Caroline Black Dechert
|🏡 Residence||London, England|
|🏳️ Nationality||United Kingdom|
|🏫 Education||LLB, LPC|
|🎓 Alma mater||Nottingham Law School|
A partner with the London law firm of Dechert, LLP, Caroline Black is an internationally recognized criminal defense and investigations attorney. As a top advisor in the fields of corporate investigations and white collar crime, she has been involved with some of the s largest and most complex cases in the world. Black specializes in internal investigations and cross-border regulatory investigations that include business crimes such as fraud, tax evasion, and money laundering.
Early Life and Education
Raised in Great Britain, Caroline Black attended secondary school at Lord Williams's Upper School in Thame, Oxfordshire. Her parents were each the first in their respective working-class families to attend college. Both of them received scholarships to the University of Oxford in the 1960s.
Caroline Black credits her parents with instilling a drive to succeed within her. “Both worked hard to achieve success and happiness at home and professionally,” she said. “They instilled the same work ethic in me, giving me the confidence to follow my ambitions and also the belief that a girl from a small town state school could be successful in a profession which was predominantly dominated by the wealthy and privately educated.”
In fact, Black’s mother identified a barrister’s spirit in her daughter at a very young age. “My mother always used to tell me that I was good at arguing, and that I would end up either as a politician – the Prime Minister, I think she said! – or a barrister.”
In addition to her parents, Black drew inspiration from another, somewhat unlikely, source: the television. She credits LA Law and other legal drama programs with presenting law as a profession in which a woman could excel based on merit alone. In Black’s words, these programs showed, “strong, independent women doing well – making me see law as a career which would allow me similar opportunities.”
Determined to turn her dreams of a successful legal career into a reality, Black enrolled at the University of Birmingham in 1997. After securing her Bachelor of Law from Birmingham in 2000, she matriculated at Nottingham Law School to undertake postgraduate legal studies. Black earned her Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice from Nottingham in 2002.
Early legal work
Although she originally planned to become a criminal law attorney, Caroline Black ultimately decided that she enjoyed legal analysis and case preparation far more than she enjoyed argument presentation and courtroom litigation. She was particularly drawn to case preparation and investigation because they involve a large amount of direct client contact.
After law school, Black served two years as a solicitor trainee followed by six years as solicitor with DLA Piper. Working in the field of healthcare regulation, she gained valuable experience defending clients against potential prosecution that included police interviews under caution.
One of Black’s early clients faced a large-scale police raid and subsequent prosecution for suspected fraud. This case proved to be extremely pivotal for her, placing her on the path to white collar crime investigation and defense that has defined her career ever since.
Career with Dechert, LLP
Caroline Black joined the international law firm Dechert, LLP, in 2011, working out of its London offices when they were still in their infancy. She found an invaluable mentor in Neil Gerrard, the co-chair of Dechert’s global white collar team. Together with Gerrard, she helped grow this team to into one of the largest of its kind in London.
Continuing to practice with Dechert in London, Black concentrates on the investigation and defense of business crimes with specific focuses on accusations of fraud, tax evasion, and money laundering. She regularly advises clients in response to raids on personal and corporate locations and defense against regulatory and criminal prosecutions. She also consults with organizations, boards, and audit committees as they conduct investigations and interact with agencies and organizations that include the Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, the UK Serious Fraud Office, the National Crime Agency, and various domestic and overseas police departments.
Honors and Affiliations
Over the course of her career, a number of legal authorities have named Caroline Black a top attorney in her field. In 2020 alone, she garnered an “Up and Coming” white-collar criminal practitioner designation from Chambers UK and a “Leading Individual” in corporate crime and regulatory investigations designation from The Legal 500 UK. Respectively, these organizations praised Black’s “ability to understand what is important in the bigger picture” and called her “very pragmatic and efficient … very capable, engaged, hard-working and widely respected.”
In 2019, Euromoney’s Expert Guides cited Black as an “Expert for White Collar Crime” in the UK, and in both 2019 and 2020, Who’s Who Legal named Black a “Future Leader” in the field of investigations. Her other major honors include recognition as a “Rising Star” by The Legal 500 UK, Legal Week, and London Superlawyers. She also made the 2015 list of the top 100 “Women in Investigations” according to Global Investigations.
Black is admitted to practice law in both England and Wales. She holds membership in the Fraud Lawyers Association, the Female Fraud Forum, and the Proceeds of Crime Lawyers Association.
Black was also honored at C5 Women in Compliance Awards as part of the Investigation Team of the Year for her work on an Airbus investigation that involved allegations of bribery, fraud, and corruption. This case resulted in coordinated settlements with the UK Serious Fraud Office, the US Department of State, the US Department of Justice, and the French Parquet National Financier.