William Desmond

William Desmond represents companies and individuals in criminal, civil and regulatory matters. He has substantial experience in government and internal investigations with a focus on matters involving questions of unfair competition and antitrust law. Mr. Desmond has advised clients in investigations involving the US Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general, as well as in litigation in federal and state courts.  

In addition, Mr. Desmond has counseled clients on various issues including anti–money laundering compliance, international trade remedies, criminal fraud and the False Claims Act in the pharmaceutical products context. His practice has covered a range of business types and sectors, including educational services, media and entertainment, trade associations, financial services, and defense and security.

Mr. Desmond previously worked at the firm as a summer associate. While attending law school, he interned in the Economic Crimes Unit of the US Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts, and in the Educational Opportunities Section of the US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. He worked for a summer as an intern investigator at Orleans Public Defenders in Louisiana prior to law school.


  • Government and Internal Investigations

    Mr. Desmond has extensive government and internal investigation experience, including developing strategies in response to allegations of unfair or anticompetitive business practices. He has helped persuade authorities to close investigations without taking enforcement action and advised several clients facing civil investigative demands from federal agencies. A selection of recent investigation matters includes:

    • Representing educational institutions in connection with investigations into admissions and curriculum-setting practices
    • Representing media and entertainment companies in investigations related to hiring and compensation
    • Representing a major financial institution in investigation concerning manipulation of foreign exchange currency markets
    • Conducting internal investigations into antitrust and anti–money laundering compliance on behalf of major financial institutions
  • Litigation

    Mr. Desmond’s litigation experience covers matters in federal and state courts before both district courts and appellate courts. He regularly assists clients in responding to third-party subpoenas and document requests in connection with federal civil litigation. He has worked with economic experts and consultants to develop defense theories relating to alleged injuries and competitive market dynamics. A selection of recent litigation matters includes:

    • Counseling a financial institution in connection with criminal prosecution of its former executives for fraudulent conduct
    • Obtaining dismissal of antitrust claims on behalf of film entertainment company in a series of federal and state court litigation brought by competing movie theater owners
    • Representing an international auto parts manufacturer in navigating multi-district litigation and defending against class action complaints alleging antitrust injury 
    • Representing a trade association in ongoing federal civil litigation involving exclusivity agreements
    • Representing major US company in antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings before the US Department of Commerce and International Trade Commission
  • Antitrust and Competition Counseling

    Mr. Desmond has advised clients in a variety of matters at the intersection of antitrust and competition laws. His experience includes counseling major US companies on appropriate information-sharing and benchmarking practices, as well as preparing compliance and training materials for employees.
  • Merger Clearance

    Mr. Desmond has also represented clients seeking regulatory approval for strategic transactions, with experience advocating for merger clearance before the US Department of Justice and other government bodies, including: 

    • Assisting American Science & Engineering in securing antitrust clearance for its $269 million sale to OSI Systems
    • Counseling a major telecommunications company in connection with executive’s testimony before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights

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  • Education

    • JD, Harvard Law School, 2015

      Notes Editor, Harvard Law Review

    • BA, Political Science, Yale University, 2012

  • Admissions

    • District of Columbia

    • New York