Phil Bezanson helps clients navigate some of the most complicated litigation, regulatory, enforcement and incident response challenges. He primarily represents companies, senior management and boards of directors as well as individuals in internal investigations, regulatory enforcement, and complex criminal and civil litigations. He has worked on a number of recent high-profile cases, including the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the George Washington Bridge lane closure, General Motors ignition switch and UnaOil corruption investigations, "Pay to Play" cases in New York, New Mexico and Illinois, stock options backdating, insider trading, construction defect cases, and a variety of matters involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Phil regularly conducts internal investigations and defends corporations and executives facing allegations of fraud, product defect, antitrust violations, environmental crimes, bribery, insider trading, tax offenses and other allegations of business-related misconduct or regulatory violations. He also assists national and international corporate clients with a wide variety of compliance matters including anti-bribery and corruption, cybersecurity and data privacy, insider trading and antitrust enforcement practices at publicly traded companies, and trading desks at financial institutions. Phil has been successful in convincing potential plaintiffs, prosecutors and regulators to abandon investigations before charges are filed. He counsels clients through each step in the defense process, from creating and auditing robust, specifically-tailored compliance programs, guiding clients through unexpected financial, environmental and cyber-related incidents, to preparing clients and their employees to meet with prosecutors or regulatory agencies, to making decisions on negotiation, settlement, trial and appeals.
Phil spent nearly ten years working in Bracewell’s New York Office before he moved to the Pacific Northwest, where he is managing partner of Bracewell’s Seattle Office.
Recent Notable Matters
In re SEC v. Arcturus Corporation et al, No. 17-10503 (5th Cir. 2019) — Retained by promoter of oil and gas ventures after trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the SEC for appeal to the Fifth Circuit. The SEC alleged this was not a joint venture, rather a security, and since the promoters were not licensed brokers, had a per se violation of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 and were liable for disgorgement and civil penalties. In a unanimous decision, the Court reversed the summary judgment and sent back to the district court for trial.
Major retail company — successfully represented a major retail company in connection with an SEC investigation into various public disclosures. The matter was closed by the SEC.
Major retail company — successfully represented a major retail company in connection with a FINRA investigation regarding employee stock trading and the company’s earnings announcements
Various energy sector companies — internal investigations in connection with alleged FCPA violations in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East
Various energy sector companies — responding to cyber-attacks involving business email compromise schemes and other data breaches
Venture capital firm and its principal — SEC investigation concerning disclosures to investors and valuation of assets
Publicly traded technology company — internal investigation in connection with alleged OFAC violations
Leading oilfield services company — federal criminal investigation that arose from the Deepwater Horizon explosion
Independent oil and gas company — federal criminal investigation that arose from a workplace explosion
Major petroleum refinery company — representation in connection with various Renewable Identification Number biofuel investigation
Major retail company — design and implementation of a global anti-bribery and corruption policy
International energy company — design and implementation of a global anti-bribery and corruption policy
Multiple private investment funds and individuals — pay-to-play investigations conducted by the Department of Justice, the New York State Attorney General's Office and the SEC, and related civil litigations
Fortune 200 company — stock options backdating inquiries resulting in no criminal charges and no monetary penalties
International tobacco company — nationwide antitrust litigation and related criminal charges resulting in dismissal of indictment
International aviation company — criminal antitrust investigation
Head of the auction rate securities desk at a financial institution — Successfully extinguished a Wells Notice in connection with an SEC auction rate securities investigation
Multiple chief financial officers of public companies — investigations for accounting fraud and manipulation of financial statements and SEC filings
Fortune 500 chief financial officer — represented during investigation for backdating stock options
High-level General Motors engineering executive — DOJ ignition switch investigation
Former staffer for Governor Chris Christie — George Washington Bridge closure investigation, and a different former staffer and a former executive of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in a federal criminal trial
Publications and Speeches
“Only You Can Prevent Cyber-attacks: How to Spot Fires and Put Them Out,” The Bond Buyer, March 26, 2018.
“Government Investigations and Technology: Innovation and Preparation,” Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics, November 17, 2017.
“Criminal Investigations and Technology: Protecting Data and Rights,” Washington Association of Corporate Counsel Tech Summit, June 8, 2017.
"Tech Rally - Industry Giants Back Google's Play to Protect Data," Corporate Compliance Insights, March 15, 2017.
“How to Minimize Your Company’s Legal Exposure From Data Breaches,” Oil & Gas Financial Journal, February 20, 2017.
"In Salman, Supreme Court Rejects Higher Evidentiary Burden on Prosecutors in Insider Trading Cases," Inside Counsel, January 9, 2017.
“Attorney-Client Privilege in WA No Longer Applies When Employment Ends,” Corporate Compliance Insights, December 20, 2016.
“Recent Cases Every In-House Counsel Should Know About,” Washington State Bar Association, October 28, 2016.
“Seven Tips for Preparing Associates for Trial,” NWSidebar, September 6, 2016.
"Government Reach Does Not Extend to Information Stored Overseas," Corporate Compliance Insights, August 8, 2016.
“Avoiding the Pitfalls: Ethical Issues for In-House Lawyers – the GM Ignition Switch Case Study,” Washington ACC, July 14, 2016.
"DOJ Announces First Declinations After Implementing FCPA Pilot Program," Corporate Compliance Insights, June 22, 2016.
"Vimpelcom's Global FCPA Settlement: A Multinational Resolution," Corporate Compliance Insights, June 17, 2016.
“The Criminalization of Process Safety,” Inside Counsel, March 15, 2016.
“FCPA Year in Review” Momentum Webinar Series, January 21, 2016.
"Combating Fraud at Home and Abroad," Oil & Gas Monitor, December 23, 2015.
“Strengthening the Audit, Legal & Compliance Officer Relationship to Ensure Collaboration Throughout Your Internal Organization” Oil & Gas Anti-Corruption Compliance Exchange, September 22, 2015.
"Preventative Medicine: Internal Investigations Strengthen Compliance Programs and Minimize External Inquiries," Pharmaceutical Compliance Monitor, January 9, 2015.