Senior Counsel

Nahal Kazemi


* Not admitted in California

PRACTICE AREAS
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Appellate Litigation
  • White Collar Criminal Defense
  • International Law
EXPERIENCE

Nahal Kazemi combines a strong background in broad, high-stakes litigation with extensive experience as a diplomat.

For five years Ms. Kazemi was an attorney at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York, where she litigated against the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission on behalf of her client, a major engineering firm, on allegations it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act; successfully defended a “Big Four” accounting firm in an investigation into derivatives and hedge accounting issues, among others; successfully represented a major European bank in litigation involving its acquisition of a U.S. Bank in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis; represented political asylum candidates pro bono, and taught the Columbia University Immigration Law Clinic.

Ms. Kazemi also served as a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., Budapest, Hungary; Baghdad, Iraq; and Casablanca, Morocco.  During her years with the State Department she developed a deep expertise in consular, political, and political-military affairs, including democratization, human rights, countering violent extremism, multilateral diplomacy, U.S. security cooperation programs, emerging security challenges, and civil-military relations.

She gained extensive crisis management experience as a Special Assistant to the U.S. Ambassador at Embassy Baghdad and as a Watch Officer in the State Department’s Operations Center; supported the White House, cabinet secretaries, members of Congress, and other senior executive and legislative branch officials in bilateral and multilateral diplomacy; and served as a speechwriter for several ambassadors and other high ranking diplomats.

Ms. Kazemi also worked with a broad range of interagency partners in handling challenging foreign policy problems including combatting Ebola, building the counter-ISIL coalition, and managing the transition from military to civilian leadership in Iraq.

Nahal received her J.D. in 2004 from Harvard Law School, cum laude, where she was Executive Editor of the Harvard International Law Journal.  She earned her A.B. in Government from Harvard College magna cum laude in 2001. As an undergraduate she won a John Harvard Scholarship for Academic Excellence and the Harvard College Scholarship for Academic Excellence.  Nahal also was a member of the Women’s Varsity Water Polo team.

Ms. Kazemi speaks fluent Farsi, Arabic and Hungarian, and conversational Spanish and French.

HONORS AND AWARDS
  • Fellow, National Defense University’s Program for Emerging Leaders
  • Naval War College 2016 Foreign Service Officers Association Prize for Outstanding Writing (2016), First Prize
  • Naval War College 2016 Admiral Richard G. Colbert Prize for Outstanding Writing
  • State Department Meritorious Honor Award, 2017, 2014
  • State Department Group Meritorious Honor Award, 2014
  • State Department Superior Honor Award, 2013, 2012
REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS
  • Defended a major international engineering firm in connection with Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission investigations into allegations of corruption and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
  • Defended a “Big Four” accounting firm in a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation regarding derivatives and hedge accounting, revenue recognition, and project accounting issues
  • Successfully represented a major European bank in litigation arising from the acquisition of a regional U.S. bank immediately following the 2008 financial crisis
  • Represented political asylum applicants pro bono in Federal Immigration Court, and taught the Columbia Law School Immigration Law Clinic
PUBLICATIONS
  • “Illiberal Democracy’s Challenge to European Security Policy,” The Foreign Area Officer Association Journal of International Affairs, Volume XIX, Number 2, p. 54 (Fall 2016)
  • “Justifications for Universal Jurisdiction: Shocking the Conscience Is not Enough,” 49 Tulsa L. Rev. 1 (2013)
    “Lowering the Bar: The Unanticipated Consequences of the Trademark Dilution Revision Act for Search Engine Advertising,” J. of Internet L. (Nov. 2005) (with R. Skibell)
  • “Ill at Ease: The Precarious State of the Biological Weapons Convention’s Proposed Enforcement Regime,” 17 Florida J. of Int’l L. 137 (2005)
  • “Prospects for Justice and Reconciliation in Sierra Leone,” 44 Harvard Int’l L. J. 287 (2003) (with L. Hall)
  • Foreign and International Source Citations, The Bluebook: Uniform System of Citation (18th Ed) (with E. Sherwin)