Former U.S. Attorney, Department of Homeland Security GC Joe D. Whitley Joins Womble Bond Dickinson

Oct. 11, 2021 (ATLANTA) – Prominent white collar and investigations attorney Joe D. Whitley has joined Womble Bond Dickinson as a partner in the Business Litigation practice group. Whitley, who has held high-ranking positions in the U.S. Department of Justice and was the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's first General Counsel, will lead the firm’s White Collar and Investigations team. He is based in Atlanta but will spend a significant amount of time in the Washington, D.C., office.

Whitley’s practice focuses on white collar criminal matters and regulatory enforcement, corporate internal investigations, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and U.S. export controls and compliance. He also advises clients on corporate compliance, healthcare fraud, and FDA-related matters. 

“I am excited to begin this next chapter of my career with Womble Bond Dickinson,” Whitley said. “For decades, clients have trusted Womble’s counsel on government investigations and regulatory enforcement matters. The firm’s bench strength and transatlantic reach will be tremendous assets for my clients, and I look forward to joining this outstanding team.” 

In addition to his years of private practice experience, Whitley has served in several high-level roles with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. During the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, he served as Acting Associate Attorney General, the third-ranking position at Main Justice. He was also appointed by Presidents Reagan and Bush, respectively, to serve as the U.S. Attorney in the Middle and Northern Districts of Georgia. 

In 2003, President George W. Bush appointed Whitley as the first General Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security, the department’s highest-ranking legal official. He held that position for two years working for Secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff before returning to private practice. During his government service, Whitley served under five U.S. attorneys general and four presidents in several key operational and policy positions, several of which were U.S. Senate-confirmed.

"Joe Whitley is a titan in Atlanta legal circles and is well respected as a leader in representing global companies in government investigations and related enforcement,” said Betty Temple, CEO and Chair of Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP. “He is an outstanding addition to our firm and shows our commitment to providing the highest level of service to clients."

"It isn't every day that you can add an attorney with Joe's credentialing, experience, and reputation,” said Business Litigation Practice Group Leader Chris Jones. “Joe will lead Womble’s ongoing effort to strengthen our white collar and investigations practice. His history of high-ranking government service and network of relationships are second to none. And it is always exciting when a lawyer who can practice anywhere chooses to come and practice with us at Womble.”

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