Photo of John P. Lacey

John P. Lacey

Chair, White Collar Criminal Defense


As a former federal prosecutor, John Lacey brings an in-depth and unique understanding of the criminal justice system to his litigation practice. He focuses on complex federal and state litigation matters, white collar criminal defense, internal and external corporate investigations, and the defense of individuals in governmental investigations. The Chair of Connell Foley’s White Collar Criminal Defense and Complex Litigation practices, John is a former president of the Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey.

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 for his clients.

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.

A significant portion of John’s practice is devoted to advising companies doing business overseas on compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. He leverages impeccable research and analytical skills to identify risk and perform due diligence, helping his clients create sound preventive programs and compliance mechanisms to protect themselves in the event of a governmental investigation of bribery. John has worked with businesses involved in China, Russia, Mexico and Venezuela, among other countries.

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.

Lauded for his knowledge of white collar criminal defense, John has appeared in the media as a legal analyst and commentator for MSNBC and Court TV.

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

Top Attorneys in New Jersey, New Jersey Monthly magazine (2013)

New York Area’s Top Rated Lawyers by Martindale-Hubbell, New York Magazine (2012)

New Jersey's Top Rated Lawyers, Inside Jersey magazine (2012)

New Jersey Super Lawyers (2005-2006, 2008-2023)

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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