Information on the external investigator

Patricia Brown Holmes
Partner, Executive Committee Member, Diversity Committee Co-Chair
Schiff Hardin LLP

Patricia Brown Holmes is a trial attorney (former federal, state and local prosecutor) and former state court judge whose diverse practice includes:

  • Corporate internal investigations
  • Criminal internal investigations
  • Representation of high-profile individuals and corporations
  • State and federal trial experience

Internal Investigations
She has extensive experience conducting internal investigations at public and private corporations, governmental entities and non-profit organizations. She has conducted a variety of highly sensitive and confidential investigations involving CEOs and other high-level executives. She has represented special committees and boards of directors in a variety of internal investigations as well as presented findings of investigations to boards and high-level corporate officials.

Ms. Holmes' assorted criminal and civil litigation experience includes handling matters involving financial and accounting fraud, mail and wire fraud, corporate whistle-blower allegations and hot-line calls, contract disputes and other complex commercial litigation. She has also lectured on and completed internal investigations involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Governmental Investigations
Ms. Holmes is frequently tasked by state officials to assist in investigating sensitive matters. She was recently appointed by Illinois governor Pat Quinn to chair the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission, which will promulgate rules and regulations and investigate claims of torture. Ms. Holmes completed the investigation of the City of Chicago's fire commissioner who was charged with allegations of sexual harassment and the alleged cover up by the executive director of the Office of Compliance. In early 2010, she completed the investigation surrounding the tragic incidents alleged to have occurred at Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois as chair of the governor's Cemetery Oversight Task Force. That investigation led to new legislation regarding cemetery oversight and the funeral industry. She is also a member of Senator Dick Durbin's judicial commission to investigate backgrounds and select federal judges and the U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Illinois.

She has been a guest on Fox News Chicago, Paul Lisnek's CN100 television news show "Political Update" and on WVON radio discussing, among other issues, the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court.


Ms. Holmes' significant and illustrative cases include:

  • United States v. Conrad M. Black et al. Ms. Holmes co-led the Schiff Hardin trial team that defended former Hollinger International Inc. executive and corporate counsel Mark S. Kipnis, in which Mr. Kipnis was charged with multiple counts of federal mail, wire and tax fraud stemming from a series of transactions involving the corporation. Following a 16-week trial and two weeks of deliberation, he was convicted of only three counts, one of which the judge dismissed post-trial. The trial team was later successful in obtaining a sentence of five years probation, reduced from a possible sentence that ranged from 30 to 78 months imprisonment. The United States Supreme Court later reversed the convictions and remanded the matter back to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which overturned the criminal conviction of Mr. Kipnis and sent the case back to the trial court. In early 2011, the government dismissed with prejudice the remaining charges against him, fully exonerating him and clearing his record.
  • United States v. Mohammad Mohammed, et al. Ms. Holmes successfully tried this "bankruptcy bust-out" case, a first of its kind in the country. It involved the prosecution of a complex financial scheme to defraud creditors and violate income tax laws.
  • United States v. Castellanos, et al. Ms. Holmes successfully tried this matter, which was one of the largest multiple-defendant interstate narcotics conspiracy trials ever prosecuted in Rockford, Illinois. It involved a complex narcotics trafficking conspiracy, money laundering, and other federal violations.
  • United States v. Charles Emenogha. Ms. Holmes successfully tried this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case involving multiple defendants, complex conspiracy allegations, and the first-ever money-structuring charge brought by the Internal Revenue Service.
    United States v. Carey Robinson. Ms. Holmes successfully tried this case, which was the first trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois charging a violation of the Mann Act.
  • People v. Vincent Williams, 124 Ill. 2d 300, 529 N.E. 2d 558, 124 Ill. Dec. 577 (1988). Ms. Holmes argued successfully before the Illinois Supreme Court in this matter, which established the state's right to make a timely written motion for substitution of a judge on the ground of prejudice.

To learn more about Patricia Brown Holmes, including lists of her publications, speeches and presentations visit her webpage on the Schiff Hardin LLP website.