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.

In addition, Mr. Gurney has counseled and represented clients on issues including commercial construction disputes, trade secret misappropriation, copyright infringement, healthcare fraud, and the attorney client privilege. 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.

Honors & Awards

  • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America in the specialty of Commercial Litigation and White-Collar Criminal Defense. WilmerHale's Washington DC white collar and commercial litigation practices recently earned a first-tier ranking for the Washington DC area in the "Best Law Firms" rankings by U.S. News – Best Lawyers®.
  • Recognized as a leading attorney in the 2013 edition of The International Who's Who of Business Crime Defence Lawyers.
  • Named a "Life Sciences Star" in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 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


April 1, 2015

Brent Gurney and Sarah Ganslein Discuss Strategic Trade Controls at United Nations Conference in Lima

WilmerHale Partner Brent Gurney and Senior Associate Sarah Ganslein spoke about strategic trade controls at a United Nations conference in Lima, Peru on March 23 and 24.

October 30, 2014

Modern Curtain Walls: 4 Simple Steps to Avoiding Costly Disputes & Performance Problems

An article by Brent Gurney and Andrew Cohn, published by Commercial Property Executive on October 30, 2014.

August 28, 2014

LMG Life Sciences Honors Firm, Attorneys with Top Rankings for Third Consecutive Year

The 2014 edition of LMG Life Sciences has been released, and it includes the recognition of nine WilmerHale practice areas and 17 attorneys.

January 13, 2014

Fiduciary Duty Claims Against Construction and Design Professionals

An article by Brent Gurney, Doug Curtis and Rachel Murphy, published in the January 13, 2014 edition of New York Law Journal.

August 15, 2013

Best Lawyers in America® 2014 Recognizes Nearly 100 WilmerHale Partners, Naming Eight “Lawyer of the Year”

Nearly 100 WilmerHale lawyers have been selected for inclusion in the 20th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®—a respected peer-review publication in the legal industry.

June 13, 2013

The Benefits of Early and Aggressive Affirmative Discovery in Defending Trade Secret Misappropriation Claims

An article by Brent J. Gurney, Josh Ferrentino and Alex White, published in a special in-house counsel section of New York Law Journal.

June 13, 2013

“A Good Offense” – WilmerHale Attorneys Publish Article in New York Law Journal Special In-House Counsel Section

New York Law Journal publishes "The Benefits of Early and Aggressive Affirmative Discovery in Defending Trade Secret Misappropriation Claims," authored by WilmerHale Partner Brent J. Gurney, Senior Associate Josh Ferrentino and Associate Alex White.  

May 30, 2013

US Fights Crime By Seizing Funds From Foreign Banks’ Interbank Accounts

April 1, 2013

U.S. Fights Crime by Seizing Funds from Foreign Banks’ Interbank Accounts

An article by Brent Gurney, Richard Johnston and Alyssa DaCunha, published in the April 2013 edition of  International Bar Association International Litigation Newsletter.

December 4, 2012

Second Circuit Invalidates Misbranding Conspiracy Conviction on First Amendment Grounds

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 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

  • Member, District of Columbia Bar
  • Criminal Law and Individual Rights Section
  • International Law Section
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Criminal Justice Section
  • Litigation Section
  • Barrister, Edward Bennett Williams Inn of Court
  • 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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JD, cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1985, Comments Editor, Harvard International Law Journal

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

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia


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