Defending against claims brought by the government is very different from defending claims brought by private parties. Because of the vast power and resources of the government, and its regulatory agencies, the stakes are much higher. Often, when a business finds itself in the crosshairs of the government, it is bet-the-company litigation—win or close the doors.

If a government agency has launched an investigation, served a subpoena, or filed a lawsuit, your company needs counsel that is well-versed in such matters who can aggressively defend such actions. As a former prosecutor, Sean Ponist and his firm have unique insight into such matters and strategies needed to prevail. Our firm has successfully litigated numerous cases brought by the government in civil courts and administrative panels.

Our record of success litigating against governmental entities, often allows us to work with government lawyers to obtain favorable settlements before trial or even before legal action is taken. In fact, our greatest successes are those in which there is never any public knowledge of government investigation or action.

Our white collar and government enforcement defense practice includes the defense of alleged:

  • Accounting Irregularities

  • Anti-Competitive Business Practices

  • Broker-Dealer / Investment Management

  • Business & Professions Code 17200 / 17500 Violations

  • Corporate compliance and/or Accounting

  • Embezzlement

  • Environmental crimes

  • Fiduciary Obligations

  • FINRA Regulations

  • False Claims Act/qui tam actions

  • Securities Violations

  • State Attorney General Actions

  • Unfair Competition Law (UCL)

  • White-Collar Criminal Defense

“Sean and I worked on the same criminal trial team in the Marin District Attorney’s Office, where we often worked on cases together. I found he was a good strategic thinker, analyzed legal issues thoughtfully, and communicated very well with juries. He’s a great trial attorney, and I’m sure his communication skills make him a hit with his clients, too.”

John Alden
Managing Attorney at Independent Investigations Bureau. San Francisco District Attorney's Office

“Sean provided careful, accurate counsel in a complicated legal matter I was involved in for a period of three years. He is well trained and allocates his time well. In short he is a very good attorney”

Richard Wilson
Former Director of the California Department of Forestry (CDF)

“I worked previously with Sean as an attorney at a firm that handles complex and high-stakes litigation, as well as general commercial disputes. Sean worked closely with clients to craft business solutions and, if necessary, zealously pursue litigation on their behalf. He is an effective advocate both in and out of the courtroom. Sean is also especially gifted at explaining legal concepts and at helping clients assess their legal options, including arbitration, mediation, trial, and settlement.”

Neil Swartzberg
Counsel at Pearson, Simon & Warshaw, LLP

“Sean and I were both attorneys at a former firm with which we were affiliated. Sean is a very smart, experienced attorney, and a really nice guy besides! He works very hard and is dedicated to doing excellent work for his clients.”

Robert Silverman
Attorney, R. Silverman Law Group

“I have had the good fortune to work with Sean on a very complex real estate matter. In spite of these challenges, Sean was able to distill the issues down to manageable components. This is the mark of a skilled attorney. I look forward to the next opportunity to work with him.”

Michael Pallamary
Founding Member at Land Surveyors Advisory Council on Technical Standards (LSACTS)

“Handled a complex situation very professionally.”

Dr. H. Tenenbaum
President/CEO of Harten Resources, Inc.

“Great firm! Responsive to client needs and thoughtful as to what cases need and don’t need. Recommend them highly.”

Audette Morales
Partner at the law firm of Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani

Proven Results

In a Published Decision, Attorneys Ponist and Yockelson Secure Right to Jury Trial for Businesses in BP 17200/17500 Civil Enforcement Actions

In a groundbreaking decision, the appellate court overturned years of precedent which denied businesses the right to a jury trial in civil enforcement actions brought by the State of California against businesses. In this matter, the State of California sought tens of millions from a client for alleged unfair business practices and sought to do so without the right to a jury trial. Attorney Ponist successfully argued that trial without a jury violated his clients’ fundamental, constitutional rights, arguing, in part, “California has never afforded parties lesser rights than what they’re afforded under the United States Constitution. That’s never happened. It’s not that you come to California, you might get higher minimum wage, better environmental protections, but when it comes to Constitutional rights, tough luck.”

Recognized Excellence