Courtney A. Sullivan

Sullivan Courtney

Courtney Sullivan is an experienced litigator with courtroom experience acquired during her time in the government and in private practice. In addition to commercial disputes, she also has significant experience managing matters involving national security and investigations involving the federal government. Her clients include commercial businesses, partnerships, nonprofit organizations, corporate officers, and public agencies. Courtney has advised national companies in matters related to information security, national security, federal regulatory compliance, and commercial disputes. While at Venable, Courtney has also represented corporate officers in federal criminal and national security investigations.

Courtney gained wide-ranging experience working at the DOJ, where she served as the U.S. government's deputy chief prosecutor in trials related to the September 11 attacks, the U.S.S. Cole bombing, and other high-profile terrorism matters. She previously served as a trial attorney in the DOJ's Counterterrorism Section, National Security Division, where she participated in and supervised some of the most significant terrorism-related investigations in the United States. Courtney advised the assistant attorney general for national security on high-level classified intelligence operations, and managed investigations with members of the intelligence community. She teamed with multiple foreign governments in domestic and foreign terrorism prosecutions and investigations. Courtney has held the highest-level security clearance, handled some of the government's most sensitive national security information for nearly 12 years, and managed the government's use and protection of classified national security information in federal trials.

Courtney held various other positions within the DOJ's National Security Division, including with the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review, where she appeared before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and oversaw the use of information collected under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. During her time as a prosecutor, she negotiated plea bargains with High Value Detainees (HVDs). Courtney directed prosecutions in terrorism cases related to the October 2002 Bali nightclub and U.S. consulate terrorist attacks, and the August 2003 Jakarta J.W. Marriott hotel bombing. She played a crucial role in convincing a notable terrorist co-conspirator involved in the Richard Reid "shoe bomb" plot to cooperate as a key witness in numerous terrorism trials in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.

In private practice, Courtney has represented clients in a broad range of commercial disputes, in state and federal litigation, regulatory disputes, regulatory compliance, and internal and external investigations. Her clients have ranged from multinational companies, state agencies, and midsized government contractors to small private employers.


Government Experience

  • Senior Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Intelligence Policy and Review
  • Prosecutor, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Military Commissions, Prosecution Task Force
  • Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Counterterrorism Section, National Security Division
  • Deputy Chief Prosecutor for Litigation, Office of Military Commissions, Prosecution Task Force, Department of Defense, on detail from U.S. Department of Justice

Representative Matters

  • Represented a country-wide health records retrieval and information management company in a strategy for challenging federal regulations under the Administrative Procedures Act, and matters related to internal investigations, information security, federal regulatory compliance, and commercial disputes
  • Represented a corporate officer of a multi-million -dollar cybersecurity government contractor in a Department of Justice criminal, national security investigation
  • Represented a managing partner of a U.S. intelligence agency contractor in a membership dispute and interest buy-out
  • Represented a Maryland local government agency in a Department of Justice Title VII investigation
  • Represented one of the largest international virtual private network (VPN) providers in matters related to privacy and in federal court commercial disputes
  • Successfully appealed a large state court real estate dispute on behalf of a nonprofit organization with real estate properties in more than 20 states with billions of dollars in transactional value
  • Advised U.S.-based companies regarding the impact of the landmark CJEU Schrems II ruling, particularly on the impact of that ruling by E.O. 1233 and FISA Section 702, regarding regulations for commercial transfer of EU citizens’ data to the United States
  • Successfully defended and negotiated a final resolution for a District of Columbia government agency in a matter involving the Violence Against Women Act in District of Columbia federal court
  • Represented internet marketing companies in responding to federal subpoenas and national security letters involving geolocational information of online consumers
  • Responded on behalf of a major credit agency to a congressional request for information regarding compliance with federally regulated reporting requirements for National Security Letters
  • Served as Office of Military Commissions deputy chief prosecutor for litigation, including United States v. Khalid Sheik Mohammed, et al. (9/11 attacks and related cases)
  • Served as Office of Military Commissions deputy chief prosecutor for litigation. United States v. Al Al Darbi (related to U.S.S. Cole attacks)
  • Served as lead trial attorney in obtaining a guilty plea and cooperation agreement. United States v. Majid Khan (U.S. Military Commissions)
  • Prosecuted a defendant involved in the 2009 plot to bomb the New York City subway system. United States v. Zazi (EDNY)
  • Obtained a guilty plea from a Moroccan national who attempted to bomb the United States Capitol. United States v. Khalifi (EDVA)
  • Charged and negotiated a guilty plea for a defendant involved in a domestic plot to assassinate the president of the United States. United States v. Kodirov (NDAL)
  • Charged and negotiated a guilty plea for a defendant who provided financial support to terrorists and attempted to travel from New York to Afghanistan to fight U.S. forces. United States v. Hasbajrami (EDNY)




  • J.D. cum laude University of Minnesota Law School 1998
  • B.A. cum laude University of Notre Dame 1993

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia 1999
  • Virginia 1998

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Former instructor, Department of Justice National Advocacy Center, Columbia, South Carolina
  • Former instructor, National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Advanced Trial Advocacy, Washington, DC
  • Former instructor, National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Washington, DC


  • U.S. Department of Defense
    • Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service, 2012
    • Office of Military Commissions Chief Prosecutor’s Award for Excellence, 2012 (First recipient of the award)
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Special Achievement Award and Outstanding Performance Award, 2003 – 2012 (Multiple awards received from four successive attorneys general)


Pro Bono

  • Successfully represented a number of pro bono clients, including receiving asylum for a Sudanese female fleeing severe physical punishment in Sudan, and a teenager fleeing family abuse in El Salvador


  • Member, Coalition for Special Education

Personal Activities

  • Travel, golf, hiking, triathlons, adventure races, horseback riding, sports fan