Paul J. Nathanson
  1. Partner

Mr. Nathanson is a partner in Davis Polk’s Litigation Department, practicing in the Washington DC office. His practice focuses on internal investigations and criminal and regulatory enforcement matters, in areas such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, fraud, sanctions and anti-money laundering.

Mr. Nathanson, a former law clerk to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., is an experienced trial lawyer and joined Davis Polk after serving as Deputy Chief of the Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. As a prosecutor, Mr. Nathanson investigated and prosecuted a wide variety of complex white collar criminal cases, including securities, bank, and health care fraud, and bribery offenses, such as Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations. His notable public cases include the conviction at trial of a mortgage company executive described by the Wall Street Journal as the most senior executive convicted of conduct related to the financial crisis, and the conviction of a faux CIA veteran and cable news commentator on government fraud charges

While a prosecutor, Mr. Nathanson was a recipient of the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award, the Assistant Attorney General’s Exceptional Service Award, the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency Award for Excellence, and FBI Washington Field Office Outstanding Service Awards. 

Prior to his tenure at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Nathanson served at the U.S. Treasury Department, first as a member of the joint White House/Treasury team that crafted the restructuring strategies for Chrysler and General Motors and successfully shepherded both companies through bankruptcy, and later as a senior advisor to the Treasury Department General Counsel. 

Mr. Nathanson has a finance background and, earlier in his career, worked in investment banking and private equity.

Work Highlights

  • A global financial institution in connection with an FCPA investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Federal Reserve into hiring practices in Asia
  • A global financial institution in connection with investigations by the Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and other state and federal agencies related to sanctions issues
  • A global financial institution in connection with investigations by the DOJ and SEC into customer fee-charging practices
  • The audit committee of a foreign financial institution and U.S. issuer in connection with an SEC investigation regarding accounting fraud 
  • A Fortune 100 corporation in connection with a high profile public corruption investigation 
  • ExxonMobil in a lawsuit against OFAC and the U.S. Treasury Department challenging a finding of violation and assessment of penalty under the Ukraine-Related Sanctions Regulations
  • A former precious metals trader at a global financial institution charged by the DOJ and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) with market manipulation and “spoofing”

Professional History

  • Davis Polk since 2016
  • Partner, 2018 - present
  • Counsel, 2016 - 2018
  • Deputy Chief, Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Unit, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, 2014-2016
  • Assistant U.S. Attorney, Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Unit, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, 2010-2016
  • Auto Task Force and Senior Advisor to the General Counsel, U.S. Department of the Treasury, 2009
  • Associate, Baker Botts, 2007-2009
  • Associate, Quadrangle Group, 2000-2001
  • Analyst, Lazard Frères & Co., 1998-2000
  • Law Clerk, Hon. John G. Roberts Jr., U.S. Supreme Court, 2006-2007
  • Law Clerk, Hon. Laurence H. Silberman, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, 2005-2006
  • Law Clerk, Hon. Paul V. Niemeyer, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, 2004-2005

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • State of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

Education

  • B.S., Economics, University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School, 1998
    • summa cum laude
  • J.D., Harvard Law School, 2004
    • magna cum laude
    • Editor, Harvard Law Review