William Cook


William (Bill) focuses his practice on IP litigation, internal investigations, data security and privacy counseling. He has provided data privacy and security counseling to the following industry sectors: aviation, advertising, automotive, construction, defense contractors, education, energy, entertainment, food service and distribution, finance, government (White House, DOD, GSA, NSA, NSF, FCC and FTC), healthcare, hospitality, information management and security, insurance, internet sales and auctions, not-for-profit, real estate, retail, utilities (power, gas, and electric), social media enterprises, telecommunications, and transportation. 

In the past two years he has conducted over 50 compliance privacy and security assessments regarding security controls under state privacy laws and federal SEC, FTC, HIPAA/HITECH regulations, as well as the PCI data security standards.

He conducts internal corporate investigations involving industrial espionage, malware, ransomware, employee misconduct, computer intrusions, and the Advanced Persistent Threat. As an intellectual property litigator, he handles cases involving trade secrets, copyrights, patents, malvertising, privacy rights, social media and unfair competition before federal and state courts, and the FTC.

Bill has served as a court-appointed Trustee in an international call-sell operation brought by the FTC. Bill works with clients in Canada, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Brussels, Germany, Italy, and Israel on ISO 27001, PIPEDA and the EU Data Privacy Act on security compliance. His international investigations have additionally involved China, Japan, Russia, Bulgaria, Poland and Saudi Arabia. Bill has repeatedly been recognized as a "Leader in the Field" by Chambers USA and Chambers Global for his security and privacy practice.

Bill also advises clients on export and import regulations and compliance with respect to the Commerce Department's Export Administration Regulations and the State Department's International Traffic in Arms requirements. He litigates export and import compliance matters, as well as new shipper review designations. He has handled white collar criminal matters for victims and defendants concerning industrial espionage, healthcare fraud, defense contracting fraud, mail fraud, and violations of U.S. export restrictions.

In January 2016, Bill was asked by the US Secret Service to serve on the Steering Committee of the Chicago Electronic Crimes Task Force (“CECTF”). The CECTF Steering Committee reinforces the cornerstone of collaboration between law enforcement, academia, and the private sector that has been a hallmark of the 39 USSS ECTFs across the country.

Before entering private practice, Bill served as an Assistant US Attorney in Chicago for 16 years, serving 14 of the 16 years in the Special Prosecutions Unit. He has tried 85 cases as a prosecutor and in private practice. While with the Justice Department, Bill headed the Computer Fraud & Abuse Task Force in Chicago and served as the Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Espionage Coordinator in the Chicago US Attorney’s Office. He gained in-depth experience with business continuity planning while acting as the Justice Department Liaison, for planning, to FEMA. In private practice he counsels corporate clients on business continuity planning, using many of the strategies developed in the book he co-authored, “Critical Information Infrastructure Protection and the Law”, published by the National Research Council.

Bill has testified before the US House Judiciary Committee, the FCC, and the National Science Foundation on Internet law and liability. He taught Internet and web law as an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois Law School, and was a guest lecturer on information security law and liability at Bell Laboratories, Harvard, Yale, Purdue, the University of Illinois, and the University of Salzburg.

Prior to his legal career, Bill served in the US Army Infantry from 1968 to 1970. As an Airborne Ranger he was deployed as a combat infantry platoon leader with the 25th Infantry Division in the Republic of South Vietnam. As a result of his service, Bill was awarded a Combat Infantry Badge, three Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, two Army Commendation Medals, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

Bill is a service-connected disabled veteran.

Honors & Awards

  • Who’s Who Legal in the area of Telecommunications Media & Technology - Information Technology
  • Repeatedly named as a "Leader in the Field," Privacy & Data Security, Chambers USA & Global, 2008-2012
  • Special Commendation and Special Achievement Awards, US Justice Department
  • Commendation for Computer Fraud Prosecutions and Establishing Chicago FBI/InfraGard Program, Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • US Customs Commissioner’s Award for Export Prosecutions
  • Award for Commerce Commodity Control Litigation, US Commerce Department
  • Award for Law Enforcement Assistance, US Secret Service

Publications (sampling from over 300 articles and publications)

  • "Third Circuit Upholds FTC’s Authority in Wyndham Case," Technology Law Dispatch, 25 August 2015 (Co-Authors: Paul Bond, Christine Nielsen Czuprynski)
  • "9 Steps to Prepare a Data Breach Debrief for the CEO in 30 Minutes," Technology Law Dispatch, 11 May 2015
  • "The GC’s 30-Minute Breach Drill," Reed Smith Client Alerts, 11 May 2015 

Speaking Engagements (sampling - average 12 engagements per year)

  • Chicago MCLE Day, Chicago, Illinois, 6 May 2016
  • "A Live Cyber Intrusion Incident Response Exercise," CSO Magazine Conference, Chicago, Illinois, 17 November 2015
  • "When the HMDA Data Speak, What Will They Say and Who Will Be Listening: The Privacy Implications of the new Home Mortgage Disclosure Act Data Regulations,” CRA & Fair Lending Colloquium 2015, Orlando, Florida, 3 November 2015
  • "Case Study: The Wall’s Been Breached," Women In Corporate Governance, Washington, DC, 15 October 2015
  • "Cybersecurity Issues in Social Media," ACLI Annual Conference 2015, Chicago, Illinois, 13 October 2015
  • "Data Security," Mortgage Bankers Association, Washington, DC, 22 September 2015
  • "Exploring the Dark Net: Cyber Extortion and Bounty Programs," Chicago, Illinois, 26 August 2015

Professional Affiliations

  • Former President, InfraGard - Chicago (FBI computer crime unit community outreach program)
  • Founding Member, US Secret Service Chicago Electronic Crimes Task Force
  • Member, International Association of Privacy Professionals
  • Member, Illinois State Bar Association
  • Member, Chicago Bar Association
  • Member, USA Triathlon Association
  • Member, US Army Ranger Association


  • Creighton University School of Law, JD
  • Creighton University, BA, History

Court Admissions

  • US Court of Appeals - Sixth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals - Seventh Circuit
  • US Supreme Court