Washington, D.C. – Global law firm K&L Gates LLP welcomes Guillermo Christensen as a partner in the antitrust, competition, and trade regulation practice. He joins K&L Gates from Ice Miller LLP, where he served as office managing partner in Washington, D.C.
Drawing on his national security background, Christensen counsels clients in dealing with economic sanctions and embargoes administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), including complex technology matters involving other countries or fast-moving compliance questions around ransomware payments. His work in national security-related mergers, acquisitions, and investments includes those requiring review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) or involving export controls. In the CFIUS context, Christensen has worked in particular on high-technology, defense sector, and critical infrastructure deals involving China, Russia, the Middle East, and Europe.
Relying on his international investigation experience and technical knowledge, Christensen helps clients deal with serious cybersecurity and data privacy challenges, ranging from conducting information security risk assessments that take a “whole of company” approach, to managing incident responses to security incidents and breaches, particularly those where a nation-state or insider threat may be involved. He is regularly brought in to manage the response to complex cyberattacks involving ransomware, supply chain vulnerabilities, and economic espionage.
Internationally, Christensen has represented clients in complying with anti-corruption laws such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and OFAC investigations and voluntary disclosures. His work includes handling cross-border investigations, compliance reviews, and pre-acquisition diligence and post-acquisition integration. He has investigated matters in South America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East involving companies operating in the energy, high-technology, defense, and transportation sectors. He also advises companies on the adequacy of internal controls and compliance policies and has established and set up compliance programs for companies expanding into international markets.
Prior to becoming a lawyer, Christensen was an intelligence officer with the CIA for 15 years in a variety of domestic and international assignments. His experience included inter-agency roles with the Departments of Defense and State, the FBI, and several national intelligence fusion centers. In 2001, he was selected by the CIA Director to serve as the National Intelligence Fellow to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, a position designated for an officer on the cusp of senior leadership within the U.S. intelligence community.
Christensen returned to public service in 2010-2011 as the Science and Technology Advisor to the U.S. Mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris. There, he was responsible for managing and conceptualizing U.S. policy in the areas of technology, telecommunications, privacy, and science. Christensen advocated for U.S. interests across a range of technology issues, such as cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud computing, and cross-border data flows.
“We are incredibly excited to have Guillermo join our international trade and national security practices,” said David L. Wochner, co-leader of K&L Gates’ global policy and regulatory practice area. “Globally, the trend of increased engagement by government in highly regulated sectors of the economy is increasing, and nowhere is that more apparent than in high-tech, defense and critical infrastructure sectors. Guillermo’s depth of knowledge in these areas, coupled with his practical experience based on years in the intelligence community, brings to our clients a valuable resource providing strategic counsel on challenging issues.”
Christensen remains active in a number of national security related organizations, including as a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and as a participant in the U.S. Department of State’s Speaker’s Bureau, through which he has spoken to government and private sector audiences in Mexico City, Qatar, and Kuwait. He advises the Association of U.S. Cyber Forces (AUSCF), a not-for-profit group advocating for greater cybersecurity focus for the defense of the United States and is a member of the advisory board of the Tortora Brayda Institute. Christensen is a member of the Sedona Conference and has contributed to WG6 and WG11 projects on data security and ephemeral messaging and law enforcement. He also is active with the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, where he was a Fellow in 2016, and the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA).
“Guillermo’s combined experience as a former CIA intelligence officer, a diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, and a lawyer shapes and informs the advice he provides to clients on enterprise risks involving cybersecurity, national security, and complex international business matters,” said J. Barclay Collins, managing partner of K&L Gates’ Washington, D.C., office. “We are thrilled to have him join our Washington, D.C., office.”
Christensen’s arrival follows the additions of antitrust, competition, and trade regulation partner Nikolaos Peristerakis in Brussels earlier this year, and Yi Ying in Washington, D.C. and Dr. Jens Steger in Frankfurt last year. They are among more than 125 partners and of counsel the firm has welcomed across its platform since the beginning of 2020.
The antitrust, competition, and trade regulation practice at K&L Gates is composed of nearly 80 lawyers throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The group is positioned in strategic markets around the globe to help clients minimize antitrust risks and ensure compliance, defend or pursue litigation, get deals through regulatory authorities, provide guidance in pricing, distribution, and brand protection challenges, and leverage antitrust and competition laws.