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Karen A. Popp


KAREN A. POPP, is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and global coordinator of the White Collar: Government Litigation & Investigations group, which is recognized by US News as one of the nation’s top-tier practices and by Chambers USA (2012) for its “impressive breadth, with expertise across a wide range of areas." Karen has an expansive practice representing companies and individuals in high-profile matters with legal, political and public relations components, such as corporate criminal defense, internal investigations, SEC Enforcement, Congressional investigations, corporate compliance, and civil and commercial litigation. Chambers USA has recognized her as a leader in the field. Her practice is informed by a wealth of government and private sector experience, including service as a federal prosecutor in New York, a lawyer in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice, and Associate White House Counsel to President Clinton.

Karen represents Sidley clients across a host of industries – including financial, technology, pharmaceutical, healthcare, retail, energy, communications, insurance, security, charitable groups, transportation, labor and the government – in a wide range of matters involving allegations of criminal, civil and ethical wrongdoing. She has been retained to lead confidential worldwide internal investigations and defend corporations and individuals in government investigations relating to alleged FCPA and OFAC violations, securities and financial fraud, accounting irregularities, kickbacks, tax fraud, qui tams, misuse of corporate assets, false claims, antitrust and other bribery, corruption and fraud. Her recent experience includes:

  • Successfully obtaining prosecutorial declinations for companies in significant FCPA investigations involving conduct in numerous countries around the world.
  • Representing several global pharmaceutical companies in connection with ongoing FCPA investigations before the Department of Justice. These large-scale investigations span dozens of countries across the globe.
  • Representing a major national food distribution corporation in government investigations by the Attorneys General Offices of New York, Florida and California. These matters involve alleged claims that the company failed to pass back discounts and rebates to the states in connection with contracts with state entities.
  • Representing a major government contractor in connection with a GAO Audit and Congressional investigation.
  • Representing a high-level executive of an auto parts manufacturer in a criminal cartel investigation into allegations of price-fixing, bid-rigging and market allocation.
  • Representing a U.S. Presidential Cabinet member in government and congressional investigations.

Karen also assists clients in developing, auditing and enhancing corporate compliance and ethics programs, and currently serves as outside counsel to several corporate compliance departments. She helps companies to respond to internal allegations of wrongdoing, conducts training for Boards of Directors, management, compliance departments and other company personnel, and conducts compliance due diligence regarding corporate acquisitions and joint ventures.

Repeatedly recognized for her work, the Legal 500 US notes that, “The ‘highly experienced and knowledgeable’ Karen Popp provides ‘expert and practical advice.’” Benchmark Litigation names Karen a Litigation Star (both nationally and in Washington, D.C.) for her White Collar practice. Washingtonian magazine has included Karen in its current roster of “Top Lawyers in Washington,” and she has been recognized yearly by The Best Lawyers in America in Criminal Defense: White-Collar and Commercial Litigation and is included in the Washington, D.C. edition of the “Super Lawyer” directory, as well as recognized by The International Who's Who of Business Crime Defence Lawyers. Karen has been named for several years to the Top 250 Women in Litigation, a publication honoring the achievements of female lawyers in litigation practices in the United States. The recipient of the “First Annual Transformative Leadership Award” given by InsideCounsel Magazine in 2010, Karen also was the 2006 recipient of the “Star of the Bar” award by the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia.

A frequent speaker at national conferences and before various other groups, Karen has provided legal commentary on CNN, Fox News and NPR, and served as a consultant on the television show The West Wing.

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