Ruti Smithline

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Contact Details

Morrison & Foerster LLP




Partner, New York, +1 (212) 336-4086,


Ruti Smithline is co-chair of the firm’s Investigations + White-Collar Criminal Defense group. Her practice focuses on complex litigation, with an emphasis on white-collar criminal defense, SEC enforcement, securities litigation, and corporate internal investigations.

Ms. Smithline is a member of the firm’s global FCPA + Anti-Corruption Task Force. She regularly advises clients on cross-border investigations, global compliance programs and anti-corruption due diligence for acquisitions, joint ventures, and private equity transactions. Ms. Smithline has represented individual and corporate defendants in cross-border criminal investigations, SEC enforcement matters, and other regulatory proceedings, including matters related to trade sanctions and anti-money laundering. She has experience conducting corporate internal investigations both domestically and internationally, often advising clients on remedial measures responsive to the issues investigated.


The George Washington University Law School (J.D., 2002)

Cornell University (B.A., 1999)


Global Investigations Review

Recognized in the 2018 “Women in Investigations” survey as one of the world’s 100 leading female investigations lawyers 

Global Investigations Review

Selected as one of 40 of the world’s leading investigations lawyers under the age of 40


Selected as one of “Latin America’s Top 100 Female Lawyers: FCPA & Fraud” for 2018

Ethisphere Institute

Selected as one of the 2016 “Attorneys Who Matter”

Super Lawyers 2015

Selected to the New York Metro Rising Stars list based on peer recognition and professional achievement

Ms. Smithline was born and raised in Colombia and is fluent in Spanish. She has conducted investigations, seminars and anti-corruption training in Spanish throughout Central and South America.

Ms. Smithline was recently selected by LatinVex as one of "Latin America's Top 100 Female Lawyers: FCPA & Fraud" for 2017. She was also selected by Ethisphere Institute as one of the 2016 “Attorneys Who Matter” and by Global Investigations Review as one of 40 of the world’s leading investigations lawyers under the age of 40. Additionally, Ms. Smithline was selected to the 2014 and 2015 New York Metro Rising Stars list by Super Lawyers based on peer recognition and professional achievement.

Ms. Smithline received her J.D. from The George Washington University School of Law, where she graduated with honors and as a member of the Order of the Coif. She received her B.A. degree cum laude from Cornell University. She is admitted to practice law in New York and New Jersey.


·         Monitorship Team.
Working as key team member for the DOJ-appointed independent compliance monitor for a large South American company in the wake of a multi-jurisdictional resolution.

·         Global Retailer.
Represented a senior executive of a global retailer in connection with an investigation by the DOJ, SEC and other agencies into possible violations of the FCPA in Mexico, Brazil and other countries.

·         Global Investment Firm.
Represented a global investment firm with anti-corruption due diligence of a U.S. target with operations in Japan, China, Thailand and Mexico. Based on the results of the due diligence, we advised the company regarding implementation of a post-acquisition compliance program.

·         Telecommunications Company.
Conducted pre-acquisition anti-corruption due diligence on target and worked on post-closing integration of target, including conducting risk assessment and developing policies and procedures. 

·         Global Entertainment Company.
Assisting multi-national entertainment company in global risk assessment in order to enhance and tailor existing compliance program.

·         Global Agricultural Company.
Representing one of the world’s largest agricultural companies in internal investigations in various Latin American countries.

·         Fortune 500 Company.
Conducted an internal investigation into potential FCPA violations at a foreign subsidiary of a Fortune 500 multinational corporation. Conducted more than 60 interviews of employees, reviewed business lines and relationships with key customers and distribution channels, and conducted forensic analysis of accounting records and internal controls. Investigation included a review of business units in more than 15 countries to assess FCPA risks.

·         Fortune 50 Company.
Represented a U.S.-based multinational Fortune 50 company in an internal investigation of alleged violations of the FCPA and self-dealing in the Asia-Pacific region. Following the conclusion of our investigation and self-reporting, neither the SEC nor the DOJ took any action against our client.

·         Audit Committee of International Company.
Represented the audit committee of an international supplier of agricultural products in its internal investigation resulting from a whistleblower complaint alleging violations of the FCPA in the Middle East. This matter was one of the first cases to be reported to the SEC under its whistleblower rules enacted in 2011. After we completed the investigation and reported the result to the SEC, it declined to conduct an investigation of its own and closed the file.


·         OFAC and BSA/AML.
Conducting an internal investigation of a large foreign bank regarding potential violations of OFAC sanctions and anti-money laundering practices.

·         OFAC and BSA/AML.
Representing a number of individuals in South America working for U.S. headquartered Bank in investigation by DOJ regarding potential violations of Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering laws.

·         Former Mortgage Executive.
Represented the Chief Financial Officer of one of the largest national mortgage originators, now bankrupt, in an SEC investigation and related shareholder litigation arising from the credit crisis.

·         Multi-Faceted Investigation of University Grants.
Advised a major U.S. research University in a criminal and civil investigation of alleged false claims relating to federal research grants and contracts.


·         “FCPA and Mexico’s Anti-Corruption System,” U.S.-Mexico Bar Association’s Annual Meeting, October 11, 2018.

·         “Regional Perspectives and Predictions,” Latin Lawyer-GIR 6th Annual Anti-Corruption & Investigations, October 1, 2017

·         “5th Annual Latin America Ethics Summit,” The Ethisphere Institute, June 15, 2017

·         “Compliance 2.0,” Latin Lawyer - GIR 4th Annual Anti-Corruption & Investigations Conference, October 20, 2016

·         “Shifting the Focus on Global Anticorruption: The Case for More Compliance Investment,” The Ethisphere Institute, March 9, 2016

·         “Mitigating Corruption Risks in Latin America and the Caribbean,” The Ethisphere Institute Roundtable, November 12, 2015

·         “Practical Responses to Emerging FCPA Enforcement Trends,” Retail Law Conference 2015, October 28, 2015

·         “Doing Business in High Risk Environments,” Ethisphere Institute's 3rd Annual Latin America Ethics Summit, June 18, 2015

·         “Common Risks, Shared Solutions: Global Compliance Programs,” International Law Office Global Counsel Congress and Global Counsel Awards, June 11, 2015

·         “Navigating Joint Venture FCPA Risks: Strategies to Set up Proper Controls and Minimize Risk,” American Conference Institute’s 9th Houston FCPA Boot Camp, January 26, 2015

·         “Cutting-Edge Issues in Anti-Corruption and Compliance in Latin America,” Association of Corporate Counsel 2014 Annual Meeting, October 30, 2014

·         “View from the White Collar Bar: How Directors and Officers Can Be Held Liable for Corruption Violations,” American Conference Institute's Anti-Corruption Boot Camp, October 16, 2014

·         “Developing a Systemic Approach to Integrating Compliance in BRIC Countries,” Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics' 2014 Compliance & Ethics Institute, September 17, 2014

·         “Brazil’s Clean Company Act: What Companies Need to Know in 2014,” Ethisphere Institute’s Latin America Ethics Summit, July 16, 2014

·         “Anti-Corruption Compliance and European Data Protection,” Morrison & Foerster Data Protection Masterclass, November 12, 2013


·         “Top Ten International Anti-Corruption Developments,” Morrison & Foerster Client Alerts, November 2014 – March 2016

·         “The Rising Risk Tide: The Increasingly Global Hazards of Doing Business with State-Owned Enterprises,” Ethisphere, June 2015

·         “2014 Insider Trading Annual Review,” Morrison & Foerster Report, February 12, 2015

·         “Cooperation Continues to Pay,” Westlaw Journal, February 5, 2015

·         “2013 Insider Trading Annual Review,” Morrison & Foerster Report, January 8, 2014

·         “The Brazilian Clean Companies Act – What You Need to Know,” Morrison & Foerster Client Alert, December 6, 2013

·         “Brazil’s New Clean Companies Act Continues Global Fight Against Corruption,” Morrison & Foerster Client Alert, August 6, 2013

·         “Recent FCPA Enforcement Actions Show Increased Scrutiny on Financial Services Sector,” Morrison & Foerster Client Alert, June 20, 2013

·         “Preventing Corruption While Protecting Personal Information,” Bloomberg BNA Privacy & Security Law Report, April 8, 2013

·         “What Does Cooperation Buy You?,” Law360, April 4, 2013

·         “New FCPA Decision: The Battle Continues on the FCPA’s Jurisdictional Reach,” Morrison & Foerster Client Alert, February 25, 2013

·         “New FCPA Decision: How Long is the FCPA’s Reach?,” Morrison & Foerster Client Alert, February 14, 2013

·         “2012 Insider Trading Annual Review,” Morrison & Foerster Report, January 17, 2013

·         “DOJ and SEC Issue Long Anticipated FCPA Guidance: ‘Resource Guide’ Sheds Light, but Gray Areas Remain,” Business Law Today, December 2012

·         “Anti-Corruption and Privacy Laws – Collision Course?,” Morrison & Foerster Client Alert, December 3, 2012

·         “FCPA + Anti-Corruption Developments: 2012 End of Summer Round-Up,” Morrison & Foerster Client Alert, October 10, 2012

·         “China-based Company’s Victory in Securities Fraud Case Reversed on Appeal,” Morrison & Foerster Client Alert, August 7, 2012

·         “FCPA Derivative Suit Dismissed: Complaint Devoid of Specific Allegations Falls Woefully Short,” Morrison & Foerster Client Alert, July 10, 2012

·         “2011 Insider Trading Annual Review,” Morrison & Foerster Client Alert, February 6, 2012

·         “Is ‘Conscious Avoidance’ Sufficient to Establish Knowledge Under the FCPA?,” Business Law Today, February 2012

·         “Regulators Listen to Senate Critics: Eight Ex-Siemens Execs Charged for FCPA Violations,” Morrison & Foerster Client Alert, December 15, 2011

·         “Telecom Exec Sentenced to Record Breaking FCPA Prison Term: 15 Years,” Morrison & Foerster Client Alert, October 28, 2011

·         “Another Successful FCPA Prosecution Against Individuals—More Terra Telecom Execs Appear Headed for Prison for Haiti Bribes,” Morrison & Foerster Client Alert, August 9, 2011

·         “Diageo’s Settlement with the SEC: A Stocked Bar of FCPA Trends and Pitfalls,” Morrison & Foerster Client Alert, August 5, 2011

·         “FCPA Update: Another Challenge to DOJ’s Expansive “Foreign Official” Definition Fails, But Clarifies DOJ’s Burden,” Morrison & Foerster Client Alert, June 2, 2011

·         “FCPA: Regulators’ Expansive ‘Foreign Official’ Definition Under Attack,” Morrison & Foerster Client Alert, May 20, 2011

·         “Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Compliance: Encouraging Employee Participation and Cooperation to Avoid Whistleblower Claims,” Morrison & Foerster Employment Law Commentary Newsletter, March 30, 2011

·         “Insider Trading 2012: Year-End Review,” Morrison & Foerster Client Alert, February 23, 2011

·         “2010: Another Record-Breaking Year for FCPA Enforcement, Confirming ‘New Era,’” Morrison & Foerster Client Alert, January 12, 2011

·         “Alcatel-Lucent Settles ‘Unprecedented’ $137 Million FCPA Case,” Morrison & Foerster Client Alert, January 3, 2011



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