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Criminal Defense and Internal Investigations

Schnader has recently handled several significant, complex, and high-profile criminal cases. We defended former Penn State University President Graham Spanier in connection with state court charges stemming from the Sandusky scandal and are now handling his appeal. We defended former United States Congressman Chaka Fattah against federal corruption charges brought against him and are now handling his appeal. We defended Anthony Wright, who was the Innocence Project’s first client to be forced through a retrial despite having exonerating DNA evidence on his side. Mr. Wright is now a free man after spending 25 years in prison as a result of a wrongful conviction. We defended William Barnes, who was charged with murder 40 years after shooting a police officer, obtaining a full acquittal of all charges against him. Simply put, Schnader is the firm you want for real front-line trial experience.


Our drive to fight zealously for our clients is nothing new to Schnader. Bernard G. Segal helped to found Schnader upon the premise that lawyers have an ongoing “obligation to assume an active role in the pursuit of a just and ordered society, in helping to solve the emerging problems of social, economic and political importance.” The Criminal Defense and Internal Investigations practice group furthers this important mission by ensuring that our clients are afforded all applicable constitutional and statutory protections and that investigations are conducted with integrity and transparency. The practice group remains cognizant and fully committed to the obligation incumbent upon every lawyer to provide pro bono services and to that end regularly represents litigants who lack the means to defend themselves.


The work of Schnader’s Criminal Defense and Internal Investigations practice group includes representing clients from investigations through trial, plea, and sentencing; briefing and arguing criminal appeals; briefing and arguing post-conviction motions; conducting thorough and comprehensive internal investigations on behalf of corporations, governmental entities, universities, and school districts; and compliance and regulatory advising, to include the design and implementation of ethics programs. We handle matters in state and federal trial and appellate courts throughout the country; regularly participate in Pennsylvania Statewide Investigating Grand Jury proceedings; provide representation during federal grand jury investigations, and offer expertise in all aspects of SEC enforcement defense.


We are currently representing clients identified in active investigations concerning the following: health care fraud, federal anti-kickback provisions, money laundering, tax fraud, fraudulent disability claims, obstruction, negligent homicide, failure to investigate and report child abuse, criminal violations of the Clean Air Act, bribery, civil and criminal securities inquiries into accounting improprieties, FINRA review of potential disclosure and offering fraud, and contempt of court. In partnership with retired military personnel and the PTSD Foundation of America/Camp Hope, we help military and combat veterans charged with criminal offenses relating to post-traumatic stress disorder and other service-related disorders. We are providing post-conviction representation of a federal prisoner convicted of drug offenses and pro bono representation to challenge life sentences imposed upon juvenile offenders convicted of murder.


In conjunction with Schnader’s Appellate Practice Group, we offer a unique team of seasoned trial and appellate counsel to engage in pre-litigation strategizing; identify promising defenses; conduct often dispositive motions practice; and generally advise as to how best to frame and litigate issues during trial with an eye toward future appellate review.


Our practice group is led by a former prosecutor with more than fourteen years of investigations experience. Drawing on essential relationships with current and former members of law enforcement, strategic relationships with forensic accountants, computer forensic firms, and other specialists, Schnader’s investigations team is poised to conduct comprehensive internal investigations.


Members of the Criminal Defense and Internal Investigations practice group are nationally recognized trial and appellate lawyers. They have been elected to prestigious groups such as the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, and the American Law Institute. We hold leadership positions in the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, and bar association groups devoted to appellate practice; we serve on criminal court rules committees; we teach appellate practice courses and lecture on criminal procedure at law schools; we write and lecture frequently on criminal defense and internal investigations best practices; and are contacted by the media for explanation of criminal and appellate issues in the news.