Rizwan A. Qureshi
Rizzy is a partner at Reed Smith, where he represents corporations and individuals in government investigations, criminal and regulatory proceedings, and related civil litigation. He is also actively involved with the firm’s Hiring Committee and Diversity & Inclusion Committee.
Prior to re-joining Reed Smith, Rizzy served with distinction as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia. As an Assistant United States Attorney, he served in various roles, including a senior position in the Violent & Repeat Offender Unit where he prosecuted some of the District’s most violent offenders for various offenses, including armed robbery and homicide. In this role, Rizzy was assigned some of the most high-profile violent crime matters in the District, including officer-involved shootings. In these cases, Rizzy participated in parallel investigations to determine whether sufficient evidence existed to conclude that any officers violated either federal criminal civil rights law or District of Columbia law. Most recently, Rizzy served in a senior position in the Cyber Crime Section where he led grand jury investigations involving cyber intrusions or hacking, fraud, money laundering, business email compromise schemes, aggravated identity theft and other related offenses. For each of his four-plus years at the United States Attorney’s Office, Rizzy received a Special Achievement Award from the Department of Justice in recognition of his trial and investigative work.
Rizzy actively engages in social justice and civil rights initiatives and as part of that work, he partners with non-profits and firm clients to advance criminal justice reform. Rizzy also maintains a substantial pro bono practice, which includes an effort to commute unfair prison sentences and has worked to commute the sentence of Douglas Hines, an African American man who had been unjustly sent to prison for a parole violation.
Rizzy’s recent representations include successfully securing a sentencing reduction and release of a formerly incarcerated client who was serving a life sentence for an offense he committed as a minor, withholding removal on behalf of a Haitian asylum applicant, and representing a client on Alabama’s death row in his capital appeal. Rizzy is one of the lead lawyers for Ahmaud Arbery and Atatiana Jefferson, critical cases that involve the killing of unarmed black Americans. The Reed Smith team is representing Mr. Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper, working as co-counsel with the Philadelphia-based law firm McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt, including nationally recognized civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt.
Rizzy and the Reed Smith team are also co-counsel with McEldrew Young in suing those who caused the unjust death of Atatiana Jefferson, a 28-year-old Black woman who was shot to death by a police officer while she was playing video games with her nephew inside her home in Fort Worth, Texas.
The civil rights litigation ties directly into Reed Smith’s Racial Equity Action Plan (REAP) and Rizzy is one of the firm’s lead lawyers in its REAP-related legal advocacy. A core objective of REAP is to advance legal efforts and community engagement impacting Black communities. Through REAP, the firm is seeking to improve fairness and well-being for Black people working at the firm and to spur client engagement on pro bono collaborations, business partnerships and other endeavors.
Among its REAP-related pro bono matters, Reed Smith has teamed up with groups such as the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund to fight against racial discrimination in evictions, challenge potentially racially motivated death sentences, lobby for fairness in sentencing, and advance national bail reform.