About Sean Hecker – Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Sean Hecker is a litigation partner and experienced trial lawyer at Debevoise & Plimpton whose practice focuses on white collar criminal defense, internal investigations and complex civil litigation. He has tried numerous cases to juries in federal and state court and regularly defends individuals and companies in grand jury and regulatory investigations, and criminal proceedings involving allegations of securities fraud, money laundering and criminal antitrust violations. He has also been dedicated to public service throughout his career.
Mr. Hecker is a tireless advocate for those less fortunate. Most recently, he was named chairman of the Board of the Office of the Appellate Defender (“OAD”) in New York. OAD is one of New York City’s longest-standing institutional indigent defense offices, which, since 1988, has been providing high-quality, client-centered appellate and post-conviction legal representation to poor New Yorkers. Once their appeals are heard, 10 to 15 percent of OAD clients are found to have been wrongly convicted or sentenced to unduly harsh prison terms.
In this role, Mr. Hecker works to ensure that the organization continues to provide clients comprehensive representation in appeals, post-conviction collateral proceedings, resentencings, and reinvestigations into wrongful convictions, for which OAD’s Reinvestigation Project has a multi-year Department of Justice grant. OAD attorneys also assist many clients in their efforts to obtain work release or parole to deal with immigration problems, or to gain admission into rehabilitation programs. Mr. Hecker has served on the board of OAD since 2010.
Currently, Mr. Hecker leads a number of Debevoise associates in writing briefs and arguing appeals in New York’s First Judicial Department as part of the OAD’s “Volunteer Appellate Defender” (VAD) program.
Mr. Hecker is also a member of the Criminal Justice Act (“CJA”) Panels in both the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York and serves on the Board of Federal Defenders. The CJA panel consists of attorneys who are authorized to be appointed to represent indigent defendants in federal criminal cases in which the Federal Defenders office has a conflict.
The Federal Defenders are an independent, non-profit organization with lawyers practicing in the federal courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, with offices located in Manhattan, Brooklyn, White Plains, and Central Islip. The Federal Defenders vigorously defend persons charged with federal crimes who cannot afford to hire an attorney. From 2003-2006, Mr. Hecker was a trial lawyer with the Federal Defenders defending individuals charged in the Southern District of New York with a wide range of federal offenses and handling numerous trials and hearings.
Another example of his premier dedication to assisting the needs of vulnerable communities includes serving as a board member of Just Detention International. Just Detention International (“JDI”) is a health and human rights organization that seeks to end sexual abuse in all forms of detention. In the U.S., sexual assault in detention has reached epidemic levels, with more than 200,000 people subjected to this form of violence every year. The rape of detainees, whether committed by corrections staff or by inmates, is a crime and is recognized under international law as a form of torture.
Through JDI, Mr. Hecker advocates for the safety and well-being of all inmates, whether they are confined in federal, state, or local facilities — both private and public — including prisons, jails, juvenile facilities, immigration detention centers, halfway houses, and police lock-ups. JDI works to: hold government officials accountable for prisoner rape; promote public attitudes that value the dignity and safety of inmates; and ensure that survivors of this violence have access to the help they need.
Mr. Hecker works to make a real difference in the communities he serves and acts as an example of what can be achieved when we use our expertise for those less fortunate. Through is work with Sanctuary for Families and Her Justice, he has supervised lawyers who have worked for victims of domestic violence.
Sanctuary for Families is a nonprofit agency in New York State dedicated exclusively to serving domestic violence victims, sex trafficking victims, and their children. Her Justice provides legal services to women to cannot afford to pay for a lawyer, giving women a chance to obtain legal protections and transform their lives, take control of the their personal situations and improve the lives of their children.
Mr. Hecker’s private practice is similarly noteworthy. Mr. Hecker has conducted numerous internal investigations of alleged FCPA violations and regularly advises companies on anti-corruption compliance issues. He also represents clients in complex civil litigation, including cases involving alleged securities fraud and other commercial disputes. Mr. Hecker’s trial experience includes, most recently, helping to lead a Debevoise team to a unanimous jury verdict for Bristol-Myers Squibb in a $3.4 billion lawsuit brought by generic drug manufacturer, Apotex, Inc. The Debevoise Litigation Department was recently named “Litigation Department of the Year” by The American Lawyer.
Mr. Hecker 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 a master’s degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in 1994. In addition, he graduated magna cum laude from Columbia College in 1992.