2022 Vault Rankings
About Zuckerman Spaeder LLP
Prestigious DC-based litigation boutique Zuckerman Spaeder’s location in the capital is good for business, namely its primary practice areas of civil litigation, regulatory and compliance, counseling, and white-collar and investigations. With additional locations in New York, Baltimore and Tampa, the firm’s attorneys are known for navigating high-stakes, high-profile litigation and coming to the aid of high-profile officials in hot water.
A Litigation Boutique to be Reckoned With
Zuckerman Spaeder was founded in1975 in Washington, DC, by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Herbert Better, Roger C. Spaeder, and Roger E. Zuckerman. The litigation boutique’s tradition of engaging talented lawyers continues today. The firm does not have a summer associate program, and instead seeks top proven talent—generally selecting attorneys with a judicial clerkship under their belt. Beyond its client work, the firm also runs the blog Suits by Suits—covering employment disputes related to companies and their executives.
Who You Gonna Call?
More so than the Ghostbusters, Zuckerman Spaeder is the reprieve of the desperate—in fact, the firm has been described as “a haven for clients in trouble.” Zuckerman Spaeder has built up a reputation rescuing officials embroiled in headline-grabbing scandals thanks to its expertise in heavily regulated areas—securities, food and drug, health care, tax, government ethics, and antitrust, to name a few. The big names crowding its client list include former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, New York City comptroller John Liu, Enron Corp., Fannie Mae, Refco Inc., and Stanford Financial Group.
The firm has also made a name for itself working on plaintiffs-side and class action lawsuits. Clients range from individuals and business to states, groups, and large classes. Recent notable work includes a victory against the country’s largest mental health claims administrator on behalf of thousands of plaintiffs who were denied coverage; representation of PETA in multiple federal lawsuits against roadside zoos; and high-profile litigation on behalf of NFL players regarding head injuries, which led to heightened safety requirements in the League.
Pro Bono In and Out of the Capital
Zuckerman Spaeder may be on speed-dial of some of the biggest companies and finance groups in the world, but it makes time for other, more public service-oriented priorities as well. The firm’s DC office is a signatory to the Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, while the New York office has signed onto the New York City Bar Association’s Pro Bono Statement of Principles. The firm’s roster of pro bono beneficiaries includes The National Health Law Program; the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia Appellate Advocacy Project; the firm’s partner school, Benjamin Orr Elementary; and immigrants seeking asylum, among others. The firm contributes its high-quality pro bono work to its deep bench of attorneys with public service experience—including former public defenders and prosecutors, public interest litigators, and judicial law clerks.
News & Awards
Zuckerman Spaeder was recognized with several awards at The American Lawyer awards, including as a finalist for Boutique of the Year. Firm partner Aitan Goelman was a finalist for Litigator of the Year, and partner Adam Abelson earned a win as Young Lawyer of the Year.
The National Law Journal named Zuckerman Spaeder a “D.C. Litigation Department of the Year.”
After the firm delivered a landmark win for mental health patients in 2019, a judge orders UnitedHealth to reprocess more than 50,000 claims and to reform the claims handling process.
33 Zuckerman Spaeder attorneys were recognized in the 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America—three partners were named “Lawyer of the Year,” and two associates were recognized as “Ones to Watch.”
1800 M Street, NW
Phone: (202) 778-1800
Chairman: Dwight P. Bostwick
Total No. Attorneys 2020:
50 - 100
Manager, Communications and Attorney Recruiting
No. of U.S. Offices: 4
No. of International Offices: 0
New York, NY
Washington, DC (HQ)
Plaintiffs and Class Actions
Employment Law and Litigation
Food and Drug
Legal Profession & Ethics
Regulatory & Compliance
Securities and Commodities Litigation
White Collar Defense
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.