J.D., Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law; B.S., University of Boston
Will O’Brien guides clients through high-stakes international arbitration and litigation, serving as lead counsel before all major arbitral institutions and US courts. He develops global dispute resolution strategies for clients, with a focus on multi-jurisdictional and parallel disputes involving sovereign immunity, laws of war, non-signatories, enforcement of arbitration awards and judgments, government contracts, treaties, Section 1782 discovery actions, joint venture and commercial contractual disputes, money laundering and fraud or corruption allegations, among other areas. He regularly manages high- profile cases in politically charged or hostile environments.
As lead counsel, Will has successfully handled matters spanning more than 40 countries throughout North America, Asia, Africa, Australia, the Middle East and Latin America. For more than 25 years, he has represented multinational companies in aviation/aerospace and defense, security, manufacturing, automotive, construction, energy, government, chemicals and plastics, telecom, transportation, and infrastructure. He serves as the Co-head of the Industrials Sector. Clients report to Chambers USA that “he is the most universal and versatile attorney I have ever worked with.”
Will writes and speaks regularly on international arbitration and litigation issues and has launched an initiative to foster greater use of artificial intelligence in cross-border disputes working in partnership with companies curating new technologies to serve the legal community. He is an adjunct professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center, teaching international commercial arbitration with a focus on sovereigns and best practices in international contracting. Will also serves as faculty at the International Law Institute, educating lawyers from around the world on issues of comity, immunity and enforcement of treaties in international disputes.
He is a member of the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) Commission on Arbitration and ADR, the International Bar Association’s Arbitration Committee, and the Steering Committee on international arbitration for the US Council on International Business.
Will strongly supports and provides pro bono counseling to the Global Fairness Initiative, an organization dedicated to helping raise the standard of living for the world’s working poor, and is a founding member of the American Cancer Society’s Judicial Advocacy Initiative, which is dedicated to protecting the rights of those with cancer.
Prior to joining Eversheds Sutherland, he was a partner at a major global law firm, serving as US chair of the firm’s international dispute resolution practice and as Managing Partner of its Washington DC office.
Secured complete dismissal of a US$33 million fraud suit brought by a global energy trader against a Lebanese client and two officers of their affiliate.
Favorably resolved a US$30 million suit for a US arms manufacturer against a German gun dealer involving alleged violations of international laws of war in the delivery of a weapons system.
Won more than US$62 million in claims on behalf of a Fortune 500 government contractor in an ICC arbitration against a European government for breach of a defense and security contract.
Established jurisdiction in the United States over South African entity to enforce an international arbitration award worth more than US$100 million.
Representing client in an action to confirm and enforce a US$100 million arbitral award issued by the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC).
Defeated more than US$51 million in claims brought by Egyptian entity and won multiple counterclaims on behalf of Fortune 100 global security company.
Representing a leading manufacturer of in-flight entertainment systems in connection with a complex, multi-jurisdictional dispute involving patent infringement actions in France, Germany and the UK, and a discovery action under 28 U.S.C. 1782.
Represented a multinational company in US federal court concerning defamatory statements and interference with business opportunities throughout Europe and the United States.
Obtained dismissal with prejudice of claims totaling more than US$45 million against a US contractor brought by a foreign government alleging fraud, FCPA violations, environmental damage, and product liability.
Favorably resolved defamation claims for Latvian financial institution in federal court action involving allegations of money laundering and related crimes.
Successfully representing a Russian real estate development business and its executive in connection with an arbitration before the LCIA concerning a dispute related to a project in Russia and a related discovery action under 28 U.S.C. 1782.
Successfully settled on behalf of US government contractor in breach of contract allegations stemming from failed Kuwait joint venture.
Assisting client operating in the Middle East in direct sales to foreign governments of more than US$250 million of sensitive military equipment.
Counseling a major construction company developing a massive solar photovoltaic plant in Africa.
Represented a Fortune 500 company in an International Court of Arbitration (ICC) matter in a dispute between international commercial services provider and foreign government.
Defeated more than US$12 million in breach of contract claims by foreign consultant against a US company in matter before the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR).
Enforced a multi-million dollar arbitral award against a Mexican entity on behalf of a major real estate development firm.
Provided product liability risk assessment and crisis management counseling to a European transportation company operating in North America, Europe and Asia.
Successfully represented several Canadian companies in multiple breach of contract disputes centered on public-private partnerships (P3).
Provided product liability and litigation risk assessment to Fortune 500 defense contractor entering Australian market.
Successfully represented Fortune 100 defense contractor in connection with alleged export control violations stemming from operations in the Middle East and Europe.
Successfully represented a British Virgin Islands entity based in the Middle East in its $26 million claim in arbitration against a Caribbean island nation for breach of a government services contract.
Secured dismissal in favor of arbitration of $1.6-plus billion in claims filed against our French and California-based clients in a complex, multi-jurisdictional dispute related to in-flight entertainment systems for several leading Middle East airlines.
Recognized by Law360 as an International Arbitration MVP (2017)
Recognized by Chambers USA: Guide to Leading Business Lawyers in the area of international arbitration (2019-2020)
Recognized by The Legal 500 United States in the area of international arbitration (2019-2020)
Adjunct Professor, International Arbitration, Georgetown University Law Center
Member, International Bar Association
Member, International and Litigation Sections, American Bar Association
Member, International Litigation Section, Bar Association of the District of Columbia
Member, International Arbitration Committee, US Council on International Business
Member, Commission on Arbitration and ADR, International Chamber of Commerce
Member, International Council for Commercial Arbitration
Faculty, Street Law, Inc.
Faculty, International Law Institute
Faculty, Public Contracting Institute
Does COVID-19 excuse contractual performance? (May 7, 2020)
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
U.S. Court of International Trade