Howard M. Shapiro


Chair, Litigation/Controversy Department

Shapiro, Howard

Howard Shapiro is the chair of the Litigation/Controversy Department and a member of the Securities Department.

Mr. Shapiro, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, has 25 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. In 2002, 2009 and 2011 he was named by Washingtonian magazine as one of the top lawyers in the District of Columbia; in 2004, he was voted the “Leading Lawyer in Litigation” in a poll of the DC legal community conducted by the Legal Times; and he is consistently selected by Chambers USA and Best Lawyers in America as a leading lawyer in the areas of business litigation and white collar criminal defense. In 2008, Mr. Shapiro was also listed in the Expert Guide to the World's Leading White Collar Crime Lawyers.

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 United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit sustained the termination right, after which Roche purchased IGEN in a $1.2 billion deal. The $505 million jury verdict, which the Fourth Circuit reduced, ranked fourth in the National Law Journal’s top verdicts of 2002.

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. Mr. Shapiro has also conducted numerous sensitive internal investigations for major banking and corporate clients in the United States, England and Asia.

Publications & News


September 14, 2015

LMG Life Sciences Release 2015 Rankings, Again Names WilmerHale a "Life Cycle Firm"

In its latest edition, LMG Life Sciences recognizes eight WilmerHale practice areas and 16 attorneys, and for the fourth consecutive year names WilmerHale a "Life Cycle Firm."

September 10, 2015

DOJ Outlines New Policy Regarding White Collar Cases Against Individuals

The Department of Justice has released a new policy intended to further the Department’s effort to hold individuals accountable for corporate wrongdoing. The policy was laid out in a September 9, 2015 memorandum authored by Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates. The new policy is more than a clarification of existing practices; it constitutes the most significant new measures taken since the Department intensified its focus on pursuing white collar cases against individuals last year. The policy, and in particular the requirement that corporations provide the Department with “all relevant facts relating to the individuals responsible for the misconduct” in order to receive any cooperation credit, could have significant implications for how corporations investigate potential misconduct and share factual findings with the Department. 

May 19, 2015

WilmerHale Practices, Lawyers Ranked Among Nation’s Best by Chambers USA

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business announced its final rankings for the 2015 edition, with WilmerHale ranking among the nation's best in 46 practice area categories. Chambers also ranked 86 WilmerHale attorneys as leaders in their respective fields.

May 13, 2015

DC Office Hosts Children’s Law Center Breakfast

On April 16, the firm's Washington DC office hosted the inaugural event in the Children's Law Center's 2015 Breakfast Series. Speaker Melody Barnes—former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council—challenged an audience of more than 50 lawyers and business leaders to think about "disconnected youth" in their communities in a new way.

August 28, 2014

LMG Life Sciences Honors Firm, Attorneys with Top Rankings for Third Consecutive Year

The 2014 edition of LMG Life Sciences has been released, and it includes the recognition of nine WilmerHale practice areas and 17 attorneys.

May 23, 2014

Chambers USA Ranks Top WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices in 2014 Edition

We are pleased to announce the names of the individuals and practice areas that are ranked in the 2014 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business.

April 25, 2014

WilmerHale Attorneys Recognized in Annual Washington DC Super Lawyers Listing

The annual edition of the Washington DC Super Lawyers magazine, published by The Washington Post Magazine, released its 2014 listing which includes 37 WilmerHale attorneys.

August 15, 2013

Best Lawyers in America® 2014 Recognizes Nearly 100 WilmerHale Partners, Naming Eight “Lawyer of the Year”

Nearly 100 WilmerHale lawyers have been selected for inclusion in the 20th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®—a respected peer-review publication in the legal industry.

June 17, 2013

WilmerHale Earns Top Rankings in LMG Life Sciences Guide

The 2013 edition of LMG Life Sciences has been released, and it includes the recognition of nine WilmerHale practice areas and 17 attorneys.

May 24, 2013

Chambers USA 2013 Final Results Announced

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business today announced its final rankings for the 2013 edition, in which 93 WilmerHale lawyers and 44 firm practice areas have been recognized as leading in their field.

Honors & Awards

  • Recognized as a DC leader in the Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations field in the 2010-2015 editions of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers in Business
  • Selected by peers for inclusion in the 2011-2015 editions of Best Lawyers in America in the areas of bet-the-company litigation, real estate law, and criminal defense: white collar
  • Selected by clients and peers as being among the world's leading investigations lawyers in the 2015 edition of Who's Who Legal: Investigations, and was also recognized in the 2015 edition of Who's Who Legal: Business Crime Defence
  • Named a "Life Sciences Star" in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 editions of LMG Life Sciences for government enforcement/investigations
  • 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 2008-2015 editions


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JD, Yale Law School, 1985, Articles and Book Review Editor, Yale Law Journal

BA, magna cum laude, Williams College, 1982

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia

New York


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