Heather Zachary is a partner in the firm's Regulatory and Government Affairs Department, a member of the Cybersecurity, Privacy and Communications and Financial Institutions Practice Groups, and co-chair of the Big Data Practice. Her practice focuses on communications regulation, counseling and advocacy on privacy and data security, and civil litigation at the appellate and trial levels.
Ms. Zachary counsels and advocates for clients on a wide range of privacy, consumer protection, and data-security issues. She assists clients in drafting and implementing online and internal privacy policies; complying with federal, state, and international laws regulating privacy and data security; responding to data breaches; preventing and responding to deceptive and unfair trade practices under the FTC Act and state analogues; crafting comprehensive information-security programs and policies; and configuring transactions and new product offerings to avoid privacy and data-security pitfalls.
Ms. Zachary's practice also includes regulatory advocacy, litigation, and counseling for a wide variety of communications clients. She represents wireline telecommunications providers, wireless carriers, broadcasters, video providers, industry trade associations, and information service providers in FCC proceedings (including merger proceedings) and in appellate litigation.
Ms. Zachary also represents clients in litigation concerning a broad range of legal issues. Her cases have involved such matters as copyright infringement, trade dress infringement, tortious destruction of property, agency, breach of contract, and energy law. Ms. Zachary has prepared briefs in the US Supreme Court, state supreme courts, several federal courts of appeals, and a number of district courts.
Ms. Zachary is a member of the District of Columbia Bar, Oregon State Bar, United States Supreme Court Bar, Federal Communications Bar Association and American Bar Association.
Ms. Zachary co-authored an article discussing the issues faced by communications providers after 9/11, including assistance with surveillance efforts, provision of customer records to law enforcement, export controls, critical infrastructure requirements, and review of transactions involving foreign investors. Navigating Communications Regulation in the Wake of 9/11, 57 Federal Communications Law Journal 351 (2005) (co-authored with Jamie S. Gorelick and John H. Harwood II).
In recent representative matters, Ms. Zachary has:
- Advised clients on the requisite privacy and security protections for financial data under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act; Fair Credit Reporting Act; Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act; federal regulations issued by the FTC, SEC, and federal functional regulators; and analogous state laws and regulations.
- Played a key role in shaping the FCC’s comprehensive reform of universal service and intercarrier compensation, including by drafting single-party and joint industry comments in multiple rulemaking proceedings.
- Helped clients navigate complicated international privacy issues, including EU data-protection law and data-transfer restrictions, as well as the divergent laws of individual countries both within and outside the EU.
- Provided guidance to companies involved in data breaches.
- Represented a video entrant that sought access to cable-affiliated, terrestrially delivered video programming. This multi-pronged effort included prosecuting a complaint at the FCC against a cable operator, filing comments in the FCC’s related rulemaking proceedings, and successfully defending on appeal favorable FCC rules that grant non-incumbents access to terrestrially delivered programming. Cablevision Sys. Corp. v. FCC, 659 F.3d 695 (D.C. Cir. 2011).
- Assisted clients in their efforts to leverage and monetize “big data.”
- Counseled clients on domestic and international privacy and security considerations when deploying new products and services.
- Advised clients on privacy and data-security issues in a wide variety of transactions.
- Assisted financial institutions, communications providers, defense contractors, technology companies, investment advisors, equipment manufacturers, and numerous other clients in revising and implementing online and internal privacy policies.
- Assisted a communications provider with the development of a comprehensive manual addressing state and federal rules concerning cooperation with surveillance efforts and compliance with private subpoenas.
- Represented a communications provider in FCC rulemakings concerning net neutrality, the National Broadband Plan, and the reclassification of broadband as a Title II telecommunications service.
- Drafted a comprehensive information security program and a set of more than thirty information-security policies for a major consumer-research company.
- Counseled clients concerning their compliance with identity-theft and debt-collection laws.
- Represented two Bell operating companies in separate merger-review proceedings at the FCC.
- Provided regulatory and public policy advice to a national wireless carrier concerning a multi-billion-dollar auction of cellular spectrum.
- Represented a national wireless carrier in the FCC’s “bill shock” proceeding concerning unexpected overages on consumers’ monthly voice, data, and messaging bills.
- Represented a communications provider and a trade association in the FCC’s “AllVid” proceedings concerning competition in the marketplace for video set-top boxes.
- Helped secure an appellate victory on behalf of a natural gas producer who argued that FERC’s decision to approve a pipeline capacity lease violated the Administrative Procedure Act. Apache Corp. v. FERC, 627 F.3d 1220 (D.C. Cir. 2010).
- Helped secure an appellate victory for the Air Transport Association of America in a case concerning New York’s “Passenger Bill of Rights.” Reversing the district court, the Second Circuit held that federal law preempts a New York statute that required airlines experiencing extended ground delays to provide certain amenities to passengers. Air Transport Ass’n of America, Inc. v. Cuomo, 520 F.3d 218 (2d Cir. 2008).
- Helped secure victories in two district court proceedings on behalf of a power equipment manufacturer against parties using similar trade dress. The first proceeding resulted in a jury verdict recognizing the validity of the manufacturer’s trade dress and finding that the trade dress had been infringed. The second proceeding resulted in a settlement negotiated after a favorable summary judgment ruling.
- Selected by peers for inclusion in the 2018 edition of the Best Lawyers in America for privacy and data security law.
- Selected as a "Recognised Practitioner" in privacy and data security in the 2017 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers in Business, with clients calling her a "wonderful lawyer" with an ability to "identify what is important and what is not." She has been selected as a leader in telecom, broadcast & satellite law in the 2012-2017 editions.
- Recognized as a "Next Generation Lawyer" in media, technology, and telecoms: cyber law (including data protection and privacy) in the 2017 edition of The Legal 500 United States. Ms. Zachary has been recommended in the 2013-2017 editions in the areas of media, technology and telecoms: cyber law and telecoms and broadcast: regulatory.
- Named to the 2015 Women Worth Watching list by the Diversity Journal.
- Recognized among Washington's 2015 Trending 40 Lawyers Under 40 by Bisnow Ventures.
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JD, Yale Law School, 2001Chair of Articles Committee, Yale Law Journal; Thurman Arnold Prize for Best Oral Advocate, Yale Law School Moot Court competition
BA, University of Southern California, 1998Phi Beta Kappa; Valedictorian
District of Columbia
United States Supreme Court
The Hon. Susan Graber, US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit