Arun G. Rao

Drawing on his experience at the U.S. Department of Justice, the White House, the New York County District Attorney’s Office, and in private practice, Arun G. Rao directs due diligence and corporate internal investigations, advises clients on crisis and risk management, handles white-collar matters, and leads business development initiatives.

Prior to joining The Lenzner Firm, Rao served as the Chief of the Southern District of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, located in Greenbelt, Maryland.  In that capacity, he supervised federal prosecutors assigned to criminal cases in a geographic area with a population of more than two million people.  In March 2017, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce presented the office with the Public Safety Government Partner of the Year award, and in May 2017, the United States Secret Service Washington Field Office recognized Rao for his leadership.

While at the U.S. Department of Justice, Rao was involved in a wide variety of complex and high profile criminal cases.  Among the matters he handled was the prosecution of a former supervisory archivist of the National Archives.  At the conclusion of that case, the National Archives Office of Inspector General recognized Rao for assisting in the recovery of thousands of stolen historic artifacts.  Rao also participated in a long-term public corruption investigation involving the payment of bribes to elected officials in Maryland, including to members of the Prince George’s County Council and the Maryland House of Delegates.  The investigation and subsequent prosecutions led to widespread calls for ethics legislation, and the Maryland General Assembly later passed the Public Integrity Act of 2017, which the Governor of Maryland signed into law in April 2017.

Rao also served as a Deputy Associate Counsel in the Office of the White House Counsel from 2012 to 2013.  While at the White House, he drafted memoranda for review by President Barack Obama, the Chief of Staff, and senior advisors, identifying legal, ethical, and policy issues uncovered while vetting executive branch nominees, including candidates for the Cabinet.

Rao joined the U.S. Department of Justice in 2007 as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee, in Memphis, Tennessee.  He has briefed and argued cases before the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fourth and Sixth Circuits.  Earlier in his career, Rao was an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office, serving under former District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau.  Before becoming a prosecutor, he was an associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.

Rao graduated with high honors from the University of Virginia in 1998. He received his J.D. in 2001 from New York University School of Law, where he was a member of the Moot Court Board. He clerked for the Honorable Julia Smith Gibbons of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Rao is as an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center.  He also has served as an instructor at the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina.  He is a barrister in the Edward Bennett Williams Inn of Court and a member of the Board of Directors of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Washington, D.C.

He is licensed to practice law in New York and the District of Columbia.


The Washington Post quotes Rao in article titled, “Divided Supreme Court strikes down gun law provision deemed unfair to violent criminals,” June 2019

CBC News Network conducts live televised interview of Rao: “Judge Delays Michael Flynn Sentencing,” December 2018

Washingtonian quotes Rao in article titled, “The Making of Rod Rosenstein,” September 2018

The National Law Journal profiles Rao and Wendel in article titled, “After 34 Years, Storied DC Investigations Firm Has No Lenzner at the Helm,” August 2018

The Washington Post interviews Rao in article titled, “Federal prosecutor who oversaw MS-13, public corruption cases in Md. leaves for private sector,” November 2017


Law360Lessons From President Trump’s Failed Judicial Nominations, January 2018

Recent Speaking Engagements

Collegiate Sports Summit, “Under Investigation,” Santa Monica, California, April 2019

Federal Bar Association – District of Columbia Chapter, “Current Issues in Government Investigations” seminar panelist: “Whistleblowers vs. Leakers,” Washington, D.C., April 2018

Maryland State’s Attorney’s Association, Board of Directors meeting, “Charging Heroin-Related Overdose Deaths,” Cambridge, Maryland, November 2017

Tenth Biennial Bench-Bar Conference of the United States Division Court for the District of Maryland, criminal justice breakout session facilitator, Greenbelt, Maryland, October 2017

Office of U.S. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, “United Against Gun Violence: Commonsense Reforms for a Safer Maryland” round table participant, Landover, Maryland, October 2017

Asian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund, 2017 Robert E. Wone Judicial Clerkship and Internship Conference, opening remarks: “The Value of a Judicial Clerkship,” Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C., October 2017

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General, annual training for attorneys and investigators, “Best Practices When Investigating a Case with a United States Attorney’s Office,” Washington, D.C., July 2017

U.S. Department of State – Office of Inspector General, annual training for Office of Investigations staff, “Best Practices When Investigating a Case with a United States Attorney’s Office,” Arlington, Virginia, February 2017

Noteworthy Prosecutions

While at the U.S. Department of Justice, Rao personally handled a wide variety of complex and high profile criminal cases, including matters involving:

Sara Kropf

Sara Kropf, Of Counsel, is an experienced trial lawyer who defends both individuals and companies in civil and criminal cases. Her clients have included public and private companies, as well as the executives who run them. She has tried multiple cases to verdict across the country, including winning both a landmark online defamation case and the first-ever trial against a company under the Alien Tort Statute. Sara also helped win the complete acquittal of a heath care executive in a month-long federal criminal trial.

From 2009 to 2013, Sara was a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Baker Botts LLP.  Sara graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown University 1995, magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 1999, and also received a PhD from Georgetown University in 2002. She clerked for the Honorable Paul Niemeyer on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

On the criminal side, Sara has represented executives who were accused of securities and accounting fraud, government contracting fraud, Medicare kickbacks, and public corruption offenses. Her representations include advising clients about cooperation in internal investigations and through the grand jury process. Sara has also represented federal employees in Office of Inspector General and administrative investigations.

On the civil side, Sara’s litigation experience has involved civil litigation for clients in a wide variety of industries including energy, health care, insurance and financial services. She has handled all aspects of civil litigation—from complex overseas discovery to expert depositions to motions practice to trial. This practice has encompassed defending breach of contract cases to civil RICO class actions.

Sara also has developed a national defamation practice. She advises clients about handling negative online reviews and analyzing litigation risk in defamation cases. She has litigated several defamation cases in court and frequently speaks to industry groups about this area of law.

Sara was an elected member of the D.C. Bar Board of Governors from 2014 to 2017 and is a member of the Board of Directors of Legal Counsel for the Elderly, a legal services organizati