Priya Aiyar, former Acting General Counsel of the Treasury Department, is a partner in the Litigation Department and Global Trade & Investment Practice Group in Washington. Her experience spans the financial services, energy, technology, and communications sectors. Priya focuses on representing clients in regulatory and enforcement matters, trial and appellate litigation, and internal and government investigations. Her service in senior positions in three agencies coupled with her background in private practice uniquely position her to help clients navigate a fast-changing regulatory environment.
Priya's recent representations include:
- Asset managers in matters relating to anti-money laundering laws and sanctions.
Investors and corporations in matters relating to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.
Financial market utilities in regulatory and litigation matters.
Manufacturers in relation to Section 232 tariff investigations.
A Puerto Rico government agency in a $20 billion case relating to bonds secured by sales and use taxes.
An accounting firm in regulatory and compliance matters.
“Dreamers” in a challenge to the Department of Homeland Security’s rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
At Treasury, her significant matters included United States v. Starr (successful defense of $45 billion takings claim related to the rescue of AIG) (Fed. Cir. and Ct. Cl.); Perry Capital v. Lew and related cases (successful defense of multibillion-dollar claims brought by Fannie Mae and Freddie Marc shareholders) (D.C. Circuit, D.D.C., and other federal courts); King v. Burwell (successful defense of Treasury regulation implementing key tax credit provision of Affordable Care Act) (S.Ct. and lower courts); and Langbord v. Department of the Treasury (en banc victory confirming Treasury’s ownership of rare 1933 gold coins) (Third Circuit).
Prior to joining Willkie in 2017, Priya was the Acting General Counsel and Deputy General Counsel of the Treasury Department. As chief legal officer, she oversaw Treasury’s approximately 2,200-employee legal division, and advised the Secretary and other senior department officials on a wide range of issues relating to domestic finance, international economic affairs, tax policy, terrorism finance, and financial crimes enforcement. She was also responsible for all litigation brought by or against Treasury, and successfully managed the defense of numerous multibillion-dollar lawsuits arising out of the financial crisis. In recognition of her service, she received the Alexander Hamilton Award, Treasury’s highest honor.
Previously, Priya served as Deputy General Counsel for Environmental and Nuclear Programs at the Energy Department, where she led five offices covering environmental, nuclear, international, and security issues, and as Deputy Chief Counsel for the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, where she led the investigation of the government and industry response to the BP spill. She also previously served as Legal Adviser to the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, where she supervised the regulatory and policy work of more than 250 staff.
Before entering government service, Priya was a litigation partner at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel. She began her legal career as a clerk to the Honorable Stephen G. Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court and the Honorable Merrick B. Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.