39th Annual Lawyer of the Americas Banquet

On March 30, Inter-American Law Review hosted our 39th Annual Lawyer of the Americas honoring Wilfredo A. Ferrer, Partner at Holland & Knight.  

Wifredo A. “Willy” Ferrer, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, is the chair of Holland & Knight’s Global Compliance and Investigations Team and the executive partner of the firm’s Miami office. Mr. Ferrer focuses his practice primarily on internal corporate investigations, corporate compliance and training, and white collar criminal defense.

Mr. Ferrer counsels and defends corporations and individuals in a wide range of criminal and regulatory matters, including allegations involving bribery and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), complex fraud, financial improprieties, securities law violations, healthcare fraud, false claims, cybercrime and government contract fraud.

Mr. Ferrer also regularly counsels corporations and individuals in compliance and due diligence matters. He conducts anti-corruption and FCPA training for companies, develops anti-corruption and FCPA policies and compliance programs, and develops corporate due diligence protocols.

Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Mr. Ferrer served for nearly seven years as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. He was nominated by President Barack Obama and received unanimous U.S. Senate confirmation in April 2010.

As U.S. Attorney, Mr. Ferrer supervised some of the most complex and noteworthy prosecutions handled by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Under his leadership, the U.S. Attorney’s Office brought more than 11,000 cases and charged more than 18,000 defendants for their alleged roles in criminal schemes. His office prosecuted a wide range of financial fraud, including investment fraud, securities fraud, fraud against the U.S. government and Medicare fraud. He also supervised cases involving international and domestic terrorism, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, public corruption, violent crime, identity theft, tax fraud and human trafficking.

To proactively fight crime, Mr. Ferrer created several task forces, strengthening the connection between his office and federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. He also has traveled abroad to build partnerships, most recently participating in a Colombia summit on bilateral efforts to combat organized transnational crime.

Mr. Ferrer also supervised civil investigations and settlements under the False Claims Act. He oversaw the office’s Asset Forfeiture and Civil Divisions to obtain restitution for crime victims and the government. His office routinely was among the nation’s leaders in forfeiture collections and restitution obtained for victims during his tenure.

As U.S. Attorney, Mr. Ferrer testified before the U.S. Senate. In 2010, he testified on mortgage fraud before the U.S. Senate Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. In 2012, he testified on healthcare fraud before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.

Prior to becoming the U.S. Attorney, Mr. Ferrer served as chief of the Federal Litigation Section for the Miami-Dade County Attorney’s Office from 2006 to 2010 and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida from 2000 to 2006. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Mr. Ferrer worked in the following sections: Public Integrity and National Security, Economic and Environmental Crimes, Major Crimes and Appellate. In these roles, he prosecuted and tried many high-profile cases alleging international money laundering, healthcare fraud, narcotics trafficking, international human rights abuses, immigration violations and firearms offenses.

Before becoming an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Mr. Ferrer served in various roles with the federal government. He gained experience as a White House Fellow and special assistant to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and later as deputy chief of staff and counsel to the late Attorney General Janet Reno.

Early in his career, Mr. Ferrer worked as an attorney at a Miami law firm. After graduating from law school, he served as a law clerk for the Honorable Stanley Marcus in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.