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Kevin J. O’Brien

Headshot of Kevin J. O'Brien
  • Partner

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 New York Metro Super Lawyers.

Kevin has tried over 25 court cases and numerous arbitrations to a result. His most recent victory was in the 2019 Platinum Partners criminal case, in which Kevin and a team of Ford O’Brien Landy 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 Landy, 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 Landy “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 real estate 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.

Kevin 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. He has written extensively about topics of interest in criminal law and securities law, most recently articles on the SEC whistleblower statute, the hedge fund industry, and the SEC’s prosecution of Ripple Labs Inc. (named one of The Most-Read Securities Law360 Guest Articles of 2021). Moreover, Kevin has analyzed and commented on major criminal and civil trials, including the Varsity Blues cases, the Elizabeth Holmes trial, the 1MDB criminal trial, and Sarah Palin’s defamation case, for major outlets such as BBC News, Asia Times, Bloomberg News, Reuters, Westlaw Today, and Law360. (See “Firm News” for individual articles and interviews).

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.

Areas Of Practice

  • White Collar Criminal Defense
  • Securities Litigation
  • Commercial Litigation
  • FINRA customer-member arbitrations

Bar Admissions

  • New York

Education

  • Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
    • J.D. - 1979
  • Balliol College, University of Oxford
    • M.Phil. - 1976
  • Harvard College
    • A.B. - 1974
    • Honors: summa cum laude

Kevin O’Brien’s Recent Articles

Read the Articles

Representative Cases

  • United States v. Joseph SanFilippo
  • United States v. Michael Rigas
  • Central Illinois Public Service v. Allianz, et al.
  • State of New York, et al. v. Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat

Past Employment Positions

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

Honors & Awards

  • Selected To Super Lawyers: 2020 - 2021
  • Selected To Super Lawyers: 2021 - 2022
Headshot of Kevin J. O'Brien
Kevin’s most recent victory was an across-the-board acquittal for his client in the 2019 Platinum Partners securities-fraud case.

Ford O’Brien Landy LLP
275 Madison
Floor 24
New York, NY 10016

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Kevin J. O'Brien
Rated by Super Lawyers


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