Alicia C. O'Brien

Partner
OBrien Alicia

Alicia O'Brien provides strategic counsel in all aspects of congressional, federal, and state government investigations. A former senior advisor at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Alicia uses her extensive public and private sector experience to help clients navigate these high-stakes matters, which routinely involve complex legal issues, as well as public policy and media challenges. She also leads internal investigations and provides guidance on crisis management, proactive and remedial compliance measures, and mitigation of reputational damage and business disruption.

Alicia represents companies, institutions, executives, public officials, and other individuals facing investigations and enforcement actions by Congress, the DOJ and other executive branch agencies, state attorneys general, and federal inspectors general. She also engages regularly with federal and state public officials on policy and regulatory issues.

An astute strategist, Alicia manages all stages of these investigations, including wide-scale subpoena responses, witness preparation and testimony, and public messaging. She has developed relationships with public officials on both sides of the aisle throughout the course of her government positions and extensive advocacy for her clients.

Most recently, Alicia served as a key senior advisor at DOJ through her roles as an associate deputy attorney general in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General (ODAG) under Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates, and as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA). In these capacities, she routinely advised the Department's leadership on high-profile, sensitive matters, and managed all aspects of the Department's responses to an exceptional volume of congressional oversight inquiries and investigations, and parallel inquiries by inspectors general, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and other federal agencies.

In addition, Alicia regularly prepared DOJ's most senior officials, including the attorney general, deputy attorney general, associate attorney general, and U.S. attorneys, for numerous congressional hearings, member briefings, and other congressional engagement on a wide range of oversight and policy issues. In the 114th Congress, Department witnesses testified in more than 110 hearings, and one committee alone sent more than 200 oversight letters to the Department, containing nearly 2,000 separate requests for documents, briefings, and information. Alicia also played a key role in managing the Senate confirmation process for presidentially appointed Department nominees, including serving as a leading adviser to Attorney General Lynch and Deputy Attorney General Yates, among others.

Experience

Government Experience

  • Associate Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Deputy Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legislative Affairs, U.S. Department of Justice

Representative Matters

  • Represented a major healthcare company in numerous DOJ investigations, and a related internal investigation regarding Medicare reimbursement and potential False Claims Act (FCA) issues
  • Represented a leading pharmaceutical company in an investigation by the House Energy and Commerce Committee into off-label use and direct-to-consumer advertising
  • Represented a significant hedge fund and its manager in an investigation and hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, related to the financial crisis
  • Represented a foreign bank in an investigation by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations into the use and regulation of offshore tax havens
  • Represented a major software security company in an investigation and hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee into the role of U.S. companies that sell security software to foreign countries
  • Represented defense contractors in several investigations by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee into reconstruction efforts in Iraq and related defense contracts
  • Represented a senior government official and a top company executive in separate investigations before the House Financial Services Committee related to consumer protection issues and housing finance reform, including committee subpoenas and reports, transcribed interviews, and a public hearing before the Committee
  • Represented a high-ranking executive branch official in an investigation and related testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee related to agency management and ethics issues
  • Represented several for-profit colleges in an investigation and hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, examining recruitment practices and federal investment in these schools
  • Represented a Fortune 50 global pharmaceutical company in investigations by several state attorneys general, regarding clinical trials, drug safety and efficacy, pharmaceutical pricing, and importation issues
  • Represented a leading international aid organization in responding to several DOJ/Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) inquiries and related internal investigations, regarding losses resulting from a widespread fraudulent investment scheme
  • Represented an active nonprofit voter registration organization in negotiations and settlement with a state attorney general, related to political robocalls

Insights

Credentials
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Education

  • J.D. magna cum laude American University, Washington College of Law 2002
  • American University Law Review
  • B.S. magna cum laude University of Maryland, College Park 1997

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Massachusetts
  • New York

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court

Community
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Pro Bono

  • Joined a team of dedicated Venable attorneys serving as poll monitors in Ohio during the November 2018 election, in partnership with a national, nonpartisan election protection coalition led by the Ohio Voter Coalition and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The team worked to ensure that all voters had an equal opportunity to vote and have that vote count
  • Engaged in voter registration and election protection legal efforts, as well as get out the vote (GOTV) activities in Virginia and other jurisdictions during prior election cycles

Volunteerism

  • Serves on the advisory board of the News Literacy Project, a nonpartisan national education nonprofit that works with educators and journalists to teach middle school and high school students how to become informed and engaged citizens in the digital age