Benjamin Powell

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP

$ $$$

Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest 1875
Washington 20006 DC US

Benjamin A. Powell is widely recognized as one of the country’s top authorities on handling cybersecurity, data breach and related investigation matters. He has advised companies on major cybersecurity incidents and incident preparedness across virtually every sector of the economy, including the banking, investment management, software, retail, energy, defense and intelligence, media and entertainment, pharmaceutical, cloud services, government contracting, aerospace, information technology, manufacturing, and travel sectors.

He is recognized as a leading attorney in handling complex regulatory matters relating to international investment and mergers, including matters involving the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and the Defense Security Service (DSS). He also is regularly asked to be lead counsel on major investigations and strategic counseling across a variety of sensitive regulatory matters for the world’s most prominent companies.

He is the author of the Global and US chapters in a cybersecurity guide for companies in jurisdictions worldwide, and contributing global editor of the guide. He was recently selected as one of the 500 Leading Lawyers in America by Lawdragon.

He is also frequently retained to perform due diligence on major corporate transactions requiring expertise in government regulatory issues, including government contracting, data security and privacy, security clearance issues with the Defense Security Service (DSS), and related issues.

He is regularly named as one of Washington’s Top Lawyers in surveys of best attorneys in DC. The Wall Street Journal calls him one of Washington’s “big legal guns” and The Legal 500calls him an “exceptional lawyer” who “provides clear guidance on complex technological issues.” He is recognized as a CFIUS expert in the 2013-2017 editions of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers in Business.

Mr. Powell has performed due diligence on some of the largest recent corporate transactions and successfully guided companies through some of the most complex CFIUS filings for companies in a range of industries. He has also served as lead counsel on matters for companies facing difficult regulatory, congressional, and public policy issues across a range of industry sectors and subjects.

Mr. Powell regularly handles matters involving the Defense Security Service, including the structuring of Special Security Agreements and Proxy Agreements, related to corporate security clearances and classified government contracting. He has represented clients in civil and criminal litigation involving privacy and surveillance issues at the state and federal level.

Mr. Powell was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate as General Counsel to the Director of National Intelligence. His background includes serving as General Counsel to the first three Directors of National Intelligence, Special Assistant to the President and associate White House Counsel, Air Force officer, work at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, corporate counsel at a software company in Silicon Valley, and part of the trial team that obtained the largest antitrust jury verdict in US history. He joined the firm in 2009.

Mr. Powell is a member of the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation. He has served in numerous roles on the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security. He is also a Board Member of Columbia Law School Center on Constitutional Governance, and Board Member of Georgetown University Cybersecurity Law Institute. He served on the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Cybersecurity Task Force on Improving Cybersecurity Information Sharing in 2012.

Mr. Powell is a frequent speaker at conferences and law schools on national security and cybersecurity matters, including Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School, Georgetown Law School, Duke Law School and George Washington Law School.

Experience :

  • Investigation of one of the largest cybersecurity incidents in history stemming from an insider threat. Matter involved regulatory inquiries, contracting issues, congressional inquiries, and other proceedings.
  • Investigation of large breach of payment cards at national retailer. Matter involved PCI DSS investigation, law enforcement, regulatory inquiries, notice to millions of consumers, and other proceedings.
  • Investigations of payment card breaches involving PCI DSS investigations at e-commerce sites and credit card processors.  Matters involved nationwide notice, third party liability issues, and related issues.
  • Designated lead counsel for any cybersecurity incidents that may occur for a number of the world’s largest companies.
  • Represented Chicago Bridge & Iron N.V. in approximately $3 billion acquisition of The Shaw Group Inc. on issues related to CFIUS, foreign investment, Defense Security Service and government contracting.
  • Representation of Chesapeake Energy Corporation, the second largest US producer of natural gas, on CFIUS matters in the $4.75 billion dollar sale of its assets in the Fayetteville Shale area to BHP Billiton.
  • Numerous other transactions involving CFIUS and due diligence matters, including transactions in in telecommunications, electronics manufacturing, energy, aerospace and industrial equipment sectors.
  • Lead counsel on sensitive investigations related to potential regulatory violations and responding to law enforcement, agency, congressional and media requests.


  • JD, Columbia Law School, 1996
  • BSE, Finance, University of Pennsylvania, 1989
  • BAS, Applied Science, University of Pennsylvania, 1989


  • District of Columbia
  • New York
  • California


  • The Hon. John Paul Stevens and The Hon. Byron R. White, US Supreme Court, 1997 – 1998
  • The Hon. John M. Walker, Jr., US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 1996 – 1997


  • Office of the Director of National Intelligence, General Counsel
  • Executive Office of the President, The White House, Special Assistant to the President
  • Executive Office of the President, The White House, Associate White House Counsel


Rate : $$$$

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Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest 1875
Washington 20006 DC US
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Lina Stillman

Broadway 42
New York 10006 NY US