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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.

  • Led independent investigations of sexual misconduct for Choate Rosemary Hall, The Brearley School, and other institutions.
  • Represents the United States Olympic Committee in connection with sexual abuse issues. 
  • 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.  
  • Defended companies and individuals in SEC accounting fraud investigations.
  • Conducted internal investigation on behalf of a University’s Audit Committee concerning allegations of misconduct and retaliation by the University’s President.
  • Defense of life sciences companies in litigation involving the U.N. Oil-for-Food Programme.
  • Representation of an individual in criminal tax case involving foreign bank accounts.

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

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)
  • Law360White Collar MVP (2018, 2015)
  • Selected by Chambers USA as a leading attorney in the areas of White Collar Crime and Government Investigations (2014-2020)
  • Global Investigations Review, Women in Investigations (2015)
  • Listed as a leading lawyer in Who’s Who Legal: Investigations (2016-2017) and Business Crime Defence (2014-2015)
  • Best Lawyers in America, Criminal Defense - White Collar (2013-2020)
  • 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 (2012-2017) and Dispute Resolution - Securities Litigation (2017)
  • New York Super Lawyer, White Collar (2007-2020)