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. A former federal prosecutor, Mr. Axel focuses his practice on white collar criminal defense, government enforcement matters, internal investigations, and complex commercial litigation. Mr. Axel 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.

Recent representations include:

  • Defending a financial institution in a False Claims Act lawsuit relating to a mortgage insurance program.
  • Defending a telecommunications company in a False Claims Act lawsuit relating to the provisioning of Title III wiretaps.
  • Representation of a financial institution in connection with a DOJ investigation into securitization and foreclosure practices.
  • 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 Internet retailer against criminal consumer protection charges.
  • Advising a financial institution concerning the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • Representation of company executives and other individuals in criminal investigations into alleged securities fraud, antitrust, FDA regulatory violations, and other offenses.

Prior to joining Sidley, Mr. Axel 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, Mr. Axel 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.

While at the U.S. Attorney’s office, Mr. Axel personally prosecuted 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. Among other significant matters, Mr. Axel was co-lead counsel for the prosecution in the case United States v. Milberg Weiss LLP, et al., which resulted in convictions against several name partners of that law firm for their roles in a decades-long racketeering conspiracy in which individuals were secretly paid to serve as representative plaintiffs in class actions and shareholder derivative actions. In 2009, Mr. Axel received an Attorney General’s Award for Fraud Prevention, one of the Department of Justice’s highest honors.

He has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America (2013–2016), in the practice areas Criminal Defense: White-Collar, Criminal Defense: Non-White-Collar, and Litigation-Securities.

Mr. Axel 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.

Mr. Axel is active in pro bono and community activities. He is a Director of the Los Angeles County Bar Foundation, and recently served as a  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. Mr. Axel is a Co-chair of the Corporate Criminal Liability Subcommittee of the American Bar Association White Collar Crime Committee, and is a member of the United States District Court for the Central District of California’s Standing Committee on Discipline.

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
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