David W. Ogden


Chair, Government and Regulatory Litigation Practice Group

Ogden, David W.

A nationally recognized litigator and counselor with more than thirty years' experience, David Ogden focuses his practice on complex disputes with serious financial implications. He served as the Deputy Attorney General of the United States from 2009 to 2010 and as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, United States Department of Justice, from 1999 to 2001. Mr. Ogden is chair of the firm's Government and Regulatory Litigation Group.

Principal areas of practice include:

  • civil litigation and government enforcement actions under regulatory regimes such as the False Claims Act, fair lending and other anti-discrimination laws, the antitrust or competition laws, securities laws, fraud, consumer protection, financial services, and environmental laws;
  • matters raising issues of public and private international law, such as transnational litigation in US courts, transnational regulation and enforcement, investor-state disputes, enforcement of foreign judgments, injunctions against foreign litigation, and controversies outside the United States;
  • administrative law and other litigation involving defects in government regulations or other official actions;
  • litigation to restrain the enforcement of federal or state statutes, including first amendment, federal preemption, Commerce Clause, equal protection, due process, and expropriation issues;
  • development and advocacy of policy reforms relating to litigation and enforcement issues; and
  • Supreme Court and appellate litigation.

Mr. Ogden is consistently highly ranked by leading publications such as Chambers USA, which describes him as a “fabulous litigator” with extensive experience in both civil and criminal litigation. Clients say he "gets right to the heart of a point and at the same time can see the whole picture and look for areas of legal risk." Best Lawyers in America in its 2017 edition rated him first among all regulatory enforcement litigators in Washington DC, naming him its “Lawyer of the Year" in that category. Additionally, U.S. News - Best Lawyers reported in its 2016 “Best Law Firms” rankings that Mr. Ogden “is both a great litigator and a great counselor. He understands that litigation is a tool and not an end in itself. He is highly strategic, great at seeing around corners, and a pleasure to work with to boot.” In 2017, Mr. Ogden was named an Acritas Star Lawyer following an independent survey of general counsel and other legal executives who commented that "he is a brilliant lawyer who sees strategic issues very clearly and has always tried to keep an eye on practicalities in litigation and complex matters.”

His clients have included leading companies in the pharmaceutical, petrochemical, technology, retail, insurance, defense, financial, manufacturing, airline, automotive, rail, media, entertainment, and government services industries, as well as major trade and professional associations, nonprofit foundations, and individuals.

Government Experience

Mr. Ogden served as the Deputy Attorney General of the United States from 2009 to 2010. In that position, he was the second ranking official of the United States Department of Justice and its chief operating officer, supervising the Justice Department's 110,000 employees, almost $30 billion budget, and all of its components and operations. Among the components reporting to Mr. Ogden were the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies, the 93 United States Attorneys Offices, and all of the Justice Department's national litigating divisions including the Criminal Division, National Security Division, Civil Division, Civil Rights Division, Antitrust Division, Environment and Natural Resources Division, and Tax Division. He led major Justice Department and Executive Branch initiatives addressing healthcare fraud, financial and mortgage fraud, international organized crime, Mexican drug cartels, immigration, international tax enforcement, the government's compliance with criminal and civil discovery, and law enforcement in Indian Country. He worked regularly with the leaders of foreign justice and interior ministries on international disputes and national security and law enforcement matters.

Earlier, Mr. Ogden served as the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division (1999-2001), where he directed the Justice Department's largest litigating unit representing federal agencies and officials in major civil litigation, including the government's largest regulatory, constitutional, international, national security, administrative, government contract, commercial, fraud and false claims, tort, immigration, and consumer matters. He also served as Chief of Staff and Counselor to former Attorney General Janet Reno (1997-1999), Associate Deputy Attorney General (1995-1997), and Deputy General Counsel and Legal Counsel at the United States Department of Defense (1994-1995).

Honors & Awards

  • Selected as a leading lawyer for his work in the litigation field in the 2013-2017 editions of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
  • Selected by his peers for inclusion in the 2015-2018 editions of Best Lawyers in America for Litigation - Regulatory Enforcement (SEC, Telecom, Energy), and was named the Washington DC "Lawyer of the Year" in Litigation - Regulatory Enforcement in the 2017 edition
  • Named a 2017 Acritas Star Lawyer, an independent survey of general counsel and other legal executives around the world to identify exemplary outside counsel
  • Recommended in the 2017 edition of The Legal 500 United States in the areas of energy: regulatory, commercial litigation and energy law
  • Named to The Ethisphere Institute's 2015 and 2017 lists of Attorneys Who Matter in the Private Practice and Consulting category. 
  • Recommended as a litigation star in Washington DC in Benchmark Litigation's The Guide to America's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys (2008, 2012-2016)
  • Edward H. Levi Award for Outstanding Professionalism and Exemplary Integrity, US Department of Justice (2010) 
  • Named a 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 Washington DC Super Lawyer for business litigation
  • One of Washington Business Journal's "Top Washington Lawyers" in the area of corporate litigation (2006)
  • National Law Journal Pro Bono Award (2006)
  • Outstanding Legal Service Award, National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (2005)
  • Edmund J. Randolph Award for Outstanding Service, US Department of Justice (2001)
  • Attorney General's Medallion, US Department of Justice (1999)
  • Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service (1995)

Publications & News


May 3, 2018

WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices Recognized in 2018 Edition of Chambers USA

Chambers and Partners announced its rankings for the 2018 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, with WilmerHale listed among the nation's best in 50 practice area categories. Chambers also ranked 95 WilmerHale lawyers as leaders in their respective fields.

April 2, 2018

WilmerHale Team Obtains Fifth Circuit Victory in High-Profile Fiduciary Rule Case

A team of WilmerHale litigators recently achieved a major victory when the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated the US Department of Labor's highly controversial Fiduciary Rule, giving opponents of the regulations embodied by the rule their first victory after several previously unsuccessful lawsuits.

February 5, 2018

Justice Department Issues Memo Limiting Use of Agency Guidance in Affirmative Civil Enforcement Suits

On January 25, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand issued a memorandum to all components of the Department of Justice with civil litigating authority limiting the use of agency guidance documents in affirmative civil enforcement cases.

January 25, 2018

Justice Department Issues Guidance on Dismissing Qui Tam False Claims Act Cases Over Relators' Objections

On January 10, the head of the Justice Department's Civil Frauds Section issued an internal memorandum instructing all Department attorneys handling False Claims Act cases to consider whether, when declining to intervene, the government should go further and move to dismiss meritless cases over relators' objections.

October 27, 2017

Jamie Gorelick and David Ogden Recognized by Ethisphere as 2017 Attorneys Who Matter

Partners Jamie Gorelick and David Ogden were recognized by Ethisphere Inc., an organization that promotes business ethics and compliance, as 2017 Attorneys Who Matter.

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.

June 21, 2017

Administrative Procedure Act Litigation: The Changing Regulatory Landscape, the Role of Industry, and Emerging Issues

As the Trump Administration concludes its fifth month, industry is facing a changing regulatory landscape that offers both opportunities and challenges. In this period of transition, litigation under the Administrative Procedure Act has played, and will continue to play, a more important role than ever in shaping the burdens facing regulated industries.

June 9, 2017

The Legal 500 United States 2017 Recognizes 125 WilmerHale Lawyers Across 28 Practice Areas

The Legal 500 United States has released its 2017 rankings, recommending 125 WilmerHale lawyers—including 12 who are named to its elite “Leading Lawyers” list and two on its “Next Generation Lawyers” list—and 28 practice areas in its 11th edition.

May 30, 2017

The National Law Journal Names WilmerHale Washington DC Litigation Department of the Year

The National Law Journal has named WilmerHale the 2017 Washington DC Litigation Department of the Year in the General Litigation category.

May 26, 2017

WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices Recognized in 2017 Edition of Chambers USA

Chambers and Partners announced its rankings for the 2017 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, with WilmerHale listed among the nation's best in 50 practice area categories. Chambers also ranked 86 WilmerHale lawyers as leaders in their respective fields.

Representative Matters

International Disputes  

  • Obtaining for a US petrochemical company judicial declarations that foreign judgments totaling more than $500 million are unenforceable in the United States
  • Successfully managing for US pharmaceutical and international petro-chemical companies high-stakes litigations in foreign courts raising issues of judicial corruption and investor-state protections
  • Representing an American company in litigation against a foreign state under the expropriation and commercial activities exceptions to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act
  • Representing a foreign sovereign in US litigation with another foreign sovereign concerning ownership of mineral rights
  • Successfully defending foreign airlines in two separate US antitrust litigations seeking more than $50 billion in damages, and managing related litigation worldwide
  • Successfully representing an international law firm in a civil racketeering suit brought by a former adversary in international arbitration
  • Representing corporate clients in investor-state arbitration under ICSID and UNCITRAL Rules  
  • Representing a former US Secretary of State in Alien Tort Statute litigation

Government and Public Policy Litigation and Investigations  

  • Successfully representing an international law firm in a civil RICO action
  • Representing defense, retail and entertainment industry clients in qui tam actions brought under the False Claims Act
  • Representing insurance, pharmaceutical, technology, banking, and, government service companies in Justice Department False Claims investigations
  • Representing financial institutions in CFPB investigations under fair lending, RESPA, and other regulatory regimes
  • Representing manufacturing, legal services, and financial services entities in SEC investigations
  • Obtaining on behalf of a major national mortgage lender dismissal with prejudice of a putative nationwide discrimination class action and representing an investment bank in similar litigation
  • Representing a major insurance company in fair lending investigation by a state regulatory authority
  • Obtaining for a trade association summary judgment striking down on Commerce Clause and preemption grounds a state price control statute
  • Obtaining for a trade association summary judgment striking down on preemption grounds a state statute that invalidated arbitration clauses in certain agreements
  • Advising a major insurance company and other financial institutions with respect to Dodd-Frank issues, including the Financial Stability Oversight Council
  • Submitting amicus briefs for a major professional and scientific association and a major industry association in the US Supreme Court and other appellate courts

Professional Activities

  • Public Member, Administrative Conference of the United States, 2010-2016
  • Senior Fellow, Administrative Conference of the United States, 2016-present
  • Board Member, District of Columbia Bar Foundation, 2015-present
  • Member, Janet Reno Endowment National Advisory Committee, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University, 2016-present