Michael G. McGovern


  • JD, cum laude, Georgetown University Law Center, 1987; Executive Editor, American Criminal Law Review
  • MA, magna cum laude, Fordham University, 1984
  • BA, magna cum laude, Fairleigh Dickinson University, 1983


  • New York, 2006
  • District of Columbia, 1988

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow
  • The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyers - New York (2018) 
  • Benchmark Litigation 2018
  • Legal 500 (2016-2018)
  • The Best Lawyers in America (2016-2019)
  • Chambers Global (2018)
  • Chambers Global (Japan): The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2015)
  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers (2014-2019)
  • Litigation Star, Benchmark Litigation (2015)
  • Expert Guides’ Guide to the World’s Leading White Collar Crime Lawyers (2014)
  • New York Super Lawyers (2011-2017)

Michael G. McGovern


Michael McGovern, co-chair of the firm’s government enforcement practice, has over 25 years of experience representing domestic and multinational corporations, board committees and their officers, directors and other executives in complex criminal and civil enforcement and litigation matters. Michael is also an accomplished criminal trial lawyer, having tried numerous federal cases across the country to verdict. He has successfully defended clients in a wide variety of high-profile and sensitive matters involving allegations of securities and commodities fraud, other types of financial fraud, domestic and foreign corruption, antitrust offenses, tax offenses, and health care fraud.  

Chambers USA notes that Michael “regularly defends clients subject to both DOJ and SEC investigations, offering particular expertise in alleged antitrust violations.” And clients appreciate his counsel, as one client said: “I can't imagine having a better attorney, I can’t speak more highly of him. He excels at all aspects: he is very good strategically, knowledgeable and calming.”

Prior to joining Ropes & Gray, Michael served for over seven years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where he held supervisory positions in both the Organized Crime and Terrorism Unit and the General Crimes Unit. In those capacities, he supervised groups of more than 20 Assistant U.S. Attorneys in grand jury investigations and prosecutions of complex securities fraud, money laundering, terrorism, and RICO cases. Michael also argued more than a dozen appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In 2004, Michael received the Department of Justice’s award for superior performance as an Assistant United States Attorney.


  • Lead counsel for global medical device company in criminal antitrust investigation by DOJ and various State Attorneys General
  • Lead counsel for various hedge funds and other investment management firms in insider-trading investigations by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the DOJ, and the SEC
  • Lead counsel for national healthcare companies in various DOJ investigations and parallel False Claims Act litigations
  • Lead counsel for various multinational companies in alleged “criminal cartel” investigations by DOJ and other competition authorities around the world
  • Lead counsel for numerous traders and bank executives in various global criminal investigations by DOJ, SEC, CFTC and other enforcement authorities of alleged bank fraud, money laundering, and other financial crimes and regulatory violations

Trial Experience

Among Michael’s trial successes as a defense lawyer, he secured a jury acquittal on all counts for a bank president in a federal bank fraud trial prosecuted by DOJ; a post-trial misdemeanor disposition for a BP engineer charged by the Deepwater Horizon Task Force with two felony counts of obstruction of justice; and a post-trial dismissal of all criminal counts brought by Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh against former President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Advisor.

Michael also had a successful trial record as a federal prosecutor, which included winning jury convictions of the former Bosses of two different organized crime families of La Cosa Nostra. Also as a federal prosecutor, Michael secured convictions in several trials involving allegations of securities fraud. 


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