Photo of John P. Lacey

John P. Lacey

Chair, White Collar Criminal Defense


As a former federal prosecutor and extraordinarily experienced civil litigator, John Lacey brings an in-depth and unique understanding of the justice system litigation practice. He focuses on complex federal and state litigation matters, internal and external corporate investigations, employment litigation and the defense of individuals in governmental investigations. John also is a former president of the Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey and he currently serves as Commissioner of the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation. 

John is frequently brought in to conduct investigations and defend corporations and individuals in high-profile civil, criminal and administrative matters at the state and federal levels. This work often involves the handling of highly sensitive information where complete discretion is required. With his distinctive experience and approach, John is adept at finding the key issues in a complex investigation and creating strategies to mitigate harm to his clients.

John also represents several of the largest public and private employers in the state of New Jersey in complex employment matters. These high-profile cases involve the many issues and challenges faced by public and private sector employers, from hostile workplaces to LAD investigations to employment litigation and compliance. His role as a trusted advisor to these employers underscores his credibility and his ability to handle complex and sensitive matters.

John’s clients include corporate executives, universities, health care systems and networks, school systems, politicians and political organizations, professional athletes, religious organizations, lawyers and accountants, as well as small, medium and multinational corporations and law firms. His practice ranges from allegations of employee and/or corporate misconduct to highly complex environmental and financial matters, breaches of fiduciary obligations, breach of contract actions, allegations of mail or wire fraud, securities fraud, insider trading, cybercrimes, intellectual property issues, claims under the Federal False Claims Act, bank fraud, income tax offenses and health care fraud.

In his formidable legal career, John has handled dozens of prosecutions and argued more than 20 successful appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He launched his career by successfully prosecuting an international terrorist who had entered the United States with a counterfeit passport and was later apprehended along the New Jersey Turnpike with three powerful bombs in his vehicle. The case was the first in the nation to recognize a “terrorist exception” to federal sentencing guidelines. John also investigated and prosecuted high-profile cases involving bank and armored car robberies, multinational drug distribution and international money laundering. During his time with the U.S. Department of Justice, John served under now-Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. of the Supreme Court of the United States and Michael Chertoff, former judge of the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and former secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

John received his trial and appellate training at the prestigious U.S. Attorney General’s Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C.


Professional and Community Affiliations

  • Commissioner, New Jersey State Commission on Investigation
  • President, The Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey
  • Member, U.S. District Court Historical Society
  • Member, New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Electronic Filing; New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart Rabner asked the committee to prepare a comprehensive set of recommendations on how to make e-filing broadly available in New Jersey’s court system (October 2008)
  • Trustee, The Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey
  • Speaker, "Negotiating Labor Agreements," Continuing Education Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School; Cambridge, MA (December 2003)
  • Member, New Jersey Supreme Court, Committee on Model Jury Instructions−Criminal (2002)
  • American Bar Association
  • New Jersey State Bar Association

News & Insights


Speaking Engagements


Chambers USA

  • Litigation: White-Collar Crime and Government Investigations - New Jersey (2017-2018)

Best Lawyers in America (2017-2024)

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Criminal Defense: White-Collar

New York Area’s Top AV Rated Preeminent Lawyers by Martindale-Hubbell (Published in New York Magazine (2012)

"New Jersey's Top Rated Lawyers" (2012), a list compiled by Martindale-Hubbell.

New Jersey Super Lawyers (2005-2006, 2008-2023)
  • Top Attorneys in New Jersey, Published in New Jersey Monthly (2013)

Trial Attorney of the Year, Essex County Bar Association (2002)

Please see Honor and Award Methodology. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.


  • Hon. Charles L Brieant, former Chief Judge, Southern District of New York


Seton Hall University (J.D., 1984)

Arizona State University (B.S., Business, 1981)


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