Pat is an experienced trial lawyer and strategist with a practice focused on white collar criminal defense, securities enforcement matters, and financial services sector civil disputes.
He has a strong reputation as an innovative problem solver, a skilled negotiator, and an excellent courtroom advocate. After years running the white collar practice at a large international firm, Pat recently co-founded Smith Villazor LLP because he believes that a smaller, independent law firm with a clear and targeted mission will permit him to better serve his clients.
During the past decade’s intense regulatory environment, Pat has worked tirelessly to defend clients in high profile investigations, many of which arose out of the credit crisis. From investment banks and hedge funds, to individual bankers, traders, lawyers, and corporate officers, clients have looked to Pat to solve their most important legal problems. As a result of defending federal and state investigations across the country, Pat has substantial experience with matters involving allegations of securities fraud, insider trading, market manipulation, accounting fraud, money laundering, sanctions violations, antitrust violations, and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. He has a solid track record of shutting down investigations before charges are ever filed.
In addition to defending clients in government investigations, Pat has led numerous internal investigations at public companies and financial services firms, often arising from whistleblower complaints, as well as independent investigations for audit committees. Pat brings a practical approach that combines the need to responsibly investigate the issue for the entity, and mitigate the risk of any government investigation, with an understanding of the impact such investigations have on the organization and its constituents. His familiarity with sophisticated financial products, securities market practices, and accounting principles enable efficient, effective investigations.
Clients also look to Pat to handle important civil disputes. He has handled securities cases, investment fund disputes, and commercial litigation. The combination of top-drawer advocacy skills, subject-matter expertise, and sound judgment has produced strong results for his clients.
Pat re-entered private practice in 2005 after an 11-year stint with the Department of Justice. In 1994, he served as associate independent counsel in the Whitewater Investigation under Independent Counsel Robert B. Fiske, Jr. From 1995 to 2002, he was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York. As a member of the Southern District’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, he investigated and prosecuted complex securities fraud schemes involving financial statement fraud, insider trading, and market manipulation. From 2002 to 2005, Pat was an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of the Northern Mariana Islands. He received the Department of Justice’s Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service and is a two-time recipient of the Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney.