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Bill Athanas

Partner

Over 25 years’ experience handling white collar matters from all angles

Bill Athanas represents institutional clients and individuals involved in government enforcement matters, with a focus on federal grand jury investigations. He draws on over 25 years of white collar experience, roughly a third of which was spent as a federal prosecutor. Bill has handled hundreds of complex criminal cases and represented clients in all facets of those matters – whether as subjects, targets, or witnesses, or those who simply receive subpoenas for documents. Wherever the road leads in a federal criminal investigation, Bill knows the path because he has traveled it before.

In representing clients under investigation for potential wrongdoing, Bill devotes a significant amount of his practice on pre-indictment advocacy. This involves gathering vital factual context and providing legal analysis and argument in an effort to dissuade prosecutors from ever filing charges against his clients. This approach has been successful in helping numerous individuals – including several formally identified as "targets" – avoid prosecution entirely. Clients benefit from Bill’s understanding of how government charging decisions are made. Bill recently authored an article setting forth the factors that drive those decisions, and explaining how knowledge of that process can illuminate a client’s strategic choices during the investigation phase.

For clients charged with wrongdoing, Bill recognizes the value of vigorous response to the government’s allegations. He was recently engaged to represent a client facing charges of insurance fraud and identity theft. He quickly conducted a thorough factual investigation, the results of which he presented to the government along with a detailed review of the law explaining why the case was unsound. The prosecutor agreed and dismissed the matter with prejudice.

When indicted cases move forward, Bill calls upon his extensive trial experience to test the government’s evidence where the circumstances warrant. During his career, he has tried over twenty cases to verdict, including fifteen in federal court.

Where the circumstances favor reaching a negotiated resolution, Bill has vast experience securing favorable plea agreements. He recently resolved a lengthy public corruption prosecution by securing a binding plea from the government to a year and day incarceration – a mere fraction of the exposure the client faced. Bill is particularly effective representing cooperating witnesses, including his recent representation of a cooperator who faced a substantial sentence in a compounding pharmacy prosecution. Bill worked to ensure that the information his client provided – which led directly to the pleas of two other individuals – was taken into account when the defendant was sentenced to a year of incarceration. Once again, this sentence was a mere fraction of the sentence faced. Bill recently published an article in The Champion, the official publication of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, detailing this process.


In addition to this work, Bill regularly counsels institutional clients on compliance measures calculated to help ensure full compliance with applicable law. Bill has worked extensively in anti-corruption matters, where his in-depth knowledge of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enables him to counsel clients engaged in international business.  Bill’s experience includes handling FPCA cases as a prosecutor and  advising companies in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, gaming, pharmaceutical, automotive, apparel, resource extraction and professional sports. As part of this work, he regularly provides training for key employees, creates and enhances anti-corruption policies and protocols, conducts internal investigations and provides day-to-day advice and counsel as anti-corruption issues arise.


Additionally, Bill conducts internal investigations on behalf of clients in the healthcare, manufacturing and financial services industries – whether as part of ongoing government inquiries or otherwise. Bill has written and lectured extensively on how to conduct internal investigations efficiently and effectively, and in a manner which inspires the confidence of prosecutors and regulators. Bill’s prosecutorial experience helps him maximize his corporate clients’ ability to recover for harm suffered as a result of wrongdoing by internal or external actors. 

Related Experience

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  • Related Services
  • Education
    • J.D., cum laude, Suffolk University Law School, 1995
      • Suffolk University Law Review
    • B.S., University of New Hampshire, 1992
  • Bar Admissions
    • Alabama
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
  • Court Admissions
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First and Eleventh Circuits
    • U.S. District Court, All Districts of Alabama
    • U.S. District Court, All Districts of Massachusetts
    • U.S. District Court, All Districts of New Hampshire
  • Recognitions
    • Chambers USA
      • Litigation: General Commercial (Alabama), 2019-2022
    • The Best Lawyers in America© (BL Rankings)
      • Criminal Defense: White-Collar, 2019-2022
    • Mid-South Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters)
      • Super Lawyers - Criminal Defense: White Collar, 2013-2021
    • B-Metro Top Lawyers
      • White Collar Criminal Defense, 2018
  • Professional Involvement
    • Chair, White Collar Crime Committee of the Criminal Justice Section of the Alabama Bar (2014-present)
    • Chair, Alabama Bar Association, International Law Section (2011-present)
    • Fellow, Birmingham Bar Foundation (2021-present)
  • Up Close
    When not practicing law, Bill spends as much time as possible with his wife and young daughter. More often than not, they are on the search for their next great meal.

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