Nancy Kestenbaum

Nancy Kestenbaum

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Covington & Burling LLP
The New York Times Building
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018-1405
Tel: +1 212 841 1125



  • Yale Law School, J.D., 1990
  • University of Pennsylvania, B.A., 1985
    • magna cum laude
    • Phi Beta Kappa

Judicial Clerkship

  • Hon. Kimba M. Wood, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 1990-1991

Bar Admissions

  • New York
  • New Jersey

Clients come to Nancy Kestenbaum to handle their most important and sensitive government and internal investigations and litigation. With 25 years’ experience as a defense attorney and former federal prosecutor, she has represented clients ranging from the largest multi-national companies to individuals in high-stakes criminal and civil enforcement investigations by the United States Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, and other federal, state and local criminal and civil regulatory agencies.

Representative Matters

  • Obtained DOJ declination, closing investigation without charges, after two-year FCPA investigation of oil exploration company Hyperdynamics. Resolved related SEC FCPA investigation without bribery charges.
  • Defended global and domestic pharmaceutical companies in investigations by the Department of Justice and state Attorneys General concerning marketing, physician interaction and drug safety and labeling issues.
  • Represented large accounting firm in DOJ, SEC and PCAOB investigations.
  • Represented multinational entities in investigations of export controls and sanctions.
  • Defended companies and individuals in DOJ and SEC insider trading investigations.
  • Represented non-profit in an investigation by the New York Attorney General’s Office.

Previous Experience

  • Ms. Kestenbaum served for nine years as a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where she investigated and prosecuted numerous cases in the District Court and Second Circuit Court of Appeals and served as Chief of the General Crimes Unit and Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division.
    • U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York, Chief, General Crimes Unit (2002-2003)
    • U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York, Deputy Chief, Criminal Division (2002)
    • U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York, Assistant United States Attorney (1994-2003)
    • U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Hearings and Appeals, Analyst (1985-1987)

Honors and Rankings

  • Law360MVP for White Collar (2015) 
  • Selected by Chambers USA as a leading attorney in the areas of White Collar Crime and Government Investigations (2014-2015)
  • Global Investigations Review, Women in Investigations (2015)
  • Listed as a leading lawyer in Who’s Who Legal: Business Crime Defence (2014-2015)
  • Best Lawyers in America, Criminal Defense - White Collar (2013-2016)
  • Euromoney, Benchmark: The Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys - Future Litigation Star, NY (2013-2014)
  • Legal 500 US, Litigation - White Collar Criminal Defense (2012-2015)
  • New York Super Lawyer, White Collar (2007-2015)

Pro Bono

  • Along with the Center for Constitutional Rights, represented post-9/11 detainees in Turkmen v. Ashcroft, successful Second Circuit case reversing District Court’s decision dismissing former Cabinet Officials from case involving claims of unlawful and abusive detention.
  • Assist the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus.
  • Represent federal prisoner in Clemency Project application process.
  • Successfully represented individual who obtained asylum from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Represented individuals who successfully sued Cracker Barrel restaurants for discrimination in public accommodations.

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Association of the Bar of the City of New York, White Collar Crime Committee
  • Federal Bar Council
  • American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section

Publications and Speeches

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