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DanFrench

Partner

"I advise clients on high-stakes matters and deliver efficient solutions."

Overview

Biography

Dan French is an accomplished attorney with a distinguished career spanning multiple related fields within the legal profession. Dan’s unparalleled experience includes serving as the US attorney for the Northern District of New York, as senior vice president and general counsel at Syracuse University, and currently as a valued, strategic advisor to clients. Dan’s remarkable track record informs his current roles as the co-chair of Barclay Damon’s highly regarded Higher Education and White Collar & Government Investigations Practice Areas and a leader of its Indian law practice.

Public Service and Government Roles

Dan’s career has included high-profile public service and government roles where he was pivotal in upholding the law, ensuring justice was served, and protecting national security. As a prosecutor, he earned a reputation as a tenacious litigator and an unwavering advocate for the public. 

As US attorney for the Northern District of New York, Dan was the chief federal law enforcement officer for 32 of New York's 62 counties, serving over 3.5 million state residents, and he oversaw the work of 39 assistant US attorneys in Syracuse, Albany, and Binghamton, New York. During his tenure, he was the country’s youngest US attorney.

Previously, Dan served as an assistant US attorney assigned to the Criminal Division in Syracuse and as a confidential law clerk for then US District Court Judge Rosemary Pooler. In addition, Dan served as acting deputy staff director to the US Senate Committee on Finance, as executive assistant to US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and as a professional staff member to the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Dan also served as a commissioner to the NYS Commission on Public Integrity. 

Now Dan translates his government experience to strategic advice for his clients on their most sensitive issues, with a track record of successfully navigating innumerable challenging situations.

General Counsel at an Atlantic Coast Conference University

For nearly a decade, Dan served as senior vice president and general counsel at Syracuse University, a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, one of the Power Five conferences, where he oversaw complex legal matters and provided counsel to the institution's leadership and board of trustees. His experience in this role immersed him in the intricacies of higher education law, making him a leading authority in this focused area. During his tenure, Dan navigated critical issues related to NCAA issues, employment law, intellectual property, regulatory compliance, and higher education policy. Dan also served as the university’s acting athletic director, navigating its athletic programs through a period of transition.

Trusted Advisor on Strategic Issues

Dan is recognized as a trusted advisor to clients on their most critical issues due to his deep legal acumen and insightful understanding of the business landscape. Throughout his career, he has been at the forefront of high-stakes legal matters, advising corporations, academic institutions, executives, and public officials in complex and sensitive situations.

Drawing on his experience as a US attorney and senior vice president and general counsel, Dan possesses an advantageous ability to assess legal challenges from multiple perspectives. His strategic foresight and attention to detail enable him to craft innovative solutions tailored to each client's specific needs. These capabilities have led to his involvement in some of the most critical and precedent-setting cases in the legal arena.

Beyond his impressive legal background, Dan's commitment to building lasting relationships with his clients sets him apart as an exceptional advisor. He takes the time to understand the intricacies of his clients' businesses and goals, ensuring that his counsel aligns seamlessly with their strategic objectives.

Legal Practice and Co-Chair Roles: Higher Education and White Collar Crime

As a co-chair of Barclay Damon’s Higher Education Practice Area, Dan brings valuable experience from his time as senior vice president and general counsel at Syracuse University to provide strategic guidance to colleges, universities, and other academic institutions. He collaborates with clients to address a wide range of legal challenges facing the higher education sector, leveraging his in-depth understanding of this complex field to deliver favorable outcomes. 

As co-chair of the White Collar & Government Investigations Practice Area, Dan represents corporations, executives, and public officials in high-stakes internal, corporate, and government investigations and criminal proceedings. Dan’s clients receive the benefit of his extensive experience in complex government disputes in areas that include tax controversies, environmental issues, government procurement, public corruption, health care and hospital investigations, Medicaid fraud, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the False Claims Act, mail and wire fraud, and offshore assets. Dan has substantial involvement in parallel civil and criminal investigations.

Indian Law Practice

Dan has nearly two decades of experience representing Indian nations across the country on issues of sovereignty; leadership determination; and interactions with the Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and National Indian Gaming Commission. Dan has also led innumerable strategic representations regarding Indian gaming rights, business operations, and economic development.

His interactions with federal agencies on behalf of Indian nations include issues involving land-into-trust applications and related strategy; structuring and compliance matters for gaming operations; addressing leadership determinations by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and appeals to the Interior Board of Indian Appeals; and interactions with congressional officeholders, the Department of Justice, and various other law enforcement agencies. With this broad experience, clients rely on Dan in matters ranging from proactive planning to addressing regulatory matters to handling aggressive litigation to defend a nation’s sovereignty.

Conclusion

Dan is an exceptional attorney with a wealth of experience that is directly applicable to his clients’ needs and a reputation for achieving outstanding results. With a background encompassing public service, government leadership, higher education law, and white collar criminal defense and a history of being a trusted advisor to clients on their most strategic issues, Dan's capabilities are matched only by his unwavering commitment to upholding the principles of justice. He has been and continues to be an invaluable asset to clients, providing them with the highest level of legal representation and guidance.

Bar Associations

  • American Bar Association
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Federal Court Bar Association of the Northern District of New York, Former Trustee

Selected Memberships & Affiliations

  • National Association of Former United States Attorneys
  • NYS Commission on Public Integrity, Former Attorney General-Appointed Commissioner
Experience

Representative Experience

  • Represents private companies in federal and state criminal investigations and prosecutions for over 15 years.
  • Represented many individuals in federal and state criminal investigations, including the CIA leak case and the Jack Abramoff investigation.

Prior Experience

  • Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Syracuse University
  • US District Court for the Northern District of New York, US Attorney
  • US District Court for the Northern District of New York, Assistant US Attorney
  • US Senate Finance Committee, Deputy Chief of Staff (Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan)
  • New York State Attorneys General Transition Teams

Judicial Clerkships

  • US District Court, Judge Rosemary Pooler

Selected Honors

  • City & State New York, Trailblazers in Higher Education List, 2024
  • The Best Lawyers in America®: Criminal Defense: White-Collar, 2018–2024
Knowledge

Selected Media

  • Law360, "Barclay Damon Starts AI Committee, Taps New Practice Chiefs"
  • Syracuse.com, "Syracuse University's Top Lawyer Returning to Private Practice"
  • Law360, "Syracuse GC Leaving to Focus on Barclay Damon Role"
  • Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Quoted
  • MSNBC, Lawrence O’Donnell Show, Dateline NBC, and ABC, Guest Legal Analyst

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