Karen A. Popp

Distinguished Fellow


Karen A. Popp teaches Government Enforcement and Global Corporate Compliance and has also taught the Wintersession course, Government Lawyering in a Crisis. She is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Sidley Austin LLP and the Global Co-Leader of the firm’s White Collar and Compliance group.

Popp has an expansive practice representing companies and individuals in high-profile matters, such as DOJ and SEC enforcement actions, internal investigations in more than 70 countries, Congressional investigations, OIG and State Attorney General actions, and litigation. She also assists clients in designing and enhancing corporate compliance programs, and currently serves as outside counsel to several corporate compliance departments. She has conducted compliance and risk assessments for numerous U.S. and non-U.S. companies throughout the world. Popp helps companies to respond to internal allegations of wrongdoing, conducts training for boards of directors, management, compliance departments and other company personnel, and conducts compliance due diligence regarding corporate acquisitions and joint ventures. She is the chair of the Chief Compliance Officer’s Forum in Washington, D.C.

Popp has been repeatedly recognized for her work. Chambers Global and Chambers USA recognize her as a leader in the fields of White Collar and FCPA, and Legal 500, Benchmark Litigation, Who’s Who, Best Lawyers in America, GIR, and Super Lawyers give her top honors. She was selected in 2015 as one of the Ethisphere Attorneys Who Matter for making a significant difference in the ethics and compliance fields through the private practice of law. For years, Washingtonian magazine has included Popp in its roster of “Top Lawyers in Washington.”

Before joining Sidley, Popp was associate White House counsel for President Clinton, a lawyer in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice, and an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of New York. She started her career at Sullivan & Cromwell as a litigation associate on Wall Street after clerking for The Hon. Sam J. Ervin III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. She graduated from UNC School of Law in 1985 where she was Order of the Coif and an editor for the North Carolina Law Review.