Ms. Plochocki is an experienced advocate who focuses her practice on complex transnational disputes, both at the trial and appellate levels. Her matters have included high-profile, multi-jurisdictional financial frauds and insolvencies, in which she has represented investors, individual executives, and corporations. Ms. Plochocki has expertise in the extraterritorial application of U.S. law and jurisdiction, and regularly counsels international clients on potential U.S. civil and criminal liability. She has successfully defended clients from allegations of material support for terrorism and achieved favorable resolutions for clients facing exposure to liability for business and financial activities conducted abroad. In recognition of her excellence in the field of International Law, Ms. Plochocki was selected as a Washington DC “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers in 2017 and 2018.
Ms. Plochocki also has a proven track record in international judgment enforcement and asset recovery. She has prevailed in contested applications for evidence for use in foreign proceedings pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782 and won recognition of disputed international arbitral awards. Ms. Plochocki’s practice also includes advising individuals and corporations on compliance with U.S. import and export control laws, including sanctions regimes administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control.
Ms. Plochocki also specializes in extradition law and regularly advises on proceedings in the UK and other Commonwealth countries. She has provided expert opinions in extradition proceedings and counseled sovereign governments on the interpretation bilateral extradition treaties.
In addition to her international practice, Ms. Plochocki has represented individuals in connection with congressional and law enforcement investigations relating to high-profile political scandals.
Ms. Plochocki has worked in multiple jurisdictions; in 2016, she was seconded to a top global law firm in Beijing and Shanghai, where she consulted on Chinese litigation and arbitration matters and advised Chinese financial institutions and corporations on U.S. compliance laws, including the FCPA, U.S. sanctions, and the PATRIOT Act.
Prior to joining Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss, Ms. Plochocki was a litigation associate in prominent national and international law firms, representing clients in high-stakes litigation matters nationwide. During law school, Ms. Plochocki was a legal intern at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, where she helped successfully resolve a long-standing immigration dispute involving Palestinians and their alleged financial support of a terrorist support group. Ms. Plochocki also served as the Managing Editor of the Michigan Journal of International Law.
Pro Bono and Community Service
Ms. Plochocki is dedicated to pro bono service and litigates matters at the intersection of constitutional rights, international law, and national security. She has represented detainees in Guantanamo Bay and argued for their release under the Geneva Conventions. She has also litigated challenges to the United States’ targeted killing program on behalf of the victims and targets of drone strikes, including Zaidan v. Trump and Jaber v. United States. Ms. Plochocki has also authored amicus briefs on behalf of individuals and organizations on issues of fairness in education and criminal justice.
- Member, American Bar Association
- Member, Women’s Bar Association
- Member, California Bar Association
- Member, District of Columbia Bar Association
- Trustee, Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
- Associate, Washington office of International Law Firm
- Associate, Washington office of National Law Firm
- Obtained recognition of $24.5 million arbitral award on behalf of Hong Kong corporation against Tajik state-owned enterprise
- Representation of Brazilian executive against fraud action by U.S. securities firm and obtained dismissal of lawsuit
- Representation of Saudi Arabian corporation in seeking recovery for losses arising out of international bribery scheme
- Representation of investors, corporations, and individuals in applications to obtain evidence from banks and investment firms in the United States for use in legal proceedings abroad
- Representation of multiple investors in complex civil litigation arising out of securities fraud committed by Venezuelan financier
- Representation of Saudi Arabian conglomerate in civil litigation concerning complex financial service fraud totaling in excess of $10 billion
- Representation of numerous companies and individuals, both in the U.S. and abroad, in connection with various matters including investigations by U.S. law enforcement and regulatory agencies
- Representation of individual in connection with defamation claims against national publications concerning allegations of involvement in Russia scandal
Represent U.S. citizen journalist in lawsuit against U.S. government challenging his placement on the “Kill List” without due process
Represent Afghan detainee in habeas proceedings seeking release from detention in Guantanamo Bay under law of armed conflict
- Provided counsel to major non-U.S. mobile network on compliance with U.S. export laws and sanctions regimes
- Authored amicus brief on behalf of national education organization in action by schoolchildren alleging that Detroit Public Schools violated their constitutional right to access to education
- Co-authored an amicus brief on behalf of medical ethics organization seeking disclosure of the identity of the doctor who conducted and botched the execution of an inmate on death row
- Successfully appealed the removal of an SES federal employee before the Merit Systems Protection Board
Publications & Events
- Asadullah Haroon Gul: Detained in Guantánamo for 14 years without charge or trial
On October 19, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted Guantánamo detainee Asadullah Haroon Gul’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus, ruling that his detention is unlawful. The decision marks the first time a Guantánamo Bay detainee has won a habeas corpus petition in the last ten years.October 20, 2021
The U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia recently denied a petition to recognize and enforce an international arbitration award against a government-owned airline on jurisdictional grounds. The decision in UAB Skyroad Leasing Inc. v. OJSC Tajik Air, 20-cv-0763 (D.D.C. Jan. 26, 2021) illustrates the hurdles to enforcing an arbitral award against a foreign state-owned enterprise, even when that enterprise is engaged in pure commercial activities and controlled by the state.January 29, 2021
In the dying days of his administration, President Trump has moved to smash the civil service. Through Executive Order 13957 (“EO 13957” or the “EO”), the President aims to carve out an entire new class of civil servants, sheering them from long-standing federal protections designed to create a professional, apolitical federal workforce. Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss is investigating the scope of the Executive Order and possible remedies available to affected civil servants.December 11, 2020
- Second Circuit Shortens the Reach of § 1782, Denying Access to Domestic Discovery for Parties in Private Foreign Arbitrations
The Second Circuit held that 28 U.S.C. § 1782(a) cannot be used to support petitions for discovery for use in private foreign commercial arbitrations, settling an issue that has lingered unresolved in the circuit since 2004. The new decision, In re Guo, puts the Second Circuit squarely at odds with recent decisions issued by other circuit courts, raising the possibility that the Supreme Court will take up the issue next session to resolve the split. While Guo does not impact the ability of parties to foreign public arbitrations and litigations to take § 1782(a) discovery, for now at least, parties to private foreign arbitrations may have to look to more favorable circuits outside New York for relief.July 13, 2020
- New York Appellate Court Imposes Jurisdictional Requirements in Foreign Judgment Recognition Actions
The First Department Appellate Division in New York recently issued a ruling that will make the recognition of foreign country money judgments more difficult in New York. Kate Toomey and Tara Plochocki summarize its impact.March 19, 2018
- Authored by Tara J. Plochocki, Lewis Baach PLLC and Meg Utterback, King & Wood Mallesons LLPAugust 2, 2016
- December 10, 2015
- Lecture, “The 14th Amendment and the Law of Diversity,” at the University of Maryland (2014)2014
- Lecture, “Federalism and Constitutional Law,” at Berea College (2011)2011
In the News
The United States complied with a federal court order and released a former Afghan militiaman from detention in Guantánamo Bay. Last year, Tara J. Plochocki, one of Mr. Haroon’s lawyers, described her client as “desperate to get home” to make sure his daughter gets an education. Ms. Plochocki credited State Department efforts “over the past two months” for arranging the transfer and said the decision in this case “shows that no one, not even the U.S. government, and not even in war, is above the law.”The New York Times, June 24, 2022
- Supreme Court Narrows Reach of Section 1782 Discovery Tool: Private Arbitrations Are Not Foreign or International Tribunals for Purposes of the Statute
The United States Supreme Court concluded in ZF Automotive US, Inc. v. Luxshare, Ltd. that federal district courts cannot order discovery for use in a private foreign arbitration via 18 U.S.C. § 1782—a statute that permits litigants to seek discovery in federal court for “use in a proceeding in a foreign or international tribunal.” The unanimous decision narrows a useful discovery tool by prohibiting parties in or contemplating private, foreign arbitration from obtaining discovery through federal courts for use in that arbitration.June 14, 2022
- Judge rules Afghan militant has been held in Guantánamo illegally, in what lawyers say is the first such ruling in 10 years
A federal judge has found that a former Afghan militant has been held unlawfully at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, the first time in 10 years that a detainee has won such a case against the U.S. government, his lawyers said.Washington Post, October 21, 2021
A federal judge has ruled that the United States has no legal basis for holding an Afghan man at Guantánamo Bay.October 20, 2021
- US has no basis to detain Asadullah Haroon Gul, who was cleared for transfer last week, in a first such ruling in a decade
A US federal court has ruled that a detainee at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre has been unlawfully kept there, several days after he was cleared to be transferred out of the military prison.
The US court granted the petition for a writ of habeas corpus for Asadullah Haroon Gul, who has been detained without charge by the US since 2007. The decision marks the first time in a decade a Guantanamo detainee's imprisonment has been ruled unlawful.Middle East Eye, October 20, 2021
The founder and minority shareholder of Tocqueville Management Corp. sued his successor and six of the successor's relatives in Delaware's Chancery Court on Tuesday, saying he was "utterly betrayed" by the man he allegedly groomed to take over the wealth management firm.Law360, October 12, 2021
- Lawyers say case raises questions about legality of US air strikes and an American citizen's right to due process
Bilal Abdul Kareem, an American journalist based in opposition-held northwestern Syria, is petitioning the US Supreme Court to review his case accusing the government of placing him on a "kill list", and alleging that he was consequently targeted five times by US strikes in 2016.
The petition is the latest development in a years-long legal battle between the United States government and Abdul Kareem, and calls on the Supreme Court to decide whether a lower court erred in its dismissal of his case.
"What our case is really about is: can the United States kill a US citizen without due process, on the basis that its desire to execute its own citizens is a state secret?" Tara Plochocki, legal counsel for Abdul Kareem, told Middle East Eye.Middle East Eye, September 21, 2021
- Last ‘low-value’ Afghan detainee asks to be freed from Guantánamo Bay as U.S. troops leave Afghanistan
Gul “is a prisoner of war — a war that has been over for many years,” attorney Tara Plochocki argued Monday in court for his legal team, comprising people from human rights group Reprieve and the Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss law firm. “If the rule of law means anything, [he] must be released.”The Washington Post, May 10, 2021
- The legal basis for indefinite detention at Guantánamo is to prevent combatants from returning to the battlefield. But what if their old battlefield is no more?The New York Times, April 21, 2021
A U.S. Department of Justice lawyer argued Monday that the United States can kill its own citizens without judicial review when litigation would reveal state secrets.ABA Journal, November 18, 2020
"What the government seeks to do in this case represents a radical expansion of the concept of a 'state secret'," explained Tara Plochocki, a partner at Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss PLLC, representing Abdul Kareem. "The privilege has never been invoked to permit the government to bypass the Constitution in favour of summary execution, and we hope that the Court will not permit the government to do so here."Middle East Monitor, November 17, 2020
Kareem’s attorney, Tara Jordan Plochocki, argued the government was radically expanding sovereignty, domestically and abroad, allowed under state-secrets privilege.
“Whether that’s in a parking lot in the United States or abroad in Syria, the government has claimed — for the first time ever in this case — that it has unfettered and unreviewable discretion to kill US citizens at will,” Plochocki said.Courthouse News Service, November 16, 2020
- Law360, August 26, 2020
- U.S. invokes state secrets privilege to block American journalist’s challenge to alleged spot on drone ‘kill list’
“For the first time ever, a United States federal court ruled that the government may kill one of its citizens without providing him the information necessary to prove that he is being wrongly targeted and does not deserve to die,” attorney Tara J. Plochocki said.The Washington Post, September 24, 2019
- When a U.S. citizen heard he was on his own country’s drone target list, he wasn’t sure he believed it. After five near-misses, he does – and is suing the United States to contest his own execution
Ms. Plochocki is quoted in the article as addressing the court saying, “We’re not asking for the court to revisit drone policy, we’re not taking a run at the drone program,” she says. “Plaintiffs [just] want an opportunity to be meaningfully heard, just as… if they were designated for economic sanctions or told that they couldn’t board a flight to Cleveland.”Rollingstone, July 19, 2018
- Judge allows journalist to challenge claimed inclusion on U.S. drone ‘kill list’
“We are gratified that the court recognized that, as a U.S. citizen, Mr. Kareem has the right to be heard in court before his government can decide to kill him, and we look forward to these proceedings continuing to a final resolution,” said Tara J. Plochocki, partner with the Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss law firm.Washington Post, June 13, 2018
Plaintiffs attorney Tara J. Plochocki likened the case instead to challenges from people who say they were wrongly placed on U.S. no-fly lists or hit with economic sanctions. The men were also represented by Reprieve, a human rights group based in London and New York City.
Plochocki argued that when Awlaki’s father tried to sue on his son’s behalf while he was still alive, another federal judge in Washington in 2010 ruled that nothing prevented the designated terrorist Awlaki from peacefully presenting himself at a U.S. embassy and asserting his rights in court.
“We’re taking [the judge] up on that offer,” Plochocki said, such as by asserting their innocence in a sworn affidavit, court filing, administrative hearing or other means.Washington Post, May 1, 2018
- US Pushes for Deference Regarding Americans on Kill List
Tara Plochocki of the firm Lewis Baach noted that her clients do not seek review of the legality of the drone program, and are only seeking narrow due-process relief afforded by the Administrative Procedure Act.
“Plaintiffs want an opportunity to be meaningfully heard,” she said.Courthouse News, May 1, 2018
- Press Release: Woodsford Litigation Funding to provide international litigation boutique Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss PLLC with innovative $20m global portfolio financing facility
Woodsford Litigation Funding, one of the leading global third party funders, has announced a funding facility agreement with Lewis Baach which ensures the firm can offer clients an expedited, one-stop arrangement for the financing of high value litigation and arbitration.August 16, 2017
Lewis Baach is pleased to announce the release of “Getting the Deal Through: Litigation Funding 2017,” which offers the first comprehensive overview of the laws and regulations governing litigation funding on a country-by-country basis. Lewis Baach attorneys David Liston, Alex Patchen and Tara Plochocki authored the chapter on the United States.2017 Edition
- al-Arabiya, July 20, 2016
- July 12, 2016
- Law360, July 12, 2016
- University of Michigan Law School (J.D., cum laude, 2007), Managing Editor of the Michigan Journal of International Law
- Barnard College of Columbia University (B.A., cum laude, 2002)
- District of Columbia
- New York
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. District Courts for the District of Columbia, Southern District of New York and Eastern District of Michigan
- U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second and D.C. Circuits