Melinda Haag Discusses Impact of Comey Testimony and What’s Next for the Investigation
Melinda brings her leadership skill and experience to a new arena as a Partner in Orrick’s San Francisco office. She works with a team that litigates for a third of the Fortune 100 in some of the highest stakes cases in the country.
After being nominated by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate, Melinda served as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California from August 2010 through September 2015, overseeing the U.S. Department of Justice’s work in a district that is an epicenter for complex, cutting-edge investigations and prosecutions. She led a team of more than 130 criminal and civil Assistant U.S. Attorneys in handling a high volume of matters that involved export enforcement, computer intrusions and intellectual property theft, international corruption, digital currency issues, securities fraud, and economic crimes, health care fraud, national security, public integrity and civil rights violations, and organized crime, among other things. Melinda served as Co-Chair of the White-Collar Crime Subcommittee of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee and was a member of the Cybersecurity and Health Care Fraud Subcommittees, where she collaborated with U.S. Attorneys nationwide on the development and implementation of national policies and practices regarding the government’s approach to economic crimes and cybersecurity.
Melinda is an experienced trial lawyer and is a Fellow with the American College of Trial Lawyers. She has personally handled securities fraud, mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, antitrust, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, environmental, civil rights, defense contractor fraud, health care fraud, money laundering, narcotics trafficking, and child exploitation cases. Melinda has served as lead or co-lead counsel in more than 19 jury and bench trials, including a number of complex white-collar and civil rights cases. Among her most notable trial accomplishments, Melinda served as co-lead trial counsel representing the CFO of a publicly-traded pharmaceutical company who was charged with violating the federal criminal securities laws. The client was acquitted and completely vindicated following a lengthy trial. She also successfully defended at trial the former GC of a publicly-traded software company, who had been charged with federal criminal securities law violations. Following a three-week jury trial, all charges against her client were dismissed. While serving as an AUSA, Melinda led the federal government’s successful investigation and trial against a group of prison guards at Pelican Bay State Prison charged with violating the civil rights of inmates in their custody.
After earning her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law in 1987, Melinda began her career as a litigation associate and then served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Central District of California in Los Angeles. She thereafter worked as a partner in a San Francisco boutique law firm before being tapped by then U.S. Attorney Robert Mueller (who later served as FBI Director and is currently the Special Counsel investigating Russian interference in U.S. elections) to serve as a supervisor in the San Francisco U.S. Attorney’s Office. Melinda stepped down as the Chief of the White-Collar Section in 2003, joining Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe as a litigation partner in San Francisco.
Melinda has conducted and supervised countless complex investigations in connection with her work representing companies, boards of directors and the government. She typically first meets with the client to discuss and understand the facts and allegations, as well as context and culture, and then to agree on a focused, efficient investigative plan. Melinda understands that some investigations require a broad, exhaustive approach, and that some can be more narrowly tailored and conducted in a way that minimizes disruption. These investigations have involved allegations or concerns regarding the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, trade secret theft, antitrust enforcement, health care fraud, public corruption, securities fraud, and mail and wire fraud, among others.
Melinda also has significant experience representing high-level executives in connection with government investigations and cases, as well as in internal investigations. She is currently representing the General Counsel of a publicly-traded company; the founder and former CEO of a San Francisco-based tech company; the founders and principals of a health care company; a high-level executive with an international firm; members of the Board of Directors of a publicly-traded health care company; a senior executive with a tech company; and more. Melinda understands the special challenges her individual clients face and quickly gains their trust.
Melinda is called upon regularly to speak at conferences and law schools, as a keynote speaker, panelist, or moderator, on a wide range of legal and career-related subjects. She is also often asked by media outlets to provide information and commentary regarding issues ranging from the work of the Special Counsel to criminal justice reform.
During her recent service as United States Attorney, Melinda was limited by government and ethics rules in her ability to serve on boards and with community organizations. Before her time as U.S. Attorney, Melinda served in the following board and related capacities:
Melinda currently serves on the Board of Governors of the Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco, and on the Board of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. She has also become active again as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.