Jonathan G. Cedarbaum


Cedarbaum, Jonathan G.

Jonathan Cedarbaum rejoined the firm in 2011 after spending two years in the leadership of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, where he ultimately served as Acting Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Office, which provides authoritative legal advice to the White House, the Attorney General, and all executive branch departments and agencies. Mr. Cedarbaum co-chairs the firm's False Claims Act Group and is one of the leaders of its Cybersecurity, Privacy and Communications Group. He also litigates Administrative Procedure Act, constitutional and international cases, and he counsels clients on regulatory matters and represents them before administrative agencies and congressional committees—not only in the area of data security and privacy, but also on matters concerning healthcare and financial services.


During his time at OLC, Mr. Cedarbaum was deeply involved in the development and early implementation of the Dodd-Frank and Affordable Care Acts. As a member of the Justice Department’s senior leadership and as a legal counselor to senior officials across the government, he was also involved in numerous other statutory and regulatory initiatives, including in the areas of cybersecurity and data privacy, economic sanctions, procurement reform and energy development.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Cedarbaum did two additional stints at the Justice Department: two-and-a-half years as an Attorney-Advisor in the Office of Legal Counsel (1999-2002) and a year as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General (1997-1998). Mr. Cedarbaum has also served as Deputy Chief of Staff to the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (2002-2003) and as a legislative assistant for a Member of Congress (1985-1986).

Honors & Awards

  • Elected as a member of the American Law Institute in 2015
  • Selected as one of Lawdragon Magazine's "500 Leading Lawyers in America" in 2012 and 2013

Publications & News


November 16, 2015

ALJ Dismisses FTC’s LabMD Complaint for Lack of Actual or Probable Consumer Harm from Cybersecurity Incidents

On Friday, November 13, Federal Trade Commission Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell issued an Initial Decision in In the Matter of LabMD, Inc. (FTC Docket No. 9357), dismissing the Commission’s Complaint against LabMD, Inc., upon a finding that the FTC had failed to “demonstrate a likelihood that [LabMD’s] computer network will be breached in the future and cause substantial computer injury.”

November 13, 2015

Second Circuit Clarifies Common Legal Interest and Work Product Doctrines for Material Shared Among Transacting Parties

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently ruled that the “common interest” doctrine protects legal and tax liability analysis prepared for a client and subsequently shared with a consortium of banks providing financing for the client.

October 26, 2015

Partner Jonathan Cedarbaum Elected to the American Law Institute

Partner Jonathan Cedarbaum is one of 72 newly elected members of the American Law Institute.

September 18, 2015

SEC Issues Cybersecurity Examination Risk Alert 

On September 15, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) issued a Risk Alert re-emphasizing the careful scrutiny it will give to the data security practices of broker-dealers and investment advisers and describing areas of particular interest.

August 17, 2015

WilmerHale explains Federal Trade Commission's "Start with Security" Guidance

An article by Jonathan Cedarbaum, Benjamin Powell, Reed Freeman, Leah Schloss and David Levine, republished on Columbia Law School's Blue Sky Blog on August 17, 2015.

July 1, 2015

Federal Trade Commission Issues “Start with Security” Guidance

On June 30, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued its first guidance document as part of its Start with Security initiative.

May 26, 2015

Supreme Court Strengthens False Claims Act’s Statute of Limitations, Narrows First-to-File Bar

The U.S. Supreme Court today resolved two important questions under the False Claims Act, holding that (1) the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act (WSLA), 18 U.S.C. § 3287, applies only to criminal cases, and (2) the FCA’s first-to-file bar, 31 U.S.C. § 3730(b)(5), ceases to apply once the earlier-filed action that might have created the bar has been dismissed.

May 22, 2015

Federal Trade Commission Signals Intensified Focus on Security-By-Design and the Internet of Things With New Start with Security Initiative for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

While the FTC's initial focus in the Start with Security initiative has been on providing guidance to small and medium-sized businesses, it also serves to put companies of all sizes on notice that the FTC will be increasingly targeting security practices relating to emerging technologies, apps, connected household devices and the "Internet of Things."

May 1, 2015

Department of Justice Issues Best Practices Guidance on Cyber Incidents

On Wednesday, April 29, the US Department of Justice released guidance titled “Best Practices for Victim Response and Reporting of Cyber Incidents.”

April 15, 2015

The SEC’s Two Primary Theories in Cybersecurity Enforcement Actions

An article by Daniel Schubert, Jonathan Cedarbaum and Leah Schloss, published in the April 8, 2015 edition of The Cybersecurity Law Report, Vol. 1, No. 1.

Recent Highlights


  • Securing dismissal of a series of False Claims Act cases against a major financial institution in federal and state courts
  • Briefing and arguing an appeal in the Third Circuit concerning the constitutionality of Delaware’s campaign finance disclosure law
  • Filing two amicus briefs in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum et al., the Supreme Court case concerning applicability of the Alien Tort Statute to corporations and to conduct outside the United States, on behalf of the National Foreign Trade Council, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Petroleum Institute, and a dozen other major US and European business associations
  • Playing a leading role in a False Claims Act case concerning bid-rigging on USAID construction contracts, which involved a seven-week jury trial that resulted in a complete victory for the firm’s client
  • Briefing and arguing an appeal in the Federal Circuit raising the question whether Congress can constitutionally strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over pending takings claims
  • Defending Philips Electronics, the Dutch technology company, in a series of patent and antitrust challenges to the pool licensing of patents for basic CD, DVD and MP3 technologies in the International Trade Commission, the District Courts, and the Courts of Appeals
  • Filing an amicus brief for the International Franchise Association in FTC v. Wyndham Worldwide Corp. et al. (D. Ariz.), the leading case testing the FTC’s authority under Section 5 of the FTC Act to regulate data-security practices

Regulatory Counseling, Investigations and Administrative Proceedings
Data Security/Privacy

  • Counseling a major financial institution on legal issues raised by monitoring network traffic and taking countermeasures to cyber attacks
  • Advising a major high-tech company on application of Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act to data centers abroad
  • Counseling a major cloud computing company on government contracting issues, including FedRAMP and FISMA
  • Assisting financial, industrial, and high-tech companies in responding to congressional inquiries about data security practices
  • Advising major high-tech companies on the development of federal cybersecurity legislation and the recent critical infrastructure cybersecurity executive order
  • Assisting a university-business consortium in identifying and applying for federal funding for cybersecurity R&D


  • Advising a university medical center about its EMTALA obligations
  • Analyzing for a major pharmaceutical company the likely effect of federal budget sequestration on Medicare reimbursement policies
  • Filing a comment with CMS on behalf of a major medical center opposing an application for a waiver from the rules governing allocation of organs for transplants
  • Advising a major pharmaceutical company about a possible constitutional challenge to retrospective application of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act
  • Counseling a hospital system on the prospects for and likely effects of Medicaid expansion in its state

Financial Services

  • Advising a financial trade association about a possible legal challenge to a Dodd-Frank rulemaking
  • Assessing a possible preemption challenge to a state law regulating mortgage servicing for a major national bank
  • Advising a variety of financial clients on the limits of the CFPB’s authorities and the constitutional challenges to the CFPB Director’s appointment
  • Advising a group of hedge funds concerning the restructuring of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Professional Activities

District of Columbia Bar Association

  • Administrative Law Section: Co-Chair, 2011-2012; Steering Committee Member, 2007-2012.
  • Litigation Section: Steering Committee Member, 2010-2011.
  • International Law Section: Chair, 2007-2008; Steering Committee Member, 2005-2011.
  • Board on Professional Responsibility: Alternate Hearing Committee Member, 2007-present.

American Bar Association

  • Administrative Law Section: Chair, Committee on Regulatory Policy
  • International Law Section


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JD, Yale Law School, 1996, Editor in Chief, Yale Law Journal

MPhil, Yale University, 1990

AB, magna cum laude, Harvard University, 1983, Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia





The Hon. David S. Tatel, US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 1996 - 1997

The Hon. David H. Souter, US Supreme Court, 1998 - 1999