Photo of Fatema K. Merchant

Fatema K. Merchant

Washington, DC
F: +1.202.747.3855


  • J.D., American University Washington College of Law, 2008
  • B.A., Al-Jamea-Tus-Saifiyah Arabic Academy, 2003
  • District of Columbia
  • Texas
Thought Leadership


Fatema Merchant is a partner in the Government Contracts, Investigations & International Trade Practice Group in the firm's Washington, D.C. office.

Fatema's practice focuses on compliance counseling and investigations in the areas of export controls, economic sanctions, anti-corruption, customs, and import regulations. Her practice also encompasses international trade and white collar criminal defense work, which includes the U.S. government’s regulation of international trade, cross-border transactions and foreign investment. Fatema regularly assists clients with developing, implementing, and evaluating effective compliance programs across a broad spectrum of legal risk areas. She counsels clients across industries on regulatory filings stemming from cross-border transactions, including filings with the U.S. State Department and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

At Sheppard Mullin, Fatema is the Co-Chair of the D.C. Diversity Working Group. She also serves on the pro bono committee and is actively involved in various pro bono matters, including representation of asylum seekers.

Prior to joining Sheppard Mullin, Fatema worked in the D.C. office of another international law firm, where she was also seconded as a Special Assistant Attorney General with the District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General. At the OAG, Fatema negotiated settlements, prepared dispositive motions, handled pleadings and discovery, and argued motions. She served as co-counsel in a jury trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, securing a favorable verdict for the District.

Fatema recently served as President of the Capital Area Muslim Bar Association (CAMBA). She was recognized on the Lawyers of Color's Hot List in 2014 and by Super Lawyers as a Washington D.C. Rising Star in 2015-2018. Fatema was also featured in The American Lawyer and on a podcast titled “Multiple Identities: Intersectional Challenges in the Legal Profession,” discussing challenges faced by lawyers of color and her work on diversity & inclusion issues in the legal profession.


  • Washington, D.C. Rising Star, Super Lawyers, 2015-2018
  • Lawyers of Color's 2014 Hot List

Thought Leadership


Global Trade Law Blog Posts

Government Contracts, Investigations & International Trade Blog Posts

Media Mentions

Speaking Engagements

  • Panelist, "International Contract Law: Key Issues to Consider When Conducting Business Overseas," ABA Center for Professional Development, October 11, 2017
  • Panelist, "100 Days of Trump: A Cuban Legal Perspective," ABA Teleconference, co-hosted by ABA Young Lawyer’s Division International and Litigation Sections," May 3, 2017
  • Panelist, "ABA YLD Midyear Program Doing Business with Cuba," Miami FL, February 3, 2017
  • Panelist, "Pathways to International Law," ABA International Section's Spring Meeting, New York, April 12, 2016
  • Panelist, "Pathways to International Law," ABA International Section's Spring Meeting, April 28, 2015
  • Panelist, "Women and Minorities: Willing Partners or Reluctant Allies?" July 15, 2014
  • Panelist, "Export Control Reform Level Set: Where Are We Now and Where Are We Headed?” Momentum Webinar, July 8, 2014
  • Panelist, "Doing Business in India: Anti-Corruption Best Practices," Momentum Webinar, May 29, 2014


  • American Bar Association, International Section
  • ABA International Anti-Corruption Committee
  • ABA India Committee