Claire is a fighter. She protects her clients from the long reach of the government (both state and federal). Her 25+ years of experience fighting in the trenches of the criminal justice system has honed her litigation and negotiation skills. She has tried numerous cases, negotiated favorable resolutions and obtained dismissals. Several of her most complex matters have been resolved favorably without publicity or reputational damage to the client. She represents companies in grand jury investigations and related enforcement proceedings as well as witnesses and individual targets.

She also leads internal investigations assisting corporate clients in identifying and correcting problems while negotiating with enforcement authorities to attain the best result possible.

Besides aiding clients with criminal and civil enforcement issues, she also counsels and provides in-house training for clients in numerous compliance areas such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), anti-trust, government contracts, qui tam and false claims matters.

Claire has been recognized as a leading litigator by a number of publications, industry organizations and legal directories. She is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, is top-ranked by Chambers USA for Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations in North Carolina, was named “2017 White Collar Attorney of the Year in Charlotte” by Best Lawyers in America, and has been a top rated lawyer for Criminal Defense: White Collar in Super Lawyers since 2016. In addition, she serves as Chair of Lex Mundi’s Cross-Border Investigations: Business Crimes and Compliance Practice Group.

Representative Experience

Any result the lawyer or law firm may have achieved on behalf of clients in other matters does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

  • Represents large video gaming company in law enforcement subpoena review and law enforcement interaction and compliance.
  • Represented distributor of safety products in nation-wide anti-trust investigation. Investigation closed with no charges filed.
  • Represented international manufacturer of medical supply devices in a government contract fraud investigation. No charges filed.
  • Represented accountant in large scale bank fraud indictment. Matter resolved by a plea to lesser charge and a non-incarceration sentence imposed.
  • Represented company employee as target in grand jury investigation of federal contract fraud by company and its employees. Target not charged.
  • Represented indicted employee in government fraud and obstruction indictment. All charges dismissed.
  • Represented President and CEO of community bank at trial on bank fraud and related offenses. Client obtained lesser sentence than was offered pre-trial. 
  • Conducted FCPA and anti-trust training for large cotton manufacturer.
  • Provided FCPA and compliance consulting for large tire manufacturer. 
  • Represented witnesses in grand jury investigation involving illegal campaign donations to federal candidate.  
  • Consulted with large private university during highly publicized sexual assault honor code proceeding.

Internal Investigations

  • Conducted internal investigation into employee misconduct at large medical testing laboratory.
  • Conducted internal investigation at medical device manufacturer after FBI search. Successfully avoided corporate criminal prosecution on allegations of government contract fraud.
  • Conducted internal investigation of a large publically traded manufacturer into inventory manipulation.

Securities Fraud, Wire Fraud and Other Complex Crimes

  • Defended CEO of Florida community bank charged with conspiracy, wire fraud and false statements. Obtained a significant sentencing departure.
  • Counsel at trial for former chief accounting officer of a large homebuilder facing conspiracy, securities fraud and obstruction charges.
  • Obtained mistrial in large-scale racketeering mortgage fraud trial involving over 85 defendants.
  • Represented individual charged in large scale nation-wide investment/Ponzi scheme at trial.
  • Represents directors, executives and witnesses before federal and state grand juries.
  • Defended accountant against bank fraud allegations involving a luxury golf development resulting in a reduced charge and probationary sentence.
  • Defended a large public utility in a grand jury investigation into environmental crimes.

False Claims Act and Qui Tam (whistleblower) Defense

  • Successfully negotiated qui tam resolution where the government rejected the majority of the whistleblower’s claims against medical device manufacturer.

Compliance and Risk Assessments

  • Conducted compliance and risk assessment for major agricultural company. Implemented controls and assessed security and employment risks.
  • Conducted training and consultation on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for large international fiber manufacturer.

Professional & Civic Engagement

  • Past Chair, Lex Mundi’s Cross-Border Investigations: Business Crimes and Compliance Practice Group
  • Mecklenburg County Bar Association
    • Board member 2013-2016
    • Chair, Law Day Committee
    • Bar Center Committee
    • Bar History Committee
  • American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • President, Mecklenburg Bar Foundation, 2008-2010, Vice-President, 2007-2008; Board Member, 2003-2008
  • Commissioner, N.C. Commission on Indigent Services, 2000-2005
  • Member, North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys
  • Member, Mecklenburg County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
  • Member, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Member, National Institute of Trial Advocacy
  • Member, Federal Defender Association 
  • Chair, Charlotte Ballet’s Board of Trustees, 2021-2023; Board Member, 2021-Present

Thought Leadership

  • What Lawyers (Both Criminal and Civil) Are Looking For From Their Investigators, National Association of Legal Investigators Conference, June 23, 2023
  • Brady Obligations, Pacific Judicial Conference, November 11, 2022
  • In-house Counsel’s Role in Anticipating & Managing Global Sanctions & AML Risks: Geopolitics, Transnational Crime & Economic Warfare, ACC Annual Meeting, October 19, 2021
  • Best Practices for Managing Anti-Bribery and Corruption Considerations in M&A, Lex Mundi’s Cross-Border Investigations: Business Crimes and Compliance Practice Group, September 14, 2021
  • Pro Bono and DEI Webinar, National Business Institute, January 2021
  • Crisis over Cocktails-Dealing with Cyber Crime, CPE Executive Conference, Charlotte, December 2016
  • The Panama Papers-A View from the U.S., Lex Mundi Litigation, Arbitration, and Dispute Resolution Practice Group Meeting, Barcelona, Spain, July 2016
  • Solve the Problem: Avoid the Crisis, National Association of Corporate Directors, Charlotte, June 2016
  • Executives Beware: the Implications of DOJ’s New Yates Memo, NC Bar Association White Collar CLE, Greensboro, May 2016
  • Compliance as Risk Management, Minority Corporate Council Association Summit, Palm Beach, March 2016
  • What You Need to Know about the Yates Memo, American College of Trial Lawyers-NC State Meeting, Pinehurst, March 2016
  • To Catch a Thief-You Don’t have to be a Criminal to Think Like One, ACC National Conference, San Francisco, October 2015
  • An FCPA Survival Guide for U.S. Companies -  How U.S. Corporate Leaders can avoid the U.S. Government’s Wrath in the New Global Marketplace,  Greater Philadelphia Delaware Valley Chapter of Association of Corporate Counsel, August 2015 
  • Creating Compliance Strategies for a Hypothetical Tax and Employment Law,  Association of Corporate Counsel Advanced Compliance Education Summit,  New Orleans, April 2015
  • Is it Over Yet? Sentencing Trends and How Best to Prepare, North Carolina Bar Association White Collar CLE, April 2015
  • Winning Your Case Through Motions, C.J.A. Panel Annual Seminar on Federal Criminal Practice, Western District of North Carolina, April 2015
  • Tips and Trends in Federal Criminal Trials-Can Your Client Afford to Go to Trial and Other Issues, American College of Trial Lawyers-NC meeting, March 2015
  • FTC Compliance & Enforcement: How to Remain Compliant with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (and what to do if you still get in trouble), Association of Corporate Counsel Ethics and Compliance Committee Webcast, December 2014
  • The Paper Chase: Winning Your Case Through Motions, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Annual White Collar Seminar, November 2014
  • Performing a Risk Assessment and Management of Findings-Building the Base for Compliance Programs and Company Policies, 2014 Association of Corporate Counsel Annual Meeting, October 2014
  • How to be Ready When Compliance Policies and Procedures Fail, Association of Corporate Counsel Ethics and Compliance Committee Webcast, November 2013
  • To Catch a Thief-Protecting Your Business from Intruders, Ballantyne Briefings Business Group, November 2013
  • Perspectives on the Anti-Corruption Statutes: The UK Anti-Bribery Act of 2010, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Doing Business Internationally, British American Business Council of North Carolina, May 2013
  • To Catch a Thief-You Don’t Need to be a Criminal to Think Like One, National Webcast, Association of Corporate Counsel, June 2012
  • Ten Big Pitfalls of Companies that Don’t Often Get Sued, Association of Corporate Counsel (Local Chapter), April 2012
  • Speaker, Office of Defender Services National Training Branch Programs, 1998 to present
  • Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Federal Practice Seminars, 1994-present
  • All Star Advocacy, Mecklenburg County Bar, January 2009
  • Criminal Defense in a Post-9/11 World, North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys, September 2004
  • Double Jeopardy Issues, Wake Forest University CLE Criminal Practice Program, September 1999
  • How to Handle Difficult Clients, Mecklenburg County Bar Association, January 1996

Honors & Awards

  • Chambers USA Ranked Lawyer, Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations, North Carolina, 2015 – Present
  • Named the Best Lawyers® "Lawyer of the Year" in Criminal Defense: White-Collar – Charlotte (2017, 2023) and Criminal Defense: General Practice – Charlotte (2018, 2021, 2023)
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America (BL Rankings), Commercial Litigation (2014 – Present), Criminal Defense: General Practice and White-Collar (2015 – Present), and Corporate Compliance Law (2020 – Present)
  • Recognized in North Carolina Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters) (2016-2024)
  • Honoree, Lawdragon 500 Leading Litigation Lawyers in White Collar and Investigations, 2023
  • Mecklenburg County Bar’s Julius L. Chambers Diversity Champion Award, 2022
  • North Carolina Bar Association’s Wade Smith Award, 2019
  • Recognized in Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite, Criminal Law, 2016