Karen Coppens

National Partner,
Dechert LLP

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Dechert LLP
Work: 0033157578057

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Karen Coppens is a white collar crime and investigations lawyer who has been practicing for over a decade advising governments, multinational organizations (including boards and audit committees) and individuals under investigation by authorities including the Parquet National Financier, French investigating judges, the UK Serious Fraud Office and the UK National Crime Agency (and their international counterparts). She focuses on complex multi-agency and cross-border investigations involving international fraud, corruption and money laundering.

Ms. Coppens' work has a strong international focus, with a particular emphasis on Europe (particularly France and the UK), the Middle East, Africa and the United States. She has substantial experience of managing expectations and demands in complex multi-jurisdictional investigations, and working closely with other advisers. She has also advised senior executives who have been accused of, arrested or interviewed about various alleged crimes such as perverting the course of justice, fraud and corruption, money laundering, sanctions breaches and tax evasion.

An active member of the white collar community, Ms. Coppens has been formally recognized by numerous organizations and publications. In April 2020, she was listed in Global Investigations Review's “40 Under 40”, which profiles 40 leading young investigations specialists from around the world. In March 2020, she was (i) part of the team recognized by business intelligence organization C5 in its 2020 Women in Compliance Awards as the “Investigation Team of the Year.” The awards celebrate the significant achievements made by female compliance professionals all over the world that have made a difference and enhanced the compliance profession; and (ii) selected as an honoree in ALM’s Women, Influence and Power in Law Awards 2020 which celebrates the achievements of top women lawyers who have made a remarkable difference in the legal profession in the past year. She is also ranked by Décideurs for white collar crime in France (2020).  In June 2019, she was named a "Rising Star in Litigation" by Euromoney's European Women in Business Law Awards. In January 2019, she was shortlisted at the C5 Women in Compliance Awards for the “Mentor Award of the Year for Advancement of Women in Compliance” and the team she was a part of was also shortlisted in the “Fraud & Corruption Investigation Team of the Year.” 

The 2018 edition of GIR30 noted Ms. Coppens as a leading senior member of Dechert’s investigations team and she was included in Global Investigations Review's “Women in Investigations” profile, which highlights 100 remarkable women from around the world for their accomplishments in white collar crime law. She also received the Dechert Exceptional Teachers Award, which was awarded to 11 lawyers from more than 150 nominations, for volunteering countless hours to training and developing the firm's associates. 

Ms. Coppens has written extensively on Sapin II and French deferred prosecution agreements (conventions judicaires d’intérêt public), the UK Bribery Act 2010 and how to manage multi-jurisdictional investigations and dawn raids. In October 2020, Karen Coppens received a silver prize in the "international issues article" category at the “Plumes de l’Economie & du Droit 2020” ceremony for her article “Accord Airbus : un tournant décisif dans la coopération internationale en matière de lutte contre la corruption" (Airbus DPA : a decisive turning point in terms of international cooperation in anti-corruption enforcement) published in Le Monde du Droit on 5 May 2020. Karen Coppens has also delivered training on these topics to various corporates and has spoken on the subject at high-profile conferences in Paris and London. She also teaches a course on anti-corruption and compliance to LLM students (Master in Law & Business Ethics) at the University of Cergy-Pontoise.

Since September 2018, Ms. Coppens has spearheaded the efforts of the Dechert Global Women’s Initiative (GWI) in London in order to create an internal support network for women at all levels at the firm. This has involved organizing various events that enable lawyers and business service professionals to meet and interact with more experienced colleagues, providing training as well as tools to develop their skills. She has organized a number of speaking events in London to showcase female talent and devised a monthly training program for female professionals at the firm. The London GWI initiative saw Dechert named “Best International Firm for Talent Management” at the Euromoney Women in Business Law Awards in June 2019, as well as being awarded “Outstanding Firm for Furthering Diversity and Inclusion” at the Chambers European Diversity & Inclusion Awards in October 2019. In September 2019, she was included in the “50 Women Future Leaders” list which recognizes inspirational women who are making a significant contribution to gender diversity at work.

Prior to joining Dechert, Ms. Coppens was an associate in the corporate crime and investigations department of another global law firm. As a trainee, she completed a secondment at a leading French firm in Paris. She was also an intern in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania.

Practice Areas

  • White Collar Crime