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Zaldwaynaka (Z) Scott

Zaldwaynaka (Z) Scott

Co-Chair, White Collar Litigation and Internal Investigations Practice; Litigation

T: +1 312 583 2347
F: +1 312 583 2544

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  • Indiana University Maurer School of Law
    JD, 1983
  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    BS, Journalism, 1980


  • Illinois, 1983
  • New York, 2011
  • US Supreme Court, 2009
  • Federal Court of Claims, 2009
  • Federal Trial Bar, 1986
  • Northern District of Illinois, 1983

Zaldwaynaka (Z) Scott is Chair of Kaye Scholer’s Chicago White Collar Litigation and Internal Investigations Practice. Z is a seasoned trial lawyer, having taken more than 40 mostly jury trials to verdict in federal court. She concentrates her practice on complex commercial litigation, corporate internal investigations (including matters related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act), counseling on corporate compliance matters and white collar criminal defense. Her federal civil and criminal litigation experience includes accounting and commercial fraud, public corruption, civil tax appeals and criminal tax prosecutions, money-laundering and investment, and financial institution fraud. She has also led and represented companies in complex and extensive government regulatory and criminal grand jury investigations. Z has experience in appellate practice and has briefed and argued cases before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Z served as Executive Inspector General for the Office of the Governor of Illinois (2003–2005), where she established and managed an internal compliance and investigative agency for the Illinois Government and Illinois public universities. Her experience included participation in and oversight of over 200 internal investigations of state vendors and state employees, as well as counseling members of the Governor’s cabinet and state senior managers, including agency directors on issues related to personnel policies, internal controls, ethics and systemic personnel problems. Z also worked closely with the state’s internal auditor and the Illinois Auditor General in matters related to the integrity of state government functions.

Prior to her work in the Illinois Government, Z served as a federal criminal prosecutor with the United States Attorney’s Office (1987–2003), where she held various management positions, including Chief of the General Crimes Section. As Chief, she was responsible for the supervision of Section Deputies and Line Assistant US Attorneys, and she reviewed and approved hundreds of federal prosecutions and participated in strategy sessions related to federal indictments and federal criminal trials. Before joining the US Attorney’s Office, she served in the Office of the Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago (1983–1987).

Z served as an adjunct instructor in trial advocacy for 13 years at Northwestern University School of Law (1993–2005), where she led a team of five adjunct professors and was awarded the recognition of Outstanding Adjunct Professor in Trial Advocacy in 1999. She also taught trial advocacy at The John Marshall School of Law (2002–2004), and co-taught classes at the University of Chicago Law School on criminal sentencing and federal criminal law (2001 and 2003)

Z has been highly praised in numerous publications for her anticorruption litigation expertise, and was most recently ranked by Chambers USA 2015 and shortlisted in Chambers' 2014 Women in Law Awards for Gender Diversity: Private Practice Lawyer of the Year. In 2012, Chambers USA quoted a client as saying, “‘Z is the lawyer we would call in our most significant internal investigations.’”

According to Legal 500 US, Z has an “impeccable reputation among clients,” and was named to Expert Guides - White Collar Crime Lawyers (2012–2014) and The Best Lawyers in America (2009–2016). Additionally, Z was recently nominated by her peers to be an honoree for The Network Journal’s 2015 25 Influential Black Women in Business; she was also recognized by Leading Lawyers 2015 as one of the Top 10 Leading Women Criminal Defense Lawyers in Illinois. Z is a frequent lecturer on issues related to federal criminal law, anti-corruption, ethics and compliance policies and trial advocacy.

Representative Matters

  • Representation of higher education institution in significant civil litigation with claims of racial discrimination.
  • Representation of higher education institution investigation related to research misconduct.
  • Developed crisis management plan for Fortune 200 company.
  • Served on legal team representing banking compliance consulting company before the Federal Department of Treasury, Office of Thrift Supervision.
  • Conducted internal investigation for public company of claims related to environmental compliance.
  • Represented Siemens Medical Solutions in a multi-defendant federal prosecution in which the company was charged with fraud in connection with representations made to Cook County regarding compliance with minority business enterprise requirements (United States v. Siemens Medical Solutions, et al.).
  • Served on the legal team representing Ernst & Young in a professional malpractice case (Alabama Hospital Ass’n. v. General Reinsurance, et al., CV 2004-1172 P).
  • Represented a public health care company in a State Attorney General False Claims Act investigation.
  • Designed FCPA compliance programs for global public and private companies.
  • Conduct anti-corruption risk assessments for global publicly traded companies.
  • Served on trial team representing Dow Chemical and Union Carbide in toxic tort case in Illinois State Court. Case ended in grant of summary judgment.
  • Served on the legal team representing a public energy company in its billion dollar tax controversy dispute with the IRS.
  • Successfully represented a title insurance company in an Illinois civil case raising fraud claims. Court dismissed claims on motion to dismiss.

Civic Activities

  • Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Member, Board of Directors
  • Chicago Housing Authority, Chair, Board of Trustees, served on Audit and Pension Committees (2011-2015)
  • Chicago Area Project, Board Chair (not-for-profit organization supporting activities for at-risk inner city children)
  • Chicago State University, Board of Trustees, Board Vice Chair and Chair of Finance & Audit Committee (2010–2013)
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Chicago Alumnae Chapter
  • Jack and Jill, Chicago Chapter

Professional Activities

  • Black Women Lawyers’ Association, Lifetime Member, President 2003–2004, Board Member, 2002–2005
  • The Chicago Network, Member, Reception Committee
  • ABA White Collar Committee, Co-Chair of Women in White Collar Subcommittee
  • US Attorney Candidate Screening Committee, Appointed by Illinois Senator, 2012
  • Chicago Bar Association, Chair, Criminal Law Committee, 2005–2006
  • American Inns of Court, Chicago Chapter, 2004 to date, President, 2010–11
  • Leadership Greater Chicago, 1990–91; Candidate Selection Committee, 2007, 2008
  • Illinois Supreme Court Character and Fitness Committee, 2006–2012
  • Northern District of Illinois Magistrate Judge Screening Committee, March 2007
  • National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), Instructor