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FBI and Other Raids: Guidance for Counsel When Law Enforcement is Knocking With (or Without) a Warrant

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will prepare counsel for the day when law enforcement shows up at company headquarters demanding immediate access. Such events are often a complete surprise to counsel. It is imperative that counsel is prepared for this potentially earth-shattering occurrence.


Diligent corporate attorneys spend hours, days, and weeks anticipating legal compliance issues and implementing programs to minimize the risk of noncompliance. Minimizing risk, however, is not the same as eliminating it. Law enforcement authorities can appear at the company door seeking entry, documents, and other information. Without a criminal lawyer in the room: What should corporate counsel do?

The chance that your client will receive a surprise visit from law enforcement is not an outlier. Law enforcement raids have involved commercial issues (price-fixing, improper payments, etc.), intellectual property infringement, immigration, and a host of other subjects. A well-developed compliance plan includes immediate steps to take in the event of a corporate raid.

Some steps seem obvious, such as calling appropriate counsel and not antagonizing law enforcement. Others are more subtle, ranging from where to physically locate the law enforcement personnel (i.e., not in customer sight), determining the actual authority of law enforcement to act, and how to protect privileges and confidentiality.

Listen as our panel of attorneys explores all aspects of this issue, including advanced planning, instant action, and reaction during the law enforcement visit.



  1. Before a raid
    1. Examination of factors that may increase the chance of a raid
    2. Planning steps: what are they and who do they involve
  2. At the start of a raid
    1. Warrant
    2. Other authority
  3. As the raid continues
    1. Cooperation and how to challenge
    2. Memorialization, recording
    3. Assertion of privilege and confidentiality


The panel will review these and other notable issues:

  • What general planning steps can help counsel in advance of a surprise law enforcement visit?
  • What are the warning signs suggesting the possibility of a raid?
  • What must law enforcement show to enter the premises?
  • How can the scope of law enforcement's authority be determined?
  • What protective steps should be taken while law enforcement is there?


Cornell, Timothy
Timothy J. Cornell

Clifford Chance

Mr. Cornell advises clients on antitrust issues in government civil and criminal investigations, regulatory review of...  |  Read More

Hall, Sarah
Sarah M. Hall

Senior Counsel
Thompson Hine

Ms. Hall is senior counsel in the firm’s Business Litigation practice and a member of the White Collar Criminal...  |  Read More

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