John S. Irving is a trial and litigation attorney in Holland & Knight's Washington, D.C., office. Mr. Irving is a former federal prosecutor with significant trial and investigative experience. He focuses his practice on white collar defense, internal investigations and compliance, primarily in the context of investigations involving civil and criminal environmental enforcement, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the civil False Claims Act.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Irving served as counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice's Environment and Natural Resources Division, where he prosecuted criminal environmental cases and defended federal government agencies against civil environmental claims. Prior to that, Mr. Irving served as counsel to two Deputy Attorneys General and for seven years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C., where he investigated and prosecuted violent crime and narcotics cases and tried dozens of cases before federal and local judges and juries.

Mr. Irving's broad legal experience in Washington also includes investigating unlawful campaign contributions as investigative counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, while also working with federal prosecutors and agents in the Office of Independent Counsel.

Representative Engagements

Civil and Criminal Environmental Law

  • Represented transportation, manufacturing, construction, housing and local government clients in civil and criminal environmental investigations involving the Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Clean Air Act and other environmental statutes
  • Represented a mining corporate executive in the first federal criminal Clean Water Act prosecution and jury trial in Alaska
  • Persuaded the federal government to decline prosecution of a corporate executive for employees' unlawful disposal of hazardous waste
  • Represented clients in challenges to federal regulations issued by the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management
  • Represented a shipping company and a crew member witness in separate criminal investigations of unlawful discharges of oily waste at sea

Foreign Bribery

  • Conducted several FCPA internal investigations for companies in the oil and gas, construction and medical device industry sectors, including extended witness interviews in Europe, India, Singapore and elsewhere, and counseling clients about voluntary disclosures to the DOJ
  • Served as member of a three-year FCPA independent monitorship team pursuant to the requirements of a corporate plea agreement

False Claims Act

  • Represented large and small government contractors, including Alaska Native Corporations, in False Claims Act investigations involving alleged overbilling, violations of implied contract certifications and providing unlawful gratuities to a member of Congress
  • Represented a large medical device company in a qui tam relator investigation involving alleged violations of federal and state False Claims Acts by providing unlawful inducements to physician

Other Representations

  • Served as special impeachment counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary in the impeachment of a U.S. District Court judge
  • Represented witnesses in political law investigations by the House and Senate Ethics Committees, the DOJ's Public Integrity Section and the Federal Election Commission
  • Represented a state government in an investigation by the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) involving irregularities by local governments and contractors
  • Represented individuals sought in foreign extradition matters, including persuading the U.S. and a foreign government to dismiss an extradition request and proceeding in U.S. District Court
  • Evaluated corporate compliance programs, policies, procedures and internal controls to assess risks involving a variety of legal subject matters and ensure the effectiveness of those programs


  • American University, Washington College of Law, J.D.
  • Fordham University, B.A., Political Science
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • Court of Appeals of Maryland
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
  • The Barristers
  • National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys
Honors & Awards
  • Special Achievement Award for efforts in the federal Organized Crime and Narcotics Trafficking Section of the U.S. Attorney's Office, October 2003


Speaking Engagements