Brent J. Gurney


Gurney, Brent J.

Brent Gurney has significant jury trial and other court experience in complex civil and criminal cases throughout the United States.

Among Mr. Gurney's substantial jury trials are the recent representation of the former chief accounting officer of a national homebuilder facing federal conspiracy, securities and obstruction charges, and the defense of a former regional manager for a medical device manufacturer who was alleged to have participated in a fraudulent off-label marketing scheme. In that case, Mr. Gurney obtained a complete dismissal of all charges following opening statements and testimony from the government's first witness. called the dismissal "quite the dramatic turn." The dismissal was one of five cases featured in "Winning," the National Law Journal's annual report on significant trial victories. (National Law Journal/, "Winning," March 12, 2012.)

Mr. Gurney's significant jury trials also include the jury verdict for IGEN that allowed it to terminate its licensing agreement with Roche, IGEN's key business objective, and awarded $505 million in damages. The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit sustained the termination right, after which Roche purchased IGEN in a $1.25 billion deal. The $505 million jury verdict, which the Fourth Circuit reduced, ranks fourth in the National Law Journal's top verdicts of 2002.

Mr. Gurney was recently inducted as a fellow into the American College of Trial Lawyers.  

In addition, Mr. Gurney has counseled and represented clients on issues including commercial construction disputes, trade secret misappropriation, copyright infringement, healthcare fraud, and a wide variety of matters including DOJ Civil Rights pattern and practice investigations of US police departments. He has also handled numerous sensitive internal investigations into a wide variety of financial and other matters for clients in the US, Europe, Africa, South America, Asia and the Middle East.

Mr. Gurney previously served as Assistant US Attorney in the US Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland, and was later appointed Deputy Chief for the Southern Division. Mr. Gurney prosecuted, conducted and oversaw grand jury investigations involving money laundering, healthcare fraud, bank fraud, credit card fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, government contracts fraud, federal income tax evasion, violent crime, narcotics, the Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act, and asset forfeiture.

Mr. Gurney served as a member of the teaching faculty for Harvard Law School's Trial Advocacy Workshop in January 2016.

Honors & Awards

  • Selected for inclusion in the 2018 Best Lawyers in America in the specialty of Commercial Litigation and White-Collar Criminal Defense. WilmerHale's white collar and commercial litigation practices earned a first-tier ranking for the Washington DC area in the "Best Law Firms" rankings by U.S. News - Best Lawyers®.
  • Selected by Washingtonian magazine as one of the 2015 Top Attorneys in DC for Criminal Defense/White Collar.
  • Recognized in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 editions of Washington DC Super Lawyers for his Criminal Defense: White Collar practice. 
  • Named a Life Sciences Star in the 2012-2017 editions of LMG Life Sciences for Government Enforcement/Investigation.

Recent Publications & Highlights

Pro Bono Work

Mr. Gurney maintains an active pro bono practice, which has included a number of matters for military veterans, including a former Navy Seal, and veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. He is an active supporter of the Children's Law Center in Washington DC, and a member of the Criminal Justice Act Panels for the US District Courts for the District of Columbia and Maryland, which provide representation to indigent defendants facing charges in federal court. 

Publications & News


November 7, 2017

LMG Life Sciences 2017 Honors WilmerHale With Top Rankings

LMG Life Sciences has recognized WilmerHale among the nation's leading life sciences law firms in its 2017 rankings, citing the firm's Life Sciences Practice as “renowned for its range and multidisciplinary teams that counsel clients in technology, pharmaceutical and medical device companies as well as investment banks and venture capitalists.”

September 21, 2017

Partner Brent Gurney Inducted Into American College of Trial Lawyers

WilmerHale Partner Brent Gurney was selected as a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of North America's top legal groups.

August 16, 2017

WilmerHale Lawyers Named Among the 2018 Best Lawyers in America®, Nine Recognized as Lawyers of the Year

Best Lawyers in America®—the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal industry—recognizes 107 WilmerHale lawyers and names nine partners as Lawyers of the Year in its 24th edition.

November 9, 2016

LMG Life Sciences Ranks WilmerHale and Attorneys Among the Best

The 2016 guide highlights nine firm practices and 18 attorneys, recognizing work under three categories—Intellectual Property, Finance and Transactional, and Non-IP Litigation and Enforcement.

August 15, 2016

WilmerHale Lawyers Named Among the 2017 Best Lawyers in America®, Six Recognized as Lawyers of the Year

Best Lawyers in America®—a respected peer-review publication in the legal industry—recognizes 101 WilmerHale lawyers and names six partners as Lawyers of the Year in its 23rd edition.

August 10, 2016

Separation Panes: Emerging Litigation Over Window Sealant

Brent Gurney and Rachel Murphy, in an article published by Law360, outline why litigation involving polyisobutylene has become a source of anxiety for building owners, contractors, subcontractors and PIB manufacturers.

May 3, 2016

Panel Offers Insights on Doing Business in Colombia

As Colombia moves toward a peace agreement with FARC rebels and works to accomplish reforms necessary for OECD accession, the nation stands poised at the threshold of significant growth and transformation.

December 4, 2015

Washingtonian Magazine Names Eight WilmerHale Partners Top Attorneys in Washington DC

Washingtonian magazine has released its list of 2015 Top Attorneys, recognizing Washington's top legal talent based on peer review. The 2015 list is the Washingtonian's largest ever and ranks the top one percent of the nation's capital's 80,000 lawyers across 21 different practices.

September 28, 2015

Colombian Companies Face New Compliance Challenges as Nation Ascends to World Economic Stage

An article by Ronald Meltzer, Brent Gurney, David Horn and Sarah Ganslein published in Just Anti-Corruption on October 1, 2015.

September 14, 2015

LMG Life Sciences Release 2015 Rankings, Again Names WilmerHale a "Life Cycle Firm"

In its latest edition, LMG Life Sciences recognizes eight WilmerHale practice areas and 16 attorneys, and for the fourth consecutive year names WilmerHale a "Life Cycle Firm."

Recent Highlights

  • Mr. Gurney has been quoted in, Bloomberg BNA Medical Devices Law & Industry Report,, and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly in connection with his representation at trial of the former regional manager for Stryker Biotech who was facing federal felony charges for his alleged participation in an off-label marketing scheme, but which were dismissed by federal prosecutors shortly after opening statements and the government's first witness in the interests of justice. (, "Government Settles with Stryker Biotech for $15 Million, Drops Charges Against Execs," January 19, 2012; Bloomberg BNA Health Care Fraud Report, "U.S. Drops Charges Against Last Stryker Biotech Official Remaining in Off-Label Case," February 8, 2012;, "Stryker Biotech Agrees to Plead Guilty to Misbranding Charge," January 19, 2012;, "Last of Individual Charges Dropped in Stryker Off-Label Case," February 13, 2012;, "Defense opening upends gov't case," January 26, 2012.)
  • Mr. Gurney was mentioned in a Legal Times article titled, "Flat-Screen Cost Controversy Goes Global," on March 30, 2009, for his work in what has been called "one of the largest price-fixing cases ever."
  • Represented Purdue Pharma in connection with a lengthy multi-year criminal investigation into the marketing and promotion of the painkiller, OxyContin, by the Department of Justice, US Attorney's Office for the Western District of Virginia, the Food and Drug Administration, and other agencies.
  • Represented former Rep. Jim Kolbe (R. Ariz.) in connection with a Department of Justice and US Attorney's Office investigation that ended with no finding of wrongdoing. As noted in the June 18, 2007 issue of the Legal Times - under the heading "Wilmer's Save" - this "marked the second good outcome this year for members of Congress represented by WilmerHale."

Professional Activities

Mr. Gurney presented at the ACTL CLE on "Opening Statements and Closing Arguments" on June 6, 2017.

Mr. Gurney spoke at the ACEC Meeting in Washington DC as part of a panel in the session “No Disputing It: Risk Mitigation Strategies from an AE Litigator” on April 24, 2017.

Mr. Gurney spoke about several recent high profile criminal cases as part of a panel called "An Exploration of Ethical Issues Raised by Stevens, Stryker Biotech, and Similar Cases" at the Food and Drug Law Institute Annual Conference on April 25, 2012.

Mr. Gurney spoke in a panel entitled "Anatomy of a Health Care Fraud Case: Lessons from Stryker" at the Boston Bar Association Health Care Fraud 2012 CLE Program on April 10, 2012.

Mr. Gurney spoke in the panel "A Year in Legal Insight: Developments to Meet a Rapidly Evolving Industry" at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston which was part of the Medical Devices Summit 2012 produced by Opal Events on March 7, 2012.

Mr. Gurney presented "Disturbing Developments: Increased Strict Liability Prosecutions of Corporate Officers: The Crime of Doing Nothing" at the FDLI Enforcement and Litigation Conference in Washington DC on October 13, 2010.

Mr. Gurney presented "The Crime of Doing Nothing: Strict Liability for Corporate Officers under FDCA" at the FDLI Enforcement and Litigation Conference in Washington DC on October 13, 2009.

Mr. Gurney also presented "Problems and Pitfalls for In-House Counsel: Personal Liability of Corporate Counsel" at the Personal Care Products Council's 2009 Legal and Regulatory Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia on June 18, 2009.

Mr. Gurney was quoted in The Daily Record on October 5, 2008. He discussed a recent law amending the Federal Rules of Evidence and limiting the circumstances under which attorney-client privilege is waived during discovery in the article, "New Rule Curbs Inadvertent Waiver."

Mr. Gurney was quoted in the September 30, 2008 article, "Embracing 502, the New Hope for Attorney-Client Privilege," which appeared in Compliance Week.

Mr. Gurney was quoted in the September 29, 2008 article, "New Discovery Rule to Curb Accidental Privilege Waiver," which appeared in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, discussing a newly signed law that amends the Federal Rules of Evidence.

Mr. Gurney was quoted in the March 2008 issue of the RPM Report article, "No Walk in the Park: FDA Talks Tough About Executive Accountability" discussing the applicability of the Park Doctrine in strict liability prosecutions in the pharmaceutical industry, under the Food Drug & Cosmetic Act.

Mr. Gurney was quoted in the July 6, 2007 issue of Rx Compliance Report discussing strict liability prosecutions in the pharmaceutical industry under the responsible corporate officer doctrine.

Mr. Gurney was quoted in U.S. News & World Report concerning trends in white-collar crime: "The Crackdown Cracks, Getting tough on corporate crime is so yesterday. The pendulum is swinging back, hitting everyone from gumshoes to judges," U.S. News & World Report, April 24, 2006 (available at

Professional Affiliations

American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Member, District of Columbia Bar
  • Criminal Law and Individual Rights Section
  • International Law Section
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Criminal Justice Section
  • Litigation Section
  • Criminal Justice Act Panel Attorney, US District Court for the District of Columbia and US District Court for the District of Maryland 


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HBX | Harvard Business School, Credential of Readiness (CORe), Business Analytics, Financial Accounting, Economics for Managers, with High Honors, 2015

HBX | Harvard Business School, Disruptive Strategy with Clayton Christensen: Certificate of Completion, December 2015

JD, cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1985, Comments Editor, Harvard International Law Journal

Thomas J. Watson Fellowship recipient

BA, magna cum laude, Kalamazoo College, 1981, Phi Beta Kappa

London School of Economics, General Course Student

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia

United States Supreme Court


The Hon. Warren Matthews, Supreme Court of Alaska, 1985 - 1986

Government Experience

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