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Eric L. Yaffe

Eric Yaffe represents corporations and individuals in high stakes litigation and investigations across the country. He focuses his practice on white collar and government investigations, complex civil litigation, and franchise litigation. In connection with white collar matters, Eric represents companies and individuals in health care fraud, financial fraud, government contract fraud, obstruction of justice, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, conflicts of interest, trade secrets, and other matters.

Eric also litigates complex civil and franchise litigation cases including but not limited to shareholder disputes, employment issues, antitrust, trademark infringement, covenants not to compete, false advertising, breach of contract, and fraud.

In addition to his active white collar and litigation practices, Eric also commits his efforts to matters pertaining to ethics in the legal profession. Eric has represented law firms and individuals in connection with admissions to the bar and alleged violations of the rules of professional conduct. From 2014 to 2016, he served as Chair of the Board on Professional Responsibility for the District of Columbia. He is currently a member of the Advisory Committee on Admissions and Grievances for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and is an adjunct faculty member at American University's Washington College of Law. 

From 1991 to 2000, Eric worked for the U.S. Department of Justice as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and as a trial attorney for the Public Integrity Section. From 1999 to 2000, Eric was Deputy Chief of the department's Campaign Financing Task Force.

When not working, Eric enjoys tennis, jogging, hiking, and following Boston sports teams.

Representative Experience

White Collar 

  • Represented Midwest healthcare clinic in Stark and anti-kickback civil qui tam matter brought in federal court and investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Represented individuals in investigations and cases brought by the U.S. Department of Justice in the Northeast alleging violations of trade secret laws.
  • Represented physician group in Stark and False Claims Act matter investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Virginia.
  • Conducted internal investigation of potential False Claims Act violations for national health care contractor based in the Midwest.
  • Represented national health care provider in civil qui tam action brought in federal court in the State of Washington in which the Relator alleged violations of the Stark and Anti-kickback laws, and upcoding.
  • Represented former President of Taylor Bean Whitaker in criminal mortgage fraud case brought in federal court in Virginia.
  • Represented individual in government’s investigation of multi-national telecommunications company for alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
  • Represented former high-level executive of a large soft drink manufacturing and distribution company in the Department of Justice’s and SEC’s parallel investigations of the company for alleged false earnings claims.
  • Represented key witness in the Department of Justice’s investigation in California of the Milberg Weiss law firm for alleged improprieties in the bringing of class action lawsuits.
  • Represented Washington, D.C., corporation in internal investigation of potential conflicts of interest.
  • Represented individual in jury trial in federal court in Virginia on conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges; trial resulted in client’s acquittal on all charges.
  • Represented individual in Senate Ethics Committee investigation of Senator John Ensign (R-Nev.).
  • Represented company and individuals who were subjects of grand jury investigation in the Southern District of New York concerning President Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich.

Civil/Franchise Cases

  • Represented international franchisor in five class actions brought in various federal and state courts for alleged improper imposition of sales taxes. Prevailed in each case on motion to dismiss or otherwise.
  • Represented non-profit charitable foundation in federal court bench trial against another non-profit organization. Court found in favor of client and against defendant on its counterclaims.
  • Represented international franchisor in 12-day arbitration concerning supply and distribution dispute with Mexican franchisor.  Prevailed on all counts.
  • Represented large national franchisor in federal jury trial in Pennsylvania, defending against alleged multi-million dollar breach of development agreement, which resulted in finding of no liability on all counts for client.
  • Represented national franchisor in jury trial in Florida concerning dispute over development rights. Jury found in client’s favor on all counts.
  • Represented minority shareholder in action brought against majority shareholder of automobile dealerships in Michigan.
  • Represented shareholder of a Virginia corporation in breach of contract and employment dispute involving other shareholders.
  • Represented political fundraising and compliance software company against allegations brought in federal court in Washington, D.C. by competitor that it had engaged in false and deceptive advertising in violation of the Lanham Act; after 5-day trial, court found in favor of client on all counts brought against it.
  • Represented national sandwich shop franchisor in antitrust case brought against it in San Diego, California by approximately 100 franchisees; prevailed on summary judgment on most counts, and then remainder of matter settled on favorable terms for client.
  • Represented national ice cream shop franchisor in federal court action brought against it for breach of contract, fraud, and making false earnings claims in its FDD; prevailed on motion to dismiss all counts.

Court Memberships

  • District of Columbia
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims

Honors

  • Litigation Counsel of America, Senior Fellow
  • The Best Lawyers in America©, 2013-2020
  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Franchise, 2010–2020
  • “Washington, DC Super Lawyer,” Super Lawyers, 2010, 2012-2020
  • "Top 100: 2018 Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers," Super Lawyers 
  • Marquis Who's Who Lifetime Achievement Award
  • The International Who’s Who of Franchise Lawyers, 2015-2020
  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated from Martindale-Hubbell

Professional Affiliations

  • International Franchise Association
  • American Bar Association, Forum Committee on Franchising, White Collar Crime and Litigation sections
  • The District of Columbia Court of Appeals: Chair of the Board on Professional Responsibility for the District of Columbia, 2014–2016; D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Advisory Committee on Admissions and Grievances, 2018–  
  • American University’s Washington College of Law, Adjunct Professorial Lecturer of Law

Publications

Below is a select list of Eric's publications: 

  • "The Unwelcome Phone Call: Responding to Regulatory Audits and Investigations," author, Franchise Law Journal, January 2018
  • "What Trial Lawyers Can Learn From Deflate-gate," 7 Litigation Commentary & Review 12, April 7, 2015
  • "Joint Representation of Franchisors, Their Officers, Employees, and Affiliates in Litigation," 34th Annual ABA Forum on Franchising, October 2011
  • "Defensive Measures and Focal Points in the White Collar Legal Arena," chapter in Managing White Collar Legal Issues, Aspatore/Thomson Reuters, January 2011
  • "Caught in the Crosshairs: Strategies for Responding When Health Regulators Come Calling," 2010 Health Law Institute, June 10, 2010
  • "The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: Implications On Systems, Franchisees," Franchising World, April 2009
  • "Mandating English Language Proficiency For Franchisees," Franchise Law Journal, January 2009
  • "Government Investigations of Antitrust Issues," Law Seminars International Pharmaceutical Antitrust Conference, April 2008
  • "Minimum Resale Pricing Policies In The Wake Of Leegin V. Creative Leather," The Franchise Lawyer, October 2007

Presentations

Below is a select list of Eric's presentations: 

  • "The Unwelcome Phone Call: Responding to Regulatory Audits and Investigations," speaker, ABA Forum on Franchising, October 19, 2017
  • “Avoiding Malpractice in the Representation of Franchisors and Franchisees,” roundtable facilitator, International Franchise Association 50th Annual Legal Symposium, Washington, D.C., May 10, 2017
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Other Anti-Bribery Laws: Implications on International Franchise Expansion, September 22, 2015
  • "The Foreign Corrupt Practice Act in the International Franchising Context,” roundtable facilitator, International Franchise Association 48th Annual Legal Symposium, Chicago, Illinois, May 5, 2015
  • “Current Trends in Legal Ethics,” Litigation Counsel of America Fall Conference, New Orleans, LA, October 2014
  • Advanced Forum for False Claims & Qui Tam Enforcement, January 27-28,2014
  • “Negotiated Disciplinary Proceedings,” DC Board on Professional Responsibility Hearing Committee Training Program, Washington, DC, January 24, 2014
  • “Staying on the Right Side of the Line — How to Avoid Bar Complaints,” moderator, 2013 District of Columbia Judicial and Bar Conference, April 19, 2013
  • “Emerging Ethical Considerations for Lawyers in the Age of Increased Whistleblower Activity,” ACI Advanced Summit on White Collar Litigation, January 1, 2013
  • “The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: What Every International Franchisor Must Know,” moderator, International Franchise Association 45th Annual Legal Symposium, Washington, DC, May 1, 2012
  • “Joint Representation of Franchisors, Their Officers, Employees, and Affiliates in Litigation,” 34th Annual ABA Forum on Franchising, Baltimore, Maryland, October 20, 2011
  • “E-Discovery in Franchise Disputes,” roundtable facilitator, International Franchise Association 43rd Annual Legal Symposium, Washington, DC, May 18, 2010
  • “Government Investigations of Antitrust Issues,” Law Seminars International Pharmaceutical Antitrust Conference, Washington, DC, April 2008
  • “Criminal Liability and Prosecution Under McCain-Feingold,” Georgetown University, panelist, Washington, DC, November 2003

Press releases

Photo of Eric L. Yaffe
  • Washington, D.C.

    600 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
    The Watergate - Suite 700
    Washington, DC 20037
F: 202.295.2272

Assistant

Kimberly Bradshaw
202.295.2212
Email

Education

University of Chicago Law School, J.D.

Oberlin College