Many people continue to make bad decisions after they become the target of a federal investigation.

I’m excited to introduce my friend, Andrew Bernstein, a Fox Rothschild partner specializing in white-collar criminal defense and government investigations. Andrew has a unique background, having started as a New York City public defender dealing with serious crimes, which laid the foundation for his expertise in trial law. His journey through various law firms has culminated in his current role, where he focuses exclusively on white-collar defense.

Andrew and I discuss proffers. A proffer, often called a “queen for a day,” is a meeting with the government where the individual can share their side of the story. This meeting is protected by a “proffer agreement”, which ensures that the statements made cannot be used directly against the individual. The information, however, provided can lead to further investigation by the government. The proffer is an opportunity to mitigate the charges or explore cooperation.

A proffer can fail in numerous ways, particularly if the individual lies or misleads.

Misrepresentations, even by omission, are treated as seriously as outright lies. The government often knows a significant amount of information beforehand and uses the proffer to gauge the individual’s credibility. Therefore, honesty is paramount. If honesty is not the priority, that person should not proffer!

To effectively defend a client, a lawyer needs complete honesty from the outset.

This open communication allows the lawyer to provide the best possible advice and avoid any missteps that could inadvertently harm the case. Building a trusting relationship with the client is essential for achieving this level of openness.

Starting preparation early is crucial. When a client is aware of an investigation, efforts should begin to prepare for all eventualities, including a potential trial, guilty plea and sentencing. Engaging with probation officers, preparing for pre-sentencing interviews, and continuous mitigation efforts are all critical components of this preparation.

In summary, navigating a government investigation requires immediate and strategic action. Engaging with experienced professionals like Andrew can provide invaluable guidance. I am thankful that joined our show and is in our community.

I encourage defendants in New York to reach out to him with questions.

Andrew M. J. Bernstein PARTNER New York, NY



Justin Paperny

P.S. The following URL includes links to our videos with Federal Judges and other subject matter experts: