As a highly regarded former federal prosecutor, Matt Jacobs represents public company boards, audit committees, companies and executives in anti-corruption, fraud and related internal and government investigations. Matt also advises on due diligence and compliance matters and helps his clients navigate around and through issues that threaten their reputations and their business. Additionally, he serves as chair of DLA Piper's Litigation practice in Northern California, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Sacramento.
Matt is widely recognized in complex white collar and cross-border investigations. He has been consistently ranked by Chambers; has been regularly recognized by Legal 500 for antitrust, dispute resolution, corporate defense and white collar criminal defense in the US and Latin America; is ranked top 100 by the National Trial Lawyers; has been listed by the Global Investigative Review; was one of LawDragon's top 500 lawyers in America in 2021; and has been listed by San Francisco Magazine as a leading lawyer for more than 15 years running.
As a federal prosecutor in the Justice Department, Matt successfully co-led the prosecutions of Enron's energy traders for their roles in the manipulation of California energy markets. He won an FBI Director's Award for that work, and another Director's Award for a first-of-its kind prosecution of a medical device manufacturer for deaths caused in the malfunction of a heart stent. Matt was based in the Northern District of California and served in the white collar and securities enforcement sections. In that capacity, Matt led a series of significant investigations and prosecutions in the securities, energy, healthcare, insurance and technology sectors and conducted a number of money laundering and cross-border investigations. He is an experienced trial lawyer who has tried more than a dozen cases to verdict.
For the last 17 years, Matt has been on the defense side and has served as lead counsel representing major technology companies as well as firms in the financial services, energy, heavy industry and healthcare sectors. Matt is particularly known for giving practical and strategic advice, and for his doggedness in fighting for his clients' interests. Matt is skilled in handling antitrust (cartel) matters before US and foreign antitrust authorities, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations, financial fraud and whistleblower allegations.
Matt is particularly effective in dealing with high profile and politically sensitive cases. Before he was a lawyer, Matt was an award winning journalist for a daily newspaper in Shreveport, Louisiana. While serving in the Justice Department, he was appointed by Robert S. Mueller III, who was then serving as US Attorney for the Northern District of California, as spokesman for the Department in Northern California and handled all media and press inquiries regarding federal criminal matters for six years.
Matt also has an active pro bono docket and has served for many years on the Criminal Justice Act Panel based on an appointment from the judges of the Northern District of California, representing indigent criminal defendants in federal cases, as well as handling appeals before the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals.
He graduated Order of the Coif from Stanford Law School and served as an editor on the Law Review, and also holds a Master's degree in Journalism with honors from the Medill School at Northwestern University. He served as a law clerk to the Honorable Walter J. Cummings on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals based in Chicago.
Matt has led or co-led the following significant matters:
- Represents a special committee of the board of a public company in the food service industry being investigated by the SEC for financial manipulation.
- Represents an audit committee of a publicly traded energy services company audit committee of a public technology company in criminal and civil investigations regarding alleged foreign bribery in Africa; and recently obtained a declination of prosecution from DOJ.
- Represented an audit committee of a publicly traded Silicon Valley company for alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, India and other jurisdictions; and obtained a declination of prosecution from DOJ and a favorable settlement from the SEC with no admission of liability.
- Represented one of the largest automobile auto parts manufacturers in the world in a DOJ investigation into price fixing and violations of the antitrust laws in multiple jurisdictions for worldwide cartel activity spanning several decades; obtained a favorable settlement; also handled civil follow on litigation in multi-district litigation.
- Represented a prominent real estate investor for alleged fixing of prices in the purchase of several hundred million dollars in real estate; won rulings knocking out substantial portions of the government’s case leading to a favorable settlement.
- Represented a major Chinese chemical manufacturer in an antitrust investigation involving the alleged fixing of prices with competitors; won declination to prosecute from DOJ.
- Represented a Japanese heavy industry manufacturer in a price fixing inquiry; no charges brought against the client.
- Represented several senior executives in high profile financial services investigations by DOJ, SEC and the OCC; successfully obtained declinations to prosecute against all clients.
- Represented a Silicon Valley company in contractual dispute with a major drug wholesaler concerning alleged HIPAA obligations.
- Represented a major Japanese corporation in a series of cartel investigations into high tech manufacturing; no charges brought against client.
- Represented a senior executive of steel manufacturer before the Australian competition authorities; obtained non-prosecution agreement on behalf of client.
- Represented a Chinese manufacturer of wind turbines in a DOJ investigation and prosecution of theft of trade secrets.
- Represented senior executives of pharmaceutical companies in an alleged improper off label promotion of pharmaceuticals; obtained non-prosecution decisions from DOJ.
- Represented a board of directors of a Silicon Valley company in an internal investigation of the public company’s CEO for moving revenue from one quarter to the next and manipulating the financial reporting of the company; the CEO was forced to resign and matter ended with non-action by the SEC.
- Represented the board of directors of a Silicon Valley company in an internal investigation into the false expense claims by a senior executive, ending in the termination of the executive.
- Represented a special committee of the board of a Silicon Valley company into the financial manipulation of compensation to employees.
- Represented the founder and chairman of the board of a financial institution in a dispute with regulatory authorities and the bank; obtained declination to pursue charges from the OCC.
- Represented accountants from a Big Four accounting firm in an international money laundering investigation; no regulatory action taken against clients.
- Represented court appointed liquidators of Antiguan Bank in a corruption in the Ukraine; after years of litigation including two ninth circuit appeals, the US Government returned seized forfeiture assets to the liquidators.
- Represented the former partner of a prominent New York law firm in a tax investigation by the US Department of Justice.
- Represented a major metals company in a criminal environmental investigation under the Clean Air Act; a favorable settlement achieved.
- Represented a former senior executive of an educational software company in a federal bribery investigation regarding the supply of products to a public school district; the investigation was resolved without charges being brought against the client.
- Represented a publicly traded company in negotiating privilege issues in context of a criminal trial of the company’s former Chief Executive Officer.
- Represents the Chinese widow of a prominent Chinese historical figure in federal court litigation against the Hoover Institution over ownership of his diaries.
- Represents a senior Silicon Valley executive in a securities lawsuit brought against a cloud computing company.
- Represented a major foreign manufacturer in a major class action that alleged collusion in direct and indirect sales of optical disk drives.
- Represented a Japanese corporation in a major class action that alleges price fixing in cellphone batteries.
- Represented officers and directors in several derivative and class actions regarding the handling of compensation issues.
- Represented major consumer electronic companies in class actions by direct and indirect purchasers, where the class members alleged that they paid higher prices due to internal cartel activity.
- Represented a pharmaceutical company in class action lawsuits based on alleged securities fraud.
- Represented a former officer of a health care company in the successful dismissal of a securities fraud lawsuit.
- Represented a cloud computing company in litigation with a competitor and customer in a copyright infringement lawsuit.
- Advised a Chinese weapons manufacturer in product liability cases alleging the misuse of their products resulted in deaths and injuries.
- J.D., Stanford Law School
Order of the Coif; Editor of the Stanford Law Review
- M.S., Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism
- B.A., American University
magna cum laude
- "Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (California)," Chambers USA, 2015-2021
- "Antitrust," Legal 500 US, 2012-2015, 2018 and 2020
- "Dispute Resolution: Corporate Investigations & White-Collar Criminal Defense," Legal 500 US, 2015-2021
- "Top 100 in Criminal Defense," The National Trial Lawyers, 2020
- “Compliance and Investigations,” Legal 500 Latin America, 2021
- Global Investigations Review 100, 2020
- "500 Leading Lawyers in America," Lawdragon, 2021
- Speaker, "Is Your Compliance Program Ready for DOJ and Delaware Courts' Scrutiny?" Association of Corporate Counsel San Francisco Bay Area Chapter Webcast, May 2020
- Speaker, "36th International Conference on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act," December 2019
- Speaker, "Satisfying Fiduciary Obligations to Investigate Without Breaking the Bank," NACD Northern California Chapter Private Dinner with VE, April 2019
- Moderator, "FCPA Enforcement and Multi-Jurisdictional Coordination: Key Updates on Evolving Policies, Priorities and Expectations," 13th Forum on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Houston Hosted by American Conference Institute ACI, January 2019
- Panelist, "Preparing for and Managing Risks Involved with Cross-Border Investigations," September 2018
- Speaker, "How to Stay Out of Federal Prison, and Other Helpful Tips," May 2018
- "Polite Prediction: Criminal Division Appointee Positions DOJ for focus on Public Corruption, Civil Rights, National Security, and Fraud with a Heightened Scrutiny on Compliance Programs," April 2021
- "2020 Energy and Chemicals Antitrust Report," Antitrust Update, January 2021
- "Should Disgorgement in Securities Cases Be Considered Tax-Deductible 'Restitution'?" The National Law Journal, November 2020
- "Award-Winning Former Prosecutor, Compliance Officer Brings Uncommonly Varied Background to (Firm)," June 2020
- "Make It a Federal Case: Associates Thrive in Criminal Justice Act Cases," April 2020
- "2019 Energy and Chemicals Antitrust Report," Antitrust Update, January 2020
- "Second Circuit Considers Reach of Bribery Laws Beyond US," November 2019
- "UK's SFO Recognizes Expectation that Compliance Functions Will be Insulated from Routine Cost Cutting Pressures," October 2019
- "Don't Get "Pulled-In": Marvell Fined by SEC for Failing to Disclose Aggressive Sales Plan," October 2019
- "Because the Mafia Doesn't Issue 8-Ks: DOJ Explains Recent Corporate Policy Changes and Foreshadows Additional Guidance," September 2019
- "Cisco's US$8.6 Million False Claims Act Settlement Signals Viability of Cybersecurity Claims Under the False Claims Act," August 2019
- "Third Circuit Upholds Bribery Conviction Despite Narrowed Definition of "Official Act" Under McDonnell," August 2019
- "Winning the Leniency Race No Longer the Only Avenue for Avoiding Criminal Antitrust Prosecution," Antitrust Update, July 2019
- "Maybe It's Real This Time: Mexico Fights Corruption," June 2019
- "A New Day "Dawning": Uptick in Dawn Raids by the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority," June 2019
- "Supreme Court Extends the Statute of Limitations for Claims by Relators," May 2019
- "Recent Enforcement Trends: Healthcare and Life Sciences Sector," Government Investigations & White Collar Criminal Defense Update, May 2019
- "Updated DOJ Guidance Provides Useful Roadmap for Implementing and Enhancing Corporate Compliance Programs," May 2019
- "History Repeats Itself: Mueller Investigation Spurs Renewed DOJ Focus on WWII Era Foreign Agents Registration Act," April 2019
- "Government's Filing of Complaint Against Private Equity Company Signals New Focus on Private Equity and Other Investors," April 2019
- "DENIED: SCOTUS Denies Cert. in Mueller's Mystery Case," March 2019
- "Giving Credit Where Credit is Due: University's False Claims Act Settlement Highlights Importance of Proper Accounting Practices for Federal Award Recipients," March 2019
- "DOJ Updates FCPA Cooperation Credit Policy for M&A," March 2019
- "Recent FCPA Speeches Highlight and Defend DOJ Priorities," March 2019
- "Insufficient Evidence Leads to Former Barclays Trader's Acquittal Without a Jury," March 2019
- "Beware the Middle Man: 3 Things to Consider When Partnering With a Foreign Third-Party Agent," March 2019
- "CFTC Announces New Enforcement Advisory Relating to Foreign Corrupt Practices," March 2019
- "DOJ is "Swinging for the Fences" in Expanding Traditional Industry Focus," March 2019
- "Recent Enforcement Trends: Technology Sector," Government Investigations & White Collar Criminal Defense Update, February 2019
- "2018 False Claims Act and Whistleblower Developments," February 2019
- "10 Risk Areas For Companies Operating Internationally," FCPA Update, February 2019
- "2018 Energy and Chemicals Antitrust Report," Antitrust Update, January 2019
- Appointed to the federal Criminal Justice Act panel for the Northern District of California
- Appointed by the Chief US District Judge to serve on selection committee for bankruptcy judge
- Assistant US Attorney for the Northern District of California, 1998-2004
- Judicial clerk to The Honorable Walter J. Cummings, US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago
Memberships And Affiliations
- Former adjunct professor, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
- Member and former chairman, San Francisco Bar Association
- Vice president, San Jose Steering Committee of Federal Bar Association
- Barrister, McFettridge Inn of Court
- Appointed to the federal Criminal Justice Act panel for the Northern District of California
- Appointed by Chief US District Judge to serve on selection committee for bankruptcy judge
- Former chair of Communications Committee and member of Standards Committee, Olympic Club, the nation's oldest athletic club