Jim A. Walden is a litigation partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Mr. Walden is a member of Gibson Dunn’s White Collar Defense & Investigations, Crisis Management and Antitrust and Competition Practice Groups.
Mr. Walden defends corporate and individual clients in high-stakes governmental investigations, regulatory actions and civil disputes. He 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.
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.
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’s 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. Mr. Walden has been named in The Best Lawyers in America© as a leading Criminal Defense: White Collar lawyer; and awarded Gibson Dunn’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.
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 grade point average 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 has achieved important results for clients in many cases:
- Multinational chemical manufacturer: Representation of a multinational chemical manufacturer in response to a U.S. Department of Justice (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.”
- Hedge fund: Representation of a hedge fund, which was the subject of an intensive Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation, ultimately vindicated the founder and principal partner of wrongdoing, convincing the SEC to close the investigation without filing civil charges.
- Public healthcare company: Representation of 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.
- Managed care company: Representation of a managed care company, which was the target of a criminal antitrust investigation, resulted in a prosecution declination with no imposition of monetary penalties.
- Global financial services firm: Representation 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.
- Energy company: Representation of 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.
- Retail bank: Representation 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.
- Major retailer: Representation of a major retailer resulted in a deferred prosecution agreement with a modest civil penalty.
- Computer-software-programming company: Representation 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.
Mr. Walden’s individual clients also have included a wide array of executives and individuals who were targets or subjects of governmental investigations, including:
- The CEO of a global financial services firm.
- The Founder and CEO of an investment bank.
- The Founder and Managing Partner of a New York City-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.
- The owners of two construction companies.
Most of these clients were never charged with criminal offenses. Those charged ultimately received probationary sentences.
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, among other things, 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 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.