Skadden hires ex-Pentagon special counsel to co-lead cybersecurity team

David Simon joins in Washington DC from leadership role at Mayer Brown

David Simon Image courtesy of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom has hired a former Pentagon special counsel as global co-head of its cybersecurity and data privacy practice.

David Simon has joined Skadden in Washington DC and will co-chair the practice alongside Chicago-based partner William Ridgway; he will also be a partner in the firm’s national security group. 

“David is one of the world’s preeminent cybersecurity and privacy practitioners and a trusted adviser to CISOs and GCs in many industries. As a go-to counsel and breach coach for leading global private equity firms and their portfolio companies, he advises on all aspects of cybersecurity and data privacy issues,” said Michael Leiter, head of Skadden’s national security group. 

“David’s experience at the nexus of technology, privacy, national security and law enforcement paired with his international and government background will provide clients with a full spectrum of support on cybersecurity, incident response, data protection, privacy and related AI challenges.”

Before joining Skadden, Simon spent seven years at Mayer Brown, where he was co-leader of global cyber incident response. During his time at the firm he also served as chief counsel to the US Cyberspace Solarium Commission on a part-time, pro bono basis from 2019 to 2021. He advised the bipartisan commission on US cybersecurity defense strategy and helped craft more than 30 cybersecurity-related laws, Skadden said. 

Simon regularly serves as the lead investigator and crisis manager for cross-border cyber incidents, involving ransomware and other extortion attacks, destructive attacks, data breaches, nation-state threats targeting IP and theft of sensitive government information. Dual qualified to practise law in the European Union and the US, Simon has directed and advised on dozens of complex personal data breach investigations in the last few years, including several implicating notification obligations under the EU General Data Protection Regulation and investigations by European data protection authorities. 

Before joining Mayer, Simon had a stint as a counsel at Sidley Austin and between 2011 and 2015 served as special counsel at the US Department of Defense, where he notably worked on the development of a legal and policy framework to address cyber threats. 

At Skadden, Simon will co-lead a cybersecurity team that houses 40 professionals globally, a number of whom – including Leiter and Ridgway – were also previously senior legal officials in the US government. 

“With the rapid evolution of the cybersecurity landscape and AI technologies transforming businesses, it’s an exciting time to join Skadden,” said Simon. “Skadden’s M&A capabilities, preeminent cybersecurity practice and global platform are especially appealing. Skadden also has an outstanding reputation in national security work.”

A Mayer Brown spokesperson wished Simon well. The firm has also bolstered its ranks this year with former government cybersecurity and national security officials. They included Justin Herring, who was executive deputy superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services’ cybersecurity division, and Adam Hickey, who was deputy assistant attorney general at the US Department of Justice’s national security division, and joined the firm in Washington DC. 

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