Shoba Pillay is a partner in the firm’s Investigations, Compliance and Defense Practice, Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice, and the National Security, Sanctions, and Export Controls Practice. She has significant investigations, trial, and appellate experience in complex fraud, cybercrime, and national security matters.
Prior to joining the firm in 2021, Ms. Pillay was an Assistant US Attorney in the US Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Illinois for over 11 years. There, she took 18 federal criminal trials to verdict, argued 9 appeals in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and first-chaired complex investigations and jury trials. Among her significant trials, Ms. Pillay prosecuted a theft of trade secrets case involving a Chinese competitor, a computer intrusion of a Fortune 500 company, and a federal defense contractor for illegally exporting technical data to China.
While serving in the USAO’s National Security and Cybercrime Section, Ms. Pillay developed substantial experience supervising and managing complex investigations and prosecutions involving cybercrime, complex fraud, export control and international sanctions violations, theft of trade secrets, terrorism, and espionage.
Ms. Pillay now assists her clients with understanding, preparing for, investigating, and litigating a range of internal and external threats, ranging from cyber attacks and theft of trade secrets, to the risks of foreign influence and corruption. Ms. Pillay leads complex and high-stakes internal and government-facing investigations; advises her clients on mitigating and responding to cybersecurity risks, including preparing and rehearsing incident response plans, managing and navigating the aftermath of a cybersecurity incident, and handling regulatory compliance and litigation; and is a proven litigator with extensive and diverse trial experience.
Ms. Pillay served as one of the team leaders that conducted a significant internal review and produced a public report for the Chicago Blackhawks, investigating allegations that in 2010 a player was sexually assaulted by an assistant coach who was later and separately criminally convicted of sexually abusing a minor. As detailed in the report’s executive summary, over the course of four months the Jenner & Block team investigated the conduct of the former coach as well as the Blackhawks internal response after learning, during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoff run, of certain allegations raised by the former player. The investigation involved interviews with 139 people, including the former player who made the accusation as well as the former coach accused of the assault, and 21 current and former players affiliated with the Blackhawks. The investigation and report were widely covered by myriad news outlets internationally, including The New York Times, The Guardian, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and others, with widespread praise for the report’s independence, objectivity, and thorough fact-finding.
Ms. Pillay has also been very active in criminal justice reform. With a team of federal judges, prosecutors, defense counsel, and pretrial services officers, she helped form and operate the Sentencing Options that Achieve Results (SOAR) Court in the Northern District of Illinois – a diversion program that provides an alternative to incarceration for non-violent federal pretrial defendants.
A prolific thought leader, her articles and public speaking engagements have covered a range of topics including trade secret protection and enforcement, cybersecurity and cybercrime, and human trafficking. She was a 2018 Fellow with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Emerging Leaders Program, a 2018 delegate with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Korea Study Delegation, and a 2019 Marshall Memorial Fellow with the German Marshall Fund.