimes Bulletin, May 2011
- “DOJ, Heal Thyself,” Business Crimes Bulletin, February 2010
- “Going it Alone: The Cost of Unilateral Law Enforcement,” Business Crimes Bulletin, June 2008
- “Data Breaches: Expect A Rise in Litigation,” New York Law Journal, May 2008
- “Rethinking Corporate Cooperation,” Business Crimes Bulletin, December 2006
- “Lawyers Beware,” Business Crimes Bulletin, May 2005
- “The Curious Case of Stolt-Nielsen v. United States: Omen or Outlier?” The Antitrust Source, April 2005