Celeste Koeleveld has over 25 years of experience in government enforcement, regulatory and civil litigation matters that span federal, state and local government in the United States. Over the course of her career, she has held senior positions in the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) and the New York City Law Department.
Celeste represents clients, both corporates and individuals, with regulatory compliance, internal investigations, and all phases of civil, criminal and regulatory litigation, from inception through the appellate process. Her significant government experience imparts a particularly insightful perspective to her advice and counsel in matters involving regulatory agencies.
Prior to joining Clifford Chance, Celeste served on the executive committee of DFS, joining in 2016 as General Counsel, and ultimately serving as Deputy Superintendent and Special Counsel. During her time at DFS, she handled a broad spectrum of regulatory and enforcement actions, including disciplinary and enforcement proceedings, licensing matters, implementation of legislation and promulgation of regulations. In particular, as General Counsel, Celeste was instrumental in the development and implementation of DFS cybersecurity and transaction monitoring regulations.
In addition to her recent role at DFS, Celeste previously served for 16 years in the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, rising to serve as the Chief of the Criminal Division. In that role, she led a team of more than 160 Assistant US Attorneys and oversaw all criminal investigations and prosecutions. She also served as the Chief Appellate Attorney of the SDNY for four years, overseeing the extensive appellate practice. During her tenure with the SDNY, she also served as the Chief of the General Crimes Unit.
Prior to joining DFS, Celeste served for eight years as Executive Assistant Corporation Counsel at the New York City Law Department. In this role she oversaw several litigation and trial divisions and provided legal advice to City agencies responding to governmental investigation from a variety of federal, state and local prosecutors and investigative bodies.
News and client work
- New York State Department of Financial Services Penalizes Cruise Ship Operator for Failing to Prevent and Timely Report Cyberattacks, Privacy & Cybersecurity Law Report (2022)
- Mitigating the Risks of Criminal Sanctions Due to Employee Misconduct in the Derivatives and Commodities Markets, Futures and Derivatives Law Report, Volume 42, Issue 7 (July/August 2022)
- U.S. Federal Banking Agencies Issue Rule Requiring Banks to Notify Regulators of Cyber Incidents Within 36 Hours, Banking Law Journal (June 2022)
- Federal Courts Will No Longer Brook Prosecutor Misconduct, Law360 Expert Analysis,
- 2022 Brings ESG Disclosure Challenges For Asset Managers, Law360 Expert Analysis,
- Has your U.S. retirement program had a risk checkup lately?, July 2021
- Guide to United States, United Kingdom, and Hong Kong Derivatives and Commodities Market Enforcement Regimes, September 2020
- Women, Influence & Power in Law: From Cryptocurrency to AI: How Tech is Changing the Way we do Business
Speaker, October 16, 2019
- Guide to United States and United Kingdom derivative and commodity market enforcement regimes, April 2019
- FIA Webinar – Don't make it worse: responding properly to US and UK investigations
Presenter, February 2019
- 2018 Priorities and Policies of U.S. Derivatives and Commodities Enforcement Authorities: From The Exchange To The Regulator To The Criminal Prosecutor
Speaker, September 25, 2018, New York
- The Pros and Cons of the OCC's New FinTech Charter
Corporate Counsel Business Journal
Career and qualifications
- Harvard University (BA) 1986
- Columbia University School of Law (JD) 1989
- Law Clerk to the Honorable Kenneth Conboy, U.S. District Court Judge, Southern District of New York 1989
- Admitted as an Attorney-at-Law in New York 1990
- Assistant U.S. Attorney (SDNY), U.S. Department of Justice 1991
- Adjunct Professor, Columbia University School of Law 2006
- Executive Assistant Corporation Counsel, New York City Law Department 2008
- General Counsel, New York State Department of Financial Services 2016
- Deputy Superintendent & Special Counsel, New York State Department of Financial Services 2017
- Joined Clifford Chance as a Partner 2018
- Bar Association of the City of New York
Awards and citations
- Ranked as a Leading Litigator in America
Lawdragon 500 2022: White Collar, Investigations, Appeals
- Celeste Koeleveld has a razor-sharp mind together with superb tactical instincts.
Legal 500, 2022 – United States: Dispute Resolution Corporate investigations and white-collar criminal defense: advice to corporates – Tier 3 Corporate investigations and white-collar criminal defense: advice to individuals – Tier 3
- Appellate specialist Celeste Koeleveld routinely defends individual and corporate clients accused of financial crimes, with significant experience handling high-profile international cases."She has a terrific legal mind."
Chambers USA 2022: Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations: The Elite (New York) – Band 3