Attorneys
Partner, Retired

Clerkships

Hon. Thomas A. Flannery, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia

Education

George Washington University Law School, J.D., with honors, 1970

Bowling Green University, B.S., 1965

  • Omicron Delta Kappa
Photo of Roger C. Spaeder

Roger C. Spaeder

Overview
Experience
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Affiliations

Roger Spaeder was a founding partner and important leader of the firm until his retirement. He retired from the practice of law in 2007 and from the firm in 2012.

Described as one of the defense bar’s “wisest legal talents” by Washingtonian magazine, a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a top-rated attorney in The Best Lawyers in America for 20 years, co-founder Roger C. Spaeder spent more than three decades building Zuckerman Spaeder LLP including early service as the firm’s managing partner.

Mr. Spaeder’s law practice focused on criminal and civil litigation, with a concentration on the defense of federal enforcement investigations and prosecutions. He was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia for five years, and in 1976 joined Roger E. Zuckerman in private practice. During his private practice career, Mr. Spaeder defended criminal and civil cases at trial, and through investigation, often uncovered factual and legal defenses that persuaded his adversary that a non-litigation resolution was warranted.

Throughout his career, Mr. Spaeder regularly represented corporations and their senior executives in investigations and prosecutions for criminal securities fraud, government contracting fraud, health care fraud, export licensing violations, tax evasion, bank fraud, and antitrust violations. His post-Enron experience included the representation of high-profile public company executives before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and federal grand juries. His civil litigation practice included the defense of federal antitrust litigation, shareholder class and derivative actions, false claims actions brought by qui tam relators, and business tort litigation. He also successfully defended many high-level government officials against allegations of wrongdoing.

Mr. Spaeder was a faculty member of the Attorney General’s Advocacy Institute, National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Georgetown University Law Center (adjunct lecturer), and Harvard Law Litigation Program. He also chaired a Georgetown University and American Bar Association (ABA)-sponsored annual symposium on federal enforcement for more than a decade and was Cardozo Prize Judge at the Yale Law School.

Professional Highlights

  • Successfully defended a former cabinet secretary on allegations under the Independent Counsel Act that the secretary had accepted a bribe from a major foreign power. Based on Mr. Spaeder’s investigation and presentation to the U.S. Department of Justice, the attorney general declined to request the appointment of an independent counsel.
  • Mr. Spaeder was special counsel to the Executive Office of the President of the United States, successfully defending the White House Counsel’s Office against allegations of obstructing justice in a civil proceeding. Following years of litigation, the allegations were dismissed.
  • As lead trial counsel, Mr. Spaeder represented a defense contractor employee indicted for procurement fraud in connection with labor overcharging for torpedoes used by the U.S. Navy. After a lengthy jury trial in federal court, the client was acquitted of all counts.
  • The firm represented the president of a government subcontractor in a jury trial in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on bribery charges involving U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contracts. Despite the government’s efforts to introduce secretly taped recordings involving the client’s alleged bribe, we persuaded the jury to acquit the client on all counts of the indictment, save for one count on which a mistrial was declared. As to that count, the defendant received a probationary sentence after a misdemeanor plea.
  • We successfully represented a former high-ranking member of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on allegations of mishandling classified materials. Investigations of our client were conducted by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and by a special prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice appointed by the attorney general. Following the investigations, which included a presentation by our firm to the special prosecutor, the government declined prosecution of the client, and the Senate took no action against him.
  • The firm served as special counsel to the Executive Office of the President of the United States, successfully defending the White House Counsel’s Office against allegations of obstructing justice in a civil proceeding. Following years of litigation, the allegations were dismissed.
  • For more than a decade, we represented a former officer of a public company in connection with an investigation of criminal securities fraud and related U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) violations arising from announcements of the company’s revenues, which allegedly had been manipulated to appear greater than they actually were. The U.S. Department of Justice declined criminal prosecution, and the client reached a civil settlement with the SEC.
  • The firm successfully represented a group of national environmental testing laboratories against False Claims Act allegations brought by the U.S. Department of Justice which alleged that the testing practices of the laboratory, which received funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a government contractor, were tainted by falsification and manipulation. After we conducted an investigation with technical experts retained by the firm and then disclosed our findings, the U.S. government withdrew its charges and dismissed the case, accepting our assertion that the allegations were without merit.
  • We successfully defended a former cabinet secretary on allegations under the Independent Counsel Act that the official had accepted a bribe. Based on our investigation and presentation to the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the attorney general declined to request the appointment of an independent counsel.
  • As trial counsel, we represented a defense contractor employee indicted on various felony counts of procurement fraud in connection with labor overcharging on a project for the U.S. Navy. After a lengthy federal jury trial, the client was acquitted of all counts.
  • We represented the president of a defense contracting corporation on charges of procurement fraud in connection with building flight simulators for the armed forces. After our persistent pre-trial motions attacking the indictment, the government dismissed its multi-count felony indictment in return for our client’s misdemeanor plea and a probationary sentence.
  • We represented the president and trustees of a national transportation union against allegations of violations of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) brought by a union member as a derivative action. During a hearing before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the court received evidence and dismissed the complaint as without foundation.
  • We served as co-counsel to a former member of congress in a civil defamation suit filed by a presidential candidate asserting that our client had questioned the plaintiff’s loyalty by making public statements about his military service in the Korean War. We moved for partial summary judgment, which was granted by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and thereafter the plaintiff dismissed his complaint.
  • We provided independent representation to the then-director of one of the nation’s most prominent medical research institutes in a defamation and civil rights action brought against the client by a former research contractor at the institute. The former contractor had alleged that the client improperly disseminated damaging information about him. Following an extensive investigation and motions during litigation by the firm, a magistrate in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted summary judgment in the client’s favor and dismissed the case.
  • The firm defended a corporate client in a jury trial of federal antitrust claims under the price discrimination provisions of the Robinson-Patman Act. The case was tried in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida and settled following our cross-examination of the plaintiff’s witnesses.
  • We represented a high-ranking U.S. Army officer who formerly supervised military intelligence against allegations that he authorized illegal wiretaps and other civil rights violations of American citizens residing abroad. The case involved novel issues of the extra-territorial effect of the Fourth Amendment and its application to foreign wiretaps of Americans. Following extensive proceedings before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the case was settled.
  • We represented a high-tech startup and its principals in litigation brought for alleged violations of intellectual property (IP) law and the Maryland Trade Secrets Act. Following a bench hearing before a judge, the case was dismissed and subsequently settled. Numerous efforts by the plaintiff in the following years to re-litigate the case and obtain appellate relief from the settlement were unsuccessful.

Publications

Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

Academic Appointments

  • Adjunct Lecturer, Trial Practice (Prettyman Program), Georgetown University Law School, 1972-1973

Professional Affiliations

  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Co-Chair, DC Subcommittee on Criminal Litigation, ABA Section of Litigation
  • Master Emeritus, Edward Bennett Williams American Inn of Court
  • Member, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Association

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