Christopher P. Conniff
Christopher Conniff is a member of the firm’s Litigation and Enforcement practice group, and co-lead of the firm’s Securities & Futures Enforcement Group. Chris is an experienced trial lawyer who represents both institutions and individuals in white collar criminal and regulatory matters. Chris has helped clients in the banking, private equity, health care and hedge fund industries navigate through a number of high-profile government investigations, including 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.” His practice also includes regular counseling on anti-money laundering, CFIUS, and international risk compliance as well as conducting internal investigations. Chris is also co-chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee and leads its Sports Industry Group.
Prior to joining Ropes & Gray, Chris spent six years as 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. He also served as lead trial counsel in the successful prosecution of the members of an international arms trafficking organization. Chris’s other significant cases include the 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.
- Representing 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 multiple executives in the DOJ’s investigation into alleged manipulation of diesel emissions outputs by various automobile manufacturers.
- Representing multiple hedge funds in connection with the criminal insider trading investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York 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.
- 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 at trial son of former New York State Majority Leader Dean Skelos on public corruption charges.
- Advised a not-for-profit home health care provider in the industry-wide sweep focusing on managed long term care plans in New York.
- Represent a Swiss trust company in connection with the DOJ’s investigation of a billion dollar theft from the Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund (1MDB).
- Represented private equity and venture capital firms in state and federal investigations of alleged “pay to play” activities at public pension funds.
- Represented a fixed income asset manager in connection with an SEC investigation into alleged cross-trading of RMBS securities.
- 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.
- Advised an Eastern European investment firm in connection with a securities fraud investigation.
- Conducted an overseas FCPA compliance review for a major pharmaceutical company.
- Defended a major pharmaceutical company in a wide-ranging criminal investigation into off-label promotion and fraudulent marketing.
- Co-author, “FinCEN Civil Enforcement and Virtual Currency,” Bloomberg Law (February 7, 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, “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