Howard Shapiro, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, has 35 years of courtroom experience as a trial lawyer in civil and criminal matters, and has been repeatedly recognized as one of Washington's leading lawyers. He has been singled out by Chambers USA as a Star Individual for white-collar criminal defense; and he is listed in the Expert Guide to the World's Leading White Collar Crime Lawyers. Best Lawyers in America lists him as a leading lawyer for business litigation. Mr. Shapiro previously served as chair of WilmerHale's Litigation/Controversy Department, a role he held for more than 20 years.

Clients have observed that Mr. Shapiro “is a masterful strategist, trial attorney and adviser”; that “he is aggressive, but in a very measured and controlled way. He really works hard to push the government on behalf of his clients in a way that is successful for his clients. He is a really ambidextrous white-collar lawyer and is extremely skillful in the courtroom”; and that “he is very thoughtful and strategic in his representations. He really looks at each case individually and figures out the best approach to recommend to clients."

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Shapiro served as the General Counsel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1993 to 1997. In 1997, Mr. Shapiro was awarded the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal by the Director of Central Intelligence. He was previously a much-decorated Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he tried numerous cases ranging from bank fraud and political corruption to organized crime and narcotics. During his tenure as an AUSA, Mr. Shapiro was specially assigned by the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute the notorious mail bombing assassinations of former United States Circuit Judge Robert Vance and former civil rights attorney Robert Robinson.


  • Mr. Shapiro's practice is focused largely on white collar criminal defense, complex commercial litigation and securities enforcement matters. He recently led the trial team that won a $52 million jury verdict for our client, Loral Space & Communications Holdings Corporation, in its contract dispute with Cablevision Systems Corporation and its subsidiaries. The dispute related to a joint venture the two companies formed in 1996 to launch a direct broadcast satellite service.

  • Mr. Shapiro previously led the trial team in IGEN International, Inc. v. Roche Diagnostics GmbH that secured a jury verdict for IGEN which allowed it to terminate its licensing agreement with Roche, IGEN's key business objective, and awarded $505 million in damages. The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit sustained the termination right, after which Roche purchased IGEN in a $1.25 billion deal. The $505 million jury verdict, which the Fourth Circuit reduced, ranked fourth in the National Law Journal's top verdicts for that year.

  • Mr. Shapiro represents numerous companies and individuals in connection with criminal investigations undertaken by the United States Department of Justice and United States Attorney's Offices throughout the country. He represented a major telecommunications company at trial in litigation brought by the Washington Attorney General alleging violations of the state’s Consumer Protection Act, where he successfully prevailed on summary judgment on one of the state’s claims and prevailed on a “half-time” motion to substantially curtail the scope of the remaining claims. Mr. Shapiro has also conducted numerous sensitive internal investigations for major banking and corporate clients in the United States, England, Latin America and Asia.


  • Award Text

    Star Individual 

    Chambers USA


  • Award Text

    Life Sciences Star

    LMG Life Sciences

    2012–2016 and 2019–2023

  • Recognized in Who's Who Legal - Investigations 2024 guide.
  • Named to Global Investigations Review's shortlist for 2022 Investigations Professional of the Year.
  • Named a 2023 Lawyer Lifetime Achievement Member by Washingtonian magazine.
  • Chambers USA Guide named Mr. Shapiro a Star Individual for Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations, District of Columbia. He has been recognized by this publication in this area of law since 2010. 
  • Selected by peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America in the areas of bet-the-company litigation, real estate law, commercial litigation and white-collar criminal defense 2011–2024.
  • Named a "Life Sciences Star" in the 2012–2016 and 2019–2023 editions of LMG Life Sciences for government enforcement/investigations.
  • Selected by clients and peers as being among the world's leading investigations lawyers in the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2022 editions of Global Investigations Review's Who's Who Legal: Investigations, and was also recognized in the 2015 and 2023 editions of Who's Who Legal: Business Crime Defense.
  • Consistently recommended by The Legal 500 United Statesfor his white-collar criminal defense and corporate investigations practices.
  • Listed in each edition of the Expert Guide to the World's Leading White Collar Crime Lawyers since 2008.
  • Named to LMG Life Sciences'  shortlist for 2016 Government Investigations Attorney of the Year.
  • Recognized as one of Washington DC's Top 100 lawyers in the 2014 edition of Super Lawyers, and recognized for his criminal defense/white collar and general litigation practices in the 2008–2024 editions.
  • Named a "Litigation Star" by Benchmark Litigation (2021–2024).
  • Named to the Lawdragon 500 Leading Litigators in America list.

Insights & News


  • Education

    • JD, Yale Law School, 1985

      Articles and Book Review Editor, Yale Law Journal
    • BA, Williams College, 1982

      magna cum laude
  • Admissions

    • District of Columbia

    • New York

  • Clerkships

    • The Hon. Pierre N. Leval, US District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1985 - 1987



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