Chris Manning represents individual and corporate clients in complex civil and criminal matters. Chris serves as lead counsel in trial and appellate proceedings across the country, and he advises clients around the world on matters relating to litigation in the United States. He is Co-Chair of Williams & Connolly’s Arbitration and FCPA & Cross-Border Investigations practice groups.
Chris’s civil practice focuses on False Claims Act litigation, Anti-Terrorism Act litigation, securities and financial services litigation, and high-stakes commercial disputes. Chris also represents individuals and companies under investigation or indictment in white-collar criminal defense matters and in parallel investigations or proceedings by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, state attorneys general and civil plaintiffs. Chris has been recognized in The National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Law360, The Washington Post Magazine, and Super Lawyers. The National Law Journal named Chris to its short list of Washington-area lawyers who “have already made their marks in private practice, in government agencies, on Capitol Hill and with public interest groups.”
Chris speaks at legal conferences, including at the ABA’s Annual Meeting on “The False Claims Act Post-Escobar,” the ABA Criminal Justice Section’s White Collar Crime Town Hall on “The Politically-Charged Investigation: the Washington Insider’s Guide,” and the ABA’s National Institute on Securities Fraud on “Lawyers in the Cross-Hairs: When Legal Advice Exposes Counsel to Criminal Charges and Civil Enforcement Remedies.” Chris has served as a co-chair of the Qui Tam (False Claims Act) Subcommittee of the ABA Criminal Justice Section’s White Collar Crime Committee since 2016.
A native Washingtonian, Chris graduated magna cum laude from Duke University, earning Phi Beta Kappa honors while also playing on Duke’s ACC champion lacrosse team. He received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology. He clerked for Judge Dennis Jacobs of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Chris joined Williams & Connolly in 1999. He served on the firm’s Hiring Committee from 2008 to 2011 and the firm’s Associate Evaluation Committee from 2009 to 2016. In addition to his pro bono work, Chris started Williams & Connolly’s after-school tutoring program for a local public charter school and has served on the Boards of Trustees of Landon School and Aidan Montessori School.
While each case is unique, and no one case is predictive, Chris’s experience includes:
- As lead counsel, obtained dismissals of numerous False Claims Act lawsuits, including ones alleging false certifications by a defense contractor, false certifications and fraudulent inducement by a financial services firm, conspiracy by a corporate CEO and director, and reverse false claims by a group of private equity defendants.
- As lead counsel, representing a global biopharmaceutical company, a global financial services company, and an international development company in three Anti-Terrorism Act lawsuits pending in federal district court in New York and Washington, D.C.
- As lead counsel, successfully represented a global biopharmaceutical company in a $100 million commercial arbitration before the American Arbitration Association’s International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR).
- Represented a global financial services firm in a multi-year investigation by the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Internal Revenue Service and a group of state attorneys general involving allegations of bid-rigging in the market for municipal reinvestment instruments. Also retained to represent the company in parallel class action litigation.
- As lead appellate counsel, won a ruling before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit vacating a multi-million dollar judgment against an affiliate of a global financial services firm. Subsequently retained as lead counsel for trial.
- Obtained a $138 million recovery in a False Claims Act lawsuit in New York federal district court relating to wireless spectrum auctions, a case that was featured by The American Lawyer in its article, “Williams & Connolly: Do You Believe in Miracles?”
- Successfully defended former New York Stock Exchange Chairman and CEO Dick Grasso in his compensation battle against former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, which The Wall Street Journal described as “one of the biggest defeats suffered by authorities in the past decade in white collar civil and criminal cases aimed at alleged financial improprieties.”
- Successfully represented Chairman and CEO of private equity firm in parallel pay-to-play investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York Attorney General.
- Represented one of the world’s leading crop science companies in a Congressional investigation relating to a West Virginia chemical plant accident.
- As lead counsel, successfully represented a Big 4 accounting firm in multiple commercial arbitrations and related court proceedings in New York and California.
- As lead counsel, successfully represented a District of Columbia law firm and its partners in a multi-million dollar commercial dispute.
- As lead appellate counsel, won a ruling before the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland vacating a multi-million dollar trial judgment against a real estate development firm and reversing the judgment against the firm’s Chairman and CEO.
- Successfully represented a world-renowned biomedical research institution in Massachusetts in a multi-million dollar commercial arbitration.
- Secured an important victory for a multinational investment bank and its affiliates with the dismissal of a securities class action in New York federal district court alleging improper practices relating to mutual funds.
- Assisted in the criminal defense of the captain of the Duke University men’s lacrosse team in what became known as the “Duke Lacrosse case.” Subsequently represented two of the falsely-accused student-athletes in their civil rights litigation in North Carolina federal district court against the former Durham District Attorney, a private DNA lab, and other defendants. Argued in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit as lead appellate counsel for the student-athletes.
- Successfully defended an executive of a Fortune 50 corporation on criminal securities fraud charges in Michigan federal district court, with all counts dismissed at trial.
- As lead counsel, successfully represented former federal agency official in Inspector General investigation.
- As lead counsel, successfully represented a former Major League Baseball club executive in proceedings in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware to enforce the financial terms of his separation agreement.
"Litigation Star," Benchmark Litigation, 2023
Big Suits: SEC v. UBS, American Lawyer, July 2011
“40 Under 40,” The National Law Journal, 2009