Steve Bunnell, Co-Chair of O’Melveny’s Data Security and Privacy Practice, is a former General Counsel of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and a former Chief of the Criminal Division at the US Attorney’s Office in Washington, DC. Steve’s practice spans many of the most pressing issues facing businesses today, including cybersecurity and privacy, criminal antitrust, healthcare fraud, money laundering and financial institutions fraud, securities fraud, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and False Claims Act matters.
As the chief legal officer for DHS from 2013 to January 2017, Steve advised senior Department leaders on a wide range of significant legal, policy, and operational issues, including cybersecurity, data privacy, CFIUS, SAFETY Act protection, aviation security, immigration and border security, customs enforcement, government procurement, and the protection of critical infrastructure.
Prior to joining DHS, Steve was the managing partner of O’Melveny’s Washington, DC office, representing corporate and individual clients in a broad variety of complex regulatory, civil and criminal enforcement matters.
His practice included representing a major international airline in an international criminal antitrust investigation; conducting internal investigations for health insurance companies in connection with high stakes Medicare and Medicaid fraud allegations; conducting an internal investigation of international corruption allegations for an international development bank; and successfully defending a US financial institution against potential criminal charges for failing to maintain an adequate anti-money laundering program.
Steve has an extensive history of public service, including more than 17 years as a federal prosecutor for the Department of Justice. As a prosecutor, he was lead or co-counsel in more than two dozen jury trials, conducted and supervised numerous white collar grand jury investigations in multiple other jurisdictions across the country, and served for three years as a Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division at the Justice Department.
In 2002, he became the first chief of the newly created Fraud and Public Corruption Section within the DC US Attorney’s Office, where he supervised all federal white collar and public corruption cases in the office. Two years later, he was promoted to be the Office’s Chief of the Criminal Division, where he oversaw all federal criminal prosecutions.
Corporate & Government Experience:
- General Counsel, US Department of Homeland Security
- Chief, Criminal Division, US Attorneys’ Office, Washington, DC
- Chief, Fraud and Public Corruption Section, US Attorney’s Office, Washington, DC
- Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, US Department of Justice
- Trial Attorney, Public Integrity Section, Criminal Division, US Department of Justice
- Assistant US Attorney, US Attorney’s Office, Washington, DC
- District of Columbia
- Stanford University, J.D., 1986: with Distinction; Senior Article Editor, Stanford Law Review; Oehlmann Prize for outstanding legal writing
- Yale University, B.A, 1982: magna cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa
- Honorable Laurence H. Silberman, US Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
- Distinguished Fellow, Syracuse University Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (2019)
- Co-Chair, American Bar Association Homeland Security Law Institute (2017 to present)
- American Bar Association Advisory Committee to the Standing Committee on Law and National Security (2017 to present)
- Stanford Law School, Board of Visitors (2008 to present)
- Executive Board, Assistant United States Attorney Association (2002 to 2013)
- Edward Bennett Williams American Inn of Court (1990 to present; Treasurer, 1999 to 2013)
- Barristers (2004 to 2013)
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