Karl J. Sleight

Mr. Sleight is a member of the firm and was integral in establishing its Government Compliance and Investigations Practice Group.  Selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America, his practice focuses on providing legal counsel and strategic advice to clients that operate in highly regulated environments having an active government oversight component.  Mr. Sleight regularly assists clients along a broad spectrum of sectors, including in the fields of gaming, college athletics, government ethics and lobbying compliance, and health care.  In his practice, Mr. Sleight represents individuals, businesses and institutions in civil litigation, government and oversight body administrative investigations, lobbying and ethics compliance, and white collar criminal defense matters.  Mr. Sleight regularly represents individuals and institutions in high profile matters containing a public or political element.  Mr. Sleight has represented numerous Fortune 100 companies involved in government inquiries and serves as special counsel for Major League Baseball.

Mr. Sleight serves as the leader of the Racing and Gaming Industry Team and is a member of the USA Collegiate Sports team.  Mr. Sleight has served as counsel to casino and gaming interests on a variety of matters and in 2014 successfully navigated the statewide casino site selection competition and process.  Notably, in the field of thoroughbred racing, Mr. Sleight is a licensed horse owner, a member of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders and the managing partner of a modest racing stable that in 2015 finished in the top 10 percent by earnings of all licensed owners in North America.  He serves on the organizing committee of the Albany Law School Saratoga Institute on Racing and Gaming Law, which sponsors the annual industry conference in Saratoga Springs in August, where Mr. Sleight has been a featured speaker and commentator on issues of ethics and racing.  Mr. Sleight has been a featured speaker on the topic of ethics and gaming at programs sponsored by the American Bar Association.

Since leaving government service, Mr. Sleight has testified before the New York State Legislature on the topic of ethics reform, and at the request of the New York State Bar Association president, chaired the Due Process and Investigations subcommittee for the association’s 2011 Task Force on Government Ethics.  The subcommittee’s recommendations have been credited with influencing important aspects of the groundbreaking Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011.  Mr. Sleight has also served as Special Counsel to the New York State Legislative Ethics Commission and is a frequent commentator on issues involving ethics and compliance in the media.

Mr. Sleight regularly serves as counsel in high profile government inquiries.  By illustration, he was engaged as counsel in both of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Commission investigations.  An experienced trial lawyer, Mr. Sleight also represents selected individuals and businesses in white collar criminal defense matters.  Since returning to private practice in 2007, he was lead counsel in the jury trial of a corporate executive who was acquitted of all larceny and tax charges. Most recently, he forged a negotiated plea disposition in a multi-million dollar larceny case whereby the president of the company was able to avoid incarceration.  

Mr. Sleight served as the Executive Director of the New York State Ethics Commission from March 2001 through March 2007.  During his tenure, he was responsible for conducting investigations of high ranking government officials and private sector entities that interact with government officials.  Mr. Sleight also provided advice and interpretation of the state's ethics and integrity laws to statewide elected officials, including the governor and attorney general, as well as private sector business leaders that interacted with the government.  His term at the commission was marked by fair and effective enforcement of the ethical principles that apply to state employees and strong, effective support for legislation to improve the ethics laws.

Mr. Sleight previously served in the Office of the Attorney General under former Attorneys General Dennis Vacco and Eliot Spitzer.  As an Assistant Attorney General, Mr. Sleight was primarily responsible for prosecuting complex narcotics organizations, government corruption and homicide cases.  He was the only attorney in the office assigned to both the Organized Crime Task Force and the Capital Assistance to Prosecutors unit.

Mr. Sleight also served as Deputy Inspector General with the Office of the State Inspector General (OSIG), where he was responsible for overseeing investigations into corruption, fraud and criminal activity.

In 1997, Mr. Sleight received the Attorney General’s Louis J. Lefkowitz award in recognition of exceptional effort for his prosecution of a narcotics cartel operating throughout the eastern United States. In 1999, he received an award from the New York State Police in recognition of exceptional public service in a high profile homicide prosecution. From 1992 to 1995, he was the Chief Assistant District Attorney in Cayuga County.  From 1991 to 1992, Mr. Sleight was an Assistant District Attorney in Fulton County.

Professional & Community Activities

Mr. Sleight is a member of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws and a former member of the New York State District Attorneys Association.  He is a member of the New York State Bar Association, American Bar Association, and is a past president and current member of the Executive Committee of the Saratoga County Bar Association and serves on the Albany Law School Government Law Center’s Advisory Board.  He has authored articles on topics related to ethics in government in the New York Times, New York Law Journal and many other publications.  Mr. Sleight has served as a gubernatorial appointed commissioner of the Saratoga-Capital District State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commission.  Mr. Sleight is actively engaged in the support of youth sports programs in his community.

March 24, 2014 / In the News

November 26, 2013 / In the News

August 8, 2013 / Legal Alert

February 26, 2013 / In the News

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