Lee Richards III, Richards Kibbe & Orbe attorney photo

Lee S. Richards III

F:  917.344.8840


Lee S. Richards III is a founding partner of Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP. He concentrates in white collar criminal defense, securities enforcement defense, regulatory proceedings, representation of corporate boards, 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. more +

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 also appointed as the Independent Examiner in United States v. Computer Associates International, Inc.  

Mr. Richards served for more than 10 years as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Fordham Law School, and is President Emeritus of the Federal Bar Council Inn of Court. He is a former member of the American Inns of Court Board of Trustees and a former 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.

Mr. Richards has been named one of The National Law Journal's Top 50 Litigation Trailblazers & Pioneers and was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York Law Journal in 2018. He also previously received the American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Second Circuit, which is granted "to a lawyer or judge whose life and practice display sterling character and unquestioned integrity, coupled with ongoing dedication to the highest standards of the legal profession and the rule of law." Additionally, Chambers USA has ranked Mr. Richards as a leading individual in White Collar & Government Investigations for 10 consecutive years and as a leading individual in Securities Regulation-Enforcement from 2011 to 2018.  

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.



  • Represented a British interdealer broker in the global investigations into LIBOR fixings and the ISDAFX benchmark.
  • Represented several major New York investment banks in a variety of DOJ, SEC and FINRA investigations, including investigations regarding Internet gambling, securities lending, the accuracy of SEC filings by a company underwritten by a global bank, auction rate securities and interpositioning.
  • Represented a major international bank in the DOJ and SEC investigations of Enron.
  • Represented a global bank in the DOJ investigation of false statements by portfolio managers of an acquired subsidiary.


  • Represented various audit committees for public companies including a major business information company, a media company, a branding company, a large software company, and a large REIT in investigations of accounting and disclosure fraud, FCPA violations, trading violations and embezzlement, among other things.
  • Represented a major pharmaceutical company in a Medicare investigation being conducted by the DOJ in the Midwest.
  • Represented a Special Committee for an investigation of a shareholder demand regarding the bank’s AML procedures.


  • Represented a global hedge fund in an insider trading investigation conducted by the French AMF.
  • Represented the Audit Committee of a public global hedge fund in an FCPA investigation.
  • Represented a New York hedge fund in an extensive insider trading investigation conducted by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office.


  • Represented a global law firm in an internal investigation into alleged corruption by a partner.
  • Represented a global law firm and its counsel in the investigation of bribery by the Connecticut State Treasurer.
  • Represented a global law firm in an investigation by the New York Attorney into allegations of self-dealing by a charity client of the firm.
  • Represented in-house lawyers in a variety of security fraud and money laundering investigations.


  • Represented the Chief Executive Officer of one of the largest international insurance companies in an SEC investigation.
  • Represented the Chief Executive Officer of a major bank in an SEC and DOJ investigation regarding the accuracy of public statements during the Great Recession.
  • Represented high level executives of financial institutions in the so-called London Whale case, the research analyst case conducted by the New York Attorney General and others, the IMDB investigation and an SEC and DOJ investigation into alleged bribery in Brazil.


  • Represented an Argentinian sports marketing company in the FIFA investigation.
  • Represented several New York City Officials in Public Corruption Investigations.
  • Represented a senior lawyer in the federal investigation of Dean Skelos, the Majority Leader of the New York Senate.

Honors & Awards

  • Lifetime Achievement Award - New York Law Journal (2018)
  • American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Second Circuit (2015) 
  • Top 50 Litigation Trailblazers & Pioneers - The National Law Journal (2014) 
  • National Litigation Star - Benchmark Litigation (2014-2021) 
  • Leading Individual in Litigation - White Collar & Government Investigations by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2007-2020)
  • Leading Individual in Securities Regulation - Enforcement by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2011-2020)
  • Leading Lawyers by The Legal 500 in the area of Litigation: White Collar Criminal Defense (2008-2020). 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. (2006-2020) 
  • Best Lawyer by The Best Lawyers in America® (2006-2019) 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."

Professional & Community Affiliations

President Emeritus, Federal Bar Council Inn of Court

Member, American Jazz Foundation's Board of Directors

Guest Lecturer, Columbia School of International and Public Affairs on corporate governance

Former Adjunct Professor, teaching trial practice at Fordham Law School

Former Member, American Inns of Court Board of Trustees

Former Member, Advisory Board, Brennan Center for Justice