David S. Wachen is a legal “trouble-breaker” and peacekeeper, focused on helping businesses, associations and individuals manage risk and achieve practical and successful resolution of problems of all types—ideally without litigation. However, should litigation ensue, Mr. Wachen brings a formidable arsenal of tools from many years of zealously and successfully representing clients in state and federal courts in Maryland, the District of Columbia and numerous other jurisdictions around the country. He has also represented clients at numerous arbitrations and mediations. As a former client himself for a Fortune 500 company, Mr. Wachen fully understands the client’s perspective, and applies that understanding in helping clients achieve their goals in a practical and efficient manner with due regard for the client’s business interests. As a former public relations executive, Mr. Wachen understands and appreciates the communication dimension in legal disputes, and how a thoughtful and strategic communication strategy can often avoid, resolve, or diffuse a legal dispute.
The breadth of Mr. Wachen’s experience spans a wide range of substantive areas, including matters involving business disputes, attacks on reputation and speech rights (e.g., defamation, privacy, First Amendment), social media and the Internet, intellectual property, employment, business torts, class actions, insurance coverage, and professional liability and disciplinary actions..
With the explosive growth of Internet speech, a growing area of Mr. Wachen’s practice involves helping clients protect their reputation and speech rights online and offline. Mr. Wachen has successfully counseled and represented businesses and individuals in numerous matters involving defamation, invasion of privacy, and other First Amendment issues. While some of these matters have gone to litigation, a significant number have been resolved out of court. Mr. Wachen has also written and spoken frequently on this subject, including this video regarding the challenges of protecting your and your business’s reputation in a world of Yelp, Trip Advisor, RipoffReport, and other forums for instant online communication.
Mr. Wachen has also represented clients in a variety of matters involving disputes over intellectual property, including copyright, trademark and patent rights. He has represented clients in disputes between current and former employees and employers over rights to intellectual property, as well as victims of cases brought by “Copyright Trolls.”
In the employment area, Mr. Wachen has represented employers seeking to enforce restrictive covenants against departing employees seeking to work for a competitor, and/or to solicit the former employer’s customers and employees, and has obtained immediate injunctive relief to protect the former employer’s rights while the issue is being resolved. Mr. Wachen has also represented employees in cases involving confidentiality, non-competes, and non-solicitation agreements as well.
Mr. Wachen has represented insurance policy holders seeking coverage from an insurer for defense and indemnity, and has served in the role as independent counsel for a policy holder when a conflict of interest develops between the insurer’s appointed panel counsel and the policy holder.
Mr. Wachen has represented professionals who have been the subject of disciplinary investigations and proceedings. Among other types of professionals, Mr. Wachen has represented actuaries who have been the subject of investigation by the Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline and/or various actuarial organizations, such as the Society of Actuaries or the American Academy of Actuaries.
Prior to joining Shulman Rogers, Mr. Wachen was in-house counsel at MCI, Inc., where he managed a large docket of diverse and complex matters worldwide. His responsibilities included: representing the company in threatened or pending litigation; managing outside counsel in developing and implementing strategy and tactics for pending litigation; negotiating successful resolution of business disputes—often before litigation had been initiated; counseling in-house clients on managing risk and resolving disputes, as well as on issues relating to pending contractual negotiations and disputes with customers, vendors, joint venturers, and the government. Mr. Wachen’s MCI tenure provided him with a keen, first-hand understanding of client needs and the challenges they face, including demands and obligations within their organization—a relatively uncommon perspective for an attorney in private practice.
Before joining MCI, Mr. Wachen was in private practice for more than a decade - most recently as a partner at the national law firm of Baker & Hostetler, LLP. A significant portion of his practice involved representing broadcasters, publishers and other members of the media around the country in litigation as well as a variety of other matters. Among other things, he has extensive experience counseling clients on content and newsgathering issues, assisting them in accessing public records and proceedings, and defending them against nonparty subpoenas.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Wachen practiced with the Washington office of Howrey & Simon, and the New York office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Following law school, Mr. Wachen clerked for United States District Judge Jay C. Waldman in Philadelphia.
Mr. Wachen graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review and chair of the Moot Court Board. He received his undergraduate degree in government from Dartmouth College, where he was also General Manager of the college's two commercial radio stations.
Before becoming a lawyer, Mr. Wachen worked in public relations as an account executive in New York at the international firm of Burson-Marsteller.
Mr. Wachen recently served as the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Lakewood Country Club, Rockville, MD.
Mr. Wachen currently serves as the Host and Member of the Board of Advisors for the Leadership Breakfast of Maryland, a monthly gathering of business leaders in the Washington Metropolitan area.
Mr. Wachen has also served as the host and as a guest on the long-running. “Law School for the Public” local television series. He has hosted a program concerning the law of torts, and appeared as a guest on programs discussing Defamation in the Information Age, and the essentials of contract law.
Mr. Wachen also serves as a member of the Board of Advisors of the Osint Roundtable, which concentrates on issues involving open source intelligence.
- How to Answer Customers in Social Media
- How to answer customers on social media
- David S. Wachen Speaks at National Restaurant Association 2013 Show on What to Do When Your Restaurant is Attacked Online
- Were FishbowlDC’s ‘Wendy Wednesday’ posts just a joke?
- 10 things online reviewers won’t say
- The Best Response to Negative Reviews
- Inside the lawsuit against FishbowlDC
- D.C. Media News Website Sued for Libel
- D.C. Media News Website Sued for Libel
- The FishbowlDC Lawsuit Is a Work of Art
- Twenty-three Shulman Rogers Attorneys Recognized in The American Lawyer's "Top Rated Lawyers" Series
- What to Do When You Are Attacked Online:
- District court adopts e-filing
- David S. Wachen of Shulman Rogers Files Class Action Lawsuit Seeking $4.9 Billion in Damages from Tricare Data Breach
- Artisan Gateway Serves Demand for Arbitration Against EPT East, Inc.
- Media groups file brief in Md. Court of Appeals open records case
- What To Do When You Are Attacked Online: "You're A No-Good, Lying, Cheating, Crook", The Social Media Monthly, (January/February 2013)
- Can We Talk? Nationwide Survey Reveals Wide Range of Practices Governing Communications with Witnesses while Defending Their Deposition, ABA Litigation Update, (December 2005), 2005
- Preparing Fact Witnesses for Deposition, The Practical Litigator, (June 9, 2005)
Seminars & Speaking Engagements
- Speaker, National Restaurant Association annual meeting
“’They Gave Me Food Poisoning’: What to Do When Your Restaurant is Attacked Online”
- Host, Law School for the Public local TV program, “Torts 101”
- Speaker, Small Business University, “Protecting Your Most Valuable Business Asset”
- Speaker, Leadership Breakfast of Maryland, “Protecting Your Most Valuable Asset: Your Reputation”
- Featured Guest, Law School for the Public local TV program, “Defamation in the Information Age”
- Featured Guest, Law School for the Public local TV program, “Contracts 101”
- Keynote Speaker, Pennsylvania Newspaper Association
Professional & Community Affiliations
- Maryland State Bar Association
- New York State Bar Association
- American Bar Association