Leslie R. Caldwell

San Francisco | Silicon Valley
  • 505 Montgomery Street
  • Suite 2000
  • San Francisco, CA 94111-6538
  • USA

Leslie Caldwell is a partner in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices of Latham & Watkins and is a member of the Litigation & Trial Department and White Collar Defense & Investigations Practice.

Ms. Caldwell has broad experience advising companies, individual executives, and boards of directors in a wide range of matters, with a particular emphasis on government enforcement and regulatory matters. She has built a national reputation as a trusted advisor regarding crisis management, policy development, and regulatory and enforcement matters. She focuses on white-collar criminal defense, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other agency enforcement matters, internal board and corporate investigations, and crisis management.

Prior to joining Latham, Ms. Caldwell served for nearly three years in the Obama Administration as Assistant Attorney General (AAG) for the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Criminal Division. In that role, for which she was nominated by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the Senate, Ms. Caldwell led more than 600 lawyers charged with handling a wide range of criminal enforcement matters. She also oversaw development of DOJ policy, legislative, and law enforcement issues. Among the 18 Sections that Ms. Caldwell oversaw were the Fraud, Money Laundering and Asset Recovery, Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Sections, and the Office of International Affairs. She also worked closely with her counterparts at the DOJ Antitrust, Civil, Environment and Natural Resources, National Security, and Tax Divisions, and with leaders at the SEC, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Federal Reserve, Treasury, and other US and foreign agencies.

Before being confirmed as AAG, Ms. Caldwell had built a formidable national reputation in high-profile federal criminal matters. Most recently, she headed the White Collar and Government Investigations Practice as a partner at a major international law firm, where she led numerous investigations on behalf of board and audit committees, and represented numerous senior executives, board members, and general counsel in a broad array of enforcement and regulatory matters. She also previously held several leadership positions at DOJ. Most recently, she was chosen to lead the Enron Task Force, created by the DOJ in the wake of that company’s collapse. As Director of the Task Force, she led a team of more than 40 lawyers and agents and directed multiple complex investigations that led to the successful convictions of more than 30 individuals, including the top leaders of Enron. Before being named Director of the Enron Task Force, Ms. Caldwell served under Robert S. Mueller, III in the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, in San Francisco, where she was Chief of both the Criminal Division and the Securities Fraud Section. She also served in various leadership roles in the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, where she tried more than 30 cases and briefed and argued more than 20 appeals.

Ms. Caldwell received the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service, the Department of Justice’s highest award, for her performance as Director of the Enron Task Force. She also has received many other awards from the public and private sectors, including the Attorney General’s John Marshall Award, the highest award for trial performance, and the Attorney General’s Award for Fraud Prevention.

Speaking Engagements
  • Speaker, The Modern Special Counsel, The Bar Association of San Francisco (January 2019) 
  • Keynote Speaker, Association of Business Trial Lawyers’ 45th Annual Seminar (Maui, HI, October 2018) 
  • Speaker, 2018 ChIPs Global Summit (Washington DC, October 2018) 
  • Keynote Speaker, GIR Live Women in Investigations Program (London, June 2018) 
  • Investigations: Navigating Attorney-Client Privilege and Other Thorny Issues in the Cross-Hairs of Competing Law Enforcement Regimes,” American Bar Association 2018 Paris Sessions (Paris, June 2018)
  • Moderator, “The Anatomy of An Investigation: A Discussion With Eric Holder, the 82nd Attorney General of the United States,” Association of Business Trial Lawyers (San Francisco, May 2018)
  • Panelist, “Special Counsel Investigations,” 7th Annual White Collar Crime Institute (NYC Bar Association, May 2018)
  • Panelist, “Retail Investors: The New Enforcement Frontier?” PLI Enforcement 2018: Perspectives from Government Agencies (New York, May 2018)
  • Speaker, Co-Chair's Opening Remarks, 20th New York Conference on FCPA (May 2018)
  • Keynote Speaker, Women's Luncheon, SIFMA C&L Annual Seminar (Orlando, March 2018)
  • Keynote Speaker, “Emerging Issues in FCPA Enforcement,” The George Washington University Law School (March 2018)
  • Panelist, “Getting your arms around the cyber threat”, GIR Live (Washington, D.C., October 2017)
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