Jenna M. Dabbs
Jenna Dabbs is a partner at Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, resident in the New York office.
Jenna is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer whose practice focuses on government and internal investigations, white collar criminal defense, complex civil litigation and regulatory compliance. She is a former federal prosecutor with extensive trial and investigative experience in both the public and private sectors.
Jenna draws on that experience to represent individuals and corporations in internal investigations and in a wide variety of government and regulatory investigations by the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, FINRA and other regulatory agencies. Among other things, those investigations involve securities and corporate fraud, insider trading, market manipulation, money laundering, tax fraud, prescription drug diversion and public corruption. She also represents individuals and corporations in complex contract and employment disputes and other crisis situations. Her clients include a Fortune 500 government contractor, a large mutual insurance company, global financial institutions, a prominent global consulting firm, and several private equity and investment management firms. She also represents executives and directors of large financial institutions; pharmaceutical, logistics, and industrial conglomerates; and other companies.
Jenna’s current and recent representations include:
- Representing the audit committee of a large mutual insurance company in an internal investigation into allegations that senior executives of the company conveyed inaccurate and incomplete financial performance and other information to the board.
- Representing a former executive of a cryptocurrency exchange in a criminal case alleging violations of the Bank Secrecy Act.
- Representing AECOM, a prominent government contractor, in defending against a series of claims brought against the company under the False Claims Act. As a result of her investigative and advocacy work, the Government declined to intervene in the case – a significant development for our client. In April 2020, a federal court dismissed the whistleblower lawsuit in question, finding that the conduct in question was "not material and therefore not actionable under the False Claims Act."
- Representing the founder and former CEO of a brand management company in a criminal case alleging accounting fraud that is scheduled to be retried following a mistrial.
- Representing a financial technology company specializing in blockchain and cryptocurrency products and services in investigations by the NYS Department of Financial Services, the SEC, the CFTC and the DOJ.
- Representing a former analyst and former co-President of a family office in connection with SEC and DOJ investigations into alleged market manipulation and securities fraud.
- Representing several current and former partners of a prominent, global consulting firm in connection with investigations by DOJ and multiple state attorneys general.
- Serving as Independent Compliance Consultant for a large financial institution in connection with an SEC resolution involving recordkeeping violations relating to communications devices.
- Representing a global financial institution in a CFTC investigation into recordkeeping violations.
- Representing several executives of a large industrial chemicals company in an investigation by the SEC and DOJ relating to accounting fraud.
- Representing the former CFO of a medical device company in an investigation by the SEC and DOJ relating to accounting fraud and market manipulation.
- Representing a former commodities trader in connection with a DOJ investigation into market manipulation.
- Helping to lead the team that succeeded in securing a TRO restoring legal visitation at the Metropolitan Detention Center in early 2019.
Jenna served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York from 2006 to 2014. As a member of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, Jenna investigated and prosecuted a wide range of federal securities and commodities fraud offenses, and coordinated parallel civil enforcement proceedings with the SEC, CFTC and other regulatory agencies. Jenna also has extensive experience litigating restitution and asset forfeiture issues. As a member of the Southern District’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit, Jenna led many high-profile extraterritorial investigations involving terrorism and national security, international money-laundering, and global narcotics trafficking. She has conducted numerous investigations in parallel with U.S. and foreign law-enforcement, intelligence services, and regulators, including the FBI, OFAC, DEA’s Special Operations Division, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State. Jenna also served for two years as the Chief of the Narcotics Unit in the Southern District.
Jenna has served as lead or co-lead counsel in numerous federal criminal trials, on charges ranging from bank fraud and money laundering to narcotics trafficking and attempted murder. She has directed and supervised hundreds of investigations in a wide variety of matters, including securities fraud, mail and wire fraud, domestic and international narcotics trafficking and associated crimes of violence, drug diversion, money laundering, sanctions violations, and material support of terrorist organizations. Jenna has also briefed and argued numerous criminal appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Following her career in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and prior to joining Kaplan Hecker, Jenna served as Senior Counsel at Pershing Square Capital Management, L.P., an SEC-registered investment manager overseeing both public and private investment funds. Pershing Square is a concentrated, research-intensive, fundamental value investor in the public markets, and often employs an activist strategy. At Pershing, Jenna was a member of the Legal and Compliance Team and was responsible for litigation, regulatory matters, and compliance, principally in the areas of trading, cybersecurity and data security and privacy. She was also the first and only woman on the Investment Team, and participated in the investment research process with a focus on legal and regulatory risk.
Before entering government service, Jenna was a litigation associate in the New York office of Covington & Burling LLP, where she represented institutions and individuals in connection with criminal and regulatory investigations, complex civil litigation, and SEC enforcement proceedings. Jenna clerked for the Hon. Denise Cote of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Jenna has received widespread acclaim for her work. Chambers has ranked Jenna as one of New York’s top litigators in white-collar crime and government investigations, with their sources describing her as “so smart, strategic, and engaging” with “great credibility”, while also noting Jenna “has great judgment and is a solid decision-maker who can think through tough decisions." She was named to Global Investigations Review 2021 Women in Investigations survey, which honors “remarkable women… achieving great things in a competitive and notoriously tough area of law.” Jenna was also named a Leading Plaintiff Employment & Civil Rights Lawyer by Lawdragon 500 in 2021 and 2022. Benchmark Litigation also recognized Jenna as a "Future Star" and Crain's New York Business named her one of its 2021 "Most Notable Women in Law."
Alongside Jenna’s commercial litigation practice, she is also committed to pursuing pro bono matters that advance the public interest. Jenna serves as appointed counsel for indigent defendants charged in the Southern District of New York pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act. She is a member of the New York City Bar’s White-Collar Committee and is on the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Society and the Board of Trustees of the Caedmon School.
Jenna received her J.D. from Columbia University, where she was a senior editor of the Law Review, a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a Public Interest Fellow. She received her B.A., with high honors, from Wesleyan University.