Joe D. Whitley chairs Baker Donelson’s Government Enforcement and Investigations Group. He represents clients nationally and internationally in white collar criminal matters and regulatory enforcement, corporate internal investigations, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and U.S. export controls and compliance. He also advises clients on corporate compliance, health care fraud and FDA-related matters.
Joe has had a wide-ranging career in the Department of Justice. During the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, Joe served as the Acting Associate Attorney General, the third-ranking position at Main Justice in the Department of Justice. He was appointed by Presidents Reagan and Bush, respectively, to serve as the United States Attorney in the Middle (Macon) and Northern (Atlanta) Federal Districts of Georgia. Throughout his career, Joe served under five United States Attorneys General and four Presidents in a number of key operational and policy positions. Earlier in his career, he served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit in Columbus, Georgia.
In 2003, Joe was appointed by President George W. Bush as the first General Counsel of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the highest ranking legal official in DHS. He held that position for two years working for Secretary Tom Ridge and Secretary Michael Chertoff, before his departure and return to private practice. Joe continues to have a Homeland Security practice and he has chaired the ABA’s Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice Homeland Security Law Institute for the last nine years.
Corporate defense and representation of clients in complex civil and criminal enforcement matters brought by the Department of Justice, other federal agencies, State Attorneys General and local prosecutors are the focus of Joe Whitley’s practice. Joe has represented numerous individuals and corporations in major government investigations throughout the United States and internationally. He is a frequent speaker and lecturer on white collar, compliance and corporate governance issues.