Jennifer Z. Belveal

Partner

Overview

Jennifer Belveal finds solutions to difficult and delicate problems.

Jennifer is a seasoned trial lawyer who leads Foley’s Government Enforcement Defense & Investigations Practice in Detroit. She represents companies, boards, and individuals (including serving as pool counsel for multiple clients) in internal and government investigations, as well as litigation involving civil and criminal allegations. She has nearly 25 years of white-collar criminal experience leading independent investigations, responses to grand jury subpoenas and other government enforcement proceedings, crisis management, and bet-the-company litigation.

Clients and lawyers in Michigan and nationwide recognize Jennifer as a go-to lawyer for navigating complex uncharted situations. She advises clients, and is a sought-after speaker by her peers, on federal and state legal matters across a spectrum of industries, including automotive, manufacturing, financial transactions, securities, health care, public corruption, environmental laws, government contracting, shareholder liability, and data privacy and security. Her civil practice focuses on contracts, commercial torts, real estate, fraud, and ownership disputes. Jennifer is a top Detroit trial lawyer and has successfully handled more than 50 trials, arbitrations, and preliminary examinations. She is equally skilled in avoiding formal proceedings and criminal prosecutions, such that many of her most successful matters have never been publicly disclosed.  

Throughout her career, Jennifer has focused on guiding other lawyers regarding legal ethics. She previously was the associate general counsel for a regional law firm, and currently serves as professional responsibility partner for Foley’s Detroit office.

In 2018, Jennifer was elected as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, an honorary society limited to 1 percent of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction, whose public and private careers have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the highest principles of the legal profession and the welfare of their communities. She also serves as vice chair of the American Bar Association’s Women in White Collar Subcommittee and chairs the Michigan Chapter of the Women’s White Collar Defense Association. She previously was the co-chair of the State Bar of Michigan’s Pro Bono Initiative and served on the Executive Committee of the American Inns of Court for the Oakland County Bar Association.  

Jennifer is very active in the community and currently serves on the board of trustees for the Detroit Public Television.

Recognition

  • The Best Lawyers in America (2017-2020)
  • DBusiness Top Lawyers (2010 and 2016-2020)
  • Michigan Super Lawyers (2016-2019) 
    • Only woman, White Collar Criminal Defense (2016-2019)
    • Top 50 Women (2019)
  • Inaugural list of Crain’s Detroit Women in the Law (2017)
  • Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s Women in the Law (2016)
  • Who’s Who Legal – Business Crime Defence (2019)
  • Martindale-Hubbell rated AV Preeminent

Education

  • University of Michigan Law School (JD, magna cum laude, 1995)
    • Contributing Editor, University of Michigan Law Review
    • Order of the Coif
  • Michigan State University, James Madison College (BA, with honors, 1992)
    • Honors College

Admissions

  • Michigan
  • 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. District Court
    • Eastern District of Michigan
    • Western District of Michigan
    • Northern District of Indiana

Representative Matters

  • Serving as pool counsel for multiple employees in parallel criminal and civil proceedings conducted by federal and state agencies into environmental emissions from certain automobiles relating to alleged defeat devices  
  • Representing employee in federal criminal investigation into potential corruption in dealings between an automotive company and the United Auto Workers  
  • Representing a service company in federal corruption investigation relating to Michigan automotive industry
  • Conducting internal investigation for automotive supplier regarding theft of intellectual property
  • Representing bank victim in multimillion-dollar fraud by customer
  • Representing real estate developer in fraud dispute with partner resulting in both civil litigation and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation 
  • Representing hospital in civil dispute with physician health care group
  • Served, on a pro bono basis, as the designated American Bar Association (ABA) observer during pretrial hearings in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for five detainees accused of planning the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Using her criminal law experience, Jennifer reported on the first live testimony on two key issues in the case – defendants’ motion to suppress their statements based on torture at black sites, as well as defendants’ motion contesting personal jurisdiction.
  • Represented the audit committee of a publicly traded out-of-state company in an internal investigation into financial irregularities and national security issues. Guided client through crisis and concluded the matter to the satisfaction of a national auditing firm under a compressed timetable to meet public filing deadlines and avoid negative financial consequences.
  • Investigated allegedly stolen goods in manufacturing client’s supply chain and defended related civil litigation. The client avoided any criminal or civil liability.
  • Defended physician in federal Detroit health care fraud prosecution
  • Represented Native American company in successfully suing the state of Michigan to remove the imposition of tax-related regulatory action that prevented the client from continuing some of its business operations. 
  • Represented multiple high-profile individuals and companies in federal criminal corruption investigations in Detroit and New Orleans, resulting in no charges.

Presentations and Speaking Engagements