Preston L. Pugh is a trial and investigations lawyer with extensive prosecutorial, complex internal and government-initiated investigations and high profile court-appointed monitor experience. Preston represents corporations in multiple stages of crisis management, often in cases that have a complex employment component. He has extensive experience handling matters involving the civil False Claims Act (FCA), misstatements of financials, workplace violence, trade secrets disputes, regulatory inspections, the full range of employment discrimination litigation, and insider threats. He is a partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, working with the Government Contracts, White Collar and Regulatory Enforcement, Labor and Employment, and Health Care groups. Preston is also a member of the FCA Steering Committee.
As a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, senior compliance investigations counsel at GE Healthcare responsible for global investigations and commercial litigation, and a seasoned compliance monitor, Preston uses his diverse experience to assist clients operating in competitive and complex markets. He helps clients understand not only whether "noncompliance" occurred, but also the root cause of the concern – not just "putting out fires," but finding an efficient, effective solution that resonates with regulators, eliminates excessive risk in specific areas, and constructs enduring cultural change.
He was appointed by a federal district court in one of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) largest monitorships to date involving racial discrimination and harassment. At the conclusion of the monitorship, the district court observed, "You're that outsider coming in... Not easy to do, but you did it well...." He was also the first monitor appointed by the Waterfront Commission of New York and New Jersey Harbors, overseeing a stevedore's efforts to root out organized crime.
Preston is a known advocate in both trial and appellate courts. He has successfully tried a wide variety of federal cases, and has argued civil appeals in the First, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and District of Columbia Circuits in the U.S. Courts of Appeals. He has succeeded in two cases of first impression: one in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and another, as amicus counsel, in the Illinois Supreme Court.
Previously, he was a partner at a well-respected Washington, D.C. firm and a prominent trial boutique in Chicago. He was recognized as an "Illinois Super Lawyer" from 2011 to 2017 and received multiple Special Service Awards during his time at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago. For 10 years, he served as part of the national faculty for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and has been an adjunct professor in appellate advocacy at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Even in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, recent headlines have been rife with stories about racial tension, incidents of violence, and civil unrest. Pressure is mounting for attorneys and corporate boards to facilitate racial diversity, promote a t...