Valecia McDowell is a national thought leader in the areas of governmental and internal investigations, conduct risk management, and civil rights and racial equity assessments. Valecia is ranked in Chambers USA and Best Lawyers, included in national publications such as Bloomberg, American Banker, Corporate Compliance Insights, and Inside Counsel, and serves on Law360's Compliance Editorial Board.


For more than 20 years Valecia has brought her candor, pragmaticism, and diligence to bear on behalf of her clients, establishing herself as the go-to attorney in the investigations arena. Valecia has experience conducting internal and governmental investigations across the United States, Europe, Asia, and South America, with specific knowledge and experience in the areas of consumer finance and employee conduct risk, including practice and company-wide reviews and racial equity assessments.

She has represented clients in disputes, investigations, and negotiations involving domestic authorities, such as the Federal Reserve Board, OCC, CFPB, DOJ, SEC, HUD, FINRA, CFTC, DOA, OIG, Congress, State Attorneys General in the United States, and international authorities, such as, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Japanese Financial Services Agency (JFSA), and the Comissão de Valores Mobiliarios (the Brazilian Securities Commission). She frequently leads sensitive, confidential internal investigations and reviews for Fortune 100 companies and recently led the team that published a racial equity audit report for CoreCivic, the largest private operator of corrections and detention facilities in the US.

Valecia has served as a guest instructor at the Duke University School of Law, teaching a course on internal investigations, and has twice been invited to speak regarding conduct risk management at the SIFMA C&L Annual Seminar. Valecia has also written or been featured in articles published by Bloomberg, American Banker, Corporate Compliance Insights, and Inside Counsel on the topics of internal investigations and risk management.

Representative Experience

Regulatory Defense and Internal Investigations
  • Leading the team that published a racial equity audit report for CoreCivic, the largest private operator of corrections and detention facilities in the US. (CoreCivic Racial Equity Audit Report)
  • Leading a team of more than 80 to conduct a risk analysis for a Fortune 50 company

  • Leading a team of more than 30 to conduct a review of consumer sales practices for a national bank

  • Defending False Claims allegations where mortgage company representatives were tried and convicted for fraud

  • Conducting a public company investigation involving accounting irregularities and executive misconduct in the manufacturing industry

  • Leading an investigation into allegations of public corruption on behalf of an international bank in South America

  • Leading an effort to self-report potential health care billing irregularities

  • Successfully representing a national bank in response to allegations of market manipulation lodged by various state attorneys general

  • Conducting a highly publicized investigation on behalf of the city of Charlotte involving allegations of sexual harassment by a city council member

Civil Litigation

Valecia also possesses significant trial, arbitration, and regulatory defense experience in complex, high-stakes cases, particularly in the financial services, healthcare, securities, manufacturing, and telecommunications industries. 

  • Obtaining dismissal in a shareholder derivative class action lawsuit arising out of a $1.5 billion sales transaction for a publicly traded company

  • Obtaining a favorable settlement for a national bank after commencement of jury selection in a federal consumer finance trial in South Carolina

  • First chairing successful defense of Sarbanes-Oxley claims in Pennsylvania Administrative Hearing and on appeal before the Third Circuit

  • Successfully arguing before the Eleventh Circuit in a product development dispute

  • Successfully arguing before the North Carolina Business Court on behalf of Bank of America in its shareholder derivative lawsuit relating to the acquisition of Merrill Lynch



Valecia has been frequently recognized by her peers for excellence in the law:

  • Best Lawyers in America, Litigation - Securities "Lawyer of the Year," 2023
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2013-present
  • Chambers & Partners USA Leaders in their Field, 2014-present
  • Chambers USA - North Carolina, Litigation: General Commercial, 2014-2022, Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations, 2021-2022
  • Business North Carolina’s Power List, 2022
  • Super Lawyers, "Top 100" list North Carolina, 2017-2020, 2022; “Top 25” list Charlotte, 2017-2022; "Top 50" list of Women North Carolina, 2020-2022; 2014-present
  • Benchmark Litigation Future Stars, 2010-2017; Local Litigation Star, 2018-2023
  • Lawyers of Color "Nation's Best" list, 2019; Fifth Power List, 2020
  • Julius L. Chambers Diversity Champion Award, 2017
  • Super Lawyers (Rising Stars), 2009-2013
  • Litigation Counsel of America, 2009-present
  • Co-chair, Moore & Van Allen Diversity Committee 
  • Current Board Member, Leading on Opportunity’s Council
  • Current Board Member, Duke University Law School’s Board of Visitors 
  • Current Board Member, Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Foundation
  • Current Board Member, Duke Law Alumnae Council
  • Former General Counsel of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and Charlotte Regional Business Alliance 
  • Former Board Chair, Arts & Science Council
  • Former Board Chair, Community Building Initiative





Speaking Engagements

Blogs and Resources

Blog Posts



  • Former Member of the Local Rules Committee for the Western District of North Carolina



  • "Shedding Light (without the spotlight)" Super Lawyers
  • "Q&A with Moore & Van Allen's Valecia McDowell" Corporate Compliance
  • "After SEC v. Graham, Have the Courts Limited the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act's Reach?" Westlaw Journal Derivatives
  • "Work with Your State Attorneys General to Avoid Enforcement Actions" American Banker
  • Co-author, "Risks to Consider When Contemplating a Deferred Prosecution Agreement",
  • Co-author, "5 Tips for Conducting High-Value Internal Investigations",
  • Co-author, "6 Factors When Choosing Counsel in Internal Investigations",
  • Co-author, "How to Conduct Internal Investigations",
  • Co-author, "Lights, Action, Interview",
  • Co-author, "Beware of Blue Collar Techniques in White Collar Investigations",
  • Co-author, "The Nuts and Bolts of Internal Investigations",
  • Co-author, "Have Increased Government Investigations Remedied the Causes of the Financial Crisis?", Bloomberg Law Reports- Corporate Counsel
  • E-Discovery in Arbitration: Leading Lawyers on Recovering Electronic Evidence, Meeting New Disclosure Guidelines and Implementing Measures to Streamline the Process (Aspatore Books’ Inside the Minds series).


J.D., Duke University, 1998

B.A., Duke University, 1995, cum laude


  • North Carolina, 1998
  • United States Court of Appeals - Fourth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals - Eleventh Circuit
  • Eastern District of North Carolina
  • Middle District of North Carolina
  • Western District of North Carolina
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Best Lawyers in America, Litigation - Securities "Lawyer of the Year," 2023

Chambers USA - North Carolina, Litigation: General Commercial, 2014-2022, Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations, 2021-2022
"Valecia is one of the strongest lawyers I know." "She has an incredibly strong reputation." - Chambers, 2022

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