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Carol Alexis Chen
USC Gould School of Law

Carol Alexis Chen

Lecturer in Law

699 Exposition Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90089-0074 USA

Last Updated: January 6, 2022

Carol Alexis Chen, an award-winning former career federal prosecutor in the U.S. Department of Justice, is a partner and trial lawyer in Winston & Strawn LLP’s Los Angeles office. She represents public and private companies including start-ups and those that are on the Fortune 100 lists, corporate officers, entrepreneurs and other individuals in high-stakes white collar criminal and complex civil litigation. In addition, Chen responds to government inquiries and conducts sensitive internal investigations for her clients and counsels them on the development, implementation and enhancement of compliance and remediation programs. Chen has particular expertise with respect to anti-money laundering, trade and export control, and health care laws and regulations, the False Claims Act and related qui tam provisions, and matters involving business torts, fraud and RICO as well as fintech, blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. With more than 20 years of legal experience, Chen’s practice covers all aspects of investigations, regulatory and compliance work, litigation and trials, and cuts across different sectors including financial and banking; technology, new media, and telecommunications; health care and life sciences; and complex commercial litigation.

Prior to joining Winston & Strawn in 2021, Chen served as an Assistant United States Attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles for over 15 years in various supervisory roles including as an acting deputy chief and acting chief of rookie prosecutors, and most recently as the first female chief in office history of the International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. She also created and chaired various high-profile initiatives, task forces, and working groups and led community and law enforcement outreach efforts on behalf of the Department.

As the rare former federal prosecutor who served in both the criminal and civil divisions of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, Chen directed federal and local law enforcement in hundreds of complex federal criminal grand jury and wiretap investigations, evaluated thousands of investigations for federal prosecution, and trained law enforcement officials and prosecutors including on building complex cases and courtroom and trial advocacy and defended the United States and its employees in significant torts, civil rights, employment discrimination and immigration cases; as such, Chen has extensive criminal and civil casework and first-chair trial experience. Chen handled some of the most significant investigations and cases of the department, and has been recognized for her trial prowess. She is the recipient of numerous accolades, including the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section’s 2019 Prosecutor of the Year Award and commendations from various federal and local law enforcement and community organizations.

Prior to joining the DOJ, Chen was a litigation associate in the Los Angeles office of a global law firm, specializing in complex commercial, employment and securities litigation and counseling. She earned a BA in political science, summa cum laude, from UCLA, and her JD from Yale Law School. Upon graduation, she clerked for the (late) Hon. Pamela Ann Rymer on the Ninth Circuit in Pasadena, and for the (ret.) Hon. Lourdes G. Baird, then a District Judge for the Central District of California. 


The Conversation
September 20, 2022
Re: Jean Lantz Reisz

Jean Reisz wrote an op-ed explaining why Ron DeSantis dropping migrants off on Martha’s Vineyard may be illegal. "Certain factors – like DeSantis’ intent and knowledge of the migrants’ immigration status – could create potential civil and criminal liability," she wrote.


Felipe Jiménez
August, 2022

"Legal Positivism for Legal Officials," Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence.

Robin Craig
August, 2022

"Tribal Water Rights and Tribal Health: The Klamath Tribes and the Navajo Nation During the COVID-19 Pandemic," St. Louis University Journal of Health Law & Policy (Forthcoming 2023).

Robin Craig
August, 2022

"Remembering the Ocean in Water Law," chapter for A Research Agenda for Water Law.