My primary area of practice is white collar criminal defense and internal investigations. This has been my primary area of practice since entering private practice in 2010. Prior to that, I served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago for 18 years, as the Administrator of the Illinois Gaming Board for two years, and as an Assistant State Attorney in Miami, Florida for five years.
How has your practice evolved in the last few years?
In last few years, many white collar defense practitioners have seen their practices shift towards more internal investigative work. Federal law enforcement authorities and regulators have increased their efforts to ferret out fraud and corruption in the business world. In addition, the fines imposed on businesses found to have violated the law can be staggeringly high. As a result, more clients recognize that investigating and preempting potential problems makes good business sense.
If you could offer one piece of advice for young lawyers, what would it be?
We all want to be financially successful, but there are more important things in the profession, and in life, than making money. Civility, integrity, and ethical behavior, combined with legal acumen, are the cornerstones of every truly outstanding lawyer.
How has civility made a difference in your practice of law?
When I started my career as a young Assistant State Attorney in Miami, my first boss was Janet Reno. I started in that office along with about 20 other young lawyers. We were all fresh out of law school, with almost no knowledge of what makes a prosecutor successful. Janet started our very first training session by telling us that our primary objective as criminal prosecutors was not to ensure that every guilty person goes to jail. Rather, it was to make sure that no innocent person goes to jail. Her professionalism and integrity set an example for all of us to emulate, and her advice has guided me throughout my career.
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. And although I don’t get to do so enough, I enjoy riding my motorcycle and playing golf with my sons.
Sergio Acosta joined Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in April 2010. Prior to joining the firm, he held the position of Chief of the General Crimes Section of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. For his full bio, click here.