Press Release
May 18, 2021

Cybercrime Prosecutor Shardul Desai Joins Holland & Knight

WASHINGTON (May 18, 2021) – Shardul Desai, most recently an assistant U.S. attorney in the Western District of Pennsylvania, has joined Holland & Knight as a partner in the firm's Washington, D.C., office. Mr. Desai will focus his practice on cybersecurity and data privacy, white collar defense and government investigations, risk and crisis management, and emerging technology matters including artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and autonomous transportation.

As an assistant U.S. attorney, Mr. Desai was an internationally renowned cybercrime prosecutor. He led the prosecution in the groundbreaking GameOver Zeus malware case and helped design a cyber operation that dismantled the GameOver Zeus botnet, which had caused hundreds of millions of dollars in losses in the U.S. financial sector. He also headed the prosecution of the Russian hacker group Evil Corp, which was responsible for the Bugat/Dridex malware that caused an estimated $100 million of loss to the banking system worldwide. In addition, Mr. Desai investigated and prosecuted numerous corporate trade secret theft cases and complex white collar crimes, including healthcare fraud, tax fraud and various financial frauds.

Mr. Desai has significant science and engineering experience, including analyzing the effectiveness of U.S. Department of Defense weapons systems as a defense contractor, analyzing Hubble Space Telescope data on Jupiter and working on the development of a new hyperspectral remote sensing system for Raytheon. Because of his scientific and technical background, he has a strong understanding of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and autonomous vehicles.

"Shardul is one of the nation's leading cybercrime prosecutors as well as an accomplished scientist," said Christopher G. Kelly, the leader of Holland & Knight's Litigation Section. "He will provide an instant value-add to our initiatives focused on autonomous vehicles, 5G, blockchain, artificial intelligence and whatever is next. His fluency in both law and the intricacies of the technologies powering our clients' businesses and products will allow him to play a critical translation role."

"General counsel and CEOs routinely rank cybersecurity and privacy concerns at or near the top of the list of company challenges," added Mark Melodia, the head of the firm's Data Strategy, Security & Privacy Team. "Shardul has been behind the scenes and under the hood on these high-value issues for several years. He will bring a current and credible perspective to clients about how best to avoid cybersecurity and privacy legal risks, how to investigate and mitigate data incidents when they arise, and how to best coordinate these private sector efforts with law enforcement."

"I am delighted to join Holland & Knight and look forward to developing a legal practice focused on cybersecurity and data privacy, white collar defense and investigations, crisis management and emerging technology issues," said Mr. Desai. "As a federal prosecutor, I was honored to handle some of our nation's most significant cybercrime cases. However, as the SolarWinds, Microsoft email exchange and Colonial Pipeline hacks illustrate, cyberattacks are only getting worse. Today, companies need individuals who have both a technical and legal understanding to assist them on cybersecurity issues and to assess cyber-risks. With my background in law and technology, I can help companies navigate such matters as well as other complex issues in artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and cryptocurrency."

Mr. Desai received a J.D., an LL.M. in international and comparative law, and an M.A. in political science from Duke University School of Law. He also earned a B.S. in physics, a B.S. in computer science and a B.A. in political science from Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to entering private practice, he clerked for the Honorable Raymond Gruender on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

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