Christopher P. Conniff
Christopher Conniff, co-leader of Ropes & Gray’s securities & futures enforcement group, is an experienced trial lawyer who advises clients in the areas of white collar criminal defense, regulatory enforcement, internal investigations and complex commercial matters. Chris has developed a particular specialty in the banking, private equity, health care, hedge fund and sports industries, and has helped clients navigate investigations in the areas of securities fraud, insider trading, money laundering, public corruption, health care fraud, FCPA violations and criminal antitrust. Chris is a Chambers-recognized lawyer who is applauded for his skill navigating the “ins and outs of government investigations” and being able to get to the heart of every matter quickly. His practice also includes regular counseling on crisis management, corporate compliance, and international risk. More recently, Chris has been advising life sciences companies and asset managers on insider trading risk related to COVID-19 vaccine research and development. Chris is co-chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee and leads its Sports Industry Initiative.
Prior to joining Ropes & Gray, Chris was an assistant United States attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he successfully investigated and prosecuted cases charging a wide array of federal offenses, and argued appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. While at the USAO, Chris led the team that prevailed in the highly publicized prosecution of more than 30 members and associates of the Gambino Organized Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra, including the Family’s Acting Boss and Underboss. Chris’s other significant cases include a first-of-its-kind prosecution of two founders of a publicly traded payment services company charged with money laundering in connection with their transfer of billions of dollars from United States customers to overseas internet gambling companies.
- Represented multiple executives in the DOJ’s investigation into alleged manipulation of diesel emissions outputs by various automobile manufacturers.
- Represented numerous executives in connection with a DOJ and SEC investigation into accounting fraud by publicly traded real estate developer.
- Represented a Swiss trust company in connection with the DOJ’s investigation of a billion dollar theft from the Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund (1MDB).
- Represented at initial trial son of former New York State Majority Leader Dean Skelos on public corruption charges. Conviction later reversed by the Second Circuit.
- Represented financial advisor in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Paul Manafort.
- Represented multiple hedge funds in connection with insider trading investigations by the DOJ and the SEC.
- Represented a senior trader at a global financial institution in connection with an SEC and DOJ investigation into mismarking of a derivatives product.
- Represented executives at a global financial institution in connection with an SEC investigation into the firm’s handling of its ADR accounts.
- Represented numerous clients in joint U.S. and UK-based investigations into the alleged manipulation of various benchmark rates, including LIBOR, FX and ISDA Fix.
- Representing a not-for-profit non-sectarian hospital in a public corruption investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York.
- Represented a fixed income asset manager in connection with an SEC investigation into alleged cross-trading of RMBS securities.
- Advised a not-for-profit home health care provider in the industry-wide sweep focusing on managed long term care plans in New York.
- Defended a major medical device company in connection with alleged FCA claims, including obtaining a summary dismissal of a qui tam action filed in federal court in the Southern District of Texas.
- Defended a major pharmaceutical company in a wide-ranging criminal investigation into off-label promotion and fraudulent marketing.
- Co-author, “NCAA Slates “NIL” Proposal for Vote,” Licensing Journal (November-December 2020)
- Quoted, “Colleges Brace for New Student-Athlete Sponsor Rules,” The Wall Street Journal’s Risk & Compliance Journal (January 8, 2021)
- Co-author, “University Sportsbook Deal Raises Compliance Concerns,” Law360 (October 7, 2020)
- Co-author, “NCAA Moves Closer to “NIL” Policy for Student-Athletes,” Licensing Journal (August 2020)
- Quoted, “Even with Virus Precautions, MLB Season has Legal Risks,” Law360 (June 29, 2020)
- Co-author, “Reopening Sports Venues To Fans Poses Legal Hurdles,” Law360 (May 28, 2020)
- Co-author, “Rapid Clinical Developments Increase Insider Trading Risks,” Law360 (May 5, 2020)
- Co-author, “FinCEN Civil Enforcement and Virtual Currency,” Bloomberg Law (February 7, 2020)
- Co-author, “MLB Sign-Stealing Report Demands Culture Of Compliance,” Law360 (February 6, 2020)
- Co-author, “Reexamining ‘Scheme Liability’ After ‘Lorenzo’,” The New York Law Journal (January 10, 2020)
- Co-author, “Applying SEC Regulation of Digital Tokens, Post-DAO,” Bloomberg Law (September 2019)
- Co-author, “In the Wake of the DAO Report: A Year in Review,” Bloomberg Law (September 2019)
- Co-author, “In the Wake of the DAO Report: A Year in Review,” Bloomberg BNA Securities Law Daily (July 30, 2018)
- Quoted, “Funds and Managers Must Be Wary of State, in Addition to Federal, Regulatory Scrutiny of ICOs,” The Hedge Fund Law Report (May 17, 2018)
- Christopher Conniff, Daniel O’Connor, Helen Gugel and Jessica Soricelli, “Mass. Crackdown Reflects Increased State Regulation Of ICOs,” Law360 (April 11, 2018)
- Christopher Conniff, Helen Gugel and Jessica Soricelli, “Regulating the Future: The Enforcement Landscape for Virtual Currency,” Bloomberg BNA’s Big Law Business (March 15, 2018)
- Christopher Conniff, Michael McGovern, Helen Gugel and Jessica Soricelli, “A Broad Regulatory Push To Rein In Burgeoning ICO Market,” Law360 (March 6, 2018)
- Christopher Conniff, Michael McGovern, Helen Gugel and Ethan Thomas, “CFTC Reasserts Its Role In Virtual Currency Regulation,” Law360 (January 25, 2018)
- James Dowden, Christopher Conniff, and Carly Baratt, “Fraud Amendments to U.S. Sentencing Guidelines,” New York Law Journal (May 15, 2015)
- Quoted, “Law360’s SEC Survival Guide: Approaching the Agency,” Law360 (July 28, 2014)
- Christopher Conniff, Steven Goldschmidt and Helen Gugel, “Sentencing Guidelines for Insider Trading: Recent Amendments Create Greater Disparity,” Federal Sentencing Reporter (October 2013)
- Christopher Conniff, James Dowden and Brendon Carrington, "Insider Trading Sentences Get Extra Bite," Compliance Reporter (May 2012)
- Stephen Braga, Christopher Conniff and Mark S. Popofsky, “The Anticorruption and Antitrust Interface,” Competition Policy International (February 2012)
- Panelist, “Name/Image/Likeness Primer for Colleges and Universities: Part Two,” Ropes & Gray Webinar (December 2, 2020)
- Moderator, “Name/Image/Likeness Primer for Colleges and Universities: Part One,” Ropes & Gray Webinar (November 11, 2020)
- Moderator, “The Future of Sports Betting – The Expansion of Sports Wagering, and Federal and State Efforts to Regulate the Industry” Sports Lawyers Association and Ropes & Gray Webinar (October 20, 2020)
- Panelist, “The Future of Industry and Innovation: Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and Digital Assets,” Ropes & Gray CLE Ethics Series (February 12, 2020)
- Panelist, “Oversight, Enforcement and Liability Considerations for Corporate Directors,” Practicing Law Institute Directors’ Institute on Corporate Governance (November 20, 2019)
- Moderator, “The Amateur Athlete Paradigm Shift: Proposed State and Federal Legislation and its Impact on the Current Collegiate Model,” Sports Law Association and Ropes & Gray Event (November 4, 2019)
- Panelist, “Public Corruption Trials in a Post-McDonnell World,” Federal Bar Council CLE series (January 2019)
- Speaker, “Issues in Alternative Data Acquisition: Bots, Scraping and More,” Ropes & Gray Privacy & Cybersecurity Summit (February 2018)
- Panelist, “Public Corruption prosecutions after McDonnell,” Federal Bar Council Winter Retreat (February 2018)
- Panelist, “Lessons Learned from Recent White Collar Trials,” PLI’s White Collar Crime 2016: Prosecutors and Regulators Speak (September 2016)
- Panelist, “Insider Trading Bulletin: A View From the Trenches,” Corporate Counsel’s 10th Annual Hedge Fund General Counsel and Compliance Officer Summit (September 2016)
- Moderator, “White Collar Defense in a Global Environment,” Navigating the Enforcement Landscape: Perspectives on Current Legal Issues Facing Companies, Financial Institutions and Asset Managers - Chambers & Partners and Ropes & Gray Event (September 2016)
- Speaker, “Ethical Considerations in Internal Investigations,” Ropes & Gray West Coast Lunchtime Legal Briefing Teleconference (January 2016)
- Speaker, “DOJ’s Latest Policy on Corporate Cooperation: What’s Required to Receive Cooperation Credit,” Ropes & Gray Webinar (October 2015)
- Presenter, “The Civil Frauds Enforcement Landscape: Recent Developments and Trends,” New York City Bar Association (March 2012)
- Presenter, “Keeping Out of Trouble: Lessons Learned from Recent Securities Cases,” Foundation For Accounting Education Investment Companies Conference (November 2010)
- JD, Fordham University School of Law, 1991; Dean's List
- BA (Political Science), College of the Holy Cross, 1988
Admissions / Qualifications
- New York, 1992
- Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2016-2021)
- Legal 500 (2016-2018, 2020)
- Expert Guides’ Guide to the World’s Leading White Collar Crime Lawyers (2014)
- New York Super Lawyers (2013-2020)