William Devaney

William (Widge) Devaney

Baker & McKenzie LLP


William (Widge) Devaney is the Chair of Baker's North American Litigation and Government Enforcement Group. A former federal prosecutor, Widge represent corporations and individuals in internal and government facing investigations and enforcement actions, often cross-border. An experienced trial lawyer, he also routinely represents clients in complex civil litigation and provides compliance advisory advice, particularly in the anti-corruption sphere.

Widge is ranked in Chambers for both White Collar Crime and the FCPA, as well as New York Super Lawyers. He is the author of multiple publications involving such topics as the FCPA, cross-border investigations and corporate compliance programs. He appears often in the print media commenting on current criminal matters.

Practice Focus

Widge represents corporations and individuals in complex, typically cross-border and multi-jurisdictional investigations, both internal and government facing. He has significant trial and appellate experience, as well as significant experience in leading complex civil litigation. Widge also frequently advises on corporate compliance and governance matters, especially in the anti-corruption area.

He was an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of New Jersey, where he was a member of the Securities and Healthcare Fraud Unit. Widge also headed the Money Laundering Task Force in the US Attorney's Office and served as the Tax Crimes Coordinator.

Widge is ranked in Chambers and New York Super Lawyers in the white collar defense categories and ranked in Chambers for the FCPA. He is a former co-chair of the ABA's Transnational Crime Subcommittee, and former officer of the IBA's Business Crime Committee. He also previously served on the Criminal Justice Act Panel for the Southern District of New York, representing indigent clients in federal criminal matters. Widge served as law clerk to the Honorable Oliver Gasch on the US District Court for the District of Columbia from 1993 to 1994.

Representative Legal Matters

Widge's current and recent matters include:

  • Leading a DOJ / SFO FCPA and UK Bribery Act investigation for a FTSE 100 company, involving over a dozen jurisdictions, resulting in a declination of prosecution from both agencies.
  • Winning a motion to dismiss on behalf of a large retailer in a False Claims Act action brought by the New York Attorney General, alleging the failure to remit tens of millions of dollars in sales tax.
  • Representing a European global engineering company in a False Claims Act investigation led by the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, resulting in a declination.
  • Successfully representing a publicly traded consumer goods company in a parallel securities fraud investigation by the US Attorney's Office for the Central District of California and the SEC.
  • Co-lead a team that successfully challenged a portion of the Florida election law seeking to restrict voter registration.
  • Representing a US based global pharmaceutical company in an internal investigation relating to alleged falsification of pharmacovigilance testing in Latin America.
  • Advising a US based global pharmaceutical company regarding its response and investigation into allegations of improper information sharing between a senior employee and an employee of a competitor.
  • Representing a global engineering company in a sanctions investigation conducted by the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York.
  • Representing a large South American agricultural company in a money laundering investigation conducted by the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida, in which the company and its owner were deemed targets when we entered, but we ultimately won a full declination.
  • Conducting an internal investigation for a global European energy conglomerate into allegations of bribery and embezzlement in six Latin American jurisdictions.
  • Conducting an internal investigation for a Swiss private bank into allegations of money laundering.
  • Conducting an internal investigation for a global Japanese electronics company involving allegations of bribery in multiple African countries.

Professional Honors

  • Chambers - New York, White Collar
  • Chambers - National, FCPA
  • Recognized individual in Criminal Defense: White Collar, New York Metro Super Lawyers

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Bar Association (ABA) White Collar Crime Section, Sub-Committee on Transnational Crimes - Former Co-chair
  • International Bar Association (IBA) Business Crime Committee - Former Officer
  • Criminal Justice Act panel for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York - Past Member
  • Federal Bar Council and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - Member


  • New York~United States (1992)


  • Cambridge University (LL.M., Honors) (1995)
  • Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.) (1991)
  • Georgetown University (A.B., cum laude) (1988)

Widge publishes frequently on topics involving anti-corruption, investigations and ESG, including recently a chapter in GIR's Practitioner's Guide to Global Investigations. He is a frequent speaker, including at conferences sponsored by ACI, ACC, Ethisphere, GIR and the ABA.