Judith Seddon is global co-head of Ropes & Gray’s white collar and government enforcement practice.
Named Business Crime Lawyer of the Year by Who’s Who Legal 2018, Judith was listed as one of those “truly outstanding practitioners and the very best in their field.” They described her as “one of the most highly regarded investigations lawyers in the UK, highlighted for her “brilliant” work on behalf of both corporates and individuals.” She was named as a Global Elite Thought Leader in Business Crime in 2019 and 2020.
Judith is a leading and consistently ranked band 1 practitioner specialising in white-collar crime, fraud, money laundering, corruption and regulatory and criminal investigations and prosecutions. A client recently noted “Judith Seddon gives Ropes & Gray one of the best-known lawyers in this space in London and her reputation for hard work, intellectual rigour and strategic thinking is well-deserved.” She has successfully represented corporate clients including leading financial institutions, in some of the most significant and complex investigations mounted by the SFO and FCA in the UK and by prosecuting authorities across the globe. Clients note she “counsels and advises with intelligence and caution and has tremendous credibility with regulators.” She has successfully represented individuals in a number of the highest profile investigations. Judith has conducted numerous internal investigations for clients involving highly sensitive matters, successfully defended clients against threatened actions by the SFO and FCA and other government agencies, including the Competition and Markets Authority, and guided clients through the myriad and often unexpected challenges of navigating cross-border investigations.
Following a highly successful academic career, Judith’s professional career began at a leading specialist criminal law practice in central London led by former white collar specialist, Rod Fletcher. There she appeared as a defence advocate in court on a number of occasions and led the preparation of the defence in high profile prosecutions, including the prosecution of police officers, some of high rank, from the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad, at the Central Criminal Court. She made partner there in 2002. In 2008 she moved to a Magic Circle firm, where she became director in 2011 and partner in 2014; she was one of the first criminal law practitioners to join a Magic Circle firm as the need for specialist criminal practitioners, to deal with the growth of investigations and prosecutions of white collar crime became essential. She joined Ropes & Gray in 2018.
She co-edits GIR’s “The Practitioner’s Guide to Global Investigations,” now in its fourth edition. She is a regular speaker, panel member and chair at conferences both in the UK and overseas.
Described by Chambers as “excellent” and by Who’s Who Legal as “sharp and clever” she is acknowledged by her peers, clients and the legal press as a thoroughgoing and trenchant litigator, with an eye for detail yet strategic, committed and indefatigable in the representation of her clients.
- Represents a company and its directors in a Competition and Markets Authority investigation into suspected anti-competitive arrangements in the supply of construction services
- Representing a Malaysian businessman in respect of Indian criminal proceedings, consequential representations to Interpol, advising on issues of extradition, business travel restrictions and WorldCheck representations
- Advising an individual employee of a financial institution to a compelled interview by the FCA in connection with its investigation into concerns about the financial institution’s anti-money laundering, counter terrorist financing and financial crime compliance systems and controls
- Representing a senior executive who is a suspect in a cross-border bribery and corruption investigation being conducted by the SFO into the employer and various senior executives
- Advising an individual in connection with an ongoing SFO investigation into the accounting issues at a technology company
- Assisted a number of investor clients in assessing their reporting obligations under applicable anti-money laundering laws and regulations
- Advised a major financial institution in relation to a multi-jurisdictional investigation into bribery and money-laundering
- Advising and representing a major financial institution on the SFO's investigation and prosecutions in relation to alleged benchmark manipulation
Experience prior to joining Ropes & Gray:
- Secondment from June – September 2014 to the Financial Crime team within Barclays advising the business on a variety of issues, including the use of third party agents and compliance with the internal policies
- Advised senior executives at a leading British retail corporation in a high profile investigation
- Advised a multinational company in relation to potentially corrupt payments to agents made by its subsidiaries; advising on the conduct of such investigation and reporting obligations/potential liability in four different jurisdictions
- Advised an international organisation, its employees and former employees in relation to criminal investigations into companies' and individuals' alleged corruption overseas
- Advised a major financial institution on the SFO's investigation in relation to alleged FX manipulation
- Advised a major financial investigation in relation to an overseas bribery investigation and requests for mutual legal assistance
- Advised a major corporate in relation to allegations concerning fraudulent conduct perpetrated on a substantial number of consumers over several years. Liaising with investigations authorities and conducting an internal investigation and a review of the company’s terms and conditions
- Quoted, “UK prosecutor loses battle against KBR over extra-territorial reach,” Reuters (February 5, 2021)
- Quoted, “How Will Brexit Hinder Law Enforcers? Let Us Count The Ways,” Law360 (January 12, 2021)
- Co-author, “Culture, Compliance and Crisis,” Global Investigations Review (May 5, 2020)
- Quoted, “City faces up to ‘dirty money’ through suspicious activity reports,” The Times (November 21, 2019)
- Author, “HMRC outlines benefits of self-reporting tax offences, while SFO fraud guidance expected to reward privilege waiver and compliance programmes,” The Practitioner’s Guide to Global Investigations (July 2019)
- Quoted, “Alstom Ruling Helps UK Prosecutors Tackling Corporations,” Law360 (July 25, 2019)
- Co-author, “Monitorships in the United Kingdom,” The Guide to Monitorships, first edition (2019)
- Quoted, “SFO May Breathe Life Into Fraud Reporting After Setbacks,” Law360 (April 10, 2019)
- Quoted, “UK Privilege Protections Still Fall Short Of US Levels,” Law360 (March 20, 2019)
- Quoted, “Top tier: the sector where women already rank among the stars,” Legal Week (January 15, 2019)
- Editor, The Practitioner’s Guide to Global Investigations, Volume I: Global Investigations in the United Kingdom and the United States, Third Edition (2019)
- Co-author, “Self-Reporting to the Authorities and Other Disclosure Obligations: The UK Perspective,” The Practitioner’s Guide to Global Investigations, Third Edition (2019)
- Quoted, “Will the EU improve its monitoring of money-laundering threats?,” Compliance Week (December 27, 2018)
- Quoted, “EU crackdown will not clean up dirty money, experts say,” The Times (December 21, 2018)
- Quoted, “Business crime is a white-hot legal sector,” The Financial Times (December 11, 2018)
- Quoted, “The Global 100 debate – Will stars or institutions define the law’s elite?,” Legal Business (October 29, 2018)
- Co-author, “Common Sense Prevails in the UK’s Battle over Legal Professional Privilege,” Expert Witness Journal (Autumn 2018)
- Co-author, “Four Takeaways From the U.K.’s ENRC Privilege Decision,” The Anti-Corruption Report (October 17, 2018)
- Quoted, “Investigators eye up unexplained wealth,” The Times (October 11, 2018)
- Quoted, “Backing for unexplained wealth order ‘will trigger rash of applications’,” The Times (October 5, 2018)
- Quoted, “U.K. Serious Fraud Office Won’t Appeal Ruling on Attorney-Client Privilege,” The Wall Street Journal (October 2, 2018)
- Quoted, “UK fraud office backs down in ENRC privilege battle,” Reuters (October 2, 2018)
- Quoted, “SFO Won't Appeal Landmark ENRC Legal Privilege Ruling,” Law360 (October 2, 2018)
- Quoted, “SFO will not appeal ENRC privilege ruling,” The Law Society Gazette (October 2, 2018)
- Quoted, “English Court of Appeal preserves litigation privilege,” Compliance Week (September 13, 2018)
- Quoted, “Landmark Appeals Ruling Rescues Privilege In UK Probes,” Law360 (September 7, 2018)
- Quoted, “Lawyers anticipate more to come on ENRC for Supreme Court,” The Times (September 6, 2018)
- Quoted, “ENRC wins landmark privilege appeal,” Global Investigations Review (September 5, 2018)
- Quoted, “Lawyers welcome 'recalibration' of privilege law as Hogan Lovells secures landmark SFO dispute win,” Legal Week (September 5, 2018)
- Quoted, “ENRC wins appeal in legal privilege battle against UK's Serious Fraud Office,” Reuters (September 5, 2018)
- Quoted, “New Anti-Money Laundering Bill could have limited effect,” International Financial Law Review (May 16, 2018)
- Quoted, “UK, Global AML Enforcement Trended Upward in 2017,” MoneyLaundering.com (April 4, 2018)
- Quoted, “The Morning Risk Report: U.K. Sanctions Agency Starts Blogging,” The Wall Street Journal (March 8, 2018)
- Quoted, “High Court sides with RBS in litigation privilege dispute,” Global Investigations Review (February 6, 2018)
- Speaker, “Short Selling Regulation: FCA Final Notice,” Ropes & Gray Podcast (November 30, 2020)
- Panelist, “Market Abuse—Perspective on US and UK Insider Trading and Enforcement,” Ropes & Gray Webinar (November 19, 2020)
- Panelist, “The Impact of a Global Crisis on Anti-Bribery Compliance,” Ropes & Gray Joint Webinar with Transparency International (September 3, 2020)
- Speaker, “How Good Does Governance and Stewardship Assist in Combating Financial Crime?” 37th International Symposium on Economic Crime (September 2019)
- Panelist, The Legal Apprentice Competition, News Group UK (June 2019)
- Speaker, “Responding to, Managing and Preventing Investigations and Disputes Across the Globe,” City & Financial Global Ltd. Conference (March 2019)
DisclaimerRopes & Gray International LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in Delaware, United States of America and is a recognised body regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (with registered number 521000).
- BCL, New College, Oxford, 1995
- LLM, Yale Law School, 1992
- LLB (with German Law), King's College London, 1990
Admissions / Qualifications
- England and Wales, Solicitor, 1997
- Ranked in Band 1 by Chambers UK in the ‘Financial Crime: Corporates (London) category in 2019.
- Ranked in Band 3 by Chambers UK in the ‘Financial Crime: Individuals (London) category in 2019.
- Recognized as a “Leading Individual” by Legal 500 UK, where the practice is placed in Tier 2 for the ‘Regulatory Investigations and Corporate Crime’ category in 2019.
- Named as a Global Elite Thought Leader in Business Crime in 2019 and 2020.
- Business Crime Lawyer of the Year by Who’s Who Legal 2018
- Ranked in top 5 most highly regarded individuals in England for corporate defence, Who’s Who Legal 2016, Business Crime Defence.
- Leading Individual “Regulatory Investigations and Corporate Crime”, Legal 500 UK, 2015 – 2017
- Women in Investigations 2015, GIR