Sean Hecker

Partner | New York
T: (212) 763-0883
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Sean Hecker

Sean Hecker is a partner at Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP. He is recognized nationally as a leading trial lawyer, with a practice focusing on white collar criminal defense, government and internal investigations, complex civil litigation, and regulatory compliance.

Sean’s practice includes representing officers, directors and corporations, across various industries, in grand jury and regulatory investigations, including those conducted by the DOJ, SEC, CFTC, FTC, IRS and federal and state banking regulators and state law enforcement agencies. He also regularly represents companies and individuals in matters concerning alleged securities and commodities fraud, market manipulation, corruption (including the FCPA), accounting fraud, money laundering, tax fraud, and antitrust violations, and he handles a wide variety of civil litigation for both large and small corporations and private firms.

Sean is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of North America’s premier legal associations. Chambers USA and Chambers Global have also ranked Sean as one of the leading trial lawyers in the country and globally, describing him as “winning universal acclaim for his sophisticated practice.” Sean is ranked by Chambers as “Band 1” among white collar defense lawyers in New York, and he is also nationally ranked by Chambers for his work on FCPA matters. Sources describe Sean to Chambers as “truly one of the most gifted trial lawyers,” calling him a “terrific,” “pragmatic and down-to-earth,” “first-rate attorney,” who is “trustworthy beyond any question” and whose “judgment is unfailingly good.” Clients note that Sean is “extremely well respected by people on all sides and is one of the best in the white-collar space,” and a “very tenacious advocate.” “He is extremely knowledgeable about the law and applies it in a very practical way.”

Sean was named 2020 White Collar Crime/Investigations/Enforcement Attorney of the Year and 2024 White Collar Crime/Investigations Litigator of the Year by Benchmark Litigation, which has also recognized him for many years as among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in the country. He was recently named a Leading Individual by Who’s Who Legal (“WWL”) in their Investigations rankings, with sources recognizing Sean as “a super-strategic and sharp advocate” who provides “practical and strong advice” to clients in complex investigations. WWL also named Sean as a Global Thought Leader in “Business Crime Defence – Individuals.” The Legal 500 US similarly rated Sean as a leading lawyer in corporate investigations and white collar criminal defense, describing him as “incredibly smart and [he has] great experience.”

Sean was named an Elite Boutique Trailblazer and Winning Litigator by The National Law Journal, a White Collar MVP by Law360, a Best Lawyer in America in the field of Criminal Defense: White Collar, a Leading Lawyer in America by Lawdragon, and a Thought Leader by Global Investigations Review.

In one particularly notable matter, Global Investigations Review honored Sean’s work in U.S. v. Bogucki by naming the case its 2019 “Most Important Court Case of the Year.” Serving as lead counsel to Robert Bogucki, who was accused of orchestrating an alleged $6 billion fraudulent scheme, Sean secured a rare acquittal at the conclusion of the Government’s case. Finding that no jury could reasonably convict Bogucki on the evidence presented, the presiding judge noted that he had never granted such an acquittal in his twenty years on the bench.

Sean maintains an active pro bono practice, including successfully securing a temporary restraining order that restored legal visitation rights at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, NY after visits had been suspended in violation of the constitutional right to counsel. He also successfully represented two New York State elected officials who were assaulted, pepper sprayed, and had their right to protest aggressively curtailed by the NYPD at a protest in Brooklyn.

Sean’s other current and recent representations include:

  • Representing a UK-based hedge fund manager in connection with a criminal market manipulation case in the Southern District of New York
  • Successful representation of a former CFO of a global manufacturing company in an SEC and DOJ investigation of alleged accounting fraud that resulted in both agencies declining to bring charges
  • Representing a large private Swiss financial institution in the resolution of a decade-long investigation relating to criminal tax issues
  • Representing an international law firm in civil litigation relating to alleged misconduct by former partners of the firm
  • Successfully representing a large life insurance company in an arbitration against another large insurer arising out of a contractual dispute relating to a reinsurance transaction
  • Representing several professional PGA Tour golfers in litigations relating to the competing LIV Tour
  • Representing the co-founder of a cryptocurrency company, currently the subject of an indictment in the Southern District of New York
  • Representing the son of a former Latin American President in a money laundering case in the Eastern District of New York
  • Representing a fund manager in connection with a DOJ and SEC short-selling investigation
  • Representing a leading investment bank in connection with various criminal and civil regulatory investigations
  • Representing numerous financial institution employees in the SEC’s off-channel communication investigations

Sean has authored numerous amicus briefs and publications concerning criminal justice issues and anti-corruption compliance. 

Select Publications

  • Co-author, “Police are stopping Black drivers for minor violations at record highs. Lawmakers should do something about it,” Chicago Sun-Times (2023)
  • Co-author, “The Road to Driving Equality: A Blueprint for Cities to Reduce Traffic Stops,” New York University Journal of Legislation and Public Policy Quorum (2023)
  • Co-author, “With Lava Jato Closing Up Shop, What Comes Next?,” NYU Law Compliance & Enforcement (2021)
  • Co-author, “The 2020 FCPA Resource Guide Update: A Window into Today’s Enforcement of the FCPA,” NYU Law Compliance & Enforcement (2020)
  • Co-author, “Helping a Client Navigate the Complexities of Taking the Stand,” The Champion (2020)
  • Co-author, “Second Look = Second Chance: Turning the Tide Through NACDL’s Model Second Look Legislation,” The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (2020)

Select Amicus Briefs

  • Delilah Guadalupe Diaz v. United States of America (No. 23-14), Brief Amicus Curiae of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (2024)
  • McElrath v. Georgia (No. 22-721), Brief Amicus Curiae of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, American Civil Liberties Union, and American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia (2023)
  • New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc., v. Bruen (No. 20-843), Brief Amicus Curiae of Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (2021)
  • Garner v. Colorado (No. 19-75), Brief Amicus Curiae of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (2019)

Prior to joining KHF, Sean was a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP and a trial lawyer with the Federal Defenders of New York. As a Federal Defender, Sean defended individuals charged in the Southern District of New York with a wide range of federal offenses and handled numerous trials and hearings. Sean was a law clerk for the Honorable John M. Walker, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, and for the Honorable Sidney H. Stein, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York

Sean is the past President of the New York Council of Defense Lawyers, a member of the board and past Chair of both the Office of the Appellate Defender and the Federal Defenders of New York, Inc., and he previously served as Chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Mass Incarceration Task Force.

Sean received his J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1997, where he graduated Order of the Coif and was the Senior Note Editor of the Law Review. He received his MPP in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in 1994. He received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Columbia College in 1992.


  • B.A., Columbia University, magna cum laude, 1992
  • M.P.P., Harvard University, 1994
  • J.D., Stanford Law School, Order of the Coif; Senior Note Editor, Stanford Law Review, 1997


  • Hon. John M. Walker, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • Hon. Sidney H. Stein, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

Fellowships, Leadership & Recognition

  • White Collar Crime/Investigations Litigator of the Year, Benchmark Litigation US, 2024
  • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations | New York, Chambers USA, 2019 - 2023
  • Litigation: Trial Lawyers | USA - Nationwide, Chambers USA, 2020 - 2023
  • FCPA | USA - Nationwide, Chambers USA, 2019 - 2023
  • Litigation: Trial Lawyers | USA, Chambers Global, 2021 - 2024
  • FCPA | USA, Chambers Global, 2019 - 2024
  • Crypto-Asset Disputes | FinTech, Chambers USA, 2023 and 2024
  • Top 100 Trial Lawyers, Benchmark Litigation, 2021-2024
  • Leading Individual, Who’s Who Legal, Investigations 2022 
  • Distinguished Leader, New York Law Journal, 2022 
  • Elite Boutique Trailblazer, The National Law Journal, 2022 
  • Best Lawyers in America, Criminal Defense: White-Collar, Best Lawyers, 2020 - 2024
  • Winning Litigator, The National Law Journal, 2020
  • White-Collar Crime / Investigations / Enforcement Attorney of the Year, Benchmark Litigation US, 2020 
  • White Collar MVP, Law 360, 2019
  • Litigation Star, Benchmark Litigation
  • National Practice Area Star, Benchmark Litigation
  • 500 Leading Lawyers in America, Lawdragon, 2019 - 2024
  • 500 Leading Litigators in America, Lawdragon, 2023 and 2024
  • Thought Leader, Who’s Who Legal & Global Investigations Review
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • President, New York Council of Defense Lawyers (2021-2023)

Bar and Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and Eastern District of New York
  • New York
  • District of Columbia

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