Skip to Content

Overview

Vanessa Singh Johannes is an experienced trial attorney whose practice focuses on white collar criminal defense and complex corporate and government investigations. For more than a decade, she served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, trying dozens of federal jury trials and handling appellate matters before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In her distinguished career as a federal prosecutor, Vanessa investigated, indicted, and tried cases involving crimes such as fraud and money laundering, espionage, civil rights, arms trafficking, human trafficking, and violent crimes. Vanessa has deep knowledge and experience with all phases of government investigations — from grand jury inquiries to monthlong jury trials — and has a close working relationship with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI and HSI. Vanessa served as the Southern District of Florida’s Project Safe Childhood coordinator, assisting federal agents and human trafficking prosecutors with training and case preparedness, as well as handling the intake of all child exploitation and human trafficking cases in Miami. Vanessa earned the prestigious Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service for her work prosecuting Christopher R. Glenn, a U.S. citizen and Department of Defense contractor who committed a host of national security, fraud, money laundering, and human trafficking violations. Prior to serving as a federal prosecutor, Vanessa was a senior associate at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in New York.

Vanessa currently represents corporations and individuals as they navigate complex government investigations and prosecutions. In this regard, she has developed a track record of representing Fortune 500 companies and executives in complex litigation and during crisis mode. Her notable matters include representing a large financial institution in multibillion-dollar federal antitrust litigation; a nonprofit foundation in a lawsuit against a purported hedge fund manager, who ran a million-dollar Ponzi scheme in New York; a large telecommunications company in an environmental toxic tort litigation in federal court; corporate executives accused of federal health care fraud and money laundering violations; a large utility and energy company conducting an internal investigation into potential corruption actions committed by company managers and executives; a large toy manufacturer in a negligence suit stemming from injuries allegedly related to a product; and the CEO and founder of a telecom company facing a federal criminal wire fraud and money laundering investigation. 

Born in Guyana and raised in South Miami, Vanessa is as committed to her community as she is to her clients. She has volunteered as a writing coach for the Posse Foundation, which provides minority high school students with college scholarships and training in writing and leadership skills. Vanessa is also an active member of the Wilkie D. Ferguson Bar Association, Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association, and the Caribbean Bar Association. She sits on the board of directors for the Federal Bar Association’s South Florida chapter and the Miami-Dade Beacon Council.

Vanessa is the firm’s Miami office co-managing shareholder.

Experience

Tried more than 25 cases before a federal jury as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Jury trial victories include the following prosecutions:

  • A high school teacher for enticing a minor student to engage in sexual relations.
  • A former military contractor for sexually trafficking Honduran minors.
  • A violent Haitian gang leader and pimp for brandishing, beating, and sexually trafficking women.
  • A long-distance truck driver for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman.
  • A city of Miami firefighter for distribution of infant and toddler child pornography.
  • A Russian organization for operating a sex trafficking and money laundering conspiracy under the guise of a high-end escort agency.
  • An aerospace executive for arranging and orchestrating a murder-for-hire plot against his business partner, which was fortunately prevented by an FBI informant.

Representative civil matters include:

  • Represented a Fortune 500 financial institution in a billion-dollar antitrust litigation in federal court.
  • Represented a nonprofit foundation in a lawsuit against a purported hedge fund manager who ran a million-dollar Ponzi scheme in New York.
  • Represented a Fortune 100 telecommunications company in an environmental toxic tort litigation in federal court.
  • Represented various corporations’ litigation interests in bankruptcy court.

Professional & Community Involvement

  • Miami-Dade Beacon Council
    • Board of Directors
  • Federal Bar Association
    • Board of Directors
  • American Bar Association
  • Caribbean Bar Association
  • Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Bar Association
  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
    • Fellow (2022)
  • Miami Beach Bar Association

Speaking Engagements

  • “AI for Defense and Intelligence,” eMerge Americas, Miami, FL (April 18, 2024)
  • "Educational Policy: Public Schools and the U.S. Supreme Court," Florida Law Con (March 31, 2023)
  • "Redistricting: The Legal Parameters of Redistricting ... Where Does It End?," Miami Law Con (April 22, 2022)
  • "The Future of Sentencing: A Look at the Federal Sentencing Guidelines," American Constitution Society, Florida Chapter (June 28, 2021)

Credentials

Education

  • Duke University School of Law (J.D., 2006)
  • University of Florida (B.A., summa cum laude, 2003)

Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

Disclaimer

The information on this website is presented as a service for our clients and Internet users and is not intended to be legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. Although we welcome your inquiries, please keep in mind that merely contacting us will not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. Consequently, you should not convey any confidential information to us until a formal attorney-client relationship has been established. Please remember that electronic correspondence on the internet is not secure and that you should not include sensitive or confidential information in messages. With that in mind, we look forward to hearing from you.