David J. Apfel

David J. Apfel

David J. Apfel

David Apfel, a partner in Goodwin's Financial Industry, Government Investigations & Enforcement and White Collar Defense practices, is a former federal prosecutor who specializes in white collar criminal defense, SEC and other government investigations, internal corporate investigations, and bet-the-company civil business litigation. Mr. Apfel has been regularly recognized by Chambers USA as a leading white collar criminal defense attorney, and he is noted in The Best Lawyers in America, and perennially recognized as a “Super Lawyer” by Boston Magazine. He is a trial lawyer who represents corporations and individuals in an array of criminal and civil cases, ranging from Medicaid fraud to first degree murder, and insider trading to multi-billion dollar mortgage-backed securities litigation. Mr. Apfel is a founder of the firm’s White Collar Crime & Government Investigations Practice. He is also the founder and co-chair of the firm’s Gaming, Gambling & Sweepstakes Practice, and regularly advises companies on gaming and gambling regulatory matters. In addition, Mr. Apfel has a pro bono practice in which he represents indigents in federal criminal cases and state murder prosecutions.

Professional Activities

Mr. Apfel is an active member of two panels from which attorneys are selected to defend indigents in serious criminal cases: (i) the Massachusetts State "Murder List"; and (ii) the U.S. District Court's Criminal Justice Act Panel. Mr. Apfel is also a member of the Boston, Massachusetts and American Bar Associations. He regularly speaks on panels and writes articles regarding criminal defense and government investigations, as well as online fantasy sports and other gaming and gambling matters.

Professional Experience

Prior to law school, Mr. Apfel was a high school English, history and social studies teacher for 10 years (1975-1984) at Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School in Sudbury, Massachusetts. From 1988-1994, he was a litigation associate at Goodwin. In 1994, he joined the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston where he prosecuted public corruption, securities fraud and other federal crimes until 1999 at which point he rejoined Goodwin as a partner in the Litigation Department.

Mr. Apfel also served as a prosecutor in the Iran Contra investigation conducted by Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh.


Mr. Apfel has been regularly recognized by Chambers USA: America's Leading Business Lawyers and Best Lawyers as a leading national business litigator, and is perennially named a Massachusetts "Super Lawyer" by Boston magazine.

While serving as an Assistant United States Attorney, Mr. Apfel received the 1997 John Marshall Award, the U.S. Department of Justice's highest award for trial work. Mr. Apfel is a recipient of Goodwin's Robert B. Fraser Award for pro bono service.

Areas of Practice


Mr. Apfel has defended Fortune 100 companies and other major corporations and individuals in public corruption, securities fraud, insider trading, health care fraud, stock option backdating, perjury, false statement, conflict of interest, money laundering, and other criminal prosecutions and investigations. He has likewise represented corporations and individuals in range of civil cases involving the False Claims Act, excessive fees, civil RICO, breach of contract, land use and alleged banking irregularities. Mr. Apfel's recent representations have included:

  • Bank of America and Countrywide Home Loans in mortgage-backed securities litigation;
  • A pharmaceutical company in a False Claims Act investigation conducted by the Massachusetts Attorney General concerning purported violations of Medicaid regulations with regard to the automatic refilling of prescription medications;
  • A top five international bank in an internal investigation concerning allegations that the bank corruptly attempted to influence state attorneys general to dismiss litigation involving the bank’s foreclosure practices;
  • A New England regional bank in an internal investigation concerning alleged improprieties on the part of the bank’s President and CEO;
  • A software development company in an internal investigation and related federal criminal and civil investigations regarding allegations that the company may have engaged in fraud and potential espionage in connection with its work on a series of contracts for a government agency;
  • A Fortune 50 company in connection with a federal grand jury fraud and tax evasion investigation;
  • A major financial services company in an internal investigation regarding the company’s efforts to diversify into the energy business, including allegations that the company had engaged in sharp practices with tribal nations;
  • A major New England manufacturer in an internal investigation examining a whistleblower’s allegations of fraud and violations of GAAP on the part of the company’s Finance Department;
  • A major mutual fund company in connection with an SEC investigation concerning conflicts of interest relating to the firm's securities trading desk;
  • A law firm and several individual partners of the firm in a stock options backdating investigation focused on one of the firm's clients and that client's CEO; and
  • A major university in a False Claims Act and breach of contract case involving work done by the university under contract abroad with USAID.

Mr. Apfel advises start-ups, investors and international gaming companies regarding U.S. gaming and gambling laws. He manages the firm’s interdisciplinary and industry-focused Gaming, Gambling & Sweepstakes Practice. As part of Mr. Apfel’s pro bono practice he recently argued and won two appellate cases in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court: (i) He reversed the conviction and obtained a new trial for a client who has served 21 years in prison for murder – see Commonwealth  v. Cowels, __ Mass. __ (SJC-11630, decided Feb. 12, 2015); and (ii) he obtained a resentencing hearing for a client who was convicted of double homicide which occurred when the client was a 16-year-old juvenile – see Commonwealth v. Costa, __ Mass. __ (SJC-11828, decided July 9, 2015).



J.D., 1987
Northeastern University School of Law
B.A., 1974
Swarthmore College


1987 to 1988 U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Honorable Douglas P. Woodlock





U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
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