Ann M. O'Brien

Partner

Washington, D.C.
T +1.202.861.1650
F +1.202.861.1783
Philadelphia
T +1.215.568.3100
F +1.215.568.3439

Overview

Ann O'Brien focuses her practice on advising and counseling businesses facing civil antitrust, criminal cartel, or complex white collar investigations or litigation. Ann’s insight on antitrust agency priorities, goals, and policies, are a valuable asset to companies facing international and multi-agency exposure. She has substantial experience leading every aspect of domestic and international antitrust and white collar investigations and prosecutions, including litigating federal criminal jury trials. Additionally, Ann provides clients with cutting-edge compliance counseling and training that can help deter or quickly detect antitrust exposure, informed by what is most important to the Antitrust Division and the courts.

Ann has extensive knowledge of antitrust enforcement practices and policy decisions, gained from her time working at the U.S. Department of Justice in the Antitrust Division and as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Maryland. During her nearly 20-year tenure, she assumed numerous senior leadership and management positions in the Antitrust Division, notably as the Assistant Chief of two sections and as the Acting Director of Criminal Enforcement. She was involved in virtually every major criminal enforcement and policy decision made by the Antitrust Division for nearly two decades, and reviewed and approved hundreds of case recommendations, leniency recommendations, search warrants, and requests for grand jury or preliminary inquiry authority. Notably, she gained comprehensive knowledge of antitrust corporate compliance and developed strong relationships with domestic and foreign antitrust enforcers and regulators. Additionally, Ann served as the Antitrust Division representative on the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, as well as a member of the Grant Fraud Working Group and Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group.

Having established herself as a thought leader in the antitrust community, Ann regularly speaks and writes on a broad-range of antitrust topics. She has also trained hundreds of antitrust prosecutors and law enforcement agents, and served as a liaison to other DOJ components and government agencies. Utilizing her in-depth understanding of antitrust policy and prosecution, Ann skillfully guides clients through their unique antitrust and white collar matters.

Select Experience

  • Formulated and implemented Antitrust Division criminal policy and advised Antitrust Division leadership, management, and staff on complex and high-profile criminal policy, leniency, investigative strategy, sentencing, compliance program assessment, and international issues.
  • Provided insight on antitrust compliance and the evaluation of corporate antitrust compliance programs and was a primary drafter of the Antitrust Division’s 2019 compliance guidance.
  • Counseled clients on pricing strategy for essential products and adherence with federal, state and local price gouging laws during COVID-19 pandemic.
More »

Experience

  • Formulated and implemented Antitrust Division criminal policy and advised Antitrust Division leadership, management, and staff on complex and high-profile criminal policy, leniency, investigative strategy, sentencing, compliance program assessment, and international issues.
  • Provided insight on antitrust compliance and the evaluation of corporate antitrust compliance programs and was a primary drafter of the Antitrust Division’s 2019 compliance guidance.
  • Counseled clients on pricing strategy for essential products and adherence with federal, state and local price gouging laws during COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Supervised antitrust policy and legislative matters. Also responded to congressional inquiries and oversight matters, briefed congressional staff on various subject matter, and drafted congressional testimony.
  • Oversaw work of five criminal offices and reviewed every type of request, including hundreds of case recommendations and scores of leniency recommendations, search warrants, and requests for immunity, grand jury, and preliminary inquiry authority.
  • Worked with the Criminal Division Fraud Section on a parallel FCPA investigation and worked to reach a first-of-its-kind corporate resolution binding both the Antitrust and Criminal Division and resulting in $579 million in criminal fines and disgorgement – the second-largest FCPA fine paid by a U.S. company at that time.
  • Represented the United States in criminal proceedings in multiple districts, including in dozens of sentencings, plea, and motions hearings in real estate foreclosure auction cases nationwide.
  • Collaborated with other domestic and international agency leaders to coordinate law enforcement efforts for international investigations affecting the U.S. and abroad, including foreign competition and enforcement agencies, U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office and Financial Conduct Authority, DG Comp, South Africa Competition Commission, and numerous competition agencies in Latin America and Asia.
  • Worked on international extraditions involving antitrust defendants and foreign assistance requests pursuant Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLAT) and International Antitrust Enforcement Assistance Act (IAEAA).

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division
    • Assistant Attorney General Award (2006, 2015)
    • Special Achievement Award (2009)
  • Counsel of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency: Award for Excellence (2013)
  • U.S. General Services Administration OIG: Special Recognition Award (2012)

Community

  • CYO Youth Basketball Coach (2018)
  • Justice Department Child Development Center, Just Us Kids
    • Vice President (2016 to 2017)
    • Board Member (2015 to 2016)
  • Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament Parish and School
    • Giving Tree Holiday Gift Giving Program: Coordinator (2014 to 2016)
    • School Advisory Board, Strategic Planning Extracurricular Committee: Member (2015 to 2018)

Featured Video

Accelerate: Getting to Your North Star Faster
Play Video

Listen to the legal implications surrounding COVID-19 for business leaders.

Prior Positions

  • U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division:
    • Competition Policy & Advocacy Section: Assistant Chief
    • Office of the Assistant Attorney General: Acting Director of Criminal Enforcement
    • Washington Criminal II Section: Assistant Chief
    • Office of the Assistant Attorney General: Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General (AAG)
    • Office of Criminal Enforcement: Senior Counsel to the Deputy AAG for Criminal Enforcement
    • Office of Operations: Special Assistant to the Directors of Civil and Criminal Enforcement
    • Cleveland Field Office: Trial Attorney
  • U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland: Special Assistant U.S. Attorney
  • The Honorable Deborah A. Robinson, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia: Law Clerk

Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • Maryland
  • District of Columbia

Education

  • J.D., Northeastern University School of Law, 1999
  • B.A., Government and International Studies, University of Notre Dame, 1996

Blog

In The Blogs

Previous Next
Data Counsel
Ann O'Brien, Jeewon Serrato, Alyse Stach Author Article Examining Privacy and Antitrust Issues
By Ann M. O'Brien, Jeewon K. Serrato, Alyse F. Stach
June 29, 2020
Partners Ann O’Brien and Jeewon Serrato and Associate Alyse Stach authored an article published by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) on June 23, 2020. The article, “The Thin Line Between Privacy and Antitrust,”...
Read More ->
Antitrust Advocate
Limits of State Action Protection for Colleges and Universities
By Brady P. P. Cummins, Ann M. O'Brien
June 11, 2020
A recently filed antitrust complaint against Duke University (Duke) provides a fresh reminder for colleges and universities that the state action immunity doctrine is unlikely to be a complete shield from antitrust liability even if a...
Read More ->
Antitrust Advocate
1-800 Contacts Settles Class Action Lawsuit With Roots in FTC Action
By Darley Maw, Ann M. O'Brien
May 21, 2020
Back in 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued 1-800 Contacts, claiming the online retailer devised an anticompetitive scheme with other online lens retailers to restrict search terms. The FTC argued that 1-800 Contacts and its...
Read More ->
AD-ttorneys Law Blog
No More Blurry Searches: 1-800 Contacts Settles Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Search Term Restraints
By Darley Maw, Ann M. O'Brien
May 21, 2020
Last week, mega-online retailer 1-800 Contacts settled claims brought by a class action suit in the Central District of Utah alleging that the company was the mastermind of a scheme to prevent competition in the online contact lens market...
Read More ->
Antitrust Advocate
COVID-19: Pricing During COVID-19 Without Gouging or Fixing
By Jeanne-Michele Mariani, Ann M. O'Brien
April 10, 2020
As antitrust counsel, we have done our best to keep up to date with the latest news coming from the federal and state governments on price gouging and efforts to combat shortages and hoarding of PPE. Today, we write to provide a few more...
Read More ->