Debevoise Appoints Helen Cantwell and David O’Neil as Co-Chairs of White Collar & Regulatory Defense Group

1 November 2023

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP today announces the appointment of litigation partners Helen Cantwell and David O’Neil as co-chairs of the firm’s White Collar & Regulatory Defense Group. Bruce Yannett, who has served as chair of the Group for over ten years, continues to actively represent clients as a partner of the firm. As co-chairs, Mr. O’Neil and Ms. Cantwell will lead a distinguished team of attorneys in navigating clients through multidimensional crises, government enforcement actions, complex regulatory challenges and internal investigations.

“We are immensely grateful for Bruce’s dedication and outstanding leadership as the chair of our preeminent White Collar & Regulatory Defense Group,” said Presiding Partner Peter Furci. “As chair, Bruce has consistently demonstrated exemplary guidance and service to the practice, including playing an invaluable role in nurturing and developing our younger talent. We are thankful for his contributions to the firm and to the distinguished legacy of our White Collar practice.”

Mr. Furci added, “Dave and Helen are both highly respected attorneys in their field and within the firm, and we congratulate them on their new roles. With them at the helm, our clients will continue to benefit from the market-leading advice and counsel that this practice is known for.”

Ms. Cantwell is a white collar lawyer renowned for her extensive trial experience and expertise in white collar criminal defense, regulatory enforcement actions, and internal investigations for a wide variety of corporations, financial institutions and non-profits. With a career spanning roles as an Assistant United States Attorney and Assistant District Attorney, she has consistently demonstrated tenacity and a commitment to achieving the best results for her clients. As a former prosecutor in the Manhattan DA’s Sex Crimes Unit, she also has deep experience in conducting sensitive investigations, especially those involving allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment. Ms. Cantwell’s exceptional legal acumen and strategic judgment have earned her many accolades, including being named a Litigator of the Year by The American Lawyer and receiving top-tier recognition in Chambers USA.

Mr. O’Neil is widely regarded as one of the nation’s premier litigators and white collar defense attorneys, and is known for his outstanding advocacy in high-stakes legal matters. He has represented leading multinational corporations, financial institutions, CEOs, board chairs, world leaders and prominent government officials in complex legal matters. As a former official of the U.S. Department of Justice for eight years, Mr. O’Neil previously supervised more than 600 attorneys investigating and prosecuting the full range of federal crimes, including corporate malfeasance, cybercrime, fraud and money laundering, and in the nationwide enforcement of FCPA, healthcare fraud and securities fraud. Mr. O’Neil has extensive courtroom experience, including numerous federal trials and five arguments before the Supreme Court. He has been recognized by The American Lawyer as a Litigator of the Year, by The National Law Journal as a Litigation Trailblazer, and by Law360 as a White Collar MVP of the Year.

Debevoise’s award-winning White Collar & Regulatory Defense Group is ranked as one of the world’s top practices by Global Investigations Review and as Band 1 by Chambers on both sides of the Atlantic for its complex representations of clients facing litigation and public policy crises, as well as Band 1 in the U.S. for securities enforcement and anti-corruption. Selected by Law360 as a 2021 White Collar Practice Group of the Year and by Benchmark Litigation as the 2022 White Collar Firm of the Year, the Group has been involved in some of the most significant investigations, litigations, and resolutions over the past few years, and offers international and domestic clients a depth of experience and global reach that allows for effective and strategic counsel.