Preston Burton


Washington, D.C.

Preston Burton is a highly regarded trial lawyer with over three decades of criminal law experience, both as a defense attorney and as a federal prosecutor. He serves as co-leader of Orrick’s global White Collar, International Trade & Compliance practice.

Over the course of his career, Preston has tried more than 50 criminal cases to verdict, representing individual and corporate clients in complex federal white collar criminal cases, governmental and civil proceedings and congressional and internal investigations. He also has handled more than 10 appeals before the D.C. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit and Fourth Circuit.

His work is punctuated by numerous front-page cases, representing such high-profile clients as Monica Lewinsky, former CIA intelligence agent Aldrich H. Ames and former FBI Special Agent Robert Hanssen. He has represented business executives and companies in areas such as public corruption investigations, criminal antitrust matters, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and export control violations, False Claims Act (FCA) cases and procurement fraud. Many of his cases have involved cross-border investigations, including extradition requests and multi-jurisdictional enforcement actions. He has also handled congressional investigations, as well as numerous matters involving national security issues, including the representation of several intelligence agency officials and serving most recently as an amicus appointed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Since 2010, Preston has been ranked as a leading lawyer in White Collar Crime & Government Investigations by Chambers USA, which noted, “He is renowned throughout the legal community as someone with great trial skills and a great strategic sense." He has also been recognized for Corporate Investigations and White Collar Criminal Defense by Legal 500, which noted that he “has a formidable reputation for individual representations and is known for strategic thinking and willingness to try cases.” Benchmark Litigation 2019 named him as a top practitioner in White Collar and Securities Litigation.

Before joining Orrick, Preston was a partner at Buckley LLP and a member of the firm’s partner board. He joined Buckley from Poe & Burton PLLC, a boutique litigation firm he co-founded in 2011. Prior to that, he led the litigation practice of Orrick’s Washington, D.C. office. Following law school, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Boyce F. Martin Jr. on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.

"Thorough, intelligent, and a fierce advocate.” "Extremely experienced and successful trial lawyer." "He's very affable, a great lawyer and he has a nice, direct approach with clients. He's fantastic to have on a joint defense team in terms of collegiality and in terms of his attentiveness with issues." - Chambers USA

  • Preston’s recent matters include:

    • Serving as part of a trial team representing a former government contracting firm executive in a jury trial in the Eastern District of Virginia on public corruption, conspiracy, and fraud charges where all defendants were found not guilty on all charges
    • Representation of a foreign business executive in a Department of Justice investigation of false statements and purported export control violations in connection with the acquisition of a U.S. government contractor by foreign investors
    • Representation of current and former CIA personnel in connection with a Special Counsel (Durham) investigation of origins of FBI Russia-Trump campaign investigations
    • Representation of numerous entities and individuals in connection with a Special Counsel (Mueller) investigation of Foreign Agents Registration Act, false statements, and money laundering investigations
    • Representation of a senior FBI official in a congressional investigation of matters related to site selection for new FBI headquarters
    • Representation of individuals in connection with the first impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump and related congressional inquiries
    • Representation of a prominent Iranian journalist as a material witness in a Department of Justice investigation
    • Representation of a U.S. Senate security official in a Department of Justice prosecution of false statements and investigation of classified information leaks
    • Representation of a group of current and former employees of a foreign cyber security company in a pending criminal export control and computer fraud investigation by the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice National Security Division
    • Representation of a publicly-traded financial institution in Department of Justice, SEC, and banking regulatory investigations of separate matters involving allegations of public corruption and improper insider loans