David Apfel, a partner in Goodwin's Complex Business Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Financial Industry Litigation, 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 is also the founder and chair of the firm’s Gaming & Gambling practice, and a founder and co-chair of the firm’s new Cannabis practice. He has been regularly recognized by Chambers USA as a leading white collar criminal defense attorney, and he is perennially recognized in The Best Lawyers in America and 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. He is also a trusted adviser to gaming and gambling companies, and investors, banks, and others involved or considering involvement in the state-legalized cannabis market. In addition, Mr. Apfel has an active pro bono practice in which he represents indigents in federal criminal cases and state murder prosecutions.





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 a 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:

  • A New England regional bank in an internal investigation concerning alleged improprieties on the part of the bank’s President and CEO;
  • DraftKings in connection with regulatory investigations;
  • Rush Street Gaming in matters before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission;
  • An internationally prominent investment advisory firm in multiple matters including advice on potential cannabis-related investments;
  • A major Massachusetts medical marijuana company in connection with a state regulatory investigations;
  • 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 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;
  • 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.

As part of Mr. Apfel’s criminal defense pro bono practice, he has successfully defended numerous individuals charged with federal felonies and state first degree murder, and has argued and won appellate cases in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court including: (i) Commonwealth v. Cowels, 470 Mass. 607 (2015) (reversed murder conviction); and (ii) Commonwealth v. Costa, 472 Mass. 139 (2015) (resentencing obtained for juvenile convicted of double homicide).

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, online fantasy sports and other gaming and gambling matters, and issues pertaining to the emerging legalized cannabis industry.

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.


  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Business Lawyers; Best Lawyers in America; and Massachusetts Super Lawyers (Boston Magazine);
  • John Marshall Award (1997), the U.S. Department of Justice's highest award for trial work;
  • Youth Advocacy Foundation Commitment to Justice Award (2015) for work helping to change the law re: juvenile justice in Massachusetts;
  • Goodwin’s Robert B. Fraser Award for pro bono service.

In The News









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





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