The firmwide chair of Perkins Coie’s White Collar & Investigations practice, Markus Funk is a decorated former federal prosecutor in Chicago, and a former section chief with the U.S. State Department-Balkans. He earned a PhD (DPhil) in law from Oxford University, where he started his career as a lecturer in law.
In private practice since 2010, Markus focuses on internal investigations, complex commercial litigation both at the trial and appellate levels, white collar criminal defense, corporate social responsibility and supply chain compliance, and corporate counseling. He was selected to serve as a World Bank Group advisor and monitor to an Africa-based company seeking reinstatement following debarment, and he routinely counsels clients and conducts internal investigations and reviews throughout the world. During his time in public service, Markus and his team prosecuted "Operation Family Secrets," which National Public Radio lauded as "one of the most important criminal investigations . . . in American history" (the 1995 movie “Casino” was based on the charged criminal activities). At the time of his departure from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Chicago Sun-Times described Markus as a "street-smart prosecutor with an Oxford pedigree."
Markus also is the founding co-chair of Perkins Coie's Supply Chain Compliance practice and in 2015 was tapped to head up the firm’s Africa Practice. The recipient of numerous awards, he was named Colorado’s “Best Overall Litigator” (2015); “Colorado White Collar Lawyer of the Year” (2015); one of “10 Best Attorneys for the State of Illinois" (2014) and "10 Best Attorneys for the State of Colorado" (2017); and "Lawyer of the Year" (2013). He co-founded the ABA’s Global Anti-Corruption Committee in 2010 and has chaired the section since then. He is also ranked “Band 1” by Chambers and Partners, who in their 2019 assessment quoted one of Markus’ clients, saying “his knowledge and experience base far surpasses any other attorney that we have worked with and he is always extremely thorough and proactive, enabling us to get well ahead of any situation at hand.”
Markus has successfully tried over 25 federal and state civil and criminal jury cases, briefed and argued dozens of federal appeals throughout the country, directed more than 400 investigations, and regularly advises public and private entities and individuals on challenging ethics and compliance matters.
Institutions as diverse as the U.S. Senate, the Vatican, Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, the New York City Office of the Mayor, and the World Bank Group have invited Markus to speak on cutting-edge compliance, litigation, and internal investigation issues.
Markus has also penned hundreds of law-related articles and book chapters, as well as nine books, namely: The ABA Compliance Officer’s Deskbook (American Bar Association, 2017); From Baksheesh to Bribery: Tracing the Global Fight Against Corruption and Graft (Oxford University Press, 2019); Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties and Letters Rogatory: A Guide for Judges (Federal Judicial Center, 2014); Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking: Examining the Global Challenges and U.S. Responses (Rowman Littlefield, 2nd ed. 2016; co-authored with Chicago U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall); The Haiti Trial Skills Manual (American Bar Association, 2012); The Darfur Trial Skills Manual (ABA 2010); The Kosovo Trial Skills Manual (U.S. Department of Justice, 2006); Rethinking Self-Defence: The 'Ancient Right's' Rationale Disentangled (Hart/Bloomsbury Press, 2021); and Victims' Rights and Advocacy at the International Criminal Court (Oxford University Press, 2010; 2nd edition 2016).
Named a fellow of the American Law Institute in 2015, Markus has the unique distinction of having received both the Department of Justice's prestigious Attorney General's Award for the nation’s top trial performance and the U.S. State Department's Superior Honor Award for service to the country. Reflective of his ongoing commitment to victims of crime, the American Bar Association in 2014 awarded Markus the Frank Carrington Crime Victim Attorney Award, given to one person each year who has “done the most” for victims of crime in the United States.
Litigation: Markus is an experienced trial and appellate attorney, having successfully tried more than 25 federal and state jury trials (most as first chair). He acted as lead counsel in more than 500 in-court evidentiary hearings and other contested proceedings. His recent successful representations in private practice for small, medium, and large publicly-traded companies have ranged from products liability, contract, counterfeiting, fraud and theft, trademark, defamation and intellectual property litigation, to commodities fraud, insider trading, and False Claims Act matters.
Compliance, Governance, and Ethics Counseling: Markus is the architect of dozens of compliance programs for U.S. and international companies of all sizes. He has led numerous internal investigations and subsequent self-disclosures to the U.S. and foreign enforcers and regulators, including the DOJ, SEC, and U.K. Serious Fraud Office. He represents individuals and companies in high-stakes, complex Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, U.K. Bribery Act, U.S. Travel Act, insider trading, fraud, healthcare, fiduciary duty, import/export, customs, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), export control, cybercrime, False Claims Act, defamation, and other high-profile matters.
Corporate Social Responsibility and Supply Chain Compliance: Markus established and co-chairs the firm's Corporate Social Responsibility and Supply Chain practice (the first such focused practice among the Am Law 100) and is a recognized leader in the areas of supply chain compliance and the business community's efforts to fight human trafficking, as well as forced and child labor. New legal requirements, such as those found in the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, the Executive Order Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal Contracts, the European Union's Directive on Transparency and its amendments, and the proposed federal Business Transparency in Trafficking and Slavery Act, impose unique compliance and third-party due diligence obligations on the global business community. Markus and his team have a well-earned reputation for helping clients find common-sense solutions to these emerging compliance challenges.
Investigations and White Collar Counseling: Markus and his team led numerous disclosures and referrals to various branches of the federal and state governments, have successfully resolved various Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) self-disclosures, and recently obtained no-action letters from the Office of Foreign Asset Control and the FBI for Fortune 200 companies. In addition, Markus and his co-counsel recently obtained a sentence of probation for a high-profile Denver insider trading defendant who was facing the most severe sentence the DOJ ever sought in an insider trading case. He also recently obtained a sentence of probation for a mortgage fraud client involved in a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud conspiracy.
U.S. Government Service: From 2000 - 2010, Markus served in various capacities as an assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago. Selected from some 9,000 federal trials in 2007 to receive the Attorney General's Award (the John Marshal Award), the U.S. attorney general personally presented Markus and his team with the highest trial performance distinction the department bestows on federal prosecutors for their successful three-month trial capping the prosecution of Operation Family Secrets. The case remains the most extensive organized crime case of its kind in U.S. history, and was the first time a prosecutor from the Chicago U.S. attorney's office received DOJ's most exclusive award for demonstrated courtroom and litigation ability.
From 2004 - 2006, Markus served as the DOJ resident legal advisor for post-war Kosovo, helping oversee the United States’ multimillion-dollar efforts to bring the rule of law to this battle-weary region. In that capacity, Markus represented the United States at diplomatic negotiations, led Balkan-wide efforts to modernize anti-corruption, anti-fraud, cybercrime, and anti-counterfeiting enforcement, and spearheaded the restructuring of Kosovo's post-conflict justice system. Markus also worked with U.S. and foreign government officials and business leaders to fight labor trafficking and exploitation. During this time, Markus authored the Kosovo Trial Skills Handbook (DOJ, 2006), which remains the most cited source in Kosovo's Compilation of Applicable Criminal Laws. In recognition of his service while abroad, the U.S. Department of State conferred upon Markus its "Superior Honor Award," which is the highest general service award conferred by the state department.
Thought Leadership: In addition to Markus' extensive authorship and commentary, summarized above, Markus' cases and legal analysis have been featured by outlets such as The Atlantic, CNBC, CNN, The Economist, The History Channel, Investor's Business Daily, Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, The National Law Journal, Bloomberg, National Geographic TV, New York Times, Reuters, and The Wall Street Journal. He receives regular invitations from governments, institutions, and individuals, including the DOJ, the U.S. State Department, The World Bank, the mayor of New York City, the American Bar Association, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Georgetown University, Yale Law School, and Harvard University to speak on legal issues and address lay and professional audiences.
Markus started his legal career as a law clerk to The Hon. Morris S. Arnold of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and Chief U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry.
Bio In Other Languages
- On behalf of a Swiss conglomerate, achieved $6 million verdict against DuPont, who was represented by the Boies Schiller, Bartlit Beck, and Shook Hardy firms during the Miami state-court jury trial.
- Successfully handled dozens of complex, multi-national anti-bribery investigations and disclosures to regulators in the U.S. and around the world.
- Successfully used the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to pursue (both civilly and criminally) former executives/employees who stole business-sensitive data and software.
- Engaged by the University of Colorado to conduct an internal review relating to former student and "Colorado Theater Shooter" James Holmes.
- Selected by the World Bank Group to assist and monitor provisionally-debarred, Africa-based company; company ultimately joined approximately 5% of companies to receive full reinstatement.
- Achieved historically low sentence for prominent Rocky Mountains businessman in national insider trading case.
- Led the appeal for Haiti Teleco's Joel Esquenazi in first-of-its-kind appellate challenge against longest-ever FCPA sentence for an individual (the Wall Street Journal named it the #1 corruption sentence of 2012).
- Retained as legal expert on Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (“MLATs”) and letters rogatory in “Bahia Emerald” case.
- Conduct internal fraud, export control, FCPA, and other investigations and counseling involving the U.S. and foreign counties, including: various countries in Africa, Bulgaria, Canada, Central America, China, Czech Republic, England, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Romania, Russia, South America, South Korea, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
- Prevailed in Colorado Supreme Court on Westwood Colleges defamation suit against class action lawyers.
- Counseled foreign government's Ministry of Commerce in export control dispute.
- Successfully represented high-tech company during Department of Commerce and FBI export controls investigation, and represents individuals and companies implicated in insider trading, health care, mortgage fraud, bribery cases.
- Counseled individual and corporate clients on Stark Law, Anti-Kickback Statute, and related healthcare law issues.
- The Best Lawyers in America 2021: Criminal Defense: White-Collar
- Named one of “World’s Leading White Collar Practitioners” by Euromoney’s White Collar Crime Expert Guide, 2018
- Received the Burton Award for Legal Achievement, 2018
- Named one of "The 2016 Leading Lawyers in America," by The Lawdragon 500, 2016
- Named “Best Overall Litigator” by Law Week Colorado, 2015
- Member, American Law Institute, 2015
- Fellow, American Bar Foundation, 2015
- Named Colorado White Collar Lawyer of the Year by Corporate LiveWire, 2015
- "AV Peer Review Rated – Preeminent in Ethical Standards and Legal Ability" by Martindale-Hubbell, 2012 - 2015, 2018 - 2019
(AV®, BV® and CV® are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies.)
- Named “Top Litigator Finalist” by Law Week Colorado, 2015
- Recipient of the American Bar Association "Frank Carrington Crime Victim Attorney Award" (awarded to person/organization who has done most for victims of crime in U.S.), 2014
- Nominated as one of “10 Best Attorneys for the State of Illinois,” American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys, 2014
- Invited Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America (Trial Lawyer Honorary Society), 2013 - present
- Ranked in Chambers USA, "America's Leading Litigation Lawyers" and "America’s Leading White Collar Lawyers," 2012 - 2020
- Named a Colorado and Illinois "Super Lawyer," by Super Lawyers, 2012 - 2020
- Rated superb (10.0/10.0) on Avvo.com, 2010 - present
- Named "Colorado Lawyer of the Year," by Law Week Colorado, 2012
- Named the "Barrister’s Best" (#1) Corporate/Compliance Lawyer In Colorado, 2012
- Recipient of the U.S. Department of Justice Attorney General’s Award ("John Marshal Award for Litigation Excellence"), 2008
- Recipient of the Chicago Crime Commission's "Star of Distinction," 2008
- Recipient of the U.S. Department of State's, "Superior Honor Award," 2007
*The Supreme Court of Illinois does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and no certificate, award or recognition is a requirement to practice law in Illinois.
- American Law Institute, Fellow, 2015 - present
- American Law Institute (ALI), Member, 2015 - present
- ABA Section of International Law Anti-Corruption Committee, Vice-Chair, 2014 – present
- National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA), Member
- ABA Section of International Law Corporate Social Responsibility Committee, Co-Chair, 2012 - 2014
- ABA President's Task Force on Human Trafficking, Member, 2012 - present
- German American Lawyers Association (“Deutsch-Amerikanische Juristen-Vereinigung”), Member, 2012 - present
- ABA Global Anti-Corruption Committee, Founding Co-Chair, 2010 - present
- BNA-Bloomberg Legal and Business Advisory Board, Member, 2010 - present
- Special Advisor to the ABA Criminal Justice Section Council, 2012 - 2014
- ABA Business Law Section Working Group on Human Trafficking, 2012 - 2014
- ABA Special Advisor to the Uniform Law Commission project on Human Trafficking, 2011 - 2014
- ABA Litigation Magazine, Editorial Board Member, 2010 - 2014
- ABA Corporate Social Responsibility and Forced Labor Task Force, Co-Chair, 2012 - 2013
- ABA Haiti Task Force, Member, 2009 - 2012 (author of the Haiti Trial Skills Handbook)
- ABA Section of Litigation Special Committee on Human Trafficking, Co-Chair, 2008 - 2010
- ABA Section of Litigation Kosovo Task Force, Co-Chair, 2008 - 2010
- ABA Darfur Task Force, Member, 2007 - 2009
- Recipient, National Service to Youth Award (Presented by Boys & Girls Clubs of America), 2018
- Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver, Board Member, 2012 - 2018
- Meadow Creek Water Conservancy District, Board Member, Treasurer, and Secretary, 2012 - 2018
- Mitchell A. Mars Foundation, Board Member, 2008 - 2018
- Government Service
- Assistant U.S. Attorney, Chicago, 2000 - 2010
- Resident Legal Advisor, DOJ and U.S. State Department, 2004 - 2006
- Teaching Appointments:
- The University of Colorado-Boulder (FCPA/Supply Chain), 2016 - present
- Denver University School of Law (International Criminal Court Law), 2011
- The University of Chicago Law School (International Law), 2010
- DOJ's National Advocacy Center (Racketeering), 2009
- Loyola University (Organized Crime), 2009
- Northwestern University School of Law (Criminal Procedure), 2002 - 2009
- University of Arkansas - Little Rock (Criminal Law & Habeas Corpus), 2000 - 2001
- Oxford University (U.K. and Comparative Criminal Law), 1997 - 1999
- Hon. Morris Arnold, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, 1995 - 1997