Baker Botts, a leading international technology, energy and life sciences law firm, announced that Michael W. Ward has joined the Litigation Department as a partner in the Palo Alto office. He focuses on government investigations and white collar criminal defense. He has been appointed as an Independent Compliance Monitor and regularly advises clients on best practices in corporate compliance programs.
Ward, who will split his time with the San Francisco office, joins the firm from Vinson & Elkins, prior to which he served as a chief risk and compliance officer for Juniper Networks. There, he led a worldwide ethics and compliance program, enterprise risk management program and various legal and legal operations teams. He also oversaw a six-year Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation spanning multiple countries, including Russia and China, and his efforts resulted in a declination from the U.S. Department of Justice and a non-bribery civil resolution with the Securities & Exchange Commission.
“Mike is an ideal fit for the firm, based on his reputation in the Bay Area and beyond,” said John Martin, Managing Partner of Baker Botts. “We are focused on building our litigation practice and our leading technology capabilities on the West Coast even further. Mike will strengthen our white-collar presence in particular, and we are delighted to welcome him to the firm.”
“Mike’s unique background combines years of trial experience as a federal prosecutor and a keen business focus having served as an in-house compliance officer in several capacities,” said Bridget Moore, Co-Chair of the firm's Litigation Department. “We have been a fan of Mike’s for some time and look forward to working with him as our partner.”
Ward’s career began in private practice, followed by serving nearly 16 years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice in Minneapolis. In this role, he led numerous federal criminal investigations, tried over 50 federal criminal jury trials, and regularly assessed the effectiveness of corporate compliance programs. He oversaw the investigation and prosecution of all categories of federal crimes, including public corruption, insider trading, money laundering, terrorist financing, bank fraud, currency transaction structuring, price fixing, government contracting frauds and export control violations. In recognition of his contributions, Ward was recognized with the National Director’s Award for Outstanding Performance.
“I am excited to join Baker Botts,” Ward said. “The firm has a strong presence in the technology sector and a highly regarded litigation practice across the board. I look forward to hitting the ground running.”
In 2009, Ward left the government and began his role as Head of Investigations and Compliance for Target, Inc. He continued to operate in senior compliance roles at McKesson, Cisco Systems and Adobe Systems. Ward joined Juniper Network in 2015 and held the title of Chief Risk and Compliance Officer.
Baker Botts’ White Collar Defense and Corporate Investigations Practice has decades of experience representing clients in their most sensitive matters. The team is made up of trial lawyers with national reputations and includes former federal and state prosecutors and regulators, national security specialists and experienced investigators.