< Directory Lee S. Richards, III

Lee S. Richards III is a founding partner of the firm. He concentrates in white collar criminal defense, securities enforcement defense, regulatory proceedings, internal investigations, and complex commercial litigations. He has extensive trial experience and regularly represents investment banks, hedge funds, public companies, investment advisers, corporate officers and directors, and other professionals in investigations and proceedings by the DOJ, SEC, FINRA, and other governmental entities and SROs. He also represents companies and senior executives in commercial litigations, class action and derivative cases, and arbitrations relating to a variety of disputes.

In addition, Mr. Richards advises companies and directors on governance issues and has served as SEC Special Compliance Counsel, Receiver and Trustee in the liquidation of five securities firms, including Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, Westgate Capital Management, LLC, and three major insider trading cases. He was appointed as the Independent Examiner in United States v. Computer Associates International, Inc. Some notable representations include:  

  • Representation of a British financial institution in the global investigations into Libor fixings;
  • Representation of various Audit Committees for public companies including a major business information company, a global hedge fund, a large software company, and a large REIT;
  • Representation of a major pharmaceutical company in a Medicare investigation being conducted by the DOJ in the Midwest;
  • Representation of major international law firms in several government investigations;
  • Representation of a global hedge fund in an insider trading investigation conducted by the French AMF;
  • Representation of the CEO of one of the largest international insurance companies in an SEC investigation; and
  • Representation of several major New York investment banks in a variety of DOJ, SEC and FINRA investigations, including investigations regarding Internet gambling, securities lending, auction rate securities and interpositioning.

Mr. Richards served for 15 years as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Fordham Law School. He is President Emeritus of the Federal Bar Council Inn of Court, and a former member of the American Inns of Court Board of Trustees.  Mr. Richards is currently serving as a member of the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the Appellate Division of the First Department.  In addition, he is a regular speaker and writer on topics relating to criminal and securities law issues, internal investigations, corporate governance and compliance procedures. He is also a member of the American Jazz Foundation's Board of Directors.

He was recognized by Conde Nast’s as one of the top ten white collar lawyers in New York. Chambers USA has ranked Mr. Richards as a leading individual in Litigation – White Collar & Government Investigations for seven consecutive years. He was also ranked as a leading individual in Securities Regulation - Enforcement by Chambers USA annually from 2011 to 2014. Mr. Richards has also been identified as one of the nation's "Leading Lawyers" by The Legal 500 and as a “Super Lawyer” by Law & Politics Media, Inc. In addition, The Best Lawyers in America® has named him on both the Best Lawyers in New York and the Best Lawyers in America lists.

From 1977 to 1983, Mr. Richards was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he handled major prosecutions of insider trading and securities fraud, including the first successful criminal prosecution of an insider trading case in U.S. history. In United States v. Newman, he conceived the misappropriation theory of insider trading still prevalent today. An account of Mr. Richards’ use of his pioneering theory, as an Assistant United States Attorney (S.D.N.Y.), occupies a chapter of The Prosecutors: Inside the Offices of the Government’s Most Powerful Lawyers, by Pulitzer Prize winner James Stewart. Mr. Richards is a recipient of the Department of Justice’s Award for Superior Performance.

Honors & Awards

  • American Inns of Court Professionalism Award (2015)
  • Top Ten White Collar Lawyers in New York by Conde Nast’s
  • Litigation Star - Benchmark Litigation (2016)
  • Leading Individual in Litigation - White Collar & Government Investigations by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2007-2014)
  • Leading Individual in Securities Regulation - Enforcement by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2011-2014)
  • Leading Lawyers by The Legal 500 in the area of Litigation: White Collar Criminal Defense (2008-2013, 2015). Comments made by clients surveyed include:
    • Lee Richards is "one of the most effective white collar defense lawyers in the bar."
    • Lee Richards is "universally respected in the bar and by the government lawyers for his skills, his integrity and most significantly, his effectiveness."
    • Lee Richards is “classic éminence grise in the industry … is incredibly knowledgeable, practical and effective and is regularly at the forefront of the most significant mandates handled by the firm.”
    • Lee Richards is "very wise counsel."
  • Super Lawyer by Law & Politics Media, Inc.
  • Best Lawyer by The Best Lawyers in America® (2006-2014) in the areas of Corporate Governance, Corporate Compliance, Bet-the-Company Litigation and Criminal Defense: White-Collar. Comments made by clients surveyed include:
    • "Lee has lived up to and surpassed his reputation as one of the preeminent attorneys for this type of work."
    • "Lee is the classic 'wise man' -- he is extremely bright and knowledgeable about his practice area, but what he has that is so special is a wealth of experience and impeccable judgment."


Seminars & Speaking Engagements

Professional & Community Affiliations

  • President Emeritus, Federal Bar Council Inn of Court
  • Former Member, American Inns of Court Board of Trustees
  • Member, American Jazz Foundation's Board of Directors
  • Advisory Board, Brennan Center for Justice