Jan Nielsen Little

Tel. (415) 676-2211


Yale Law School, J.D., 1981

University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1978

Prior Experience

U.S. Department of Justice,
Criminal Division


Hon. William W Schwarzer
U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, 1981-1982

Bar Admissions


District of Columbia

Jan Nielsen Little

For more than 30 years Jan Little has handled high-stakes criminal investigations and trials and complex civil litigation for publicly-traded corporations, private companies, and senior executives.

Ms. Little's criminal cases have included many substantive areas of white collar defense, including securities fraud, tax fraud, health care fraud, foreign corrupt practice/commercial bribery, money laundering, and public corruption. She has litigated and tried white collar criminal cases in dozens of jurisdictions across the nation. She has also represented corporations and executives in securities class and derivative actions, and in proceedings and enforcement actions before the Securities and Exchange Commission. Ms. Little also handles business litigation and professional liability matters.

Cases of Note

United States v. Chief Financial Officer: We represented the Chief Financial Officer of an energy company in a three-year, high-profile investigation spanning multiple jurisdictions. Ultimately, no charges were filed against our client.

Private Arbitration: We defended a former CEO in a week-long confidential arbitration before a three judge panel in Los Angeles. Our client prevailed. The claimant took nothing and is responsible for our client’s attorney’s fees.

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Brian Stoker: We defended former Citigroup executive Brian Stoker in one of the rare financial crisis cases to go to trial. Mr. Stoker, who worked on the structuring desk at Citigroup, was charged with securities fraud in connection with Citigroup’s 2007 marketing of a $1 billion collateralized debt obligation (CDO) backed by assets tied to the housing market. In its enforcement action the SEC contended that Citigroup had played a role in the selection of the CDO’s underlying mortgage securities and had taken a short position in those securities. The SEC contended that Mr. Stoker was negligent for not disclosing information about Citigroup’s actions in its marketing materials. After a two-week jury trial in the Southern District of New York with Judge Rakoff presiding, the federal jury rejected the SEC’s case and found Mr. Stoker not liable on any of the SEC’s claims.

United States v. Executive: We defended a high-ranking company official in one of the nation’s first criminal stock options backdating cases to go to trial. We obtained the dismissal of the majority of the charges. Our client was sentenced to 60 days imprisonment on the remaining charges.

State of Arizona v. Financial Services Company: A criminal grand jury investigated our client, a financial services company, for money transfers in the Southwest border region. We reached a settlement with four state attorneys general that included establishing a multi-state alliance to combat illegal activity along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Former Chief Financial Officer: We represented a chief financial officer charged in one of the largest criminal securities fraud cases in recent U.S. history. We represented him in the criminal and administrative investigations, as well as in parallel civil litigation. Following pretrial litigation, our client pled guilty and received a six-year prison sentence. Civil litigation was favorably settled.

United States v. Attorney: We represented a nationally-known Mississippi trial attorney in multiple federal criminal cases alleging judicial bribery and honest services fraud. Our client received favorable plea agreements.

United States v. Investment Banker: We defended a former Silicon Valley investment banker on obstruction of justice charges. After two trials and a successful appeal, all charges were deferred. Related charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the National Association of Securities Dealers were also dismissed.

United States Department of Justice v. Attorney: Our client, a prominent attorney in Los Angeles, was investigated for illegal wiretapping. The matter was closed without any charges filed.

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Executive: We represented a manufacturing company's vice president of sales in a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation. No charges were filed against our client, and the Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement action was favorably settled.

Plaintiffs v. Health Care Company: We represented a national health care company and its subsidiary in a criminal case, and parallel consumer class actions in state and federal court concerning a defective medical device. The criminal case was settled for misdemeanor charges, and the civil and administrative actions were favorably settled.

United States v. Waste Management Company: We represented a large waste management company in a federal criminal tax fraud case. We settled the case favorably for the corporation and its executives on the first day of trial.

United States v. Criminal Defense Attorney: We won an acquittal for a prominent criminal defense attorney charged with drug conspiracy, RICO, money laundering, and obstruction of justice.

Awards and Honors

  • Band 1 lawyer for White Collar Crime and Government Investigations, Chambers, 2008 - present
  • Top Women Lawyers in California, The Daily Journal, 2005 - present
  • Listed in three Best Lawyers In America, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Securities Litigation, and White Collar Criminal Defense, 2006 - present
  • NACDL White Collar Criminal Defense Award, NACDL, 2014
  • Northern California Super Lawyers; Top 100 Northern California Super Lawyers; Top 50 Female Super Lawyers

Professional Affiliations

  • Fellow, International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Inducted 2016
  • Co-Chair, NACDL West Coast White Collar Crime Conference, 2011-present
  • Member, Board of Directors, U.S. District Court Federal Practice Program, 1992-2012
  • Member, U.S. District Court Criminal Justice Working Group, 2004-2010
  • Chair, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel, 2009
  • Member, U.S. District Court Local Rules Committee, 1999-2000

Publications and Speaking Engagements 

  • "Crossing the High Seas: Are There Limits to Extraterritorial Reach for Prosecutions of Securities Laws?" ABA National Institute on White Collar Crime, March 2017. Co-authored with Nic Marais.
  • Panelist, "Insecurity in Securities Law," ABA National Institute on White Collar Crime, 2017
  • Panelist, "Prosecutors Gone Rogue:  Reining in Government Overreaching," NACDL Annual White Collar Conference, 2016.
  • Panelist, "White Collar Evidence:  Protecting Vulnerabilities, Challenging Attacks,"  NACDL Annual White Collar Conference, 2015.
  • Panelist, "At The Table:  Practical & Ethical Guidance for Plea Negotiations," NACDL Annual White Collar Conference, 2014.
  • Panelist, "Corporate Executive Liability: When the C-Suite Becomes the Hot Seat," and Program Co-Chair, NACDL Annual White Collar Conference, 2013.
  • Panelist, "The Responsible Corporate Officer Doctrine:  Continuing Threats Facing In-House Counsel," National Institute on Internal Corporate Investigations and Forum for In-House Counsel, 2013.
  • Faculty, "The Professional Edge: Working With (and Against) Experts," NACDL Annual White Collar Conference, 2012. 
  • Faculty, "The ABCs of D-efense in an E-lectronic Age: Ethics and Strategies," NACDL Annual White Collar Conference, 2011.
  • “Books & Records: More Than Just A Paper Cut,” Securities Litigation and Enforcement Institute, 2008. Co-authored with Michael D. Celio.
  • Faculty, ABA White Collar Crime National Institute, 2010.
  • Faculty, PLI Securities Enforcement Seminar “Internal Investigations: The Other Side Of Cooperation,” Securities Litigation and Enforcement Institute, 2007 Co-authored with Michael D. Celio.
  • “What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You: Deliberate Ignorance Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” American Bar Association, White Collar Crime Institute, 2007. Co-authored with Ajay Kundaria.
  • Faculty, Stanford Law School Trial Advocacy Program, 2006-2010.
  • Faculty, NACDL White Collar Seminar, 2005-2006.
  • “Ten Reasons Women Make Great Trial Lawyers,” Daily Journal, 2006.
  • “Parallel Proceedings: The Uncomfortable Intersection of Criminal and Civil Litigation,” Association of Business Trial Lawyers, 2006. Co-authored with Katherine Florey.
  • “Obstruction Seduction: The Increasingly Long Arm of the Federal Obstruction Statutes,” NACDL, White Collar Crime Conference, 2006. Co-authored with Steven P. Ragland.
  • “Recent Developments in Criminal Enforcement of Securities Law,” Securities Litigation and Enforcement Institute, 2006. Co-authored with Katherine Florey.
  • “Opening Statement: Ten Tips,” California State Bar Litigation Section, 2005.
  • Faculty, Stanford Directors College, 2005.
  • Faculty, “Champions of the Courtroom,” California State Bar Litigation Section, 2005.
  • ”The Attorney-Client Privilege And The Corporate Executive,” 2003. Co-authored with Nikki K. Vo.
  • Faculty, Association of Business Trial Lawyers Annual Meeting, 2002.
  • Faculty, CEB Mock Trial Program, “Legends of Litigation,” 2001.
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