Alston & Bird today announced the hiring of Jeffrey Tsai, a former senior official with California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris’s office, as a litigation partner in the firm’s Silicon Valley and Los Angeles offices.
Tsai, who is also a former federal prosecutor and U.S. Justice Department official, will be a member of Alston & Bird’s Litigation & Trial Practice and Government & Internal Investigations groups. He will focus on assisting clients in the technology sector facing government scrutiny on a host of emerging issues, including cybersecurity, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, economic espionage and antitrust regulation.
Tsai will also head the firm’s State Attorneys General Practice, a cross-disciplinary group that brings together Alston & Bird’s deep bench of attorneys who focus on counseling and litigation related to investigations and enforcement actions taken by state attorneys general and related federal authorities such as the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He will work closely with the firm’s Commercial Litigation, Privacy and Data Security and Class Action practices.
“Jeff has achieved extraordinary distinction in all areas of professional endeavor and is well recognized as one of the most accomplished assistant state attorneys general in the country,” said Alston & Bird Managing Partner Richard Hays. “His addition gives us the opportunity to expand our California white collar practice and to continue developing our national practice representing clients in state attorneys general enforcement actions and investigations.”
As Special Assistant Attorney General of California, Tsai was a member of Attorney General Harris’s executive management team. He oversaw a range of policy issues and litigation matters related to criminal law, consumer protection, corporate accountability and intellectual property enforcement, including California’s multimillion-dollar settlement regarding residential mortgage-backed securities and the currently pending joint federal-state prosecution of California’s largest utility. He also served as chief representative for Harris to the National Association of Attorneys General and the Conference of Western Attorneys General, giving him the opportunity to work with state attorneys general across the country to coordinate multistate investigations and develop policy and legislation on issues of joint concern.
“Jeff is one of the very few attorneys in California with executive-level experience in enforcement matters at the state attorney general’s office, Justice Department and U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said William Jordan, co-chair of Alston & Bird’s Litigation & Trial Practice Group. “He excels as a legal policy advisor, counselor and trial lawyer, and he will be a terrific resource to our clients in state attorney general enforcement proceedings both in California and nationally, as well as in complex civil litigation and enforcement matters, cross-border arbitration and enforcement and white collar criminal defense.”
Before joining the California Attorney General’s Office, Tsai was a federal prosecutor and senior policy official at the U.S. Justice Department. He served as senior counsel to former Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, where he advised on financial fraud and anti-corruption enforcement and coordinated the division’s role in President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. He also previously served as a deputy chief and an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of Florida and a public corruption prosecutor in the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section in Washington, D.C.
Early in his career, Tsai worked in private practice as an associate at Keker & Van Nest LLP and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati LLP and clerked for the Hon. Vanessa D. Gilmore of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
Tsai joins a number of former state and federal prosecutors who have established successful practices at Alston & Bird, including Jordan, George Abney, Jeff Belkin, Mike Brown, Mark Calloway, Craig Carpenito, Dan Jarcho, Ted Kang, Mitch Mitchelson, Bruce Pasfield, Kim Peretti, Spence Pryor and Kyle Wallace.
“Having tried 20 cases before federal juries and made multiple arguments before U.S. appeals courts, Jeff has a well-earned reputation for successfully handling sophisticated civil and criminal enforcement matters in California and across the country,” said Craig Carpenito, co-leader of Alston & Bird’s Government & Internal Investigations Group. “He has also led the development of state and federal enforcement policies and priorities that remain in effect today, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, giving him insight into the thinking and motivations of government regulators that is essential to our clients’ understanding of how these enforcement regimes operate.”
Tsai is a senior fellow at the University of Texas at Austin’s Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, where he helps lead the Mexico Security Initiative and focuses on rule of law and financial system integrity issues affecting Mexico and the United States. He sits on the Council of the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section and is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a barrister with the Edward J. McFetridge American Inn of Court.