Heather Zachary


Zachary, Heather

Heather Zachary is a partner in the firm's Regulatory and Government Affairs Department, and a member of the Cybersecurity, Privacy and Communications and Financial Institutions Practice Groups. 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.

Honors & Awards

  • 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.     

Publications & News


May 3, 2018

WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices Recognized in 2018 Edition of Chambers USA

Chambers and Partners announced its rankings for the 2018 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, with WilmerHale listed among the nation's best in 50 practice area categories. Chambers also ranked 95 WilmerHale lawyers as leaders in their respective fields.

March 20, 2018

D.C. Circuit Invalidates Portion of FCC's 2015 Declaratory Ruling & Order Implementing the TCPA

On March 16, 2018, the D.C. Circuit issued its long-awaited ruling in ACA International, et al. v. FCC, et al., resolving a series of challenges to the July 10 2015 Declaratory Ruling & Order of the Federal Communications Commission implementing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

February 16, 2018

Federal Trade Commission Update: Senate Hearings Reveal No Obvious Hurdles For Commissioner Nominees

The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on Wednesday on the nominees to serve on the Federal Trade Commission. The hearing covered a range of antitrust and consumer protection issues before, or potentially before, the Commission, including healthcare competition and pharmaceutical pricing; competition in technology and telecommunications sectors; industry concentration; cybersecurity breaches and privacy; and online or telemarketing deception and scams.

January 30, 2018

WilmerHale Reps Red Hat in Acquiring CoreOS for $250M

Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions, announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire CoreOS, Inc., an innovator and leader in Kubernetes and container-native solutions, for a purchase price of $250 million, subject to certain adjustments at closing that are not expected to be material.

August 16, 2017

WilmerHale Lawyers Named Among the 2018 Best Lawyers in America®, Nine Recognized as Lawyers of the Year

Best Lawyers in America®—the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal industry—recognizes 107 WilmerHale lawyers and names nine partners as Lawyers of the Year in its 24th edition.

June 9, 2017

The Legal 500 United States 2017 Recognizes 125 WilmerHale Lawyers Across 28 Practice Areas

The Legal 500 United States has released its 2017 rankings, recommending 125 WilmerHale lawyers—including 12 who are named to its elite “Leading Lawyers” list and two on its “Next Generation Lawyers” list—and 28 practice areas in its 11th edition.

May 26, 2017

WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices Recognized in 2017 Edition of Chambers USA

Chambers and Partners announced its rankings for the 2017 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, with WilmerHale listed among the nation's best in 50 practice area categories. Chambers also ranked 86 WilmerHale lawyers as leaders in their respective fields.

August 5, 2016

Department of Commerce Now Accepting Privacy Shield Self-Certifications: A Primer for Compliance and Self-Certification

The Privacy Shield framework is a voluntary program that provides companies with a mechanism for complying with EU data protection requirements when transferring personal data from the EU to the US. The framework is open to businesses subject to the enforcement jurisdiction of the US Federal Trade Commission or the US Department of Transportation.

June 22, 2016

The Legal 500 United States 2016 Recognizes 111 WilmerHale Lawyers Across 30 Practice Areas

The guide's rankings are based on a series of criteria, including client feedback, interviews with private practice lawyers, and its own research.

May 27, 2016

WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices Recognized in 2016 Edition of Chambers USA

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business announced its final rankings for the 2016 edition, with WilmerHale ranking among the nation's best in 47 practice area categories. Chambers also ranked 82 WilmerHale lawyers as leaders in their respective fields.

Recent Highlights

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. 

Professional Activities

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).


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JD, Yale Law School, 2001, Chair of Articles Committee, Yale Law Journal; Thurman Arnold Prize for Best Oral Advocate, Yale Law School Moot Court competition

BA, University of Southern California, 1998, Phi Beta Kappa; Valedictorian

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia


United States Supreme Court


The Hon. Susan Graber, US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

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