Valecia McDowell is the Co-Head of the firm's White Collar, Regulatory Defense and Investigations practice. McDowell has experience conducting internal investigations for publicly traded, privately-held and non-profit institutions in the U.S., Europe, Asia and South America. In so doing, McDowell has represented clients in disputes, investigations, and/or negotiations involving the DOJ, SEC, HUD, FINRA, CFTC, USDA, OIG, Congress, State Attorneys General, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Japanese Financial Services Agency (JFSA), the Comissão de Valores Mobiliarios (the Brazilian Securities Commission), and the Banco Central do Brasil (the Central Bank of Brazil), among others. McDowell also possesses significant trial, arbitration, regulatory defense experience in complex, high-stakes cases, particularly in the financial services, securities, manufacturing, telecommunications and health care industries.
McDowell’s representations in the areas of investigations and regulatory defense include leading a broad review of consumer sales practices for a national bank; defending a privately held mortgage company against false claims allegations; leading an international investigation into allegations of public corruption; representing a financial institution in response to allegations of market manipulation lodged by various state attorneys general; conducting an investigation into potential health care billing irregularities; conducting a highly publicized investigation on behalf of the City of Charlotte involving allegations of sexual harassment by a City Council member; and managing a significant tax and regulatory portfolio in Brazil for a Fortune 100 financial institution.
Her representative litigation engagements include obtaining a voluntary dismissal in a shareholder derivative action involving a $1.5B sales transaction for a publicly traded company; defeating a motion for injunctive relief in an investor breach of fiduciary duty claim in Georgia federal court; obtaining injunctive relief and appointment of a receiver on behalf of a public financial institution in a tenants-in-common commercial property dispute in North Carolina federal and state courts; defending a hedge fund in a breach of fiduciary duty dispute in Texas state court; obtaining dismissal of shareholder derivative suit on behalf of a public telecommunications company in NC federal court; defending multiple Sarbanes-Oxley claims in administrative court in Pennsylvania; arguing before the Eleventh Circuit in a product development dispute; and serving as lead counsel before the North Carolina Business Court on behalf of Bank of America in its recent shareholder derivative lawsuit relating to the acquisition of Merrill Lynch.
McDowell has been recognized by Chambers Partners USA, Best Lawyers in America, North Carolina Super Lawyers, Benchmark Litigation, Litigation Counsel of America, and Legal Elite for excellence in the practice of the law. Since 2016, McDowell has taught a Wintersession course at Duke University School of Law on "Internal Investigations". She was previously appointed by the judges of the Western District of North Carolina to serve on the Advisory Committee on Local Rules and currently serves as the General Counsel for the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce.