David Esseks


David is Global Co-Head of Investigations & White Collar. David focuses on criminal, civil, and regulatory securities litigation and anti-corruption investigations. 

David's representations include banks and foreign and domestic corporations in connection with US regulatory and criminal investigations concerning securities, commodities, and insider trading offenses, and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the US antitrust, money laundering and economic sanctions laws as well as individual officers and employees in similar investigations.

Before joining the firm, David was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and Chief of that Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force. In that role, he oversaw a staff of 20 prosecutors and coordinated fraud investigations with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and FINRA.

David has been recognized in band 1 by Chambers and refers to him as “'Experienced, thoughtful and results-driven'…He 'is calm under pressure, smart and strategic.'”, "an extremely talented trial lawyer and cross-examiner who is the picture of credibility in the courtroom".

Chambers also describes David as "a go-to attorney for a range of corporations and financial institutions facing allegations of criminal misconduct and regulatory proceedings, drawing praise as an 'incredibly smart attorney with excellent judgment.'" David has also been named as The 2024 Lawdragon 500 Leading Litigators in America.

David graduated cum laude from Williams College with a B.A. in 1987 and magna cum laude from University of Michigan Law School with a J.D. in 1990 where he was an Articles Editor of the Law Review. He clerked for the Honorable Amalya Lyle Kearse on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Market sources have praised David’s "very thorough and thoughtful approach to factual investigation" and his "very deep knowledge of financial markets."


Representative matters

Defense of a hedge fund partner at trial in the Southern District of New York on insider trading charges.

Defense of a global financial institution in wide-ranging investigations by US federal and state authorities regarding the FX market.

Defense of a corruption inquiry concerning the hiring practices of an investment bank.

Defense of a Commodity Futures Trading Commission investigation of an investment bank regarding interest rate swaps.

Published Work

  • "Crypto-tunities: Transaction strategies in the challenging crypto markets", Allen & Overy update, July 13, 2022
  • "U.S. continues aggressive sanctions and anti-money laundering enforcement against non-U.S. banks", Allen & Overy update, July 19, 2019, with co-authors Todd Fishman, David Esseks and Meghan Boland



Registered Foreign Lawyer, England and Wales, 2024

Admitted: Bar of the State of New York 1992


J.D., magna cum laude, University of Michigan Law School, Order of the Coif, 1990

B.A., cum laude, Williams College, 1987

A&O Shearman was formed on May 1, 2024 by the combination of Shearman & Sterling LLP and Allen & Overy LLP and their respective affiliates (the legacy firms). Any matters referred to above may include matters undertaken by one or more of the legacy firms rather than A&O Shearman.