Brian E. Kowalski

  • Partner
  • 555 Eleventh Street, NW
  • Suite 1000
  • Washington, D.C. 20004-1304
  • USA
  • T +1.202.637.1064


Brian Kowalski is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins and Global Vice Chair of the Litigation & Trial Department. He focuses on litigating and defending securities enforcement and white collar criminal investigations and proceedings, conducting internal corporate investigations, and related civil litigation.

Mr. Kowalski has extensive experience representing clients in investigations and litigation involving accounting and securities regulation, US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and other complex regulatory matters. His practice has a global focus including handling major mandates in the United States and across South America, Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.  

Mr. Kowalski regularly represents clients facing investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), and other federal and state entities concerning accounting, disclosure, internal control, and related issues. He also has deep experience conducting investigations on behalf of Audit Committees in the context of financial restatements and helping navigate related disclosure and regulatory issues. In addition to enforcement matters, Mr. Kowalski maintains an active complex litigation practice, often involving parallel litigation and enforcement matters.

Mr. Kowalski also has substantial experience advising public companies on compliance, disclosure, and related issues. He regularly advises investment banks, private equity firms, and other companies on compliance matters in the context of cross-border M&A and capital markets transactions.


Mr. Kowalski’s matters include representing:

  • Public companies, including in life sciences, financial services, transportation, energy, and retail industries, as well as their officers and employees in SEC investigations related to accounting, financial reporting, internal controls, and other securities laws and regulations
  • Audit Committees of Boards of Directors in conducting investigations related to financial restatements and similar matters
  • Ernst & Young in civil and regulatory matters related to its role as auditor of Lehman Brothers, including an action brought by the New York Attorney General under the Martin Act
  • A Big Four accounting firm’s Chinese affiliate in litigation and an SEC administrative trial concerning Chinese laws barring production of workpapers to the SEC Division of Enforcement   
  • Multiple companies in SEC and DOJ investigations related to the FCPA, including multiple cases in which the investigations were closed without enforcement action
  • Public companies across numerous industries in internal investigations across South America, Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Middle East concerning potential violations of anti-bribery laws and related matters
Thought Leadership

Mr. Kowalski is a frequent author, speaker, and panelist on the securities laws and SEC enforcement trends. Recent client alerts have included:

  • Co-Author, "Supreme Court: SEC ALJs Are Officers Subject to Constitution’s Appointments Clause," Client Alert, July 2018
  • Co-Author, "SEC Speaks Conference 2016: Key Takeaways for Public Companies," Client Alert, February 2016
  • Co-Author, "SEC Enforcement Division Issues Guidance on Venue Selection," Client Alert, May 2015
  • Co-Author, "The SEC Cooperation Initiatives: New Risks for Public Companies," Client Alert, April 2010

Thought Leadership

  • US Supreme Court Upholds SEC’s Authority to Seek Disgorgement -  June 24, 2020
  • Second Circuit Reinforces FCPA’s Jurisdictional Limits -  August 29, 2018
  • Supreme Court: SEC ALJs Are Officers Subject to Constitution’s Appointments Clause -  July 12, 2018
  • SEC Speaks Conference 2016: Key Takeaways for Public Companies -  February 26, 2016
  • SEC Enforcement Division Issues Guidance on Venue Selection -  May 18, 2015
  • The SEC Cooperation Initiatives: New Risks for Public Companies -  April 21, 2010
Recognized as a Future Leader - Partner, a section dedicated to the world’s leading investigations experts aged 45 or under.Who's Who Legal: Investigations 2019
Bar Qualification
  • District of Columbia
  • JD, Georgetown University Law Center, 2005
  • BA, University of Rochester, 2002
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • Technology
  • Securities Litigation & Professional Liability
  • Litigation & Trial Practice
  • Complex Commercial Litigation
  • White Collar Defense & Investigations