Ronak D. Desai is an international investigations, enforcement defense, and compliance lawyer. An associate in the Investigations and White Collar Defense practice based in the firm's Washington, D.C. office, he has deep experience in both the private and public sectors.
Mr. Desai advises clients on a broad range of complex investigative, compliance, crisis management, and public policy matters. He has extensive experience conducting FCPA/anti-corruption, export-control and other types of investigations on behalf of individual and multinational clients around the world. He also assists clients across a diverse range of industries to develop appropriate anti-corruption compliance policies and procedures, particularly in high-risk jurisdictions.
Mr. Desai routinely defends investigations and enforcement actions before the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and FCA, the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the World Bank Integrity Unit Vice Presidency, numerous Congressional Committees, and other government and quasi-governmental agencies.
Prior to joining Paul Hastings, Mr. Desai served as investigative counsel to a high-profile Select Committee on Capitol Hill. His other Congressional experience includes time with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Judiciary Committee.
A recognized expert on India, Mr. Desai draws upon his deep understanding of the country to help US and other multinational clients navigate the legal and policy challenges arising in the course of their operations pertaining to the Indian subcontinent. He also counsels Indian companies conducting business abroad.
Mr. Desai was recognized by The National Law Journal as one of its DC "Rising Stars" for his work in the white collar, Congressional investigations, and India spaces. The recognizes the region's 40 most promising lawyers age 40 and younger who have wielded influence in their practice areas in the D.C. area and beyond.
Accolades and Recognitions
Rising Star - The National Law Journal - recognizes DC's "40 under 40" who "have wielded influence in their practice areas in the D.C. area and beyond."
Rising Star - The South Asian Bar Association of DC - recognizes "a talented individual within…the community, who…has been practicing for fewer than 10 years, and has achieved prominence and distinction in their respective field while demonstrating a strong commitment… to the South Asian community."
Harvard Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, Dean Scholar's Prize
Harvard Kennedy School, M.P.P.
The Johns Hopkins University, B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, University-wide and Departmental honors
Panelist and Moderator, "What the U.S. Elections Mean for India and Cross-Border Business," Harvard University, Webinar, October 28, 2020
Keynote Speaker, "What You Need to Know about Conducting Business in India," Risk Assistance + Network Exchange Intelligence Corporation, Webinar, February 25, 2020
Keynote Speaker with US Ambassador to India, Rich Verma, "The US-India Partnership: Challenges and Opportunities," Partnership for a Secure America, Washington DC, February 13, 2020
Moderator, "Two Trailblazers in the Law: Judge Sri Srinivasan and Vanita Gupta," South Asian Bar Association, Washington DC, October 1, 2019
Moderator, "Artificial Intelligence and National Security: Offensive Capabilities, Defensive Challenges, and Operational Difficulties," with Drs. Reginald Brothers and Jason Matheny, Partnership for a Secure America, Washington DC, July 25, 2019
Panelist, "Dealing with US Sanctions: An Indian Perspective," Webinar, Nishith Desai Associates, July 30, 2019
Speaker, "Congressional Oversight & Investigations," South Asian Bar Association, Washington DC, September 26, 2018
Panelist and Moderator with Ambassador Thomas Pickering (ret.), "Corruption and Sanctions in Iran and Russia," Partnership for a Secure America, Washington DC, August 20, 2018
Moderator, "Dispute Resolution and FCPA in India and the US: Challenges and Recent Developments," Legal Era Conclave, New York, NY, May 25, 2018
Keynote Speaker, "US-India Strategic and Commercial Ties under President Trump," Worcester World Affairs Council, Boston, MA, May 19, 2018
Panelist, "Asia Responds to Trump in Asia," Harvard University Asia Center, Cambridge, MA, November 30, 2017
Panelist, "The Role of Developed Economies in Strengthening the Rule of Law Abroad," IPAG, New York, NY, October 10, 2017
Moderator, "Critical Moments & Critical Decisions: Conducting & Defending Congressional & Internal Investigations," South Asian Bar Association Annual Conference, Houston, TX, May 14, 2016
Panelist, "India & the United States Cross Border Investment: Counseling in Reform Environments," ABA and Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF) Annual US-India Legal Conference, New Delhi, India, February 18, 2016
Keynote Speaker, "Recent Developments in India's Foreign Direct Investment Policy and other Important Sectors," US-India Business Council, Washington DC, May 2, 2015
Keynote Speaker with Consul General of India, "The Future of US-India Relations: Can the Private Sector Lead the Way?" Columbia Business School, April 4, 2015
Representative Thought Leadership
Author, "Did Corruption Cause the Covid-19 Outbreak?" Legal Era Magazine, February 2, 2021
Author, "Why India is Facing U.S. Sanctions," Forbes, February 1, 2021
Author, "SCOTUS' Mazars Ruling Leaves Many Legal Questions Unanswered," The National Law Journal, December 29, 2020
Co-Authored with T. Giunta, "Beam Suntory FCPA Settlement Highlights Corruption Risks in India," Bloomberg Law, December 21, 2020
Author, "Universities Face Federal Crackdown on Academics with China Ties," Bloomberg Law, November 27, 2020
Author, "Conducting Anti-Corruption Investigations During the Pandemic," Bloomberg Law, May 18, 2020
Author, "Cybercrime in India Surges Amidst Coronavirus Lockdown," Forbes, May 14, 2020
Author, "Is India Failing to Make Progress in its Campaign Against Corruption?" Forbes, March 3, 2020
Author, "Iran Sanctions Prompt Surge in U.S. and Venezuelan Oil Exports to India," Forbes, August 11, 2019
Author, "Will Prime Minister Modi's Second Term Usher in Real Economic Reform?" Forbes, June 25, 2019
Author, "India's Data Localization Remains a Key Challenge for Foreign Companies," Forbes, April 30, 2019
Author, "Cognizant Settlement Spotlights FCPA Enforcement, Corruption Risk in India," Bloomberg Law, March 7, 2019
Author, "U.S. Oil Sanctions on Venezuela Could be an Energy Windfall for India and China," Forbes, January 31, 2019
Author, "Anticorruption Enforcement in Asia Shows the FCPA Remains Strong Under Trump," Forbes, July 31, 2018
Author, "The FCPA is Here to Stay," ABA Litigation Journal, June 1, 2018
Author, "With U.S. Withdrawal from the Iran Deal, Expect India-Iran Oil Trade to Take a Hit," Forbes, June 11, 2018
Author, "Compliance with U.S. Anticorruption Laws in Emerging," ABA Litigation Journal, January 1, 2017
Represented high-profile client in front of multiple Congressional committees simultaneously.
Represented C-suite executives in front of the DOJ and SEC in connection with FCPA investigations
Designed compliance program for extractive minerals client in high-risk jurisdictions
Government Service - United States Congress
Served as counsel to all the Committee's public hearings
Conduct scores of witness interviews of senior State Department and Executive Branch officials
Provided counsel to Committee members