Douglas A. Axel

Axel, Douglas A.


Los Angeles +1 213 896 6035

555 West Fifth Street
Los Angeles, California 90013
+1 213 896 6035

Admissions & Certifications

Douglas A. Axel


DOUGLAS A. AXEL is a partner in Sidley’s Los Angeles office and is a member of the White Collar, Securities & Derivatives Enforcement and Regulatory and Complex Commercial Litigation practices. A former federal prosecutor, Doug focuses his practice on white collar criminal defense, government enforcement matters, internal investigations and complex commercial litigation. He has prosecuted and defended individuals and corporations in a wide range of white collar and government enforcement matters, including matters involving the False Claims Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, securities fraud, insider trading, consumer protection, healthcare enforcement and antitrust. 

Prior to joining Sidley, Doug was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of California, where he served as the Chief of that Office’s Major Frauds Section. As Chief, he supervised 40 lawyers who investigated and prosecuted a wide range of business and other white-collar crimes, including corporate fraud, health care fraud, securities and investment fraud, financial fraud, government procurement fraud, tax fraud and public corruption offenses. As an ADUSA, Doug personally prosecuted over dozens of criminal white-collar cases. He was a lead counsel in many criminal jury trials and argued several cases before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2009, he received an Attorney General’s Award for Fraud Prevention, one of the Department of Justice’s highest honors. 

Doug has consistently been named among The Best Lawyers in America (2013–2016), in the practice areas Criminal Defense: White-Collar, Criminal Defense: Non-White-Collar and Litigation-Securities. He was also featured in the Los Angeles Business Journal’s 2015 list of “Most Influential Lawyers: White Collar and Cyber Crime.” Doug earned his J.D., summa cum laude, from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and received a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of California – Los Angeles. 


Recent representations include:

  • Defending global nutrition company in the action brought by the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Defending multinational banking and financial services corporation in a False Claims Act lawsuit relating to a mortgage insurance program. 
  • Defending multinational telecommunications conglomerate in a False Claims Act lawsuit relating to the provisioning of Title III wiretaps. 
  • Representation of a Fortune 100 conglomerate before the DOJ and SEC in connection with an FCPA investigation. 
  • Representation of a medical device company in connection with a DOJ investigation into FDA regulatory issues. 
  • Defending CEO of a pharmaceutical company against criminal fraud charges arising from the publication of clinical trial results. 
  • Defending an orthopedic surgeon against criminal fraud charges.
  • Representation of company executives and other individuals in criminal investigations into alleged securities fraud, antitrust, FDA regulatory violations and other offenses. 

Doug is a contributing editor to “Original Source,” Sidley's False Claims Act blog and regularly writes and speaks on topics relating to the defense of government enforcement matters including matters involving the False Claims Act, the FCPA, securities fraud, consumer protection and healthcare fraud.

Memberships & Activities
  • Co-chair, ABA White Collar Crime Corporate Criminal Liability Subcommittee 
  • Member (2013-present), United States District Court for the Central District of California’s Standing Committee on Discipline 
  • Director, Bet Tzedek
Pro Bono
  • Former Deputy General Counsel to the Citizens' Commission on Jail Violence, appointed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to review use of force issues in the jails.
  • Successfully obtained release of an individual sentenced to life without parole for an offence committed while a juvenile. 
News & Achievements