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Michael Li-Ming Wong

 
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Michael Li-Ming WongMichael Li-Ming Wong
Partner
555 Mission Street
Suite 3000
San Francisco, CA 94105-0921
USA
T: +1 415.393.8333
F: 1 415.374.8434
1881 Page Mill Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304-1211
USA
T: +1 650.849.5393

Michael Li-Ming Wong, a former federal prosecutor and a former U.S. Supreme Court law clerk, is the Co-Chair of the firm’s national Securities Enforcement Practice Group and is also a member of the White Collar Defense and Investigations Practice Group and the Information Technology and Data Privacy Practice Group.  Michael focuses on white-collar criminal matters, complex civil litigation, data privacy investigations and litigation, and internal corporate investigations, with a particular expertise in anti-corruption investigations.

As first-chair trial counsel, Michael has tried more than twenty civil and criminal trials to verdict, including a recent trial victory that the San Francisco Daily Journal and Los Angeles Daily Journal recognized as one of the Top Defense Verdicts of the year in California. In 2014, The American Lawyer published a story on Michael and his trial team obtaining a partial acquittal and mistrial on all remaining counts following a six-week criminal jury trial in which the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Fraud Section of the U.S. Department of Justice alleged a $32 million fraud in connection with a series of public offerings by a China-based oil and gas company. This case marked a rare setback for the U.S. Department of Justice in a 2014 white-collar prosecution.  In more than 14 years of trying criminal and civil cases in both federal and state court, Michael has never lost a jury trial.

A Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US), Michael also assists clients with data-privacy counseling and litigation, including matters arising from data breaches and other cybersecurity matters involving law enforcement and governmental agencies. 

Prior to joining Gibson Dunn, Michael served for more than eight years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of California, where he was lead counsel on some of the district’s most significant and high-profile matters.  During his tenure as a federal prosecutor, Michael served as Chief of the White Collar Crimes Section and Chief of the Major Crimes Section.  He was twice flown to Washington, D.C., to receive the U.S. Department of Justice Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney.

Michael served as a law clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court, and to Judge José A. Cabranes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an Editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Michael’s outside activities include service as a Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE) Commissioner for the State Bar of California; as the Co-Chair of the Government Enforcement and Compliance Committee for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association; and as Secretary of the Board of Directors for the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival.

 

Selected Litigation Matters

 

  • As lead trial counsel, secured partial acquittal and mistrial on all remaining counts following six-week criminal securities-fraud jury trial in which the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Fraud Section of the U.S. Department of Justice alleged a $32 million fraud in connection with a series of public offerings by a China-based oil and gas company.  Examined all defense witnesses, and also delivered both opening and closing arguments, persuading trial jurors not to convict client on any of multiple criminal counts brought by team of prosecutors from U.S. Attorney’s Office and U.S. Department of Justice’s Fraud Section.  Case was featured in The American Lawyer, Reuters, Wall Street Journal, and numerous other publications.
  • As co-lead trial counsel, secured complete defense verdict on behalf of Seton Medical Center following three-week jury trial in San Mateo Superior Court in November 2011. Delivered opening statement and closing argument, persuading trial jurors unanimously to find in client’s favor in all causes of action and to award plaintiff, former Seton Medical Center CEO, zero damages despite plaintiff’s claim for multimillion-dollar award (subject to trebling under California law);
  • As co-lead counsel, defeated plaintiff classes’ attempt to block $1.7 billion merger between Bare Escentuals and Shiseido; presented oral argument at court hearing on behalf of Bare Escentuals, leading to bench ruling in favor of client;
  • As co-lead counsel, secured settlement of 100 cents on the dollar on behalf of Tang Capital and class in lawsuit against Affymetrix; on eve of court hearing to enjoin Affymetrix's proposed $330 million purchase of eBioscience Holding, Affymetrix agreed to repurchase $95.5 million of notes from clients at full par value, plus accrued interest and legal fees; matter was widely publicized in Bay Area press, including in the San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Business Week, The Recorder, and numerous other media outlets;
  • As co-lead counsel, obtained complete dismissal of breach-of-contract action filed in U.S. District Court on behalf of provider of electronic data interchange services;
  • As co-lead counsel, secured complete grant of summary judgment—one month before jury trial and nine months after retention as replacement trial counsel—on behalf of Hospital Corporation of America in seven-year-old lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging $20 million federal antitrust claims and state unfair competition violations;

 

Selected Enforcement Defense Matters

 

  • Co-lead counsel in representation of Fortune 50 financial institutions in criminal investigation conducted by special task force consisting of State Attorney General and multiple District Attorneys’ Offices;
  • As co-lead counsel, made oral and written presentations to SEC convincing SEC to issue written declination following four-year investigation of leading health system related to accounting, pension, disclosure and auditor issues, and despite SEC having previously issued Wells Notice announcing intent to file enforcement action;
  • Lead counsel in representation of former executives of life sciences company in investigation jointed conducted by U.S. Attorney’s Office and U.S. Department of Justice, Consumer Protection Branch;
  • Co-lead counsel in data-breach representation of prominent Bay Area company; dealt with multiple law-enforcement agencies, none of which took any action against client or publicized breach;
  • As co-lead counsel, successfully represented former senior executive of major London-based bank in connection with criminal investigation jointly conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice and Manhattan District Attorney’s Office; secured result of no penalty and no mention of client in connection with $297 million settlement between bank and DOJ;
  • Lead counsel in representation of Japanese manufacturing company in connection with trade-secrets investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI, resulting in no charges filed and no actions taken against clients;
  • As lead counsel or co-lead counsel, successfully represented publicly-traded companies in multiple SEC insider-trading investigations, resulting in no charges filed and no actions taken against clients;
  • As co-lead counsel, successfully represented former executives of Fortune 500 pharmaceutical manufacturer in an investigation by U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding the promotion of a prescription drug; government closed investigations without taking any action against clients;

 

Selected Anti-Corruption Matters

 

  • Recently traveled to the Baltics, Brazil, China, Eastern Europe, Japan, Mexico, the Middle East, and Russia as lead counsel or co-lead counsel in FCPA investigations, training and compliance on behalf of multiple clients;
  • Lead counsel in designing and implementing numerous FCPA compliance and training programs around the globe;
  • Lead counsel in conducting on-the-ground FCPA due diligence in connection with global private-equity company’s $150 million acquisition of China-based plastic and chemical products company;
  • Lead counsel in conducting on-the-ground FCPA due diligence in connection with private-equity consortium’s $363 million take-private bid for U.S.-listed, China-based components and materials manufacturer;
  • Co-lead counsel in FCPA investigation involving alleged kickbacks paid to doctors by sales representatives of Hungarian subsidiary of global pharmaceutical company;
  • Delivered in-person FCPA compliance training to employees in China, India, Japan and U.S. offices of prominent Bay Area social-networking company; co-lead counsel in worldwide compliance review for that company;
  • Co-lead counsel in representation of Fortune 100 pharmaceutical company on FCPA compliance and investigative matters in numerous countries;
  • Lead counsel in representation of former sales executive indicted on federal criminal charges in connection with the U.S. Department of Justice’s and SEC’s investigation of alleged FCPA violations at a Bay Area telecommunications company;
  • Co-lead counsel in representation global private-equity firm in FCPA due diligence in connection with proposed acquisition of pharmaceutical distributor with operations in Central America and South America;
  • Co-lead counsel in FCPA investigation and training programs for international medical-device manufacturer, including on-the-ground work in South America, China and Russia.

 

Publications

 

  • Michael Li-Ming Wong, Thad Davis & Kelly Austin, “The Private Equity Trap: How Global Anticorruption Can Ensnare the Unwary Private Equity Professional,” Journal of Private Equity (Winter 2013)
  • Thad A. Davis & Michael Li-Ming Wong, “World War Z: Why Life Sciences Companies May be in the Path of the ‘New’ Securities Enforcement & Litigation Onslaught, & How to Avoid Trouble,” Expert Guide: Fraud and White Collar Crime (August 2013)
  • Jonathan Dickey & Michael Li-Ming Wong, “The Devil’s in the Disclosures: Compliance After Panther Partners,” Insights (April 2013)
  • Michael Li-Ming Wong, Emily Proskine, and Brent E. Jones “The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Pharma in the Chinese Market: United States Law Enforcement Pursues Corruption Crackdown Across Entire Industry,” CPB Review (September 2010)
  • Michael Li-Ming Wong, Emily Proskine, “The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Pharma:  Is DOJ Following Through on its Tough Talk Towards the Industry,” Bloomberg Law Reports - Risk & Compliance (June 2010)
  • Michael Li-Ming Wong, Asheesh Goel, “Beefing Up ‘Corporate Miranda Warnings’: Averting Misunderstanding and Detrimental Consequences in Internal Investigations,” Wall Street Lawyer (August 2009)
  • Michael Li-Ming Wong & Dana C. Howells, “California High Court Bans ‘Balance Billing’ and Spawns Uncertainty in Emergency Services Billing Disputes,” Bloomberg Law Reports - Health Law (July 2009)
  • Thad Davis & Michael Li-Ming Wong, “Cooperation or Capitulation?: Forecasting DOJ and SEC Enforcement Efforts in 2009,” Bloomberg Law Reports (March 2009)
  • Kirsten V. Mayer & Michael Li-Ming Wong, “Firms Receiving U.S. Stimulus Funds May Bureau of National Affairs Banking Report (March.2009)

 

Presentations & Speeches

 

  • Speaker, “FCPA in China for 2014: Compliance Strategies Given China's Unique Cultural and Governmental Intricacies,” Strafford Webinar (July 2014)
  • Speaker, “Anti-Corruption Compliance and Operational Strategy for China,” American Conference Institute Advanced Forum on FCPA & Anti-Corruption for the Life Sciences Industry, New York (April 2014)
  • Speaker, “Between Scylla and Charybdis: When Civil and Criminal Liability Converge,” Defense Research Institute Professional Liability Seminar, New York (December 2013)
  • Speaker, “Assessing and Mitigating Third-Party Fraud and Corruption Risk,” Accelus Governance, Risk and Compliance Forum, San Francisco (October 2013)
  • Speaker, “SEC Enforcement in China,” (美国证券交易委员会在中国执法), CPE SEC Accounting and Reporting Conference, Shanghai, China (June 2013)
  • Speaker, “Anti-Corruption Enforcement in China,” (美国海外反腐败法在中国的实施), CPE SEC Accounting and Reporting Conference, Shanghai, China (June 2013)
  • Speaker, “Anti-Corruption Enforcement in China on the Rise,” Strafford Webinar (March 2013)
  • Speaker, “Advanced Trial Advocacy,” NAPABA National Conference, Washington DC (November 2012) 
  • Speaker, “The Ostrich Defense Will Not Fly: The Future of Global Anticorruption Enforcement and What You Need to Know Now to Avoid Being Targeted,” CLE Seminar, San Francisco and Palo Alto (March 2012)
  • Speaker, “U.S. Enforcement in the Life Sciences Industry,” Seminar on Life Sciences Law, Toyko & Osaka, Japan (June 2011)
  • Speaker, “FCPA Enforcement in Asia,” Seminar on Extraterrorial Reach of U.S. Law, Taiwan Electrical & Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (台灣區電機電子工業同業公), Taipei, Taiwan (April 2011)
  • Speaker, “Inside the Mind of the U.S. Prosecutor,” Seminar on Extraterrorial Reach of U.S. Law, Taiwan Electrical & Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (台灣區電機電子工業同業公), Hsinchu, Taiwan (April 2011)
  • Panelist, “False Claims Act Litigation,” Minority Corporate Counsel Association CLE Expo, Chicago, IL (March 2011)
  • Speaker, “Of Corruption and Cartels,” Ropes & Gray Tokyo Morning Briefing (December 2010)
  • Program Chair & Moderator, “Inspiring Integrity: How In-House Counsel Can Respond as an Investigation Unfolds,” National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) National Conference, Los Angeles, CA (November 2010)
  • Panelist, “Reverse Angle Discussions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act-the LIES,” NAPABA National Conference, Los Angeles, CA (November 2010)
  • “Securities Law Roundtable,” California Lawyer (September 2010)
  • Moderator & Panelist, “False Claims Act Liability for U.S. Stimulus Recipients: Why the Obama Administration’s Largesse Comes With Strings Attached,” NAPABA National Conference, Boston, MA (November 2009)
  • Panelist, “Finding Your Own Trial Style,” NAPABA National Conference, Boston, MA (November 2009)
  • Panelist, “FCPA Implications of Investing in Chinese Life Sciences Companies,” PharmAsia Summit, San Francisco, CA (October 2009)
  • Panelist, “The Mortgage Meltdown: Recent Trends in Securities Litigation,” National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) Regional Conference, Los Angeles, CA (June 2009)
  • Panelist, “Anatomy of a Corporate Scandal,” NAPABA National Convention, Seattle, WA (November 2008)
  • Guest Lecturer, “Prosecuting Business Crimes,” Seminar on Criminal Law, Yale Law School, New Haven, CT (April 2008)
  • Panelist, “Internal Investigations to Protect Whom? When the Medicine is Worse Than the Cure,” Minority Corporate Counsel Association CLE Expo, Chicago, IL (March 2008) 
  • Panelist, “Corporate Investigations:  What Every General Counsel Should Know,” NAPABA National Convention, Las Vegas, NV (November 2007) 
  • Panelist, “Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Compliance in China: Best Practices,” NAPABA National Convention, Las Vegas, NV (November 2007) 
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