Megan Cunniff Church
Megan Cunniff Church is a highly accomplished trial lawyer who represents companies and individuals in high-stakes civil litigation and criminal and regulatory matters. She conducts corporate internal investigations in the U.S. and abroad, and she advises clients on crisis and risk management.
As a former federal prosecutor, Ms. Church has extensive experience investigating, litigating, and successfully resolving white collar criminal and regulatory matters. She served as a Deputy Chief of the Financial Crimes section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, where she prosecuted and supervised complex health care fraud, tax fraud, and corporate and financial crimes cases. She also served as a Deputy Chief of the General Crimes section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, where she trained and supervised new prosecutors on federal criminal practice.
In nearly a decade as an Assistant United States Attorney, Ms. Church investigated and prosecuted a wide range of federal crimes, including bank fraud, mail and wire fraud, public corruption, money laundering, narcotics and weapons violations, international drug trafficking, identity theft, cybercrimes, embezzlement, human trafficking, and organized crime. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney assigned to the Public Corruption section, Ms. Church prosecuted and convicted numerous public officials and law enforcement officers for fraud, bribery, extortion, and tax offenses.
In her white-collar practice at MoloLamken, Ms. Church has conducted internal investigations of publicly-traded companies, public agencies, and not-for-profit entities. She has represented corporate and government officials in investigations and prosecutions by various U.S. Attorney’s Offices, the Department of Justice, inspectors general, Congress, the SEC, the CFTC, and other government regulators. In addition to representing targets and subjects in criminal and regulatory investigations, Ms. Church has represented key witnesses during investigations and subsequent trials. Along with other members of the MoloLamken team, Ms. Church recently secured an acquittal in a campaign finance prosecution following a jury trial in federal court in Washington, DC.
In her civil practice, Ms. Church has represented plaintiffs and defendants in business disputes involving allegations of market manipulation, antitrust violations, regulatory violations, professional malpractice and misconduct, and breach of contract in federal and state courts around the country and in arbitration forums.
Chambers and Partners says that Ms. Church “has an amazing reputation and is a versatile lawyer, working across many different industries.” Lawdragon named her one of the 500 Leading Litigators in America. Legal 500 recognizes Ms. Church for her white-collar work in cross-border investigations, as well as crisis and risk management. Crain’s Chicago Business included Ms. Church in its 40 Under 40 list. She has been named a Notable Woman Lawyer and Notable Trial Attorney by Crain’s Custom Media. Ms. Church has been recognized repeatedly as a leading white collar defense lawyer by publications including Super Lawyers, Leading Lawyers, and Best Lawyers in America.
Ms. Church has tried 20 cases to verdict, and she has briefed and argued nearly a dozen federal circuit appeals.
Ms. Church has taught trial advocacy at the University of Chicago Law School and Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She currently serves on the Illinois Supreme Court's Committee on Character and Fitness.
Previously Ms. Church was an associate with Baker & McKenzie and with McDermott Will & Emery. She also served as a law clerk to the Honorable William J. Bauer of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and to the Honorable Joan H. Lefkow of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
- Former trader charged by the DOJ with racketeering conspiracy and other federal crimes in alleged manipulation of markets for futures contracts
- Directors of a consumer products company in defending a challenge to a $900 million dividend to a private equity investor
- Chemical manufacturing company, related entities, and owners in breach of contract and malpractice action against a national accounting firm
- Pharmaceutical company executives in connection with DOJ and SEC investigations for alleged FCPA violations
- Public official under investigation by U.S. Attorney's Office for corruption-related offenses
- Board of directors of publicly-traded company in internal investigation regarding corporate governance and financial disclosure issues
- Energy infrastructure company in CFTC investigation and civil litigation relating to alleged manipulation of ethanol futures contracts
- Chief Compliance Officer of cryptocurrency company in investigations by DOJ, SEC, CFTC, and the Treasury Department
- Foreign corporation in action to domesticate and enforce foreign judgment in the United States
- Energy infrastructure company in breach of contract action against approximately 20 third-party defendants
- Business executive indicted for campaign finance-related violations
- Business executive under investigation by U.S. Attorney’s Office for fraud
- Corporate executives in SEC investigation into an alleged fraudulent marketing reimbursement scheme
- Former CEO and CFO of a publicly traded company convicted of securities fraud and bank fraud in post-conviction proceedings
- Telecommunications company in litigation against accounting firm for breach of contract and auditor negligence
- Corporate executive in investigation by U.S. Attorney’s Office into alleged theft of trade secrets
- Former executive branch official in connection with Inspector General investigation
Pharmaceutical company executives in connection with SEC investigation for alleged improper intra-company foreign exchange transactions
- Supreme Court Primed to Further Narrow Application of Wire and Mail Fraud Statutes in Corruption Cases, Corporate Livewire's 2022 Fraud & White Collar Crime Expert Guide (September 16, 2022) (with Eric Nitz)
News & Appearances
- International Fraud and Asset Tracing Global Practice Guide, USA, Chambers and Partners (May 2021, May 2022)
- Federal Court & Litigation Bootcamp Panel, Pincus Communications, Chicago, April 2022, May 2021
- Internal Investigations, Practicing Law Institute Panel, Chicago, November 2020, November 2021
- States and State Owned Enterprises - Trends in Claims by Them and Against Them, and the Impact of Corruption Legislation Globally, Asset Recovery International Conference, Dublin, Feb. 2020
- Navigating FCPA Compliance, Debtwire Latin America Forum, New York, Dec. 2019
- New Girls on the Block: Recent Regulatory Developments in Digital Currency and Blockchain Panel, ABA Women in Litigation Conference, Chicago, Nov. 2019
- “A Slap on the Wrist”: Former Cognizant COO Settles SEC Bribery Charges for $50,000, The Anti-Corruption Report (Oct. 2, 2019)
- Juniper Networks Resolves SEC Charges for $11.7M After Allowing Subsidiary Misconduct to Continue for Years, The Anti-Corruption Report (Oct. 2, 2019)
- Public Corruption Prosecutions after McDonnell, Federal Bar Association Annual Criminal Practice Program, Chicago, May 2019
- White Collar Enforcement panel, Duff & Phelps General Counsel Symposium, Chicago, May 2019
- 4 Continents, 4 Fraud and Corruption Scandals: Lessons for Asset Recovery Specialists, Asset Recovery International Conference, Dublin, Feb. 2019
- Privilege in Multi-Jurisdictional Fraud and Asset Recovery Litigation Panel, Asset Recovery Americas Conference, New York, Sept. 2018
- The System and Access to Justice, Access to Social Justice Symposium, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, Sept. 2018
- FCPA Compliance and Enforcement under the Trump Administration Panel, ABA Annual Meeting, Chicago, Aug. 2018
- May It Please the Court: Symposium on Women Lawyers in the Courtroom, Next Generation of Women Trial Lawyers, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and Chicago Bar Association, Apr. 2018
- DOJ’s Pursuit of Five Associated with Rolls-Royce Demonstrates Individual Accountability and International Cooperation, The Anti-Corruption Report (Nov. 29, 2017)
- Financial Improprieties, Fraud & Other Threats to Business, Practicing Law Institute Panel, Chicago, Nov. 2017
- Investigations Into Alleged Surgery Double-Booking Highlight Hospitals’ Need for Compliance, Corporate Counsel (Oct. 12, 2017)
- Two to Follow as Crime Pays for US Law Firm Recruiters, Commercial Dispute Resolution (Oct. 11, 2017)
- Women Leading in Law, Power Players (Oct. 10, 2017)
- MoloLamken Adds Federal Prosecutor, Arbitration Lawyer, New York Law Journal (Sept. 29, 2017)
- MoloLamken Snags Ex-Federal Prosecutor in Chicago, Law360 (Sept. 28, 2017)
- 300 North LaSalle StreetChicago, IL 60654T: 312.450.6716F: 847.440.2692
- Law clerk to the Honorable William J. Bauer, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- Law clerk to the Honorable Joan H. Lefkow, United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Honors & Awards
Chambers USA, 2021-2023
Legal 500, 2021-2023
Super Lawyers Illinois, Criminal Defense: White Collar, 2020-2023
Leading Lawyer, Leading Lawyers, 2019-2023
One to Watch, Best Lawyers, 2023
Notable Litigators and Trial Attorneys, Crain’s Custom Media, 2023
500 Leading Litigators in America, Lawdragon, 2022
Emerging Lawyer, Leading Lawyers, 2018
Notable Women Lawyers, Crain's Custom Media, 2018
40 Under 40, Crain’s Chicago Business, 2017
Mitch Mars Prosecutorial Excellence Award, Chicago Crime Commission
Excellence in Law Enforcement Award, Cook County Crime Commission
Northwestern University School of Law, J.D.
Georgetown University, B.A.
Bar and Court Admissions
- New York
- United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
- United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Fellow, American Bar Foundation
Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness
Trial Bar, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Barrister, Chicago Inn of Court
Member, Seventh Circuit Bar Association
Member, Federal Bar Association