Jennifer Ancona Semko focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation, internal investigations, and class and collective actions. She has almost 20 years of experience litigating in state and federal courts across the United States. She counsels on wage and hour issues and discrimination actions, represents clients in international disputes, and is knowledgeable about cross-border judicial processes. She also has guided clients through investigations by the US Department of Justice, SEC, NYSE, Senate Finance Committee, United Nations and other government agencies.
Jennifer’s practice covers a variety of complex disputes, including employment-related claims, fiduciary duty and shareholder litigation, breach of contract actions, copyright and trade secret protection, business torts and other business litigation matters. She also has substantial experience advising standardized, high-stakes testing programs regarding legal and strategic issues such as the development of effective test-taker agreements, pursuit of legal actions in response to exam theft, and strategic decision-making regarding the invalidation of test scores. She has briefed and argued appeals before a number of state and federal appellate courts, and she is a former law clerk to the Honorable Pascal F. Calogero, Jr., Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Representative Legal Matters
- Defended a Japanese life insurance company against aiding and abetting claims asserted in four shareholder class actions filed following announcement of multi-billion dollar US acquisition, obtaining dismissal of one lawsuit and settlement of remaining suits without monetary recovery by plaintiffs.
- Defended two large Azerbaijani banks against federal action asserting RICO, anti-spam, and other claims, obtaining full dismissal that was upheld on appeal.
- Successfully briefed and argued appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on an issue of contract interpretation, obtaining reversal of an adverse District Court summary judgment.
- Conducted internal investigations and negotiated resolutions for clients in connection with alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, export sanctions, antitrust, immigration, and other laws.
- Represented investors in an Eastern European beachfront resort in derivative action alleging breach of fiduciary duties, fraud, and violation of state securities laws following majority shareholder's alleged misappropriation of company assets. Obtained favorable settlement after prevailing on several motions.
- Extensive experience obtaining ex parte seizure orders from federal courts permitting unannounced raids of alleged copyright infringers on behalf of examination programs.
- Defeated government efforts to deport a Nigerian mother of five US citizen children based on misdemeanor shoplifting of food, toothpaste and shoes for job interview.
- Rising Star, SuperLawyers Washington, DC, 2013
Professional Associations and Memberships
- American Bar Association (Litigation and Business Law Sections)
- Association of Test Publishers (Exam Security Enforcement Committee)
- District of Columbia (2003)
- Maryland (2002)
- Louisiana (1998)
- Tulane University Law School (J.D. magna cum laude, Order of the Coif) (1998)
- Georgetown University (B.S.F.S. cum laude) (1995)
Lessons Learned from Pirate Raids: Case Studies Exploring the Use of Ex Parte Seizures to Combat Test Piracy, Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (Annual Education Conference), Boston, Massachusetts, September 2015
FTC v. North Carolina State Dental Board: Consequences of the Supreme Court’s 2015 Decision, American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law Panel Presentation, Washington, DC, May 2015
Tell It to the Judge: Winning with Data Forensics Evidence in Court, Association of Test Publishers (Innovations in Testing Conference), Hollywood, Florida, February 2013
Exam Security Legal Issues: Best Practices Before, During and After an Exam, American Board of Medical Specialties Workshop on Professionalism & Certification Examinations, Chicago, Illinois, October 2012
Best Practices in Creating Agreements and Policies For Candidate Testing, Association of Test Publishers (Innovations in Testing Conference), Phoenix, Arizona, March 2011
Navigating the Hague Convention: The Ins and Outs of Cross-Border Discovery, Center for International Legal Studies, Conference on Negligence and Damages in an International Setting, Salzburg, Austria, September 2004
Handbook of Test Security, Routledge Press (James A. Wollack and John J. Fremer, eds., 2013) (Co-author, Chapter 11) (discussing copyright, contract, test-taker rights, and other legal issues of relevance to test publishers)
Baker & McKenzie Global Public Procurement Handbook, 2012 Edition (co-author, United States chapter)
Back to Reality in the "Twilight Zone" of Insolvency: Direct Fiduciary Duty Claims No Longer a Remedy for Creditors of Troubled Companies, ABA Business Torts Journal, Vol. 15, Issue 2, Winter 2008
So Sue Me... Just Not for Tortious Interference: Limited Availability of Claims in the Patent and Copyright Context, ABA Business Torts Journal, Vol. 14, Issue 2, Winter 2007
The Twilight Zone of Insolvency: How a Director’s Fiduciary Duties Can Change When Times are Tough, ABA Business Torts Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 2, Summer 2005; reprinted in Bankruptcy Litigation, Fall 2005