Kevin J. O'Brien

Attorney Profile

Top Rated White Collar Crimes Attorney in New York, NY

Ford O'Brien LLP
575 5th Avenue, 17th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212-858-0400
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2020 - 2021
Licensed Since: 1980
Education: Harvard Law School
Practice Areas: Criminal Defense: White Collar (40%), Business Litigation (30%), Securities Litigation (30%)
Attorney Profile


Kevin J. O’Brien is an experienced trial lawyer and former Assistant U. S. Attorney, who specializes in white-collar criminal defense, commercial and securities litigation on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants, regulatory enforcement cases, and arbitrations. He has been selected to 2020 New York Metro Super Lawyers.

Kevin has tried over 25 court cases and numerous arbitrations to verdict. His most recent trial victory was in the 2019 Platinum Partners criminal case, in which Kevin and a team of Ford O’Brien lawyers obtained a judgment of acquittal across the board for former Platinum Chief Executive Officer Joseph SanFilippo after a nine-week trial. Mr. SanFilippo faced five felony counts for alleged securities fraud, investment adviser fraud, and conspiracy. Thanks to the efforts of Kevin and Ford O’Brien, he was acquitted on all counts and walked out of court a free man.

After his acquittal Mr. SanFilippo wrote that hiring Ford O’Brien “was the best and most important decision in my life. The stakes were high, but having Kevin, and his team, in my corner gave me the confidence to fight for what I believed in. Kevin’s experience and expertise really shined through during the course of a long trial. His ability to command the courtroom and more importantly to connect with the judge and jury really came through in his oral arguments and witness examinations. Kevin fought for me like he would fight for a close family member.”

For more on Mr. SanFilippo’s acquittal, please see Kevin’s article, “The Platinum Case: How One Defendant Lost Even Though He Won.”

Kevin’s other trial victories include United States v. Michael Rigas, a massive criminal securities-fraud case, where Kevin as co-counsel obtained an acquittal verdict on some counts and a hung jury on the remainder, following a six-month jury trial; Central Illinois Public Service v. Allianz, et al., in which he won a $100,000,000 jury verdict for a public utility against several insurance companies following a three-month trial; State of New York, et al. v. Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat, in which he succeeded in blocking the sale of a hospital on behalf of a large hospital corporation; and commercial arbitration awards totaling in excess of $30 million.

In addition to his trial practice, Kevin has successfully represented clients facing criminal grand jury investigations and potential enforcement action by the SEC, FINRA, the FDA, the FDIC, and other regulatory organizations. He also has represented individuals and institutions in commercial litigation involving mortgage-backed securities, debt restructuring, commercial realestate disputes, and investment banking fees, among other matters. Kevin’s practice also includes FINRA customer-member arbitrations.

Kevin was previously a litigation partner at Dechert LLP, and a name partner at Harris, O’Brien, St. Laurent & Chaudhry, LLP. He began his career as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York, where he successfully tried several prominent public corruption cases. He has served as Chief Counsel to the New York State Commission on Government Integrity; and as Associate Independent Counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel in Washington, D.C. Kevin has also devoted significant time to pro bono representation, including a successful appeal of a death penalty sentence to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Harvard College, summa cum laude; Balliol College, University of Oxford; and Harvard Law School.

Kevin is a frequent lecturer and author and has been published in the National Law Journal, the New York Law Journal, Law360, the Legal Times of Washington, and other legal publications. He has lectured for the Practicing Law Institute and other organizations on criminal defense, securities law and business law topics. His most recent article is “SEC’s Whistleblower Amendments are a Step Backward,” Law360 (Oct. 1, 2020).

Kevin is also the author of a book, The Art of the Campaign: How Lincoln Won the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, published by Amazon in 2013.

Kevin is admitted to the bar of New York.

Practice Areas
  • 40%Criminal Defense: White Collar
  • 30%Business Litigation
  • 30%Securities Litigation

Selections

2 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2020 - 2021

About Kevin J. O'Brien

Admitted: 1980, New York

Professional Webpage: https://www.fordobrien.com/attorney/kevin-j-o-brien/

Bar/Professional Activity

  • Harris, O’Brien, St. Laurent & Chaudhry, LLP, Name Partner
  • Office of Independent Counsel, Washington, D.C., Associate Independent Counsel
  • Dechert LLP, Litigation Partner
  • New York State Commission on Government Integrity, Chief Counsel
  • U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, Assistant U.S. Attorney
  • Eastern District of New York
  • Southern District of New York
  • New York Bar

Educational Background

  • Harvard College, A.B. summa cum laude, 1974
  • Ballioli College, University of Oxford, England, M.Phil, 1976

Honors/Awards

  • Business Litigation, 2020 New York Metro Super Lawyers, Super Lawyers, 2020

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • A skillful analysis of recent amendments to the SEC's whistleblower program., Author, SEC's Whistleblower Amendments Are A Step Backward, Law360, Securities, 2020
  • Lecturer on criminal defense, securities law, and business law topics., Lecturer, Practicing Law Institute
  • Published, Legal Times
  • Published, Law360
  • Published, New York Law Journal
  • Published, National Law Journal
  • The author of a book, The Art of the Campaign: How Lincoln Won the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Author, The Art of the Campaign: How Lincoln Won the Lincoln-Douglas Debates

Representative Clients

  • Amy Elliot, 2019
  • Joseph SanFilippo, 2019

Verdicts/Settlements

  • United States v. Joseph SanFilippo, 2019
  • BREAKING: 2 Former Platinum Execs Convicted Of Fraud, Ex­CFO Walks https://www.fordobrien.com/BREAKING-2FormerPlatinumExecsConvictedOfFraudEx-CFOWalks-Law360.pdf, 2019
  • Ford O'Brien LLP Wins Complete Acquittal In Federal Criminal Case, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ford-obrien-llp-wins-complete-acquittal-in-federal-criminal-case-300884988.html, 2019
  • State of New York, et al. v. Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat
  • United States v. Michael Rigas 
  • Michael Rigas Is Free for Now After Mistrial Is Declared https://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/10/business/michael-rigas-is-free-for-now-after-mistrial-is-declared.html
  • 186 Misc.2d 126 Supreme Court, New York County, New York. In the Matter of the MANHATTAN EYE, EAR & THROAT HOSPITAL, Petitioner, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center et al., Intervenors, v. Eliot SPITZER, as Attorney General of the State of New York, Respondent, and Board of Surgeon Directors of the Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital et al., Intervenors. Dec. 3, 1999. Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hosp. v. Spitzer, 186 Misc. 2d 126, 715 N.Y.S.2d 575 (Sup. Ct. 1999)
  • Central Illinois Public Service v. Allianz, et al.
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Office Location for Kevin J. O'Brien

575 5th Avenue
17th Floor
New York, NY 10017

Phone: 212-858-0400

Last Updated: 4/2/2021

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