Nicholas C. Harbist


Nicholas Harbist concentrates his practice in complex criminal and commercial litigation. He represents clients in a variety of industries in matters related to:

  • Healthcare fraud and abuse, defense contract fraud, securities and tax fraud, environmental crimes, antitrust crimes, FCPA and corruption crimes, export crimes, and general business fraud
  • RICO, antitrust, securities, trade secrets, healthcare litigation
  • Professional licensing litigation
  • Corporate internal investigations
  • Corporate compliance programs
  • Qui Tam / False Claims Act and whistleblower litigation

Nicholas is a seasoned trial lawyer. He is a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (1984–1996), where he served as the special fraud coordinator; and special assistant U.S. attorney involving litigation under the Classified Information Procedures Act. As a federal prosecutor, he conducted hundreds of high-profile investigations and trials. Based on this experience, he developed a keen understanding of the compliance challenges facing corporate boards, CEOs, and licensed professionals.

Nicholas is a nationally recognized lecturer on white collar criminal law topics. He was a featured speaker at the American Bar Association’s Eighth Annual International White Collar Crime Institute Conference in London in October 2019. His panel presented “White Collar Crime Hypothetical Exercise Part 1 (Investigations)” and discussed the investigations and the implications for the various parties involved.

Nicholas is a skilled appellate lawyer and has argued cases before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the New Jersey Supreme Court, and New York Supreme Court.

He is consistently recognized by The International Who’s Who of Business Crime Defense Lawyers and The International Who’s Who of International Investigations Lawyers.


  • An industry association, in a Civil RICO suit alleging fraud and antitrust violations involving cell phone cloning and obtained a dismissal.
  • A developer, in a civil RICO suit alleging a scheme to divest an investor from his interests in a company and obtained a dismissal.
  • A high technology company, in connection with a federal investigation of an employee who destroyed the company’s computer design and production programs.
  • An international company, in an investigation involving unlawful exports of defense articles, resulting in a declination of criminal charges.
  • An executive, in a qui tam investigation, obtained a declination of criminal charges and the largest Relator award in the District of New Jersey in apostal rate fraud case.
  • A large New Jersey physical rehabilitation company, in a federal qui tam whistleblower lawsuit, obtained a declination and dismissal.
  • Obtained a $265,000,000 settlement in a False Claims Act lawsuit alleging systematic healthcare fraud violations.
  • A pharmaceutical executive, in an off-label drug promotion investigation and secured immunity from prosecution.
  • A physician, in a professional licensing kickback investigation and received a declination from prosecution.

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  • AV Preeminent®, listed in Martindale-Hubbell®
  • 2018–2024, Criminal Defense: White-Collar in Princeton, listed in Best Lawyers in America©
  • 2010–2019, listed in The International Who’s Who of Investigations Lawyers
  • 2010–2018, “Super Lawyer,” listed in New Jersey and Pennsylvania editions of Super Lawyers



  • American Bar Association
  • Philadelphia Bar Association
  • Association of the Federal Bar of the State of New Jersey
  • Burlington County Bar Association
  • Camden County Bar Association
  • Health Care Compliance Association
  • New Jersey Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • New Jersey State Bar Association
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
Professional Activities

Nicholas is a member of numerous community and professional organizations. In 2010, he was appointed to serve as National Co-Chair of the American Bar Association’s White Collar Crime Committee. Thereafter, he served as Co-Executive Director of the ABA Criminal Justice Section White Collar Crime Division. As part of his responsibilities, he was a member of the ABA Attorney General’s Advisory Committee that meets regularly with the Attorney General to discuss policy issues. He is the former Vice-Chair of the ABA White Collar Crime Committee for the Mid-Atlantic Region. Nicholas is also a Former Chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association Criminal Law Section and served as a Trustee for the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers for New Jersey. Nicholas also served as a board member of the Long-Range Planning Committee for the Justinian Society.



  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court - New Jersey


  • The College of New Jersey, BS, magna cum laude
  • Rutgers University School of Law, Camden, JD, magna cum laude