Nola B. Heller
Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP
32 Old Slip
New York, NY 10005
- Cryptocurrency & Blockchain
- Corporate Internal Investigations & Crisis Advisory
- Securities Litigation
- White Collar Defense & Investigations
- Yale Law School, J.D., 2004, Managing Editor, The Yale Law Journal
- Yale University, B.A., 2001, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
- Hon. Michael B. Mukasey, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 2004-2005
- Hon. Reena Raggi, U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 2005-2006
- Assistant U.S. Attorney S.D.N.Y., 2006-2017
- New York
Decorated former federal prosecutor Nola B. Heller is Co-Chair of Cahill’s White Collar Defense and Investigations practice group and Cahill’s Co-Operating Partner.
With nearly twenty years of experience as a former federal prosecutor and defense attorney, Nola regularly serves as lead counsel on behalf of global financial institutions, multinational companies, boards, and individuals in high-stakes investigations and multimillion-dollar criminal and regulatory enforcement matters.
An Elite Practitioner with Industry-Wide Respect
Nola is perceived industry-wide as among the elite white-collar lawyers in New York. Nola’s clients describe her in Chambers USA as “a real star,” “a fabulous attorney and super smart person who provides very high-quality work,” “extremely thorough, insightful and thoughtful in her representation,” adding that she “demonstrates an outstanding commitment to clients, has superior knowledge and is an innovative thinker.” In addition to being ranked in Chambers, Nola has been recognized by Benchmark as one of the Top 250 Women in Litigation for four straight years. In 2023, she was shortlisted for White Collar Crime Lawyer of the Year as part of Euromoney’s Women in Business Law Americas Awards. Benchmark also ranks Nola a National Practice Area Star and a Local Litigation Star. Nola was listed in Lawdragon’s 500 Leading Litigators in America guide, named a 2021 Notable Woman in Law by Crain’s New York Business, and a 2018 Rising Star by the New York Law Journal, and she is a Legal 500 recognized practitioner.
“She is a brilliant lawyer with a terrific ability to read a room and deliver a calibrated argument to get the best outcomes for her clients.” – Chambers USA
Nola specializes in representing institutional clients in enforcement-related matters in light of her significant experience appearing before federal and state regulators including the Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Federal Reserve, New York Department of Financial Services, FINRA, and State Attorneys General.
Institutional clients also frequently turn to Nola to lead sensitive internal investigations involving allegations of workplace misconduct and in response to whistleblower complaints on a wide variety of subjects, as well as in compliance matters. She has a particular expertise in recordkeeping matters related to employees’ use of personal devices for business communications.
Individuals call on Nola to defend them in major federal criminal matters given her years of experience prosecuting and supervising federal cases as an Assistant United States Attorney in Southern District of New York, as well as her successful track record in obtaining favorable dispositions for her clients at Cahill.
Nola also has significant experience in cryptocurrency matters, frequently representing individuals and institutions in cryptocurrency-related criminal and regulatory probes.
“She is a very sophisticated lawyer with a good sense of the industry and common sense who is diligent and smart.” – Chambers USA
Nola's extensive litigation experience includes leading or supervising more than forty federal jury trials and conducting multiple appellate arguments before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
A Proven Leader with Government Experience
Prior to joining Cahill, Nola served for eleven years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York (SDNY). She led two different SDNY units during that time, first serving as Chief of the General Crimes Unit, and then as Chief of the Violent and Organized Crime Unit.
During her time in government, Nola trained scores of junior prosecutors and prosecuted or supervised over 2,000 cases involving all manner of federal crimes, including those involving charges of racketeering (RICO), securities fraud, money laundering, bank and wire fraud, tax fraud, health care fraud, and cybercrime, among other offenses. She also served as one of SDNY’s primary liaisons with various federal and state agencies, including the Department of Justice, other U.S. Attorney's Offices, District Attorney's Offices, and law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and IRS.
In 2017, Nola received the Attorney General's David Margolis Award for Exceptional Service, the Department of Justice's highest award. During her time in government, Nola also received the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation's Prosecutor of the Year Award and twice earned Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force Awards of Excellence.
Before joining the U.S. Attorney's Office in 2006, Nola clerked for the Honorable Reena Raggi of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the Honorable Michael B. Mukasey of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Nola received a J.D. from Yale Law School, where she was Managing Editor of The Yale Law Journal, and a B.A. magna cum laude from Yale University.
Nola is a member of the Federal Bar Council’s Federal Criminal Practice Committee, and serves on the Criminal Justice Act Panel for the Southern District of New York, and the Board of Directors of The Yale Law Journal. She is also one of the co-founders of the When There Are Nine Scholarship Project, created in 2020 to assist promising female law students in honor of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Select Representative Matters:
- Global bank in an SEC Enforcement investigation into a delisted exchange-traded product, which concluded in a closing letter after a successful Wells submission.
- International bank in a Federal Reserve Bank Enforcement investigation, resulting in the closure of the investigation.
- Global financial institution in an SEC Enforcement inquiry and internal investigation related to an employee’s potential dissemination of material nonpublic information, resulting in the closure of the enforcement investigation.
- Global bank in a CFTC Enforcement swaps trading investigation, which resulted in no enforcement action against the bank.
- Global bank in an SEC Enforcement investigation into financial product issued by the bank, resulting in no enforcement action being filed.
- International bank in DOJ and FINRA investigations of the bank’s trading in certain products, resulting in no penalties being levied against the client.
- Global financial institution in SEC and CFTC Enforcement inquiries involving employees’ use of personal devices to send business-related text messages, resulting in settlements with both regulators.
- National financial institution in an investigation by SDNY, the New York Attorney General’s Office, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office into lending practices in the New York City taxi medallion industry, resulting in no enforcement action being filed.
- Two prominent digital asset trading exchanges and trained multiple banks on preventing regulatory enforcement risks from insider trading in cryptocurrency assets or offering cryptocurrency products.
- Global financial institution in a state attorney general’s office probe into loan securitizations, resulting in no enforcement action being filed.
- Global cryptocurrency exchange in various complex cross-border regulatory matters.
- Global cryptocurrency exchange in connection with amicus brief in high-profile litigation.
- Company in a cross-border internal investigation surrounding alleged omissions in statements made to foreign regulators by senior management.
- Prominent non-profit organization in an internal investigation surrounding accusations of sexual misconduct by one of its employees.
- Company in a cross-border internal investigation examining the effective operations of the institution’s CFO function.
- Company in an internal investigation related to personal misconduct and policy violations by numerous senior executives.
- Multiple global institutions on policies, procedures, and best practices relevant to electronic communications retention.
- Global bank and three of its employees in a FINRA best execution inquiry.
- Individual charged in the District of Columbia with laundering more than $4 billion in cryptocurrency – the largest financial fraud ever charged by the Department of Justice.
- Former partner at an accounting firm charged with wire fraud in SDNY, who was ultimately sentenced to time served.
- Former COO of a cryptocurrency fund in investigations conducted by SDNY and SEC Enforcement into a Ponzi scheme allegedly carried out by the fund’s founder, resulting in no charges being filed against the client.
- Co-founder of an international finance firm charged in SDNY in an alleged $100mm+ scheme to defraud investors by overvaluing and creating fake loans.
- Former asset manager charged in SDNY in a $63mm securities fraud scheme.
- Former CEO and founder of a publicly traded company in a securities fraud investigation conducted by SDNY and SEC Enforcement.
- Co-founder of a decentralized finance trading platform in an SEC investigation concerning compliance with securities registration requirements.
- Prominent business owner charged with money laundering in SDNY.
- Management consultant in a public corruption investigation in SDNY.
- Former public official in SDNY and SEC investigations concerning allegations of insider trading.
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