Bar Admissions

  • California


  • J.D., University of Southern California, Gould School of Law, 1991
    National Moot Court Team
  • B.A., The American University, 1987
    Passed U.S. State Department Foreign Service Exam, 1988
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Christopher R. O'Brien


Chris O'Brien is an active member of the firm's Corporate and Media and Entertainment Practices and Co-Chair of Venable's Blockchain and Digital Currency Group. He advises buyers, sellers, investors and joint venture partners in a range of corporate transactions and financings, and is frequently the outside general counsel for his clients. Across traditional and emerging media, his clients include content producers and distributors, talent agencies, investors, and financing sources. He was named to the list of "Most Influential Lawyers: Digital Media and e-Commerce Law" by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Clients value Chris' insider's perspective as a senior executive who spent over a decade making critical legal decisions while in-house. He was a senior in-house attorney for Mattel, a Fortune 500 toy company, where among other matters he sold The Learning Company software division. He was also General Counsel to a mobile telecom startup privately valued at $1 billion, where he raised $120 million in equity financing, and General Counsel of a publicly traded $700 million revenue restaurant company. 

Chris has experience with early stage companies across many industries, including blockchain, financial services, and healthcare.

Throughout his career, Chris has led matters with a significant international component. He began his legal practice at a prominent international law firm, spending time in its Prague and Helsinki offices, and over the course of 25+ years has handled critical legal matters in every major international market.

Significant Matters

  • Acquisition of the largest independent digital entertainment content distributor in the United States.
  • Creation of new television production joint venture between prominent producer and major network.
  • Creation of reality television production company between prominent producers and multinational media conglomerate.
  • Sale of assets of 3D movie theater technology company.
  • Acquisition of the largest independent DVD distributor in the United States.
  • Acquisition of a 50% interest in a music talent agency in the United Kingdom for U.S.-based client.
  • Acquisition of equity interest in the largest music talent agency in the world representing DJ and electronica artists.
  • Sale of the second largest consumer software business in the world.
  • Sale of prominent literary agency to large talent agency.
  • Represented a major cryptocurrency advisor in first-of-its-kind combined D&O and E&O policy for an advisor in this space.
  • Represent blockchain company in digital advertising venture.
  • Corporate restructuring of internet-based luxury goods flash sale e-commerce company.
  • Represent asset-backed digital currency company.
  • Motion picture co-production (Swiss-British) for Academy Award–winning documentary.
  • Sale of rights to the first series to begin on mobile-only platform and become U.S. cable series.
  • Preferred Stock E round equity financing of $120 million for U.S. mobile phone and entertainment company.
  • Creation of OTT joint venture in Comic-Con space.
  • Sale of minority interest in large family-owned fast food franchisee.
  • Outside general counsel to early-stage litigation recovery company.
  • Acquisition of digital media network in India.
  • Global distribution alliance and equity purchase between world’s largest toy company and largest Japanese toy company.
  • License of video game rights to iconic U.S. toy car brands.
  • Global equity offering of Scandinavian steel company.
  • Numerous privatization and foreign investment transactions in the Czech Republic.