Joe Whitley

Joe represents clients nationally and internationally in white collar criminal matters and regulatory enforcement, corporate internal investigations, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and U.S. export controls and compliance. He also advises clients on corporate compliance, health care fraud and FDA-related matters.

Whitley has had a wide-ranging career in the Department of Justice (DOJ).  During the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, he served as Acting Associate Attorney General, the third-ranking position at Main Justice.  He was appointed by Presidents Reagan and Bush, respectively, to serve as the U.S. Attorney in the Middle and Northern Federal Districts of Georgia.  Throughout his career, Whitley served under five U.S. Attorneys General and four Presidents in a number of key operational and policy positions.  Earlier in his career, Whitley served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit in Columbus, Georgia.  Whitley maintains strong professional relationships with the state and federal law enforcement community.

In 2003, Whitley was appointed by President George W. Bush as the first General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the highest ranking legal official at DHS.  He held that position for two years working for DHS Secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, before returning to private practice.

Whitley leads a team of lawyers in Baker Donelson’s Government Enforcement and Investigations practice group who conduct sensitive high level investigations for both public and private sector institutions.  Whitley’s practice focuses on corporate defense and representation of clients in complex civil and criminal enforcement matters brought by the DOJ, other federal agencies, State Attorneys General and local prosecutors.  He has represented numerous individuals and corporations in major government investigations throughout the United States and internationally.  Whitley is a frequent speaker on white collar, compliance and corporate governance issues.

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