Sara Zdeb

Counsel

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Sara Zdeb guides clients through high-stakes government investigations, enforcement actions, and regulatory matters with legal, public policy, and public relations dimensions. She draws on strategic counseling and crisis management skills honed in private practice and the Executive Branch, where she has helped Cabinet officials, organizations, and executives find solutions to their most difficult challenges. Sara also calls on her government experience to advise clients competing in the global marketplace on data privacy and security and the regulation of international trade and investment.

Sara rejoined the firm in 2017 after serving for two years as Senior Counsel to the General Counsel at the United States Department of Commerce, a 46,000+ employee Cabinet department responsible for creating the conditions for economic growth. As Senior Counsel, Sara advised the Department’s leadership on a variety of legal and policy issues with significant impacts on businesses, including export controls, international trade and investment, and cybersecurity—overseeing the development of policies and advancing them through the Executive Branch. Sara also represented the Department in high-profile congressional investigations and other oversight matters, and counseled its senior-most leaders on risk management and compliance.

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Admissions

Bar Admissions

  • Maryland
  • Washington, DC

Court Admissions

  • US Court of Appeals, Eleventh and DC Circuits
  • US District Court, District of Columbia 

Education

  • Georgetown University, J.D.; magna cum laude
  • Duke University, B.A., Environmental Science

Professional Activities

Member

  • Edward Bennett Williams Inn of Court
  • International Association of Privacy Professionals
  • Military Spouse J.D. Network
  • American Bar Association Criminal Justice and International Law Sections 

Author

  • "From Georgia v. Tennessee Copper to Massachusetts v. EPA: Parens Patriae Standing for State Global Warming Plaintiffs," 96 Geo. L. J. 1059 (2008)

Co-Author

  • One Year Until GDPR Enforcement: Five Steps Companies Should Take Now, Cybersecurity Law Report (May 31, 2017), with Kiran Raj and Mallory Jensen
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: An O’Melveny Handbook (2013)
  • "The Illusory Facilitating Payments Exception: Risks Posed by Ongoing FCPA Enforcement Actions and the U.K. Bribery Act," The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act 2011: Coping With Heightened Enforcement Risks (PLI 2011), with Richard Grime
  • "Environmental Law and Politics: Persistence and Progress Notwithstanding the Demise of Political Bipartisanship," Insights on L. & Soc'y 10 (A.B.A. Spring 2008), with Richard J. Lazarus

Executive Branch Experience

  • Counseled senior Department of Commerce officials on high-profile regulatory and policy matters involving international commerce, ranging from the Bureau of Industry and Security’s licensing policy for crude oil exports to the US government’s policy toward Cuba.
  • Advised Commerce leaders on the structure, establishment, and implementation of the President’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity.
  • Managed responses to congressional and Office of Inspector General inquiries, preparing senior officials for appearances before Congress and coordinating across press and management teams to advise Commerce leaders on communications and operational challenges arising from oversight matters.  

Private Practice Experience

  • Served as independent counsel to the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors, conducting an internal review of the university’s response to an alleged sexual assault reported in Rolling Stone magazine.
  • Directed internal investigations, managed complex litigation, and counseled a Fortune 100 healthcare insurer on issues arising out of False Claims Act matters alleging Medicare fraud.  
  • Represented the CEO of one of the nation’s largest private companies in connection with a criminal investigation into alleged fraudulent sales practices.
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