Former Pentagon Special Counsel David A. Simon To Co-Lead Skadden’s Global Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Practice

Skadden is pleased to announce that David A. Simon has joined the firm as global co-head of our Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Practice and a partner in the firm’s National Security Group. Previously a Pentagon special counsel and chief cyber counsel to the U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission, Mr. Simon has extensive practical experience advising Fortune 500 companies, private equity firms and their portfolio companies on high-stakes matters involving cybersecurity, AI, privacy, national security and crisis management, including related incidents, regulatory investigations and litigation.

He 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 intellectual property and theft of sensitive government information. Having practiced on both sides of the Atlantic, Mr. Simon is dual qualified to practice law in the European Union (EU) and the United States. He has directed and advised on dozens of complex personal data breach investigations in the last few years alone, including several implicating notification obligations under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and investigations by European data protection authorities. Mr. Simon will be based in Skadden’s Washington, D.C. office.

From 2011-2015, Mr. Simon served as special counsel at the Department of Defense, advising on cyber policy, plans and operations, as well as autonomous and other emerging technologies. Notably, he aided in the development of a legal and policy framework to address cyber threats, including the response to North Korea’s cyberattack on a major media and entertainment company. During his time as chief counsel to the U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission (2019-2021), a high-profile, bipartisan commission established by Congress, Mr. Simon advised staff and commissioners on a pro bono basis on the development of a comprehensive strategy to defend the U.S. from significant cyberattacks and helped draft more than 30 recently enacted cyber-related laws.

“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.”

“With the rapid evolution of the cybersecurity landscape and AI technologies transforming businesses, it’s an exciting time to join Skadden,” said Mr. Simon. “Skadden’s powerhouse M&A capabilities, preeminent cybersecurity practice and global platform are especially appealing. Skadden also has an outstanding reputation in national security work. I am thrilled to join the firm as co-head of its global Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Practice and look forward to helping clients navigate high-stakes strategic cybersecurity, AI and privacy challenges in collaboration with my colleagues around the globe.”

In recognition of his national security work at the DoD, Mr. Simon received the Office of the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence. He has been widely recognized by The National Law Journal as a Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Trailblazer, in Chambers USA for his “global, holistic view of the cybersecurity world,” by The Legal 500 as having “extensive experience of cyber incidents and investigations,” and Cybersecurity Docket as a member of the Incident Response 40, a collection of top-ranked data breach response attorneys in the United States.

A Rhodes Scholar and Truman Scholar, Mr. Simon graduated from Harvard Law School. Prior to attending law school, he received an M.Phil. in international relations from Trinity College, Oxford. Mr. Simon graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Minnesota. Before Skadden, Mr. Simon was co-head of a global cyber incident response practice at another major global law firm.