Gabriel Colwell is a trial lawyer who focuses his practice on white collar criminal defense, internal investigations and complex business litigation. Gabriel represents corporations and individuals at all phases of government investigations and prosecutions, including matters involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), securities fraud, economic sanctions, money laundering, fraud and various corporate compliance matters. Gabriel also represents clients in business litigation disputes, including copyright, trademark, fraud, and breach of contract actions. Gabriel advises clients on federal and state law relating to the cannabis industry.

    Prior to joining the firm, Gabriel served as a federal prosecutor in the US Army JAG Corps and as a Special Assistant US Attorney in the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii. While at the US Attorney’s Office, Gabriel directed investigations by the FBI, DEA, ATF, ICE, Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Major Procurement Fraud Unit of the Army Criminal Investigation Division to successfully prosecute fraud, money laundering and various other criminal offenses. Gabriel also assisted in the prosecution of the first death penalty case in the history of Hawaii.

    Gabriel’s service in the JAG Corps also included a year-long deployment to Afghanistan where he led and advised numerous criminal investigations. He also provided legal advice on US reconstruction contracts and various aspects of international and operational law. For his service in Afghanistan, Gabriel was awarded the Bronze Star.

    Gabriel has lived and worked in South Korea, Japan and New Zealand.

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    Government Investigations and White Collar Defense

    • Serving on the FCPA Compliance Monitor team for multinational corporation in the oil and gas industry in connection with a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) and settlement agreement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and conducting independent compliance reviews of the company’s operations in Africa and Asia.
    • Obtaining a complete dismissal of civil RICO claims seeking US$125 million in damages on behalf of an India-based television network and its multibillionaire owner.
    • Convincing the SEC to voluntarily dismiss with prejudice the complaint against a client for insider trading.
    • Representing an oil and gas development company in response to securities fraud investigations by the DOJ and SEC and responding to related investor litigation.
    • Representing the Audit Committee of a China-based US public company and performing an independent investigation concerning the FCPA and financial disclosures to the SEC.
    • Conducting investigation for an international bank in response to multi-agency inquiry concerning alleged OFAC sanctions violations.
    • Conducting an investigation on behalf of NYSE listed company in response to whistleblower allegations at its Russia-based subsidiary concerning the FCPA, UK Bribery Act and local tax laws.
    • Representing the US subsidiary of a Korea-based publicly traded company in response to a multijurisdictional investigation by the DOJ and Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
    • Compelling the DOJ through FOIA lawsuit to turn over exculpatory Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) request and evidence to chairman of Asia-based steel conglomerate.
    • Conducting investigation for NYSE-listed company concerning potential FCPA violations at locations in Mexico.
    • Conducting FCPA due diligence for numerous Fortune 500 companies in global mergers and acquisitions.

    Litigation/Dispute Resolution

    • Prevailing in the appeal of a trial court order dismissing a US$2 billion attorney malpractice suit under the California anti-SLAPP statute and then proceeding to successfully resolve the action.
    • As lead trial counsel, obtaining a US$14.7 million judgment in favor of a Switzerland-based trade financier, including payment of all attorneys’ fees.
    • Representing one of the world’s largest banks in foreclosure and consumer fraud litigations.
    • Representing a Switzerland-based trade finance lender in multiple commercial disputes.
    • Representing airsoft manufacturer in licensing and stock purchase agreement dispute with Swiss fire arms manufacturer.
    • Representing an oil and gas development company in litigation and arbitration proceedings.
    • Representing a film production company in a copyright infringement and licensing disputes.
    • Representing a leading Japan-based animation company in a licensing dispute concerning a well-known media property.
    • Providing advice regarding trademark and trade dress infringement disputes to Japan based probiotic beverage manufacturer.
    • Representing a franchisee in breach of contract and trademark licensing dispute with franchisor.
    • Representing a Korea-based steel manufacturer in an international arbitration against its primary US broker for breach of contract.
    • Obtaining specific performance of a commercial lease agreement and payment of all damages including lawyers’ fees for a shopping mall against a regional restaurant chain.
    • Achieving summary judgment as a plaintiff on behalf of a Taiwan-based green energy technology company.
    • Assisting in a successful appeal to the California Supreme Court upholding an international arbitration award.


    • University of Southern California, J.D., 2001
    • The Johns Hopkins University, B.A., 1998


    • District of Columbia, 2012
    • California, 2001


    • U.S. Dist. Ct., C. Dist. of California
    • U.S. Dist. Ct., S. Dist. of California
    • U.S. Dist. Ct., N. Dist. of California
    • U.S. Dist. Ct., Dist. of Colorado
    • U.S. Ct. of App., Ninth Circuit
    • U.S. Ct. of App., D.C. Circuit
    • Selected as a Southern California Rising Star by Super Lawyers, 2009-2011 and 2013-2016.

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    • Panelist, “Reinsurance for Cannabis Related Business: Business Risk or Opportunity?” AIDA Reinsurance and Insurance Arbitration Society (ARIAS) US Spring Conference, Palm Beach, Florida, May 8, 2019.
    • Panelist, “The Life Cycle of Risk: Assessing, Managing, Advising and Maintaining Privilege,” Annual Global Compliance Forum, Cleveland, Ohio, October 19, 2018.
    • Panelist, “BSA/AML & Compliance Issues,” International Bankers Association of California, Los Angeles, California, December 6, 2017.
    • Panelist, “Socrates in the Boardroom,” Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics, Scottsdale, AZ, November 6, 2017.
    • Speaker, “Responding to Government Investigations: What to Do When the Government Knocks,” Association of Corporate Counsel, Southern California Chapter, September 21 and 22, 2016.
    • Panelist, “How China-Based Companies Meet the Challenges of US Capital Markets Regulation,” US Capital Markets: Insights for Chinese Companies Seminar, UC Irvine School of Law, May 18, 2016.

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