David M. Zornow



Government Enforcement and White Collar Crime

New York

T: +1.212.735.2890

F: 1.917.777.2890


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David M. Zornow is the global head of Skadden’s Litigation/Controversy practices and a member of the firm’s Policy Committee.

Mr. Zornow, who founded the firm’s white collar practice in 1989, represents corporations and individuals in federal and state grand jury investigations and at criminal trials. He also represents clients in regulatory investigations, including investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission and state attorneys general, and conducts corporate internal investigations.

As a federal prosecutor, Mr. Zornow served as associate independent counsel in the Iran-Contra investigation and was a member of the trial team in United States v. Oliver L. North.

Mr. Zornow also served as an assistant United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he supervised a wide range of white collar cases, including the investigation of corruption at the New York City Parking Violations Bureau. He was a member of the trial team that obtained the RICO conviction of Stanley Friedman, the Bronx Democratic leader. For his investigative and trial work on the Friedman case, Mr. Zornow was awarded the Department of Justice’s Director’s Award.

From 1994 to 1996, Mr. Zornow served as chairman of the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent agency that investigates allegations of police misconduct.

Mr. Zornow is listed in Chambers USA (Band 1 for New York White Collar Crime and Government Investigations). The Wall Street Journal included Mr. Zornow on a "short list" of lawyers to call when faced with high-profile insider trading charges and The New York Times cited him as a leading white collar defense lawyer. He also was profiled in an article in The American Lawyer, which named the firm as a finalist for "Litigation Department of the Year" (January 2014). In addition, Mr. Zornow was one of the world’s leading 10 lawyers listed in Who’s Who Legal: Investigations 2015 and 2016, and in Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America.

Mr. Zornow is a visiting lecturer in law at Yale Law School, teaching a course on white collar criminal defense. He has taught in the trial advocacy programs at Harvard Law School and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and is a frequent speaker and writer on white collar crime issues. Mr. Zornow co-authored “On the Brink of a Brave New World: The Death of Privilege in Corporate Criminal Investigations,” 37 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 147 (2000). After presenting at a Fordham Law School conference on “Bob Dylan and the Law,” Mr. Zornow published “Dylan’s Judgment on Judges: Power and Greed and Corruptible Seed Seem To Be All That There Is,” 38 Fordham Urb. L.J. 1511 (2011). He has received a Burton Award for legal writing.

Mr. Zornow also has been recognized for outstanding pro bono service to the New York City Legal Aid Society, and in 2016 he received the Milton S. Gould Award for Outstanding Advocacy from the Office of the Appellate Defender.

Bar Admissions

New York
District of Columbia


J.D., Yale Law School, 1980

B.A., Harvard College, 1976 (summa cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa)


Law Clerk to the Hon. Herbert J. Stern, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey (1980-1982)


Member, Board of Advisors, Yale Law School Center for the Study of Corporate Law

Government Service

Assistant United States Attorney, Southern District of New York (1983-1987)

Associate Independent Counsel, Iran-Contra Investigation (1987-1989)

Chair, New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (1994-1996)