Shanlon Wu

Top rated Criminal Defense attorney in Washington, Washington DC

Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman PC
Shanlon Wu
Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman PC

Practice Areas: Criminal Defense, Schools & Education, White Collar Crimes; view more

Licensed in Washington DC since: 1990

Education: Georgetown University Law Center

Languages Spoken: English, Chinese-Mandarin

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2012 - 2014, 2016 - 2020, 2022 - 2023

Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman PC

900 7th St NW
Suite 725
Washington, DC 20001 Visit website


Shanlon Wu is a partner with the Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman PC. law firm in Washington, D.C. A top-rated trial lawyer with more than 33 years of total legal experience, Mr. Wu provides exceptional support to clients throughout the D.C. metro and all across the country who have legal needs involving any of the following:

  • White collar criminal defense and government investigations
  • Student defense
  • Internal investigations
  • Title IX 
  • False Claims Act and whistleblower claims

A former federal prosecutor, Mr. Wu has invaluable insight into the federal criminal justice system, which helps him to devise the most effective defense strategies possible for those facing serious white collar charges. In one of his most recent cases, he represented former political consultant/lobbyist Rick Gates during the Mueller investigation, and he has successfully tried more than 25 cases to verdict along with arguing several appeals.

In addition, Mr. Wu has established himself a leader in education law, and he has advocated on behalf of college students throughout the nation on a variety of administrative and criminal proceedings, including alcohol and drug violations and assault and hazing as well as academic offenses, such as plagiarism or cheating. Moreover, he has achieved considerable success handling qui tam and False Claims Act actions and complex arbitrations.

No matter the issues his clients are facing or how serious the charges against them, Mr. Wu maintains an unwavering focus on protecting their rights and interests while helping them achieve the favorable outcomes they seek as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Honored for his outstanding professionalism and service, he has earned consistent top rankings and endorsements from his peers as among the Top Criminal Defense Lawyers in his region, and he has received numerous positive testimonials and referrals from his satisfied clients.

A 1980 graduate of Vassar College, Mr. Wu received his Master of Fine Arts from Sarah Lawrence College in 1984. He then attended Georgetown University Law Center, where he obtained his Juris Doctor in 1987. While there, he was a member of the Georgetown Environmental Law Review and the Law and Policy in International Business as well as the moot court board, and he graduated Order of the Barristers. He is admitted to practice in Connecticut and the District of Columbia.

Mr. Wu is also an active member and past president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Greater Washington, D.C., area and the Hearing Committee of the Board on Professional Responsibility - District of Columbia Bar. He is also a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and he serves on the Sarah Lawrence College board of trustees. He has also served as legal analyst for CNN.

Practice areas

Criminal Defense, Schools & Education, Criminal Defense: White Collar

Focus areas

Drug & Alcohol Violations, Education, False Accusations, Misdemeanor, Schools, White Collar Crime

  • 60% Criminal Defense
  • 30% Schools & Education
  • 10% Criminal Defense: White Collar

First Admitted: 1988, Connecticut

Professional Webpage:

  • Co-Director of the Moot Court Program, Georgetown University Law Center, Georgetown University Law Center
  • The Legal 500, Recommended Attorney, Education, 2022, Legal 500 Recommended attorney, Legal 500, 2022
  • Washington, DC Super Lawyers List, Criminal Defense: 2012 – 2014, 2016 – 2022, Washington, DC Super Lawyers List, Super Lawyers, 2022
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Past President
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia Bar - Hearing Committee of the Board on Professional Responsibility
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)
  • Sarah Lawrence College Board of Trustees
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
  • Cheating on an exam | Academic Honor Code Violation- Several Chinese foreign students were accused by their university of cheating on an exam. If found responsible, all of the students faced suspension or expulsion. The university offered them an arrangement by which they could admit responsibility in return for not being expelled and instead face potential suspension. This arrangement put the students in a very difficult situation as they did not wish to risk expulsion which would ruin their career plans to study in the United States but also did not want to be forced into admitting responsibility for something they had not done. The students hired us to evaluate their cases and help them decide on a strategy. After thorough reviews of the cases and learning what was at stake for our clients, we were able to make specific recommendations to our clients. The students chose to fight the charges. We identified potential witnesses, reviewed and analysed the exam answers and prepared our clients for the hearings which were to be conducted entirely in English without the benefits of translators. Although all of our clients could communicate well in English, it remained a second language for them and extra time and effort was necessary in order to prepare them for speaking and being questioned under conditions of great stress. All of our clients were found not responsible and were able to continue with their studies in the United States.
Educational Background:
  • Sarah Lawrence College M.F.A. Fine Arts, 1981
  • Vassar College A.B. English, 1976
Representative Clients:
  • Recent white collar representation includes former political consultant/lobbyist Rick Gates in the Mueller investigation., 2018
  • Recent white collar representation includes a Singapore national extradited to the United States on charges of International Traffic in Arms  Regulation (ITAR) violations.
  • Recent white collar representation includes a top executive in the “Fat Leonard” U.S. Navy fraud cases. 
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Shan Wu will be part of a panel discussion on “Rebuilding Public Trust in the Government – Lessons from the Private Sector” on Thursday, June 24, 2021. Other panelists include MSNBC political analyst Susan Del Percio; Daniel Webber, regional president of Edelman Washington D.C.; and former Philadelphia mayor Michael A. Nutter. George Washington University professor Lawrence J. Parnell will moderate. The roundtable will focus on what corporate leaders are doing, communications-wise, that government leaders can learn from and use to restore public confidence. Experienced professionals will share strategic communications tactics and best practices that may be useful within the framework of government communications, particularly when it comes to rebuilding trust with a skeptical public., Speaker, George Washington University: Rebuilding Public Trust in the Government – Lessons from the Private Sector, George Washington University, 2021
  • In the wake of both the Atlanta shootings—where six Asian women were shot dead by a white male—and the pervasive anti-Asian racism and violence that has occurred amidst the pandemic, this Sarah Lawrence College Justice Series webinar will tackle what it means to prosecute these injustices as hate crimes. Partner and former federal prosecutor Shan Wu will discuss the history of anti-Asian violence in the U.S. and the role of the criminal justice system in prosecuting crimes against Asians., Speaker, Anti-Asian Racism & Violence – Are Hate Crime Prosecutions the Answer?, Sarah Lawrence College, Legal, 2021
  • The new Title IX regulations fundamentally change the administration of Title IX investigations and proceedings. Released amidst colleges and universities coping with COVID-19 changes affecting classes and campuses, the new regulations require not only amending an institution’s existing Title IX regulations, but also mandate that Title IX staff learn entirely new skills, such as how to advise, conduct, and control potentially explosive cross-examinations during live hearings. In this webinar, Cohen Seglias attorneys and former federal prosecutors, Julie Grohovsky and Shanlon Wu, will share tips on how to navigate this new Title IX landscape based on their experience investigating and prosecuting hundreds of sexual assault cases, as well as their experience representing both complainants and respondents in Title IX proceedings. They will be joined by Cohen Seglias attorneys and ATIXA-certified investigators, Ashling Ehrhardt and Kate Emert Gleason, who will provide insights on how to manage the various policies affected by the new regulations and how to respond to new requirements imposed on universities, such as the mandate to provide advisors. This webinar is designed for Title IX directors, coordinators, investigators, and all those tasked with complying with the new Title IX regulations., Speaker, Surviving the New Title IX Regulations: How To Develop New Policies and Navigate the Cross-Examination Requirements, Cohen Seglias, Higher Education, 2020
  • Sexual harassment, sexual exploitation and sexual assault can all still be investigated and sanctioned as student code violations. But campus leaders should review and update non-Title IX student conduct code procedures to mirror the violations listed in their Title IX procedures. In a perfect storm of ill-timing, the Department of Education’s revamped Title IX regulations, which now exclude the jurisdiction of off-campus activity, went into effect just as COVID-19 forced much of higher-education operations off-campus and into remote learning. The new regulations also eliminate jurisdiction over study abroad programs by specifying that only conduct occurring within the United States falls within Title IX. These significant changes seem to reduce Title IX protections for students who venture outside the physical confines of their campuses. But the question administrators and students are asking is whether the new regulation actually endangers students. The answer is surprising(...), Author, Do the New Title IX Regulations Endanger Students When Off-Campus?, University Business, Higher Education, 2020
  • College admissions are getting more and more competitive as the years go by. It’s no surprise that the pressure to lie and cheat on college applications has intensified as well. Imagine applying for an elite school that admits only 4 to 5% of the applicants. You may have the urge to lie or embellish the facts on your college application because you’ve heard that you can get away with lying on your college application. But you also know that there’s always the off chance of that lie being discovered(...), Author, Can You Be Expelled from School if You Lied on a College Application?, DC Student Defense Blog, Higher Education, 2020
  • Online learning has become all the rage recently. Schools have been caught unprepared for this sudden shift to online caused by Covid-19. Although the style of online classes is different from that of the traditional classroom, some of its practices have found their way into the online world. And not all these practices are of the good kind(...), Author, 10 Ways to Get Accused of Online Cheating, DC Student Defense Blog, 2020
  • Now that school is back in session, universities and colleges around the country are having to face a difficult task: risk management in the time of COVID-19. Many schools already had liability policies in place pre-coronavirus, but many insurers will not cover claims regarding communicable diseases, including the pandemic(...), Author, So You Want to Sue Your School…, DC Student Defense Blog, Higher Education, 2020
  • The pressure of getting into your dream college or graduate school can be severe. When filling out your application, you might start to think about stretching the truth a little bit. The truth is, you wouldn’t be the first to have these kinds of thoughts(...), Author, The Dangers of Exaggeration on a College or Graduate School Application, DC Student Defense Blog, Higher Education, 2020
Industry Groups:
  • Education
  • Government
  • Health Care
  • Individuals
  • Small Businesses

Office location for Shanlon Wu

900 7th St NW
Suite 725
Washington, DC 20001

Phone: 202-466-4110


10 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2012 - 2014, 2016 - 2020, 2022 - 2023

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