Preston Pugh is an experienced trial lawyer, represents employers, and is a member of the firm's Executive Committee. Recognized by Legal 500 for corporate investigations, and trained as both a federal prosecutor and a labor and employment lawyer, Mr. Pugh represents corporations and large institutions in risk avoidance and mitigation investigations and litigation. He also works with clients in multiple stages of crisis management, often in situations that are Human Resources-relevant. Challenges that he has helped clients successfully navigate include alleged executive or key employee misconduct in the workplace, qui tam cases, misstatements of financials, workplace violence, trade secrets disputes over important data, regulatory inspections incidents, the full range of employment discrimination litigation, and insider threats of terrorism.

Mr. Pugh combines his experience as a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, senior compliance investigations counsel at the General Electric Company, and twice-appointed compliance monitor to assist clients operating in competitive and complex markets. He helps clients understand not only whether "noncompliance" occurred, but also the root cause of the concern – not just "putting out fires," but finding an efficient, effective solution that resonates with regulators, eliminates excessive risk in specific areas, and constructs enduring cultural change.

Mr. Pugh was appointed by a federal district court in one of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) largest monitorships to date involving racial discrimination and harassment. At the conclusion of the monitorship, the district court observed, "You're that outsider coming in... Not easy to do, but you did it well... I think that everybody chose well when they picked you to do this job." He was also the first monitor appointed by the Waterfront Commission of New York and New Jersey Harbors, overseeing a stevedore's efforts to root out organized crime. Mr. Pugh currently serves as a deputy monitor in the gaming industry overseeing a company's efforts to prevent, among other things, sexual harassment and discrimination.

Licensed to practice in Washington, DC, New York, and Illinois, Mr. Pugh is a known advocate in both trial and appellate courts. He has successfully tried a wide variety of federal cases, and has argued civil appeals in the First, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and District of Columbia Circuits in the United States Courts of Appeals. He has succeeded in two cases of first impression: one in the First Circuit and another, as amicus counsel, in the Illinois Supreme Court.

Immediately prior to joining Miller & Chevalier, Mr. Pugh was a partner at a prominent trial boutique in Chicago. He was recognized as an "Illinois Super Lawyer" from 2011 to 2017 and received multiple Special Service Awards during his time at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago. For 10 years, he served as part of the national faculty for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and has been an adjunct professor in appellate advocacy at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

  • Currently leading a top-to-bottom risk assessment of a global manufacturer in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, U.S., and Asia Pacific covering anti-corruption, third-party due diligence, cartels, government contracts, trade controls, and the use, availability, and structure of its whistleblower reporting channels
  • Represented the second largest hospital in Wisconsin after the tragic onsite homicide of a nurse-practitioner. Led a team to conduct internal investigation of the homicide and hospital security protocols.  Advised hospital regarding communications and discussions with internal and external stakeholders.  Represented hospital in associated OSHA investigation, which resulted in no adverse findings against the hospital. 
  • Jointly led investigation into allegations by a whistleblower regarding accounting and internal governance/compliance issues into $5B non-U.S. headquartered company and its U.S. subsidiary, reporting results to external auditor.
  • Led the internal investigation of an airline in an industry-wide False Claims Act (FCA) and false statements investigation by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and the United States Postal Service (USPS). The investigation was both domestic and global, took place over several years, and involved dozens of witnesses.
  • Defended FCA and criminal false statement allegations against a Division I university following a well-publicized 2013 dawn raid by 54 federal and state law enforcement agents. Advised university regarding communications, discussions with law enforcement, internal and external stakeholders, and internal investigation of the issues. After several years, the DOJ closed the investigation with no charges filed.
  • Jointly led an independent investigation of alleged conduct by coaches on a Big Ten sports team, including highly publicized allegations by student-athletes of abuse, favoritism and racism. Public report issued to all University alumni.
  • Defended three executives of a large Wall Street financial institution in a nationally-publicized trade secrets and non-solicitation lawsuit filed by the executives’ former employer/financial institution. The case was litigated in both the Illinois Chancery Court and FINRA. The allegations were not sustained.
  • Retained by a board of directors to investigate numerous code of conduct complaints against the CEO of a large hospital, including conflicts of interest and other allegations.
  • On behalf of a large corporation, investigated the company's Deputy Chief of Human Resources for numerous alleged code of conduct breaches.
  • Investigated transportation executive for allegedly rigging a hiring process for senior managers seeking promotion.
  • Conducted a nine-month internal investigation of a health care medical device company regarding allegations of kickbacks, off-label marketing, and other health care compliance issues.
  • Defended a bank accused of widespread racial discrimination against its customers. Arbitrated the case in 2018, showed allegations had no merit and ultimately achieved a complete victory on the merits of the case.
  • Wrote the successful argument in one of the leading FCA implied certification qui tam cases in the Seventh Circuit, U.S. ex rel. Bragg v. SCR, part of the circuit split that led to the United States Supreme Court's decision in Universal Health Services v. U.S. ex rel. Escobar.
  • Assistant United States Attorney, Northern District of Illinois, 1999 – 2002 (Recipient of Special Service Award 2000 and 2001)
  • National Labor Relations Appellate Court Branch, 1997 – 1999
  • Senior Counsel, Litigation and Global Investigations, GE Healthcare
  • Seconded Counsel, Integrated Defense Systems, Boeing
  • Legal 500: Dispute Resolution: Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2019
  • DC Bar Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll, 2018
  • DC Bar Capital Pro Bono High Honor Roll, 2017
  • Leading Lawyer in Commercial Litigation, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, 2012 - 2017
  • "40 Attorneys Under 40 to Watch," Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, 2004
  • Department of Justice Special Act or Service Award, 2000 - 2001
  • Co-Chair, Global Anti-Corruption Committee, American Bar Association
  • Co-Chair, Qui Tam Subcommittee, Criminal Justice Section, American Bar Association
  • American Bar Association's Task Force on Corporate Monitors
  • Leadership Greater Chicago, Class of 2012
  • Former Member, Character and Fitness Committee, Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Committee
  • Former Chair, Labor and Employment Committee, Chicago Bar Association
Bar Admissions
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • New York
Court Admissions
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
    including the Trial Bar
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
04.01.2020
Firm Event

The American Bar Association Public Contract Law Section and Miller & Chevalier presented the webinar, "COVID-19 Legal Update," on April 1, 2020.