Brenda E. Lee


Lee, Brenda E.

Brenda Lee represents corporations, universities, and individuals in a broad range of government-related and internal investigations and proceedings, including white collar criminal, securities enforcement, anti–money laundering (AML), and anti-discrimination matters. She has extensive experience representing organizations in parallel criminal and civil proceedings, and advises clients regarding regulatory compliance and corporate governance.

Ms. Lee has represented clients in investigations and enforcement proceedings brought by the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, FINRA, FinCEN, State Attorneys General and various Inspectors General. She has defended financial institutions, corporations, and individuals against allegations of securities fraud, Bank Secrecy Act/AML program violations, government contracting fraud, and other state and federal violations.

Ms. Lee also has substantial experience representing higher education institutions, particularly in the area of campus sexual misconduct. She has handled multiple Title IX investigations by the US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, provided advice in connection with criminal investigations and prosecutions arising from sexual misconduct incidents, and counseled on the interplay of Title IX, the Clery Act, and FERPA.

Ms. Lee shares the firm's commitment to pro bono work, with an emphasis on children's law issues. In addition, she has represented multiple criminal defendants in Maryland state courts, including an individual who successfully challenged his life-term prison sentence on constitutional grounds.

Ms. Lee joined the firm after serving as a law clerk to the Honorable Richard J. Leon of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and the Honorable Alan D. Lourie of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. 

Recent Highlights

Ms. Lee has recently represented:

  • a global financial institution in parallel SEC, FINRA, and FinCEN investigations of the institution's AML program and related internal investigations;
  • a global financial institution in a DOJ criminal investigation of customers charged with Iraqi-dinar fraud and money laundering and related internal investigation;
  • a global financial institution in response to a DOJ criminal prosecution of a customer for laundering international bribery proceeds and related internal investigation;
  • a global financial institution in response to a DOJ criminal prosecution of a customer for healthcare fraud and related internal investigation;
  • a US broker-dealer in response to an SEC investigation of potential cherry-picking by a registered representative;
  • a renewable energy company in an SEC investigation during parallel civil litigations;
  • a major telecommunications company in an investigation by more than 40 State Attorneys General;
  • a major research university in a Department of Education investigation under Title IX;
  • a major research university in internal and Department of Education investigations under Title IX and in collateral criminal litigation;
  • a university and its employees in an Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General investigation;
  • a government contractor in a Department of Energy Office of Inspector General investigation;
  • an international manufacturing dealer in a DOJ criminal investigation;
  • a renewable energy company in a Department of Interior Office of Inspector General investigation;
  • the president of a global financial services firm in an SEC investigation;
  • a major global oil and gas company in connection with parallel SEC and DOJ criminal investigations and in other executive branch inquiries arising from an accident in the Gulf of Mexico; and
  • foster parents seeking to adopt or obtain permanent guardianship of their foster children in DC Superior Court proceedings.

Publications & News


January 3, 2017

WilmerHale Announces 2017 Partner Elevations and Recognizes New Special Counsel

We are pleased to announce the elevation of our new partners, as well as to recognize our new special counsel.

May 13, 2015

DC Office Hosts Children’s Law Center Breakfast

On April 16, the firm's Washington DC office hosted the inaugural event in the Children's Law Center's 2015 Breakfast Series. Speaker Melody Barnes—former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council—challenged an audience of more than 50 lawyers and business leaders to think about "disconnected youth" in their communities in a new way.

December 20, 2006

Speaking Freely: Trials of the First Amendment

Book Note, 41 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 285 (Winter 2006).

June 21, 2006

Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District: Teaching Intelligent Design in Public Schools

Recent Development, 41 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 581 (Summer 2006).

Professional Activities

Ms. Lee has a longstanding relationship with the Children's Law Center, and previously served on its Advisory Board. She is a member of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of DC.

Ms. Lee is a member of the firm's Diversity Committee, Pro Bono and Community Service Committee, and Hiring Committee.


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JD, cum laude, Harvard Law School, 2007, Executive Editor, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, David Westfall Memorial Dean’s Award for Community Leadership

AB, Biochemical Sciences, magna cum laude, Harvard College, 2004

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia

New York


The Hon. Richard J. Leon, US District Court for the District of Columbia, 2009 - 2010

The Hon. Alan D. Lourie, US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, 2008 - 2009

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