Brendan R. McGuire


McGuire, Brendan

Brendan R. McGuire advises clients on managing, anticipating and mitigating complex legal and regulatory issues related to white-collar enforcement, as well as money laundering, national security, cybersecurity and privacy, and export controls and economic sanctions. An accomplished trial lawyer and litigator, he joined the firm after serving for more than 10 years as an Assistant US Attorney in the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. 

During his tenure as Assistant US Attorney, Mr. McGuire was appointed to lead the two most sensitive units within the Southern District's Criminal Division. First, he served as Chief of the Public Corruption Unit for three years, and then, more recently, as Chief of the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Prior to his supervisory positions, as a member of the Terrorism Unit, Mr. McGuire handled some of the most significant terrorism cases within the Department of Justice, including the 2009 kidnapping of Captain Richard Phillips by Somali pirates on the Indian Ocean, the 2010 prosecution of Faisal Shahzad for the attempted bombing of Times Square, and the 2011 prosecution of Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for conspiring to kill Americans.

As Chief of the Public Corruption Unit, Mr. McGuire led some of the most notable investigations and prosecutions of New York officials in recent years, as well as cases involving violations of the federal fraud and bribery statutes, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, securities fraud, healthcare fraud and tax evasion. He also oversaw multiple corporate prosecutions, including the settlement of the largest municipal fraud case in history.

During his tenure as Chief of the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit, Mr. McGuire supervised investigations and prosecutions of international and domestic terrorism, money laundering, violations of economic sanctions and export control laws, espionage and global narcotics trafficking. In that position, he regularly coordinated criminal investigations with the intelligence community, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Defense, the Department of State and foreign governments.

Prior to his government service, Mr. McGuire practiced as a litigator at two prominent New York law firms where he specialized in white-collar defense and corporate investigations. He also clerked for the Honorable Peter K. Leisure of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. 

Recent Highlights

  • Represented US financial services firms in parallel investigations by the DOJ and the SEC regarding employee theft and misconduct
  • Represented elected New York State official in parallel federal and state investigations of public corruption and tax fraud
  • Represented US trading firm in connection with DOJ investigation of theft of trade secrets and cyber intrusion
  • Represented former employee of Fortune 500 company in connection with DOJ fraud and money laundering investigation and related civil litigation
  • Advised global financial services firm regarding misconduct by senior employee
  • Represented employees of international airline in DOJ investigation of illegal smuggling

Pro Bono Matters

  • Represented indigent criminal defendant charged with fraud by DOJ
  • Represented nonprofit athletic commission in DOJ corruption investigation

Honors & Awards

  • Henry L. Stimson Medal for outstanding career performance as an Assistant US Attorney (2015)
  • Federal Law Enforcement Foundation Prosecutor of the Year (2013)
  • National Committee on American Foreign Policy 21st Century Leader Award (2012)
  • Anti-Defamation League Shield Award (2012)
  • Attorney General's Award (2011)

Publications & News


January 29, 2018

Preserving Privilege in Government Investigations in Light of 'SEC v. Herrera'

In this New York Law Journal article, authors Boyd Johnson, Brendan McGuire and Alyssa DaCunha explore how a recent case from the Southern District of Florida makes clear that counsel must tread carefully when assessing whether and how to share information derived from privileged investigative materials, as doing so may risk waiving the work product privilege over the underlying materials and potentially their entire subject matter.

February 13, 2017

Case оf Captive in Yemen Cоuld Test Trump's Guantánamо Pledge

Partner Brendan McGuire is quoted regarding military needs and looking ahead in this New York Times article.

September 16, 2016

WilmerHale Named Industry's Most Impressive Investigations Practice by GIR

WilmerHale has been named the Most Impressive Investigations Practice of the Year by Global Investigations Review for its cross-border work in both high-profile internal and government-led investigations.

May 26, 2016

Brendan McGuire, Chief of the Terrorism Unit of the US Attorney's Office for the SDNY, to Join WilmerHale's White Collar Team

During his 10 years at SDNY, Mr. McGuire has overseen some of the nation's most significant terrorism, money laundering and economic sanctions cases.

Professional Activities

Mr. McGuire is a Lecturer in Law at Columbia University School of Law where he teaches national security law. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy and the John Jay College Foundation, and recently completed his term on the Board of Trustees of Regis High School. He is also a member of the Lawyers Council for the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City and is an active member of federal and state bar organizations.