Skip to main contentSkip to navigation
Steven J. McCool's Profile Image

Steven J. McCool

Phone: 202-680-2440

Steven McCool, a former federal prosecutor, has served as lead counsel in more than 75 criminal and civil jury and bench trials.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.  In Chambers & Partners, Mr. McCool is a nationally-recognized trial lawyer.

In 2021, attorneys and clients stated:  Steven McCool is “a first-rate trial lawyer who is relentless in court.”  In 2020, attorneys and clients stated:  Steven is a “phenomenal trial lawyer;” “He’s a truly talented lawyer and is someone to call if you’re facing trouble;” and “He is a first-rate lawyer who is relentless in court.” In 2019, his peers stated: “Steve is an incredible trial lawyer, truly one of the best I’ve ever seen and he has strategic judgment and thinking that is as good as anyone I’ve ever worked with,” and a client stated, “he knows his way around a courtroom with his eyes closed and his hands behind his back.”  In 2018, his peers described Mr. McCool as an “incredibly talented trial lawyer.” In 2017, his peers described him as “one of the best trial lawyers in the city.” Another peer added: “He wins the unwinnable cases. I’ve never seen anyone more committed to the interests of his clients.” In 2016, his peers described him as an “exceptionally gifted” trial lawyer and a “tenacious” advocate for his clients, in matters “including SEC enforcement, internal and grand jury investigations, in addition to FCA litigation.”

Mr. McCool is consistently identified as one of the Best Lawyers in America® by U.S. News & World Report (Tier 1 – Criminal Defense: White-Collar Litigation). He is also recognized, year after year, as one of “Washington’s Top Lawyers” by Washingtonian Magazine, and in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021, Mr. McCool was named as one of the “Top 100 Lawyers in Washington, DC” by Super Lawyers®The National Law Journal named him as one of 50 lawyers in the United States who has made his mark in white-collar litigation.

Mr. McCool represents companies, officers, directors, executives and other individuals in criminal, civil and administrative matters, including grand jury investigations, internal investigations, Inspector General investigations, Congressional inquiries, SEC enforcement proceedings, and False Claims Act litigation. He has litigated a variety of cases relating to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, ITAR, export controls, the Clean Water Act, bank fraud, money laundering, securities fraud, government contracting fraud, mortgage and other accounting fraud. Mr. McCool has also handled complex civil matters involving business disputes, qui tam litigation, and asset forfeiture.

  • Washington College of Law, American University, J.D.
  • Dickinson College, B.A.
  • Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia Criminal, Superior Court and Civil Divisions
    1990-1998
  • Law Clerk to Hon. Robert M. Scott, Superior Court of the District of Columbia
    1989-1990
  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
  • Maryland
  • Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court, District of Maryland

Representative Engagements

Download White Collar PDF
  • Lead counsel for international sports broadcasting company executive in connection with bribery allegations arising out of FIFA investigation. 
  • Lead counsel for executives in investigations by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice into alleged “no-poach” agreements
  • Lead counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice’s first ever standalone prosecution of OFAC violations under the Kingpin Act. 
  • Lead counsel for executive in Federal opioid investigation
  • Lead counsel for a Federal Judge before a Judicial Special Committee relating to a charge of judicial misconduct
  • Conducted an internal investigation of a Chief Executive Officer for a publicly-traded company and reported findings to the Audit Committee
  • Lead counsel for a former telephone company executive charged with defrauding the Federal Lifeline telephone program out of more than $32 million. On the eve of what was expected to be an eight-week trial, the U.S. Department of Justice dismissed all charges against Mr. McCool’s client. 
  • Lead counsel for a former executive charged alongside 21 other individuals in the first large-scale, FCPA-related FBI sting case. After an 18-week jury trial, in what was called the U.S. Department of Justice’s “Flagship FCPA prosecution,” the presiding Federal judge granted the government’s motion to dismiss all charges after the jury deadlocked in overwhelming favor for acquittal of Mr. McCool’s client. 
  • Lead counsel for an officer and executive of a national healthcare provider at depositions pursuant to civil investigative demands issued by the U.S. Department of Justice in a multi-state False Claims Act investigation
  • Lead counsel for an emissions engineer in a U.S. Department of Justice investigation of allegations that a multinational automotive manufacturer implemented software to defeat U.S. emissions tests in hundreds of thousands of the manufacturer’s “clean diesel” vehicles
  • Lead counsel defending a security company in a negligence lawsuit brought by a Federal agent who claims he suffered injuries during a training exercise at the U.S. State Department, Diplomatic Training Facility at Fort A.P. Hill. 
  • Lead counsel for a small business owner who is alleged to have engaged in a $20 million fraud scheme involving the H-1B Visa Program. 
  • Lead counsel for a government contracting firm executive charged in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia with conspiring to commit major fraud against the U.S. Small Business Administration. 
  • Lead counsel for a vice president of a national transportation consulting firm, who was charged with giving an illegal gratuity to a public official and prosecuted by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Following a week-long trial, the jury returned a not guilty verdict. 
  • Lead counsel for a former security contractor, who was indicted for a shooting incident in Baghdad, Iraq. Following a three-week Kastigar hearing, a Federal judge dismissed all charges. Following reversal in United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the United States dismissed all charges against Mr. McCool’s client with prejudice.
  • Lead counsel for an executive of a multi-national freight forwarding company investigated for price-fixing by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice
  • Lead counsel for an individual investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland for potential violations of the Arms Export Control Act
  • Lead counsel for a foreign national whose funds were seized for forfeiture by the United States as substitute assets, following the convictions of other foreign nationals. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted counsel’s petition asserting a third-party interest in the money seized under 21 U.S.C. § 853 and ordered the United States to return the funds. Following a reversal by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section of the U.S. Department of Justice granted counsel’s petition for remission of forfeiture and returned the seized funds.
  • Lead counsel for employees of a security contracting firm in Afghanistan investigated for fraud by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice
  • Lead counsel for the President/COO of a business-to-business Internet startup company in parallel proceedings before the SEC and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in securities fraud prosecution. 
  • Lead counsel for a managing director of a telecommunications company, who received a sentence of probation in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, after pleading guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. 
  • Lead counsel for a telecommunications executive in connection with an accounting fraud prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York
  • Lead counsel for a former foodservice distributor vice president in connection with an accounting fraud prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York
  • Co-lead counsel for an attorney charged in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia with immigration fraud and conspiracy. Client received a non-fraud plea that resulted in a 30-day jail sentence and no disbarment. 
  • Secured prosecution declination for crewmembers under investigation for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships by failing to maintain accurate records about the disposal of oil-contaminated waste
  • Lead counsel for employees of a military ammunitions dealer investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland for potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and ITAR
Download Criminal Defense PDF
  • In 2003, Mr. McCool completed the longest federal criminal trial in the history of the District of Columbia. A Federal judge appointed Mr. McCool to represent a client charged, how controlled the heroin market in the Metropolitan Area, with leading a racketeering and continuing criminal enterprise that was alleged to have been responsible for 31 murders. The government vehemently sought the death penalty.  Following a 12-month trial, Mr. McCool obtained acquittals on a number of murder charges and convinced jurors not to impose a death sentence for his client.
  • Appointed by a Federal Judge as lead counsel for indigent client charged with Conspiracy to Distribute One Kilogram or More of Phencyclidine, Possessing a Firearm During a Federal Drug Trafficking Offense, Armed Extortion, Armed Robbery, First Degree Burglary While Armed, Obstruction of Justice, Cruelty to Children, Unlawful Possession with the Intent to Distribute Phencyclidine and Possession of an Unregistered Firearm. On March 24, 2015, following a 12-week trial, a jury acquitted Mr. McCool’s client on all charges, except a lesser burglary offense and Unlawful Possession with the Intent to Distribute Phencyclidine and Possession of an Unregistered Firearm.
  • Lead counsel for former-NSA Station Chief charged with First Degree Child Abuse Resulting in Death, for killing his three-year-old adopted son. Prosecutors sought a sentence of 40 years. Following a lengthy sentencing hearing involving expert testimony, the client was sentenced to 12 years.  
  • Lead counsel for a former attorney charged with traveling across state lines for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct with a minor. Prosecutors sought a term of 71 months imprisonment. Following a sentencing hearing involving expert testimony, the client was sentenced to 40 months.  
  • Acquittal following the trial of a college student charged with multiple counts of assault in D.C. Superior Court. 
  • 9-month Booker sentence in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for a client who faced a 10-year mandatory sentence for distributing crack cocaine
  • Dismissal of a murder charge brought against the owner of a well-known, District of Columbia nightclub, after the Metropolitan Police Chief announced to the television media that his client and others beat a man to death. 
  • Following a three-week long Kastigar hearing, dismissal of all charges against a former security guard charged with 14 counts of manslaughter, 20 counts of attempted manslaughter and firearms offenses in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. 
  • Conviction set aside in a high-profile criminal case involving allegations of assault by college students in D.C. Superior Court
  • Sentence significantly below the mandatory-minimum term of imprisonment for client charged with possession of prohibited images in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • Sentence of probation for a client facing a mandatory-minimum term of imprisonment for driving while intoxicated in D.C. Superior Court
  • Dismissal for college student charged with burglary and other felonies in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County Maryland
  • Reduction of sentence for client in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, following successful appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
  • Sentence of probation for college student charged with possession with the intent to distribute large amounts of marijuana and LSD in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County Maryland
  • Dismissal of credit card fraud charges in Circuit Court for Montgomery County Maryland
  • Arrest records sealed following acquittal at trial on assault charges in the D.C. Superior Court
  • Return of client’s firearms on Second Amendment grounds in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County Maryland
Download Civil Litigation PDF
  • Lead counsel for a Federal Judge before a Judicial Special Committee relating to a charge of judicial misconduct
  • Lead counsel for an Am Law 200 international law firm in a discrimination lawsuit brought by a former employee. Following extensive discovery, the plaintiff dismissed her case with prejudice just prior to her scheduled deposition.  She received no remuneration.  
  • Lead counsel in a survival and wrongful death action for the estate of a woman who died after being struck by a Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority bus. McCool convinced a Federal judge in Maryland that the Maryland Tort Claims Act is not incorporated into the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority’s blanket waiver of sovereign immunity for harm caused by its employees’ negligence.  
  • Lead counsel for officer and executive of a national healthcare provider at depositions pursuant to civil investigative demands issued by the U.S. Department of Justice in a multi-state False Claims Act investigation
  • Co-Lead counsel for a relator in a False Claim Act litigation against a multinational company for misuse of delivery codes to withhold reimbursements to government customers. As part of the settlement agreement reached in the case, the multinational company agreed to pay the United States $8 million, $1.44 million of which was awarded to Mr. McCool’s client.  
  • Lead counsel defending a security training firm in a negligence lawsuit brought by a Federal agent who claimed he suffered injuries during a training exercise at the U.S. State Department, Diplomatic Training Facility at Fort A.P. Hill. The case was dismissed on Mr. McCool’s client’s motion.  
  • Lead counsel for an owner of a well-known nightclub, who was arrested for murder in the District of Columbia. Prosecutors dismissed all charges, after the Metropolitan Police Chief announced on television that Mr. McCool’s client would be convicted. McCool was also lead counsel for the owner in a civil suit brought by the decedent’s estate.  
  • Lead counsel in a federal civil rights suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for a college student whose skull was fractured by a member of the Metropolitan Police Department. Following extensive discovery and settlement negotiations, the District of Columbia agreed to pay Mr. McCool’s client an undisclosed amount.  
  • Co-Lead counsel for an employee in a suit against his employer for violations of wage payment and collection law, breach of contract, and civil fraud, in which Mr. McCool’s client was awarded a settlement of an undisclosed amount. 
  • Lead counsel for an officer of one of the largest Internet-access subscription service companies in the United States at a deposition in connection with a civil suit brought in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
  • Co-Lead counsel for a bank teller in a defamation suit against her former employer. As a result of Mr. McCool’s representation, his client was awarded a settlement in an undisclosed amount.  
  • Co-Lead counsel for a plaintiff in two capacities: (1) in a suit for legal malpractice against her former attorney for failure to provide competent representation, and (2) in a suit for violations of negligent misrepresentation, intentional misrepresentation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.   McCool secured an undisclosed settlement for his client in her suit for legal malpractice.  After successfully appealing the Circuit Court for Carroll County Maryland’s dismissal of plaintiff’s complaint, Mr. McCool secured a favorable settlement for his client’s suit against her former employer.  
  • Lead counsel for a physician who was sued by a previous employee for unpaid wages and overtime. Through his representation, Mr. McCool brought a counterclaim for breach of contract against the former employee, was able to settle the matter for a favorable amount, and secured a dismissal of all claims against his client.  
  • Lead counsel for an individual alleged to have been involved in a civil conspiracy stemming from a fatal automobile accident. The Court granted Mr. McCool’s Motion to Dismiss, which proved the plaintiff failed to make out a case for civil conspiracy.  
  • Lead counsel in a survival and wrongful death action for the estate of a decedent who was killed in an automobile accident. Following negotiations, Mr. McCool secured an undisclosed settlement for his client.
  • Lead counsel in civil action against the District of Columbia for a minor student injured at a District of Columbia Public School. Following extensive discovery and settlement negotiations, the District of Columbia agreed to pay Mr. McCool’s client an undisclosed amount.
  • Co-Lead counsel for a secretary who had been discharged from her employment due to reverse discrimination under Title VII. Following a jury trial, the jury found in favor of Mr. McCool’s client and awarded damages for back pay and emotional distress.