Washington, D.C. and New York – Sidley is pleased to announce that Kenneth A. Polite Jr. will be joining Sidley after serving two years as Senate-confirmed Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division. In that role, he was the highest-ranking attorney in the DOJ’s Criminal Division. Mr. Polite will join Sidley on October 1, 2023, as a partner and global co-leader of the firm’s White Collar: Government Litigation and Investigations practice. He will focus on white collar criminal defense, investigation, and compliance matters.
“With his background and experience in government, a Fortune 500 corporation, and private practice, Kenneth is a rare talent and strong leader and presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the firm,” said Yvette Ostolaza, Sidley’s Management Committee Chair. “We’re thrilled to welcome someone of Kenneth’s caliber to the firm.”
As Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, Mr. Polite led a team of more than 1,400 attorneys and staff members who were responsible for conducting criminal investigations and prosecutions in many of the most wide-ranging and complex criminal cases at the department involving securities fraud, healthcare fraud, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations, public corruption, cybercrime, intellectual property theft, and money laundering offenses. As head of the Criminal Division, Mr. Polite traveled extensively to work with his counterparts around the world in multinational and cross-border investigations.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Polite served as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana and was responsible for all federal criminal and civil matters in that district, including political corruption, healthcare fraud, tax evasion, and environmental crimes. He was responsible for bringing several high-profile cases during his tenure. Mr. Polite also previously served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted a broad range of federal cases, including public corruption and healthcare fraud.
In addition to his government service, Mr. Polite was the Chief Compliance Officer at Entergy, a Fortune 500 company. He is the first Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division to have served as a Chief Compliance Officer. While at DOJ, he drew upon that experience while overseeing significant changes to DOJ’s guidance on the Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs and other compliance policies.
During his time as a partner in private practice, Mr. Polite represented corporations in sensitive government enforcement matters before the DOJ and other federal and state entities. He also conducted internal investigations on behalf of companies and boards of directors (particularly in the energy, financial, healthcare, life sciences, and technology sectors) and counseled management on corporate compliance and governance.
“Kenneth’s breadth of experience across white collar, investigation, and compliance matters is unmatched and will be a tremendous asset to the firm’s clients,” said Kristin Graham Koehler, managing partner of Sidley’s Washington, D.C. office and member of the firm’s Executive Committee. “Kenneth is a highly strategic hire for our practice and our clients, and we are delighted that he has decided to join Sidley for the next chapter of his career.”
“I am excited to join Sidley’s top-flight white collar team,” said Polite. “Sidley has an extremely deep and talented bench of white collar practitioners. I look forward to representing clients in matters involving white collar investigations, crisis management, and compliance.”
Mr. Polite received his A.B. from Harvard University and his J.D., cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center. He clerked for the Honorable Thomas L. Ambro of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
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